Sep
16

Assessing Brackman’s Season, Part III

By

Two years ago, the Yankees selected righthander Andrew Brackman with their first round pick, knowing full well that he might need elbow surgery at some point, perhaps as soon as that summer. Brackman showed tremendous raw stuff and considerable potential as an amateur, the reasons why he was ranked so high in pre-draft rankings (Keith Law had him as the third best prospect in the draft class). The Yankees were willing to gamble and wait on his talent, especially with a pick so late in first round.

As expected, Brackman underwent Tommy John surgery soon after signing a Major League deal worth $3.35 million guaranteed with incentives that could push the total value of the contract to $13 million. At the time, it was potentially the richest contract in draft history. Brackman spent all of 2008 rehabbing but returned to action in the now defunct Hawaii Winter Baseball League last fall where he was ranked the number two prospect by Baseball America (subs. req’d).

Brackman’s long awaited full season debut didn’t go as smoothly as planned this year. It featured a few ups but considerably more downs. His overall season line — 106.2 IP, 106 H, 79 R, 76 BB, 103 K — isn’t pretty, and his 26 wild pitches were second most in all of minor league baseball. The way I see it Brackman’s season can be broken down into three distinct periods, which I’ll arbitrarily call Good Brackman, Bad Brackman, and Reliever Brackman.

Over the past two days we’ve looked at Good Brackman and Bad Brackman, so now it’s time to wrap this all up with Reliever Brackman.

* * *

After things took a turn for the worst, Brackman was moved to the bullpen in late July. As scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said in his interview with Mike Ashmore, “sometimes you have to deviate from the plan a little bit and take a step backwards to go forwards.” The move was also made in part to control his innings, but more importantly something had to be done to at least limit the damage.

Surprisingly, Brackman was actually pretty decent out of the bullpen, putting up a 2.57 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. His peripherals were encouraging as well:

10.29 K/9
5.14 BB/9
2.00 K/BB
7.29 H/9
0.00 HR/9
.304 BABIP
2.63 FIP

He did allow at least one run in five of his first six relief appearances, but his final four outings were nothing short of stellar. In ten innings Brackman allowed just six hits and struck out nine, but more importantly he didn’t walk anyone, didn’t hit anyone, and didn’t chuck any wild pitches. Oh sure, it definitely might just be a small sample size fluke thing, but if nothing else it at least gives him a reason to keep his chin up after such a trying year, and the Yankees a reason to be cautiously optimistic.

I don’t have any information on how Brackman’s  stuff looked as a reliever, and I’m very curious to see if anything played up. If you stumble across any info, please, send it my way. Baseball America’s year-end Prospect Hot Sheet just notes that he showed “an average fastball that often dipped into the 80s, a diminished curveball and well below-average control” throughout the year, which echoes what we’ve heard the last two days.

As a whole, this was unquestionably a disappointing year for the big guy. Instead of progress there was regress, and the only signs of encouragement came from four meaningless relief appearances at the end of the year when Charleston was already out of the playoff race. However, despite all that, it would be incorrect to call it a lost year of development. Adversity isn’t the worst thing in the world for young players, as people learn more from the bad times than they do the good. Whether or not Brackman can put whatever lessons he’s learned into practice remains to be seen.

If there’s one thing to accept as a no strings attached positive, it’s that he stayed healthy all year and made every appearance asked of him without incident, crossing the 100 IP mark for the first time in his life. Brackman can head home for the winter knowing the elbow held up all season and that he at last finished with on a little bit of a high note. Durability is one less question he’ll have to answer in 2010.

As easy as it would be to write Brackman off after the brutal year he just went through, it’s definitely too early to call it quits on the kid. Depending on how his Spring Training goes, he could be assigned to High-A Tampa to start 2010, although heading back to Charleston is a distinct possibility. I assume the team will have Brackman give it another go as a starter, as they should because they don’t have anything to lose by letting him pitch out of the rotation in the lower levels next year or even the year after.

