Once again the Cardinals seem to be going into the season without a sure closer on the roster. The signing of Andrew Miller gives some fans the impression that he will assume to role of closer, while other fans would like to see fireballer Jordan Hicks as the closer. The Cardinals do have options and could still make a splash by going after Craig Kimbrel. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, he doesn’t look to be in their plans. Well as you can probably guess from the title, I’m going with a different pick here. The Cardinals should try out John Brebbia as the closer.
The past few seasons the Cardinals have tried a number of guys without a consistent amount of success. In 2016 and 2017, the Cardinals had Trevor Rosenthal and Seung-Hwan Oh splitting time in the role. Both pitchers had moments of success, but was ultimately replaced by each other in back to back seasons. In 2018, the Cardinals went out and got who they thought could be the guy in Greg Holland. We all saw how that turned out, so the Cardinals turned to Bud Norris, who filled in admirably. Norris, Oh, Holland, and Rosenthal are all gone. Brebbia might be the best option going into the season.
Brebbia made his debut with the Cardinals on May 28th, 2017 in a relief appearance against the Colorado Rockies. He had a very promising rookie season, appearing in 50 games. He had an impressive 2.44 ERA over 51.2 innings pitched and struck out 8.9 batters per 9 innings. After such a promising season, I expected Brebbia to earn himself a spot in the bullpen going into 2018. Instead, the Cardinals opted to use Mike Mayers and Jordan Hicks over Brebbia.
Despite starting the year off in AAA Memphis, Brebbia ended up back on the Major League roster and once again showed himself to be a force in the bullpen. He went 3-3 over 50.2 innings with a 3.20 ERA. In 2018, his strikeout rate improved to an impressive 10.7 batters per 9 innings.
Just in the last two seasons, Brebbia has “finished” 30 games out of his 95 appearances. From what I’ve seen during his time with the big club, this kid is good at what he does. You might think that one good season is a fluke, but he was able to follow it up with another solid season while also improving in some areas. John Brebbia could be a solid closer if given the opportunity. He’s already used to pitching at the end of a game. His strikeout rate improved in 2018 to a number that looks better for a “closer” and he doesn’t put too many guys on base. His career WHIP is just 1.05.
The Cardinals don’t look to be adding any more pitching, so they might need to look for an option within the organization. Jordan Hicks shows promise, but doesn’t look to be ready for a full time closing opportunity. Andrew Miller looks to be a multiple inning reliever as well as a high leverage situational pitcher. If the 9th inning is a high leverage situation, expect Miller to get the ball, but otherwise, I think Brebbia is a solid choice. He might not be the average fans first choice, but he might be the best option for the Cardinals in 2019.
Plus his beard is pretty menacing once it gets growing.
What are your thoughts?
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