When Will Rookie Matt Brash Join the Mariners Bullpen?
At the beginning of the season, Mariners fans hoped Matt Brash would be the next young star to emerge from the organization’s excellent pitching development system. At the time, we thought Brash would make his name in Seattle as a starter; fast forward just two months later, and the excitement surrounding Brash has turned to his potential dominance in a relief role, while his spot in the rotation (at least for this season) has become an afterthought.
Once Matt Brash demonstrates the ability to command the strike zone consistently, he will be called up to join the Mariners bullpen.
At the MLB level this season, Brash struggled primarily with walks and home runs, too often either flat-out missing the strike zone or leaving his pitches center-cut over the plate. With a combination of an upper-90s fastball and filthy slider akin to former Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, the Mariners decided to send him to Triple-A Tacoma where he could develop his craft as a high-leverage, single-inning reliever.
While Brash has looked better in his stint at Tacoma, he’s still struggled with the free pass and the long ball: through 11 innings pitched, he’s walked nine batters and given up three home runs. Of course, he’s struck out 20 batters in that stretch, so the eye test still shows signs of him being able to compete for a bullpen spot in Seattle this season.
The Mariners already have a volatile swing-and-miss option out of their bullpen in rookie flamethrower Andres Munoz, so Seattle will likely be averse to adding another reliever with a similar skill set to the fold. Consistency is currently the missing link in the M’s bullpen, so until Matt Brash proves in Tacoma that he can significantly limit his walk and home run count, the rookie simply won’t have a place on the major league roster.