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How Brad Brach Re-Found Success With the Mets

Back in February, Justin Toscano wrote that when the Mets acquired reliever Brad Brach last August, the team asked Brach to do the one thing he couldn’t do with the Cubs in the first half of the season: throw his cutter.

The 6-foot-6, 33-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment by Chicago after signing a $1.65 million deal with the team during the 2018–19 offseason. Brach posted a 6.13 ERA in just 39.2 innings across 42 games for the Cubs in 2019.

After having spent most of the second half of 2019 with the Mets, Brach re-signed with the team on a $850,000 deal, with a player option for 2021, that can increase to $1.25 million with incentives.

From March 27 through August 10 of 2019, among 197 relief pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched during that time frame, Brach ranked 123rd in the league in GB% (41.1%), 70th in K/9 (10.21), 193rd in BB/9 (6.35), and 97th in FIP (4.12). Suffice it to say, Brach was not the most productive pitcher for the Cubs, thus justifying his being DFA’d from the team in the middle of the year.

When analyzing Brach’s career numbers, however, it is clear that his time with the Cubs is not indicative of his overall arc. From 2011–18 with the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles (and half a season with the Braves), Brach pitched to a 3.08 ERA (132 ERA+), a 3.68 FIP, and a 9.6 K/9 in 456 IP.

Prior to 2019, Brach only recorded an ERA over 4.00 once (5.14 in seven innings in 2011 — his first year in the league) and has never allowed more than 28 earned runs in a season. Moreover, since 2013, Brach has posted an ERA+ over 100 in every year but 2019, including a 210 ERA+ in his All-Star 2016 campaign for Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »