Feb
19

Brackman has a big year ahead of him

By

In early 2007, just as RAB came on the scene, Andrew Brackman dominated draft talk. He was a projected Top 5 pick, and with good reason. The 6’10” dual-sport player sported not only a mid-90s fastball, but a curveball to go with it. He was raw at the time, having thrown only 70 college innings, but the potential was certainly there. He probably would have gone Top 5, too, if there hadn’t been injury concerns during his final college season that led to him sitting out games towards the end. The pre-draft rumors had him needing Tommy John surgery, so down the first round he slipped.


Photo credit: AP/Julie Jacobson

The Yankees, picking at No. 30 after a huge 2006 season, jumped on Brackman. Of course, they probably preferred Rick Porcello, who also tumbled through the first round, but the Tigers took him two picks prior. So the Yankees, seeing no one with nearly the ceiling of Brackman left on the board, took the plunge. It took a major league deal and a year of waiting for him to recover from TJS, but at the start of 2009 Brackman looked ready to start his professional career.

His first season, as we saw, did not go very well. Through his first 19 starts he pitched just 85.2 innings, or about 4.5 innings per start. His 6.72 ERA was certainly a concern, but not nearly as big as his 6.72 BB/9. In June and July he had more walks than innings pitched. A conversion to the bullpen in late July seemed to help, as Brackman’s final 21 innings went a bit better, as he allowed 17 hits and walked 12 to 24 strikeouts.

Now Brackman faces a huge challenge. As he moves up the ladder to Advanced-A Tampa, he must prove that he’s made adjustments. The Times’s new Yankees beat writer Ben Shpigel profiles Brackman, talking to Charleston pitching coach Jeff Ware in addition to farm director Mark Newman and the pitcher himself. They talk about comfort level and how Brackman might have been overthinking his mechanics. As Pitching guru Nardi Contreras said, “everything was out of whack.” Sounds about right.

Chances are, Brackman won’t turn into the ace pitcher the Yankees envisioned in 2007. That’s not just because of his problems last season, though. A pitcher like Brackman presents an enormous gamble, and those high-risk, high-reward moves have a bigger chance of busting than not. The Yankees wanted to take the risk, wanted the upside of a Top 5 pick, knowing they might not get one for another decade or two. It’s easy to look back and say the Yanks messed up, but I think they made the right call back in 07.

Categories : Minors
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Brackman has a big year ahead of him
    by Joseph Pawlikowski

    This will end badly.

    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H
      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Well played.

    • BrackisBackintheknow!

      Put your money where your mouth is fella’s. I’m will to make a wager of 500 big ones that Brack is Back. Anyone willing to take it? We can come to agreeeable terms to define what is back!

    • Bo

      Well it has to get better right?

      Only thing worse would be for his arm to fall off.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Go back and look at all other players taken with the 30th pick. Not a great track record there. It was worth the risk, and with the Yankees picking late every year, you need to take risks with high upside guys like Brackman.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      The rest of that 2007 first round, post Brackman:

