- Date of birth: July 17th, 1992
- 2017 line: 21 games, 20.2 IP, 5.68 ERA, 25:7 K:BB
- 2017 value: 0.0 bWAR
- 2017 salary: minimum
- SnakePit rating: 3.31
After a promising first impression in 2015, Silvino Bracho fell apart the following campaign, with an ERA of 7.30 over his 26 appearances. It required an effective reset for the Venezuelan, who turned 25 in July, and while the results were somewhat better this season, he still fell short of the closer he had been speculated as potentially becoming. In his defense, it was a very unsettled year for Bracho, who spent much of it shuttling between Reno and the big-league club, after being virtually the last player cut at the end of spring training. Between April 24-September 1, he was called up eight times, for stints of between two and six days. Such is the life of a 26th man.
It likely didn’t help Silvino’s psyche, that he was shelled in his debut, facing five batters and allowing four runs, and his ERA through the end of May was an ugly 19.29. Manager Lovullo understood the difficulty:
“I think young players overall have a very tough time walking into the environment and doing well right off the bat. Sometimes, just with my experience, when you don’t do well your thoughts kind of wander into, ‘Oh my God, I’m getting sent out after the game.’ You start going in the wrong direction from a mental standpoint.”
But over eighteen games from June on, his ERA was a much better 3.93, with a 20:6 K:BB ratio over 18.2 innings. A change in Bracho’s mechanics may have helped: “After coming to a set position, he wiggles his glove in an attempt to change his timing and make hitters more uncomfortable at the plate.” He also pitched not too badly for the Aces, with a 4.08 ERA there, and a K:BB of 48:17 in 35.1 innings.
It’s surprising to think Bracho will be in his fourth year as a major-leaguer, despite still being only 25, so there’s still time for him to recapture the stuff which saw him post insane K-rates on his way through our farm system (South Bend 2014: 163 batters faced, 70 strikeouts). If he can come anywhere close to that, there should certainly be no shortage of opportunities for relievers to step into the Arizona bullpen next year. Torey Lovullo showed this year that it’s a meritocracy down there: you perform, or you get replaced with someone who does.
Given roster churn, Bracho should move up a notch or two this winter, though that does depend on what players arrive, and where they slot into the pecking order. He’ll likely enter spring training with a shot at a roster spot, and if his post-May form is any indication, he could yet turn into a decent bullpen arm. Otherwise, he’d better make sure his Kindle is fully charged, for another season of bus-riding between Reno and Phoenix remains a distinct possibility.