Of course, if his stuff and control doesn’t come back soon, it’s not going to matter where he’s pitching.

Categories : Analysis, Minors
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    You sold me. Let’s make him a reliever permanently.

    Sincerely,
    Any miscellaneous idiot

    • Mike Pop

      Maybe kevin long can fix him, since apparently he cures all.

      /alex gonzalez’d

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Thurgood: Why the hell are you guys spendin’ money ? We’re not drug dealers, remember? We’re fund-raisers.
        Brian: Well, you said you gave Mary Jane a pearl necklace. How much did THAT cost?
        Thurgood: Obviously, you missed the point of that story, Brian.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          i dont know what thats from, but its funny :)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Sampson: Where you from?
            Thurgood: I be from Jamaica, mon!
            Sampson: What part of Jamaica?
            Thurgood: Right neear de beeach. BOY-EEEE!

            • jsbrendog

              uhm…oh…hee hee…your titty popped out

      • alex gonzalez

        no one can fix brackman. nobody.

        • Mike Pop

          I hear his rallying ability is as good as anybody’s though. Bright spot

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yup.

            Brackman’s W/L record may be unsightly, but he’s got a phenomenal +28 career tRA.

        • Tom Zig

          He didn’t strike out 321 batters and he didn’t get wins.

          Nevermind that this is his first year back from TJ surgery. Nevermind that he is re-learning how to pitch. Nevermind that young pitchers struggle. Nevermind anything.

          He is a bust, always was, and always will be. Cashman should be fired. Damon Oppenheimer should be drawn and quartered. Girardi should be fired for the sake of being fired. Edwar needs to gain some weight.

          • alex gonzalez

            maybe he has a chance as a reliever. a very slim one. his starter days are basically numbered. some number draft pick.

            • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

              The “some number draft pick” argument not really a legitimate one. I already dispensed with that line of argument in July, and the reality is that draft pick number 30 rarely pans out.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                I thought the “some number draft pick” argument wasn’t legitimate because it’s a nonsense phrase.

                • Chris

                  I just assumed he had no idea what number draft pick Brackman was. He was commenting that Brackman was some number draft pick, as opposed to being undrafted.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  You may have a point there.

              • alex gonzalez

                so you admit there is a very good chance that he never pans out to be anything good.

              • Reggie C.

                The fact that Brackman pitches allows the organization to save some face … i.e. converting Brackman into a reliever.

                I realize how hard the leap to competitive baseball must have been for Brackman. I say you make his life LESS complex and you maximize his 2-plus pitch offerings. He’s shown durability. Now if he up his grit and get 6 outs before imploding, we just might have a better option than Melancon.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  The fact that Brackman pitches allows the organization to save some face … i.e. converting Brackman into a reliever.

                  Agreed. Way too soon to make that call, though. We have the luxury of being patient. Pissing that luxury away would be dumb.

                  I say you make his life LESS complex and you maximize his 2-plus pitch offerings. He’s shown durability. Now if he up his grit and get 6 outs before imploding, we just might have a better option than Melancon.

                  Again, I’m with you, but that decision does not have to be made yet. Give him more time to put TJS further in the rearview mirror. Give him another chance to fail before abandoning Plan A.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              his starter days are basically numbered.

              Agreed.

              “Several thousands” is a number.

              • Tom Zig

                Brackman gets elected into Cooperstown in 2027

                You heard it here first.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  That would mean is career ended in 2022. That’d be a mighty short career. He’d have to be Koufax 2.0 to get in with that few years.

                  He’ll do it.

                • Tom Zig

                  hmmm yeah that would mean he only had like 10 years in the majors. still possible.

          • Mike Pop

            Edwar dragging barajas was pretty funny.

