June 16, 2005
Dan's Man Brazoban
With star closer Eric Gagne suffering what could be a season-ending elbow injury, you’ll hear a lot of talk about what sort of player move Dodger “Moneyball” GM Paul DePodesta might make to save the Dodgers’ pennant hopes.
But the move most likely to bring the Dodgers’ another Western Division title isn’t the one DePodesta makes next. It was the one previous GM Dan Evans made back in December of 2003. The Dodgers sent surly pitcher Kevin Brown to the New York Yankees, and got the talented but inconsistent thrower Jeff Weaver in return … plus two young minor league pitchers.
One of those pitchers – Brandon Weeden – is a big righthander who’s struggling with his control in the minor leagues.
The other was Yhency Brazoban, who was brought to the big club to serve as closer Eric Gagne’s set-up man after Darren Dreifort hurt his knee and was lost for the rest of 2004. And now that Gagne is hurt and could be gone for the rest of 2005, Brazoban moves up to closer … a role he handled well in April when Gagne was rehabbing a bad knee.
Brazoban’s talent for throwing a fastball is obvious now, but you have to wonder what Dan Evans saw in him back in 2003. That was Brazoban’s sixth pro season but only his second as a pitcher. He’d been moved from the outfield to the mound in 2002, and still hadn’t made it out of Class A ball. In 2003, he had one hot month as a closer, got moved up to the Yankees’ Class AA team in Trenton … and got hit hard.
There was nothing in Yhency Brazoban’s minor league pitching stats to indicate he was a gem. The strikeout-to-walk ratio was OK, but not fantastic. He gave up about one hit an inning ... nothing impressive. In fact, the most startling stats are the ones that show how batters teed off on Brazoban in Class AA ball.
The “Moneyball” approach to acquiring players puts a premium on statistics. But Dan Evans wasn’t a “Moneyball” guy. He liked prospects, and there was enough in the scouting reports to hint at what the hard-throwing Brazoban MIGHT be someday. Someday, he might be the Dodgers’ closer. Today, he is.
Posted by Nick Roman at 6:23 AM
Nick, I think you need an "a" or a "the" right at the start of the second paragraph of Dan's Man Brazoban. I liked the blog and, you're right, we're about to see what DePodesta can do.
Posted by: Kevin J. O'Leary on June 18, 2005 4:54 AM