Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bobby Bramhall Signs With Nationals (Scouting Report)

The Nationals have signed Bobby Bramhall to a minor league contract. Bramhall was an 18th round pick by the Brewers in 2007 out of Rice.

A short lefty (5-11), Bramhall has gotten some starts in the minors (including 16 games in AA), but has mainly been a reliever. After a solid 2008 in Advanced A, Bramhall threw 97 innings in AA in 2009 and wasn't bad, with a 3.91 FIP (as a pitcher that was a year younger than the league. The league average ERA was 3.84 that year. Huntsville's park has been hitter friendly over the last couple of years at least). He had a decent strikeout rate, high walk rate, and a decent home run rate. However, in 2010, he threw in just 3 games (all in the Arizona Rookie League) and didn't pitch at all in 2011 after having Tommy John Surgery. In 2012, he hooked up with the Marlins organization and spent most of the league in AA (making one start). At age 27, he was obviously old for the league, but had a solid year with a good strikeout rate (and low walk rate). He didn't get many ground-balls, but didn't struggle with line drives or homers.

He also threw a game in A + and in AAA (which I watched). Since I couldn't find any videos of him on YouTube, I made one:

When I saw him, he was mainly keeping the ball away with most of his pitches and showed off a good breaking ball. His delivery seems pretty standard, mainly tying to take advantage of his height, but he does pause a bit to start his delivery. His fastball was just around 86 MPH, so he is clearly going to have to pitch off his breaking ball. Bramhall's command was pretty spotty when I saw him, something you don't want to see from an older/below average stuff pitcher. He is mainly going to have to rely on his breaking ball and should mainly face lefties, both because of his stuff and his numbers (26.8 K%, 4.1 BB %, .37 HR/9IP in 2012 against lefties).

Bramhall went on the DL with a back strain in August of 2012, and injuries seem like they will be part of the package for Bramhall. This is a concern for pitchers who are somewhat small. This is why I don't get why he keeps starting games in the minors. The Nationals should keep him in the bullpen and see if he can succeed in AAA as a lefty specialist.

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