            • Makavelli

              Probably the only useful thing he’s done since I’ve seen him

          • http://YankeefaninHouston John in Houston

            If Brackman pitches, say, 130 innings next year and 160 the year after he may be ready for a full season of pitching in 2012. Even if he starts to pitch well, I wonder if the Yankees have the patience to let him develop properly or if they will do the same thing they have done with Chamberlain and Hughes and slow down and possibly retard his development as a starter by moving him to the bullpen to help the big club.
            (By the way, saying he may be a bust is just another way of saying he’s a pitching prospect.)

          • Bo

            If you want to give him a total pass for this season coming off surgery, thats fine. That means next yr becomes a huge yr as he is already 24 yrs old.

  • Reggie C. (Miscellaneous Realist)

    Ask Theo if he’s upset as to the end result of converting Daniel Bard to reliever. If the velocity can return to pre-TJ days then Brackman best serves the 40 man roster by getting groomed as an impact reliever. There arent many solid-to-great 6’10” fireballers out there.

    • SM

      Why is Bard always mentioned in Brackman posts? Is it because they both played in the ACC?

      • Tom Zig

        I believe it goes something like this, correct me if i’m wrong.

        Bard started out as a starter and was the sux0r and then was converted into reliever and then was pretty good.

        • A.D.

          exactly

      • http://opensourcecomedy.net/images/melky_box.jpg Drew the Pretty Pretty Princess

        Look at Bard’s stats in his first professional year.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Daniel Bard:

      1.) Was far, far shittier as a low minor league starter in 2007 than Andrew Brackman was as a low minor league starter in 2009 (seriously, go look it up)
      2.) Was not recovering from a major injury during that initial period of craptastically awful starting pitching in his minor league debut, thus giving more reason for alarm when he shit the bed
      3.) Has far inferior secondary pitches, thus limiting his ceiling as a starter anyway and nudging him closer to reliever status

      • SM

        Also Brackman had very little college innings (for starter his age at least). Bard was 3 years of 90+ innings.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Good point. Let’s not also forget:
          4.) Bard is not 6’10 and thus, has a smaller hill to climb towards mastering a repeatable delivery
          5.) Bard was not a highly-touted basketball recruit who split time most of his prep career and only started focusing on pitching exclusively about 3-4 years ago (which includes the year and change lost to TJS)

          • Bo

            Why the Bard comp’s?

            Because they both throw high 90’s?

            I think the Yankees would take anything in the way of progress from him. If thats as a reliever so be it.

  • Mike Pop

    All this means nothing to me, Mike. How many wins and losses did he have, that’s what I want to know.

    But seriously, at least he got his innings in. I wasn’t expecting him to be great but definitely not this bad. W/e though. Next season should be more fun.

    • Tom Zig

      His arm is still attached to his shoulder, correct?

      Success!

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I’m obviously hopeful that he can remain a starter and the Yankees should keep running him out there every five days until he shows he can’t do it, but realistically, how long should they give him until they decide they should covert him?

    • Mike Pop

      4 or 5 starts.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Starts? Try 4 or 5 innings.

        • Mike Pop

          Give or take a few innings depending on his rallying.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          4 of 5 pitches. If he can’t prove his worth within the first 5 pitches of the 2010 season, move him to the bullpen. Or possibly to long-snapper.

          • Mike Pop

            Center for the Yankees world sereis picnic celebration 3 on 3 tournament.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              A-Brack vs. CC in the post, Jeet and A-Jax at the point.

              • Rick in Boston

                Is it too late to re-sign CJ Henry (or even get his brother signed)?

            • Tom Zig

              I think we learned our lesson with pick-up basketball games. Although that one did get us A-rod.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                See? Works like a charm.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Best basketball game ever.

          • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

            Fuck that: 4 or 5 signs from the catcher. If a runner is already on second base … too bad, puta.

    • Accent Shallow

      Dammit.

  • Accent Shallow

    At what point would the organization consider a permanent bullpen move?

    I have to think it wouldn’t be next year, even if he really stinks it up. 2011?

    • Tom Zig

      2012 in my opinion…which means nothing.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Don’t be too hard on yourself, Zig. Look on the bright side:

        The Yankees would never ask you for your opinion on anything, but if their choices were asking you for your opinion or asking alex gonzalez for his, they’d ask you.

