The Brackman Experience

Before heading over to Greensboro last night to watch Andrew Brackman pitch for the Charleston RiverDogs, I checked out his line here on FanGraphs to see how he’d been pitching as of late. It was ugly – a BB/9 over 6 was the main culprit of a FIP near 5.00 in low-A ball. That’s not good, but plenty of pitchers have struggled in the minors while coming back from arm surgery. More than the results, I was interested to see what he was throwing.

In the first inning, he sat 90-92 with the fastball, going to the outside corner against RHBs. The pitch had some decent movement down and away, and profiled as the kind of pitch that could get groundballs. His command was poor, as expected, walking the leadoff batter, but even once he got ahead in the count, it became obvious he didn’t have anything else besides the fastball. On an 0-2 count, he threw a 73 MPH curve with no tilt that bounced about a foot in front of the plate. He came back with another weak 72 MPH curve that just hung in the strike zone begging to be hit. He went back to the fastball and got through the first inning, but wasn’t impressive.

Then came the second inning. The fastball dipped down to 88, but he still popped 92 occasionally, but the breaking ball was just awful, and the Greensboro hitters were sitting on his fastball. His command went in the toilet, and the movement on his fastball ran right into LHBs wheelhouse, giving them a chance to take batting practice. Kyle Skipworth, who isn’t exactly a good hitting prospect, launched one of Brackman’s fastballs deep into the night sky. Every left-hander just pounded the fastball, and the curve simply wasn’t good enough to keep hitters off balance.

At one point, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Brackman abandoned the fastball and threw nothing but curves. Foul, Foul, Roped down the line. That didn’t work so well. His breaking ball just wasn’t anything close to being a major league pitch.

Seven runs scored in the second, but Brackman came back out for the third. At least, until he walked a couple more hitters, and Charleston’s manager had seen enough. 2 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 5 walks… and he looked even worse than that.

Brackman needs a lot of work. His command is a 30 or 35 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he’s currently pitching without good stuff either. He’s got nothing – no velocity, no breaking ball, no ability to throw strikes. If I didn’t know who Brackman was before the game, I’d have written him off as a very tall non-prospect.

Yankee fans hoping for Brackman to get to New York someday better hope he finds his velocity, because the current version is never going to get out of A-ball.

Print This Post

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Greg F.

Something clearly changed after his 5/21 start.

From 4/9 – 5/21 (9 GS), his line was: 50.2 IP, 47 Hits, 3 HR, 20 ER, 46 strikeouts to 18 walks.

From 5/22 to today (9 GS), his line is: 32.2 IP, 36 Hits, 4 HR, 37 ER, 30 strikeouts to 41 walks.

My first thought was that he was injured, but I trust that the Yankees wouldn’t be throwing him out there if he was. So my next guess is that he is fatigued coming back from surgery. In his first 9 starts, he never walked more than 3 batters and has done that in most of his starts since then.

I really don’t have a clue what is up with him, he could just be terrible, but those splits make me wonder if there is something else going on.