Evaluating the 2019 season of Boston Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier and assigning a grade based on how his production lived up to expectations.
When the Red Sox were marching through the postseason in 2018 a key component of their bullpen was Ryan Brasier. He made his major league debut in 2013 with Anaheim but has spent most of his career in the minors as well as playing internationally. His signing came out of nowhere but would soon pay off with a World Series championship.
The calendar would then flip to 2019 and things weren’t as pretty as they year just a year before. Despite the Red Sox doing everything in their power to not assign the closer title to any single pitcher, Brasier was the favorite in spring training. He would soon find himself alternating with Matt Barnes for the closer role through the early parts of the season.
Things just didn’t go well for Brasier in 2019 and it felt like the carriage he was riding in through the 2018 postseason would once again become a pumpkin. He would finish the year with a 2-4 record tallying into a 4.85 ERA through 55.2 IP. The big killer for Brasier this season was the walks as he had a 3.4 BB/9 versus a 9.9 K/9 which broke down to a 21/61 BB/K ratio.
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He also crumbled when it came to closing out games which, as it turns out, isn’t good when that’s supposed to be your job. Brasier came to the mound in 11 save opportunities and would be successful seven-time while blowing four saves chances for a 63.6% SV%.
Another big issue that came up was entering games with runners on the base paths. He inherited 13 runners in 2019 and seven scored which breaks down to allowing 53.8% of the inherited runners to score.
Brasier would get demoted in 2019 which was a fall from grace for the reliever that had the most steam coming into the season. Though he looked great while in Pawtucket during that stretch it just didn’t translate when he was with the big club. The Red Sox could greatly use him if he can find his mojo again but it needs to be the Brasier of 2018 and not the one we saw this season.
This may seem like a harsh grade to dish out but going into this season there was a lot of hype surrounding Ryan Brasier. Unfortunately, he didn’t live up to the expectations that were placed upon him. Add that to him getting demoted back to Triple-A and it’s hard to want to grade him any higher. I didn’t want to outright fail him since he did still have some good outings but it definitely wasn’t a passing effort.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom as he did have some moments where he looked electric on the mound but they were fleeting. When you let in more than half the runners you inherit and have a 1.293 WHIP, I can’t give you a passing grade. I think he has a chance to recover and bounce back in 2020 but it’s going to take some work during the offseason.
I see Brasier being a key member of the bullpen going forward just as he was supposed to be this season. I don’t think he’ll be given anything with the game on the line but he’ll for sure be in the relief corps. With the emergence of Brandon Workman late in games, I can’t imagine that we’ll see Brasier any later than the seventh inning.
This offseason will be telling for the Red Sox and the future of Brasier as it seems like Boston will be shopping the market despite their budget restrictions. His salary is barely a drop in the bucket as far as Boston’s budget is concerned so I don’t see them trying to move him this winter either. I feel like he can still be a key contributor to the bullpen but he needs to find his confidence.
Ryan Brasier earned his spot on the 2019 roster thanks to the lights-out performances he put up during the 2018 postseason. There was a lot of shine on his name coming into the championship defense that would lose it’s luster pretty quick. He can still be a key member of the Red Sox bullpen but it’s going to take a strong offseason and one hell of a spring training to earn his spot.