        There, did I make you feel better?

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          But they’d also ask a fetal pig its opinion before A.G’s opinion, so it’s really not that special.

          /knocked down a peg

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Shutup, dude, you’re ruining the moment.

          • Tom Zig

            Life ruiner

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              I actually inadvertently kind of ruined my roommate’s girlfriend’s life last year

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Matt ACTY/BBD’s roomate’s girlfriend: “Hello?”
                Matt ACTY/BBD’s roomate’s girlfriend’s OBGYN: “This is your doctor. I have your pregnancy report here, and guess what. You’re– You got knocked up. You should probably get out of news.”

                • Tampa Yankee

                  I LOL’d

                • jsbrendog

                  champ: is she buying it?
                  ron: oh i think she’s totally buying it

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Actually, I told her she was being transferred to Moscow.

                • Tampa Yankee

                  Ron: This is Doctor Chim… Dr. Chim Richalds… Richalds.

                  Veronica: Is this you Ron!?

                  Ron: I’m a professional doctor, you saw me.. you don’t remember. You were drunk. You should.. you should go, you should get out of news.

                  Veronica: This is pathetic.

                  Ron: You’re pathetic.

  • Makavelli

    3 separate posts on Brackman’s SEASON???

    What’s next? 4 separate posts on a Ricky Ledee Appreciation Thread?? lol

    • A.D.

      You could do 4:

      1. The hype of being the only prospect (and some solid numbers)
      2. The disappointment of when he got called up
      3. ’98 WS where he hit .600
      4. The Justice Trade & post Yankee career.

      From a Yankee fan standpoint 3 out of 4 of those would be positive

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      3 separate posts on Brackman’s SEASON???

      MULTIPLE INTERROBANGS?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!

      • Bo

        I wouldnt mind a Ledee Thread. Beats reading ones about how much Melky sucks or how much the stadium costs or Jeters contract.

  • Tim

    What a bust.

    • Tom Zig

      You’re a towel

      • jsbrendog

        awesome

  • Doug

    “If there’s one thing to accept as a no strings attached positive, it’s that he stayed healthy all year”

    do we know this as a fact? because it certainly looked like he was pitching injured

    • Rick in Boston

      There’s no way the Yankees wouldn’t shut him down at the first sign of injury.

      • Mike Pop

        +1

      • Doug

        you would think, but stranger things have happened. remember arod last year.

      • alex gonzalez

        just like with wang. how they shut him down at the first sign of injury. oh wait…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          When did the Yankees not shut Wang down at the first sign of injury? Twice this year he was shut down at the first sign of injury. Am I missing something?

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            They didn’t do it preemptively, therefore they failed.

          • http://opensourcecomedy.net/images/melky_box.jpg Drew the Pretty Pretty Princess

            I think a.g. just has a feeling.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJQVlVHsFF8 (safe for work… not safe for life)

              • http://opensourcecomedy.net/images/melky_box.jpg Drew the Pretty Pretty Princess

                That’s some Dirk Nowitzki type shit.

                • http://tomorrowsnewsyesterday.wordpress.com/ JMK

                  I’ve got a question for you guys: Crazier ex-girlfriend: Jose Tabata’s biddie, or Dirk’s?

                  I say it’s a toss-up.

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

            shiiiiit…once they shut him down without an injury!!!

  • A.D.

    Obviously not what one wanted from Brack out of the season, but players have come back from worse, and at least he did have a good strikeout rate.

  • JohnnyC

    Just something to think about: throwing overhand is unnatural and causes undue stress on the arm. Convert Brackman to a submarine pitcher and make him the 8th inning guy. Solved!

    BTW, is it true that our friend alex gonzalez posts on Red Sox blogs as jorge posada?

    • Tom Zig

      A 6’10” submariner…dear lord.

