What can we expect from Matt Brash as the Mariners Fifth Starter?

PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 16: Matt Brash #47 of the Seattle Mariners poses for a portrait during photo day at the Peoria Sports Complex on March 16, 2022 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 16: Matt Brash #47 of the Seattle Mariners poses for a portrait during photo day at the Peoria Sports Complex on March 16, 2022 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

Amidst all the news about Julio Rodriguez making the opening day roster for the Mariners, there is another youngster who made the team that we still need to talk about. Matt Brash made the Mariners as their number five starter in the rotation so it’s time to take a look at what to expect from the 23-year-old.

Yeah, Matt Brash is only 23. I think that is a fact that has been lost on a lot of people. I think because he wasn’t drafted by the Mariners, it slipped by people exactly how young he was. I know a lot of people who thought he was 26 or so.

It’s understandable why we would all think that. You wouldn’t think that a guy whose upside would be traded for a reliever that isn’t even really in baseball anymore. Yet, here we are.

Matt Brash is a stud, and he’s going to be fun to watch this year for the Mariners

We do need to tamper things a bit before we get started because I know that fans are going crazy about his potential and possibilities. He threw about five innings per start in 2021, just 5-1/3 after being drafted in 2019, and about 6 innings a start during that final year in college in 2019. I say that because we are likely only going to see about 125 innings from Brash this year. There’s a chance he pushes for 150 (5 innings a start), but 125 is a good starting point.

Chances are, we are going to see some starts skipped, or even just some short starts where he gets pulled early if he gets into trouble.

You know what though? He’s just one year and one week younger than Logan Gilbert. The team called him up for game 38 last year, and he would make 24 starts with 119 innings. I’m not saying that Brash throws that many innings per start… but if he does, it would put him at 159 innings across 32 starts.

He’s also been a strikeout monster since his second year at Niagara. Check out his k rates over the last few seasons.

  • 2018 (Niagara) – 10.0 K/9 in 28 innings
  • 2019 (Niagara) – 12.8 K/9 in 85.1 innings
  • 2019 (A Ball/Rookie) – 13.5 K/9 in 5.1 innings
  • 2021 (A+/AA) – 13.1 K/9 in 97.1 innings

I’m not splitting A+ and AA up in 2021, cause the numbers were 13.1 and 13.2, respectively. Matt Brash seems like he is just continuing to get better and better. It’s time to throw a bit of cold water on all of you though.

He does have a walk problem, giving away free passes at a 4.4 BB/9 rate in 2021. If he still deals with that, he’s going to run into a fair amount of 25 pitch innings and short outings, as major leaguers aren’t going to swing at as many borderline pitches, and are going to work counts.

I think we are going to actually end up seeing a fairly similar season to what Gilbert did last year, but with a few more strikeouts. An ERA in the mid 4s, a walk rate of around 3.5-4.0 that still comes with a decent WHIP, but a nice K rate in the low 11s. To make a completely foolproof prediction that has a zero chance of being incorrect, here are what his numbers will be for 2022.

28 starts. 4.37 ERA. 8-8. 1.132 WHIP. 3.8 BB/9. 11.4 K/9. 141 innings.

Yup, a bulletproof prediction that has zero chance of being wrong.

As we move back to reality, I do think Mariners fans are in for an exciting year. There are a lot of new faces that were acquired in a multitude of ways. International Players. Drafted Prospects. Traded Prospects. Free Agents. Traded Players. The Mariners should be seeing players from each of those pools this season, all of which are looking to make major impacts (Julio, Kirby, Brash, Ray, Frazier/Winker/Suarez).

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It’s going to be a fun year, and Matt Brash looks to be a big part of it as the Mariners number five starter. Well, for the time being at least. If things fall correctly, he is going to push Gilbert (and Kirby) for the number two spot in years to come.