The BoSox Injection crew grades the 2018 season for each member of the Boston Red Sox, continuing with right-handed pitcher Ryan Brasier.
Of all the stories surrounding the 2018 Boston Red Sox, Ryan Brasier was certainly one of the most interesting. On July 9th, Brasier toed the rubber of a Major League mound for the first time since 2013. Three and a half months later, he was a World Series champion.
After his Major League stint with the Angels, Brasier spent two seasons in the Athletics’ minor league system before making his way overseas to Japan. Following his 2017 season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the Red Sox signed Brasier to a minor league deal on March 4th, 2018. He began to make a name for himself in spring training and Triple-A Pawtucket, leading to his call-up in July.
Given his low-risk/high-reward situation, Brasier was very good for the Red Sox in 2018. In just 33.2 innings, he posted a 1.60 ERA with 29 strikeouts and only 7 walks. Out of all MLB relievers with a minimum of 30 innings pitched, Brasier ranked 4th in WHIP (0.77) and 13th in opponent batting average (.160).
In a bullpen that experienced its fair share of struggles in the second half, Brasier was one of Alex Cora‘s most reliable arms.
Brasier continued his regular season success into the postseason. Despite an understandably shaky first outing against the Yankees in ALDS Game 1, Brasier again earned his manager’s trust in October, appearing in 9 games.
In 8.2 innings pitched in October, Brasier struck out 7 while only allowing a single earned run in Game 1 of the World Series. His command was a bit of an issue with 5 walks, but he was still effective.
Brasier’s best performance came in Game 4 of the ALCS, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings. He consecutively retired Alex Bregman, George Springer, and Jose Altuve to preserve a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning.
It was a very small sample size from Brasier in 2018 but he did enough to show us how good of a reliever he can be when he’s on. Although he wasn’t lights out, he was a bright spot in a struggling bullpen during the regular season and a capable arm in the postseason. His 1.5 WAR ranked second among Red Sox relievers behind Craig Kimbrel (2.3).
Looking ahead to 2019
Last week, Dave Dombrowski discussed Brasier as a possible candidate for the closer role in 2019, along with Matt Barnes, if Kimbrel should sign elsewhere. Brasier would certainly be a good option, as he possesses a gritty mentality and aggressiveness in the strike zone.
While he was only with the team for about half the season, his consistency was there. I expect much of the same from Brasier in 2019, and with a full season ahead of him, he has the potential to become one of the better tail-end relievers in baseball.