|NEW YORK METS||ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS|
|Michael Conforto - CF||Jon Jay - RF|
|Todd Frazier - 3B||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Brandon Nimmo - RF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B||John Ryan Murphy - C|
|Jose Bautista - LF||David Peralta - LF|
|Dominic Smith - 1B||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Devin Mesoraco - C||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Amed Rosario - SS||Chris Owings - CF|
|Jason Vargas - LHP||Matt Koch - RHP|
Poor Silvino Bracho. He literally has the best FIP of any pitcher with the Diamondbacks this year (well, pitchers not named “Daniel Descalso”, anyway). But Bracho has spent so much time on the road between Reno and Phoenix, he has achieved level 10 Google Guide status, based purely on the reviewing the rest-stops. There’s no doubt that minor-league options play a part: we can taxi him up and down as much as we want this year, because options are a per season thing. But, dammit, this is one of the problem of bulk-buying experienced relief arms like De La Rosa, T.J. McFarland and Fernando Salas. If a young reliever has a breakout season, it becomes a lot harder to take advantage.
It’s still a small sample size - he has thrown only 12.2 innings in the majors this year - but I’m finally leaning towards belief in Bracho. This is a surprise, given that over his first three seasons in the majors, he had a 5.46 ERA, and deserved it with a FIP of 5.56, as well as 14 home-runs allowed in only 57.2 innings. This year? Even discounting the ERA, his FIP is below two, he hasn’t given up a long-ball yet, and the K:BB is an impressive 19:5 over those dozen-plus frames. This is much closer to the guy we thought we were getting when he was putting up video-game numbers in the minors, e.g. striking out 43% of all batters faced over 45 games at South Bend in 2014.
2018 might not be Bracho’s year, but if he keeps this up, it seems very likely that 2019 will be. A bullpen next year of Boxberger, Bradley, Bracho and BHirano (the B is silent there, of course) might not be entirely bullet-proof, but should at least be highly bullet-resistant, based on this year’s performances. There have certainly been times this season, when we could have used another A-arm, instead of having to send in the B-bullpen to high-leverage situations. With Bracho now under team control through at least the end of 2023 (a positive side-effect of the time spent in Reno!), he could well end up augmenting the options there, and being a key component in the Arizona relief corps going forward.