It’s been a slow-to-develop hot stove season in 2017. In fact, some say that there hasn’t been an offseason this inert this late into November since all the way back in 2006. News has been especially slow around our Milwaukee Brewers, who by this date last year had already signed several players to minor league deals and claimed two others off waivers. According to a report from just before the Thanksgiving holiday, however, the Milwaukee Brewers have finally made their first entrance into minor league free agency for the current offseason by signing right-handed pitcher Michael Brady (h/t Jim Goulart).
Brady, who will turn 31 next March, began his professional career as a 24th-round pick by the Marlins back in 2009. He was originally selected as an infielder, but after failing to crack a .400 OPS as first-year professional he transitioned to working from the mound. He spent the next 8 seasons toiling in the minor leagues and made his way around the league - first from the Marlins to Angels via waivers in April of 2014, then from Anaheim to the Nationals in December 2015 as a part of the deal for Yunel Escobar, then to Oakland as a minor league free agent prior to last season.
Brady’s results have been largely excellent at every stop he’s made, and the converted infielder owns a 3.07 ERA across 519.2 minor league innings spanning 286 appearances. He’s got experience in the rotation (42 starts) as well as in the 9th inning (70 saves) as a minor leaguer and has long put up impressive peripheral stats, including career marks of 9.1 K/9, a sparking 1.5 BB/9, and a 1.064 WHIP. Michael’s outstanding work in 2017 in AAA - 17 games, 8 starts, 3.21 ERA/42 DRA-, 51:6 K/BB ratio in 53.1 innings - earned him his first call-up to the big leagues with Oakland.
Brady’s debut run in the MLB perhaps didn’t go as well as he’d have hoped, as he compiled a 5.68 ERA and 117 DRA- across 31.2 innings pitched during 16 appearances. He struck out 24 batters against only 6 walks with a promising 10.1% swinging strike rate, but issues with the home run ball (2.0 HR/9) helped lead to the bloated ERA. Six of his appearances spanned multiple innings, including games of 5.1 innings and 6.0 innings pitched.
According to Pitch Info, Brady relies on his slider as his primary offering and threw it 45.7% of the time in 2017. The pitch averaged 87.5 MPH and opponents managed to hit only .197 against it with 14 strikeouts. He also throws a four-seamer that averaged 91.8 MPH last season and will mix in a sinker, changeup, and curveball as well. Pinpoint control and plus movement are the main driver’s of Brady’s success, but it’s not as though he’s some soft-tosser, either - his fastball was clocked as high as 94.69 MPH last season.
Brady has the broad arsenal of a starter, worked out of the rotation and as a multi-inning swingman in 2017 while in Oakland’s organization, and has thrown as many as 119.1 innings previously during his minor league career, so he ought to function as valuable depth for the Brewers in 2018. Pitching is Milwaukee’s #1 priority this winter and the team is reportedly seeking high-impact arms, but depth moves like this also help raise the floor for a staff hoping to compete. Brady is a veteran arm with big league experience who has a long history of outstanding results while working in a variety of roles in the minors. He figures to begin the 2018 season with AAA Colorado Springs and could see time in both the rotation and in the bullpen.
The Brewers have yet to confirm the signing, and it’s unclear at this time if the deal includes an invite to MLB Spring Training. Given his previous time in The Show, however, it’s probably a safe bet to think we’ll see him pitching in Cactus League games come next spring.
The Brewers have officially confirmed the signing, including that Brady will indeed be invited to Major League Spring Training in 2018.
The #Brewers have signed RHP Michael Brady to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League camp.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) November 27, 2017
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, Baseball Prospectus, and Fangraphs