Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: John Brebbia
Season stats: 3-3, 2 SV, 3.20 ERA, 45 G, 50.2 IP, 43 H, 5 HR, 16 BB, 60 K, 3.02 FIP, 1.164 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 0.5 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 3
Overall grade: B
Positives: Was fourth on the team in appearances even as he bounced back and forth between the majors and Memphis due to having an option remaining….had a double-digit K/9 rate….gave up three less home runs in one less inning pitched than he did in 2017….limited batters to a .301 OPS in the last two weeks of the season….in three April games, kept batters to a .235 OPS….batters hitting sixth in the lineup managed to nick him for just a .095 batting average….if batters swung at the first pitch they mustered just a .545 OPS….the first batter he faced got him at a .195 clip….batters hit .174 with two outs and runners in scoring position….in 29 middle-leverage plate appearances, gave up a .143/.172/.179 slash line….threw 12.1 scoreless innings in the eighth….had a 1.93 ERA on zero days’ rest….in 13 PA, all the Milwaukee Brewers managed against him was a walk….ended the season with 6.1 scoreless innings.
Negatives: Struggled in seven July games, giving up a .997 OPS and posting a 7.36 ERA….batters in the first spot in the batting order had a .883 OPS….rarely battled back from a 3-1 count, with a 2.250 OPS in eight just plate appearances….actually had his highest OPS against (.759) with two outs in the inning….three of his five home runs came with men on base….had a .286/.423/.476 line in high-leverage plate appearances….had a 11.57 ERA in the fifth inning (2.1 IP)….batters hit .342 when he had two days of rest….gave up two home runs in three games against the Phillies.
Overview: Baseball is not always very fair. Even though Brebbia tended to be one of the best relievers out of the Cardinal bullpen, the rules of baseball roster management meant that he wound up riding the Memphis shuttle a few more times than he should have. While Brebbia’s high-leverage numbers weren’t all that outstanding, given the makeup of the bullpen, especially before the July shakeup and again down the stretch, he probably should have had more chances to get important outs. He was one of the few out in that bullpen that could get some strikeouts and overall proved much more reliable than many (including myself) expected him to be.
Outlook: Unfortunately, if this roster resource is correct, Brebbia has two more option years and, as such, could wind up being in a jam again next year depending on the construction of the bullpen and how much flexibility there is in it. Still, I would expect given the results that we saw this year and a staff that should more fully embrace statistical data and other information that Brebbia will see some more important time in 2019 as a member of the Cardinals.