      31 Nationals LHP *Josh Smoker (minors) Calhoun HS (Calhoun, GA)
      32 Giants 2B *Nick Noonan (minors) Parker HS (San Diego, CA)
      33 Braves 3B *Jon Gilmore (minors) Iowa City HS (Iowa City, IA)
      34 Reds 3B *Todd Frazier (minors) Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)
      35 Rangers OF *Julio Borbon University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN)
      36 Cardinals RHP *Clayton Mortenson Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA)
      37 Phillies C *Travis d’Arnaud (minors) Lakewood HS (Lakewood, CA)
      38 Blue Jays LHP *Brett Cecil University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
      39 Dodgers LHP *James Adkins (minors) University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN)
      40 Padres OF *Kellen Kulbacki (minors) James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
      41 Athletics 1B *Sean Doolittle (minors) University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
      42 Mets RHP *Eddie Kunz Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
      43 Giants C *Jackson Williams (minors) University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)
      44 Rangers RHP *Neil Ramirez (minors) Kempsville HS (Virginia Beach, VA)
      45 Blue Jays SS *Justin Jackson (minors) Roberson HS (Asheville, NC)
      46 Padres SS *Drew Cumberland (minors) Pace HS (Pace, FL)
      47 Mets LHP *Nathan Vineyard (minors) Woodland HS (Cartersville, GA)
      48 Cubs C *Josh Donaldson (minors) Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
      49 Nationals OF *Michael Burgess (minors) Hillsborough HS (Tampa, FL)
      50 D’backs RHP *Wes Roemer (minors) California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton, CA)
      51 Giants 2B *Charlie Culberson (minors) Calhoun HS (Calhoun, GA)
      52 Mariners 3B *Matt Mangini (minors) Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
      53 Reds RHP *Kyle Lotzkar (minors) South Delta SS (Delta, BC)
      54 Rangers RHP *Tommy Hunter University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
      55 RedSox LHP *Nick Hagadone (minors) University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
      56 Blue Jays RHP *Trystan Magnuson (minors) University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)
      57 Padres C *Mitch Canham (minors) Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
      58 Angels RHP *Jonathan Bachanov University HS (Orlando, FL)
      59 Athletics OF *Corey Brown (minors) Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
      60 Tigers RHP *Brandon Hamilton (minors) Stanhope Elmore HS (Millbrook, AL)
      61 D’backs C *Ed Easley Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, MS)
      62 RedSox SS *Ryan Dent Wilson HS (Long Beach, CA)
      63 Padres LHP *Cory Luebke Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
      64 Padres OF *Danny Payne Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

      Are there some prospects that “hit” there that would be nice to have? Sure, of course. But none of those guys were as universally well regarded as elite prospects; none of them had then (or still have now) the ceiling of Brackman.

      It’s not like we passed on Jason Heyward or Madison Bumgarner to take Brackman. He was the only truly elite prospect left on the board. We leapt on him, as we should have.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        the only guys i know on that list are cecil and hagadone

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Tommy Hunter is a solid young major league starter now, and Julio Borbon is in their 2010 OF mix.

          The Jays pick after Cecil, Justin Jackson, is a toolsy young middle infielder with some promise, and they picked up the Phillies catcher Travis d’Arnaud in the Halladay trade.

          Oh, and Todd Frazier will get some PT with the Reds this year.

          I’d mention Eddie Kunz, but… it’s the Mets, so, blech.

          • Thomas

            Mortenson was the top pitching prospect in STL system and was in the Holliday trade.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Yup, forgot to mention him too. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    No wonder Brackman struggled last year: look, he doesn’t even have a ball in his pitching hand!

    Hard to throw it over the plate if it’s not in your hand or in your glove. That’s Baseball 101, Andrew. What a dumb ass.

    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Wrong. His mechanics are so bad, in the picture you are seeing, he has already released the ball.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        My mind: blown

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        ahh, i keep laughing at this. +1.

      • Thomas

        Brilliant!

      • radnom

        hahahahaha

      • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

        That was beautiful.

    • Rose

      He could have been just upset about how much he’s been stinking and kicked the ball across the plate ala Paul O’Neill?

    • Bo

      He may play more NBA games than MLB games. Good point E.

  • Randy A.

    Even more ridiculous part of this picture:

    Carl Pavano actually participating in baseball activities while in a Yankee uniform. A Bigfoot-esque moment by Carl.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      You notice that he’s not actually *doing* anything. That’s because we instructed him not to, as a precautionary measure. Just stand there, Carl.

      Also, the photo cut it off so you can’t see it, but his buttocks are covered in bubblewrap.

      • Rose

        What you don’t see in this photo is an angry Mike Mussina telling Carl Pavano that his mother is ugly and that his Dad never loved him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

      What’s even crazier is that picture was taken yesterday. That’s actually the Ghost of Injury Past in the back round. He is always lurking over Andrew’s shoulder.

      • thurdonpaul

        shhhhhhh

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

    Considering his injury concerns, the fact that Carl Pavano is lurking in the background is just too perfect.

  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    This piece is unwarranted. Brackman is an unqualified success already. He has a great strikeout rate and was certainly worth the cost of both the pick, the signing bonus, and the ML contract.

    /bizarro bo’d

    • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

      /bozarro

  • Paul M.

