Pitch perspective Matt Brash earned a spot in the Mariners’ rotation to start the season, according to MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer. The right-hander had his contract selected by the club at the end of September last year but has never appeared in a game, meaning it will be his MLB debut when he finally takes the hill in the coming days.
It’s a remarkable rise for the Kingston, Ont., native in recent years. Selected by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, he threw a few innings of rookie ball and A-ball that season. In 2020, of course, minor league seasons were canceled by the pandemic, leaving Brash unable to pitch in official games. At that year’s trade deadline, he was the player to be named later in a minor trade that saw the reliever Taylor Williams go to San Diego. As noted by Kramer, Brash was not considered a top 30 prospect for the Padres before the trade or the Mariners after.
In 2021, Brash proved the Mariners had unearthed a hidden gem, throwing 97 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A, setting a 2.31 ERA between those two levels. While his walk rate of 11.9% was a bit high, his strikeout rate of 35.1% was elite. Based on that dominating performance, the club selected him in their big league roster on September 28, hoping he could help cover some innings as they pushed for a wildcard spot, although Brash never pitched at the Triple-A level. However, he hasn’t ended up taking the mound in recent games.
Based on his great work last year, Brash is now considered one of the 98th prospects in the game by MLB Pipeline, ranked No. 84 in ESPN and No. 45 in Baseball America. This spring, Brash continued to build his reputation, pitching 9 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts, 2 walks and just one earned run. The new CBA includes a provision called the Prospect Promotion Incentive whereby teams can earn an additional draft pick if a rookie-eligible player with 60 days or less of major league service who is on a list of the top 100 prospects in pre-season by two or more. of Baseball America, ESPN.com or MLB.com is promoted and finishes high in awards voting each year before being eligible for arbitration. Since Brash cracked those three rosters and only has six days of MLB service time, he could earn the Ms an extra draft pick for a Rookie of the Year win or a top three MVP or Cy Young voting. in his pre-umpire seasons. If the international draft is implemented, he could earn the club a selection if he is second or third in Rookie of the Year, or fourth or fifth in Cy Young. A team may earn at most one PPI pick in the amateur draft and three PPI picks in total for any individual prospect, two internationals and one amateur, with a maximum of one such pick per year. (Further details on the incentive are presented by Evan Drellich of The Athletic.)
After an 89-win season in 2018, Seattle surprisingly decided to tear down its roster and enter a rebuild. After just two lost seasons, they took a huge leap forward last year, winning 90 games and narrowly missing out on the playoffs. Before the lockout, they added reigning AL Cy Young Robbie Ray to the rotation, joining the remains Mark Gonzales, Chris Flexon and Logan Gilbert. Brash, 23, will complete this group to start the season. As noted by Kramer, Brash will be the first Kingston, Ont., native to pitch in the major leagues.
Despite all that praise for Brash, it’s actually the second-best launcher in the system, with George Kirby ahead of him on most lists. However, Kirby will return to the minors, based on the fact that he only recorded 67 2/3 innings last year. “He didn’t have a huge workload last year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s really important that he continues to improve. George is going to pitch for us this year, there’s no doubt about it. And I think he will play an important role in how our season unfolds. If Kirby continues to develop, the Mariners will have a great depth option ready to work when needed in the big league rotation.