What can the Mariners expect from Matt Brash heading into the 2023 season?
Matt Brash might finish the 2023 season as the best pitcher in the Mariners bullpen.
Yup, I think there is a legit chance it could happen. If you've forgotten a bit how last year went, or are just looking at his finishing stats from the season, you might think I'm crazy. Shoot, from reading some of the comments I see occassionally, I know some of you already do. However, once Matt Brash converted to a reliever, he became a completely different pitcher.
I've talked about it a bit before, but let's throw these numbers out again for the people who have forgotten. Check out the difference between when Brash started the game on the mound vs the numbers he put up as a reliever.
No homers allowed. Fewer hits and walks were allowed in his time as a reliever than as a starter. A massive spike in K rate. Literally, everything about Brash got better when he became a reliever. Oh, and he's also been learning a new pitch that could make him even better heading into 2023.
Knowing all of that, is it really that odd to predict that he could finish the season as the best Mariners reliever? He's sort of like Munoz, where even though he throws nasty heat (averaged 96.9 mph last season), the pitch still got hit hard for a BAA of .379. The slider was at .175 and the curve was .208, both legitimately nasty pitches. If the cutter drops that BAA to the 200s? Oh boy, watch out.
The one thing holding him back could be the walks. It's easy to find trouble when you are handing out free passes, which is why his WHIP was still a bit high at 1.23 as a reliever. If he can scale back on the walks a bit, he's going to push Munoz as the best reliever on the team. I think we could see something along these lines in 2023.
He's gonna fall short of Munoz still, but he's going to put up real similar numbers as to 2022, but it's gonna be consistent without the worry of starting games. Keep an eye on the cutter, because if it's good, Brash could take over as one of the top relievers in baseball.