Keep Your Eye on Brackman

While the Yankees have committed hundreds of millions over the next several years on key newcomers CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira, all of whom should fit in well as players and people, one player who may be worth watching this Spring is pitcher Andrew Brackman.  Recovering from Tommy John surgery last year, Brackman did not pitch at all until the Hawaiian Winter League, logging 34 innings, going 3-4 with a 5.56 ERA.  For his first time pitching after the injury, that’s not all bad.  Consider this as well: indicative of his understandable control issues after a lengthy layoff, Brackman walked 25 and threw 13 wild pitches–not so good.  Yet he also fanned 36, and allowed hitters a .235 batting average–not too shabby.

He’ll certainly need additional work and, depending on how he fares this Spring, just might have to work his way up from A-ball.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing, allowing him regular work, the chance to gain confidence, and letting him know that everything he gets and every place to which he might advance he will have earned.  Given the stockpile of other good arms in the organization, and the ripple effect that long-term signings (Sabathia and Burnett) and other talented home-grown pitchers (Wang and Joba) in The Bronx will have from SWB on down, the Yankees barring injuries will already have some pretty good pitchers waiting in the wings throughout the organization.

At some level, Brackman may be another.  He cuts an imposing figure at 6’10”, has slimmed down from 270 pounds to 232 according to Pete Abraham, and throws very hard.  I know he has been a starter in college but, given his velocity and the number of talented starters ensconced ahead of him for the foreseeable future, I can’t help but wonder if the Yankees have considered him for the bullpen down the road.  He did come out of the bullpen a bit at North Carolina State.

It’s all very early to speculate on that, I know.  He is also a bit raw.  But a healthy and developing Brackman would not only add to the team’s embarrassment of pitching riches, but also and in connection the debate about short and long-term roles within the Yankees organization.  Should Brackman realize the promise he showed at NC State–something well worth seeing against minor and major-league talent this Spring–he will generate considerable buzz.  That he has come into this Spring in such good shape is an encouraging sign that Brackman is taking this opportunity to prove himself seriously.

Even before he has seen ST game action, I’m impressed with that sign of hard work and maturity.

Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. that was a significant “biggest loser” off season for him–he and bruney ought to drop by NBC and see if they get offered a contract. after all according the mighty abe bruney was an extra in some movie as a child…

    i would like to know if they are planning on grooming him as a reliever–i think he should be given a chance down in A ball to start. we’ll see i guess. but probably not in the bronx this year. maybe we’ll get to see him start in ST. i thing girardi said he wouldn’t be using any of the regular starters in the first week so maybe we’ll get treated to see him have a go…

    are you doing an HDLR for the a-rod press-o-rama tomorrow?

  2. Sounds good I can’t wait to see what hes got his spring. What about Humberto though he was another BIG hard thrower? Anyone heard anything from him

  3. Brackman has a lot to learn before you can even start worrying about him pitching in the bigs. He has to have a full healthy season to build up some arm strength. At the same time he’s got to get some control. In the winter league he was all over the place. I think he’ll have a chance to make an impact in 2011. Excepting anything before that is unrealistic. Although it’s certainly possible.

  4. A-ball seems about right for Brackman Mike, unless he is unbelievable this Spring and can land at Trenton. He’ll need time to work back from TJ surgery and get sharp. Pitching in the minors will give him the regular work he needs. No HDLR tomorrow for me Mike, but I could open it up for others. I’ll be busy, probably for the best. For the most part, the revelation of his steroid use has wrung out my interest on it. I’m not denying its importance as a story, just my feeling that there is much more to learn about his transgressions.

    I don’t see Brackman as a major-leaguer yet either, Rob. But I do see him putting himself on the organization’s depth chart if he impresses this Spring. He struggled in Winter ball, as I mentioned in the post, but he was also off for over a year. His struggles were understandable and also offset by some positives. My point was that Brackman may well place himself on people’s radar this Spring. That wouldn’t surprise me.

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