    Brackman to teh bullpen! It is obvious that the only place he can have success with his bulldog mentality is in the pen like a bull in a china shop.

    • Rose

      What’s weird is that I still play MVP Baseball 2005 (I’m in season 2012 btw)…and pitcher “Sean Burnett” of the Pirates is like one of the best pitchers in the game with the highest stamina known the man…and I used to be like who is this guy? And never heard from him again…just read on MLBTR that he’s going to arbitration with the Nationals…and he’s in their bullpen? What happened to him?? Hopefully the same doesn’t happen to Brackman. Nobody wants the Sean Burnett style career…

      Although, I’d be happy appearing in a video game and having them evaluate me as one of the best out there…if only for a small time being. Not that happy though.

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        What’s weird is that I still play MVP Baseball 2005 (I’m in season 2012 btw)…and pitcher “Sean Burnett” of the Pirates is like one of the best pitchers in the game with the highest stamina known the man…and I used to be like who is this guy? And never heard from him again…just read on MLBTR that he’s going to arbitration with the Nationals…and he’s in their bullpen? What happened to him?? Hopefully the same doesn’t happen to Brackman. Nobody wants the Sean Burnett style career…
        Although, I’d be happy appearing in a video game and having them evaluate me as one of the best out there…if only for a small time being. Not that happy though.

        That is weird.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          this was simple yet good

        • Rose

          It’s great. You start getting the fake guys you’ve been breeding in the farm system after a while. So much fun.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        and I used to be like who is this guy? And never heard from him again…just read on MLBTR that he’s going to arbitration with the Nationals…and he’s in their bullpen? What happened to him??

        http://www.google.com

        • Rose

          Far out, dude…

  • Thomas

    The title is a prediction, “Brackman has a big year ahead of him.”

  • Simon B.

    To think they could’ve kept Wang on with less than half of what they gave Brackman. Terrible pick and signing.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        fail

      • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Ha, I had the same reaction. I was typing a serious response and I stopped mid-comment, all confused.

  • JohnC

    In 3 years, the Yanks Staff will be known as the “CC and the Killer Bs”. CC, Burnett, Brackman, Bleich, and Betances. You heard it here first!

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      If this comes to pass, which it won’t, something will have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    • Thomas

      No Chamberlain or Hughes?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Chamberlain moves to the bullpen to be the Heir to Mo.

        Hughes moves to shortstop to be the Heir to Jeter.

        • Thomas

          Ahh. I see.

          I’ve always assumed the Yanks would trade for Prince Fielder and him play SS, so they can move Jeter to LF. However, since they’ve traded Melky and IPK, they no longer have the assets to attain Prince.

    • Jammy Jammers

      Don’t tell the Iron Shiek!!!

    • Bo

      Betances and Brackman both in the rotation?

      Hows fantasy land treating you?

  • Chris

    Ahh…it reminds me of an old spring training pic I had as a kid that showed Brien Taylor warming up with Pascual Perez in the background autographing a bottle of Soul Glo for a young fan.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
    • thurdonpaul

      Way back when I bought 100 of Brien Taylors rookie cards. I heard he was gonna be awesome and fantastic etc. etc….

      Not long after he got in that fight. The cards only cost me 1 dollar each but every time i hear his name i curse him.

      Anybody want to buy some Brien Taylor rookie cards ?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    His first season, as we saw, did not go very well. Through his first 19 starts he pitched just 85.2 innings, or about 4.5 innings per start. His 6.72 ERA was certainly a concern, but not nearly as big as his 6.72 BB/9. In June and July he had more walks than innings pitched. A conversion to the bullpen in late July seemed to help, as Brackman’s final 21 innings went a bit better, as he allowed 17 hits and walked 12 to 24 strikeouts.

    Now Brackman faces a huge challenge. As he moves up the ladder to Advanced-A Tampa, he must prove that he’s made adjustments.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxNX5M_XSeA (safe)

  • camilo Gerardo

    “On Thursday, the first workout for pitchers and catchers, Brackman threw a bullpen session that Contreras raved about.”

    Noice!!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
  • mryankee

    I am sick of reading of how our guys will not work out and people are just giving up on Brackman way too early. If he were in another system we would be hearing about patience and there would still be tremendous optismism. I would give him all the time he needs if he makes it at 25-26 and is dominant I think it would be worth the wait.

    • pete

      dude seriously…each of your comments on this subject has portrayed the general opinion (here) as so much more negative/pessimistic than it actually is that I think you are just subconsciously pessimistic. All that’s been said here is that it’s not likely that a 23 year old in High A who has never succeeded at any professional level and only had marginal success in college and has injury concerns will become an impact player. Not LIKELY. Nobody is saying “this guy’s a bum! trade him! trade Cashman! He’s an idiot!”. They’re just saying the patently true – high risk high reward picks DO actually come with high risks. Andrew Brackman and Gerrit Cole are the poster children for that. But that doesn’t mean the yankees were wrong to take either of them, and nobody here (except Simon B) is saying they were.

      So, to be clear: Andrew Brackman is not being written off. He is being conceded as a long shot at this point. That could easily change, however, with one good season, just as it still could with Betances. But they both still have to do it before they can truly be considered stud prospects again.

    • Bo

      How long do we wait for him?

      You do realize most guys his size do not become major leaguers right?

  • Omar

    Dan Bard is realistically the best case scenario.

    • Zack

      So future HOF closer? Or trade bait for Adrian Gonzalez?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      No, it’s not.

    • All praise be to Mo

      Best case scenario is Randy Johnson back in the day

      • Bo

        Oy vey.

        Take a deep breath.

        The people in the Yankee FO would do backflips if he could be anything close to Bard.

  • chriso

    Lots of silly commentary here.
    Brackman is a huge kid, coming off of an injury/surgery. He stunk through his first 3/4 of a season, then was very, very good, a trend which continued through instructs. And a bunch of you have already thrown in the towel on him.
    Dumb.

    • Zack

      That analysis wasnt his season at all; read below. Dont call other dumb without knowing what you’re talking about first.

      “In his first nine starts, he threw 50.2 innings, pitching to a 3.55 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. His peripherals were strong as well”
      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....t-i-16790/

      “The next nine starts following that one were better, relatively speaking, but still atrocious by any measure”
      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....-ii-17085/

      “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”
      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....iii-17061/

      • chriso

        Uhhh, I wasn’t necessarily calling you, or anyone else, dumb. I was referring to the comments.
        I’ve reported accurately that he stunk through 3/4 of his first season, then was very good in the bullpen and in instructs and it’s dumb to give up on a kid like that at this point in time. If you haven’t given up on him then, hey, you’re not making a dumb choice. But look at the messages. LOTS of dumb stuff.

    • pete

      ok seriously. you and mryankee should throw a party and complain about how pessimistic you assume everybody here is without actually reading the comments to check on that.

      the general opinion here is this: Brackman’s upside has not gone away. His chances of achieving it, not particularly high to begin with, have gone down. But not to the point where he isn’t a prospect anymore, just to the point where it’s unreasonable to call him an elite prospect right now. How is that “throwing in the towel”?

    • Zack

      That wasnt his season at all. He started off good, completely lost it, then moved to the pen and did pretty good.

  • Bo

    The quibble anyone with a brain has is giving this guy a major league roster spot.

    He was a giant project. Why waste a spot?

    Some guys don’t make. The track record for 6;10 pitchers with arm issues isn’t very high.

  • Shawn

    The kids pitched ONE professional season, & it was after Tommy John surgery. Last years work was just to get him some innings & build stamina while he recovers. His lack of control & wild pitches were due to the major surgery & his loss of speed during the year was due to a loss of stamina, because hes never thrown over 100 innings in a season, with less than 200 total innings before last year. It takes 2 years to fully bounce back from that kind of surgery. Watch Liriano this year. And sometimes it does take taller strikeout pitchers more time & work to repeat their delivery consistently. When they dont they will walk alot of batters. Same problem with Randy Johnson (whos the same height) early in his career in Seattle. Hopefully Andrew has the same simple problem & uses the same fix. Lets give him a 2nd year/chance before we write him off.

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