One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Aaron Brooks
Season stats: 0-0, 7.71 ERA, 5 G, 9.1 IP, 11 H, 3 HR, 2 BB, 7 K, 6.76 FIP, 1.393 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, -0.2 bWAR, -0.2 fWAR
Statcast: .456 xwOBA, 24.2 barrel %, 91.1 exit velocity, 39.4 hard hit %, 16.3 K %, 4.7 BB %
Best Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (45th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Fastball Spin (11th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Goat 1
Positives: Was the hottest thing in spring training, striking out 10 batters in 7.1 innings….in his first two outings in the regular season, allowed one run in three innings while striking out three….gave up a .214 average away from Busch, though it was a .981 OPS….limited hitters to a .188 average when ahead in the count….retired the first batter he faced four out of five times….batters had a .692 OPS with one out in an inning….gave up just two hits in 11 plate appearances with a runner in scoring position, though of the hits was a homer….retired all three Brewers he faced….had a 3.00 ERA in three daytime innings….had back-to-back strong games in Memphis in July, putting up 13.2 scoreless innings in them.
Negatives: Only had one scoreless outing in his five games….allowed three runs in two of his last three appearances before being released….gave up two home runs in one outing against the Marlins….all three homers he allowed were to lefties, but righties hit .300 against him….batters put up a 2.283 OPS when they were ahead in the count….allowed a 1.092 OPS with two outs in a frame….had a 1.089 OPS with runners on….pitched in only one game where the Cardinals were ahead….gave up a 1.135 OPS after pitch 25….had a 5.56 ERA at Memphis.
Overview: They always say “don’t fall in love in spring training” but we always tend to do it anyway. Brooks had been signed from the Korean Baseball Organization as the club continued to try their luck with Asian-league pitching. After a few spring outings, it looked like the scouting department had done it again. With rosters expanded to 28 players for the first month, Brooks was put on the 40-man and went north with the club. However, unlike Seunghwan Oh, Miles Mikolas, and Kwang Hyun Kim, Brooks didn’t even get a solid month, much less a good year or more. The dominance he showed in spring training evaporated quickly when it came to the regular season and when rosters shrank back down after April, Brooks was a casualty. He cleared waivers and reported to Memphis, where he started 13 of the 15 games he appeared it with middling success. He didn’t appear after August 27 for the Redbirds and there seemed to be some sort of suspension involved, though it is unclear what. After the season, he was promptly let go.
Outlook: Nothing that Brooks did this season indicates that he’s able to contribute to a major league club. He might try to go back oversea to stay in the game, but he’ll be 33 at the end of April. It could be that this is the last he’ll be seen in organized baseball.