      Actually Alex Gonzalez posts on Red Sox blogs as Ramiro Pena. Keeping with the pattern of all-glove-no-bat middle infielders.

  • CountryClub

    Mike Ashmore had an interview with Nardi a few weeks ago and in it Nardi said that Brackman’s stuff had come back. I don’t remember if he gave velocity readings or not, but either way you;d have to take him at his word.

    • Mike Pop

      Nardi? Just another weapon of the Yankees hype machine.

      • Tom Zig

        He doesn’t have any wins. Therefore he sucks.

  • Doug

    from callis’ current chat:

    Ben (NY, NY)
    Should I be worried about Andrew Brackman’s poor year? Or is this normal for post-Tommy John recovery. By most reports his velocity was way down and had little command of his breaking pitches.

    Jim Callis (2:44 PM)
    I’d be at least a little worried. It was nice that he stayed healthy all year, but his stuff was disappointing and his control was a mess. He did have more success out of the bullpen late in the year, and that may be his ticket to the big leagues.

    is this our esteemed mr. kabak? actually not sure he’s from NY but he’s who I first thought of with this current thread and all

    • JohnnyC

      Well, Jim Callis would be even more worried if Brackman HADN’T had a disappointing season. After all, like our friend alex gonzalez, he’s a Red Sox fan.

    • Chris

      The problem with the argument that he had “more success out of the bullpen late in the year” is you don’t know the cause for that success. It could be the move to the pen, or it could be that he was just getting healthy again.

      I tend to believe that he wore down as the season went on and the move to the bullpen allowed him to recover some. His first couple games out of the pen weren’t any better than his bad starts, so I don’t think it’s something magical about the bullpen.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        so I don’t think it’s something magical about the bullpen.

        oh dude, you dont know…the bullpen IS a magical place.

        raindrops are gumdrops, and gumdrops are raindrops, what a magical place it do be…

        • Chris

          mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……… gumdrops………

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
            • ROBTEN

              How about:

              Y = Young Starting Pitcher

              X = Injury

              Z = High Leverage Situations

              % = Innings Pitched

              $ = Wins

              So that

              Y/X * Z/% = $ (TEH EIGHT INNING!!!)

              see…even the MATH tells me that he’s a reliever…

        • http://opensourcecomedy.net/images/melky_box.jpg Drew the Pretty Pretty Princess

          But do the snozberries taste like snozberries?

  • Joey Chestnut

    Wow, a 3 part post on a guy who most likey will never make it.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Wow, a guy who makes a living shoving dozens of weiners in his mouth as fast as possible.

    • Tom Zig

      Come on man, you could at least drop a random quote in from someone, anyone. Or at least add numbers to your post.

      Don’t be a sullied susan.

  • Bo

    Brackman fell in the draft for reasons. He wasnt a cant miss prospect. The guy cant throw strikes. And its not like hes 19 here.

    It wouldnt be a big deal if he failed. Most prospects do. The only issue is his spot on the 40 man.

    • Rick in Boston

      But who has he been keeping off of the 40-man this year? In the future it might be an issue, but it’s not like the Yankeees haven’t had flexibility with the 40-man this year.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Brackman fell in the draft for reasons.

      Yes. Correct. Absolutely correct, Bo. Spot on. Well said.

      He wasnt a cant miss prospect. The guy cant throw strikes. And its not like hes 19 here.

      No. Those are not the reasons Andrew Brackman fell in the draft. Not at all. If you made a list of the top 5 reasons Andrew Brackman fell in the draft, none of those reasons would be in the top 5.

      The top five reasons he fell in the draft are:
      1) He had a serious injury concern with indications of looming TJS
      2) He had a huge bonus demand and required an ML contract
      3) He was a Boras advisee
      4) He was a two-sport athlete
      5) He was raw and tall and thus likely a slow-developer

      • Rockdog

        Spot on. And, as most of the coherent folks have been saying … MOST PITCHING PROSPECTS (EVEN GOOD ONES) DO NOT MAKE IT TO THE SHOW.

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