The New York Mets and Brad Brach found what works: the cutter

Andres Chavez
Aug 18, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Brad Brach (29) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

After the Chicago Cubs designated righty reliever Brad Brach for assignment, he found himself in an unfamiliar situation.  For years, he had been a stellar bullpen piece for the Baltimore Orioles. He even acted as the team closer at some point.  Then the Cubs took a flier on him but things went south and they decided to move on without Brach. Thankfully, not too long after that, the New York Mets came calling.

Justin Toscano of North Jersey talked to the righty about that moment in which the Cubs decided to DFA him and what could come after. “I don’t know if it’s like a kick in the butt or more of reality kicking in,” said Brach. “You hope that you don’t have to have that feeling again.”

After the DFA, he cleared waivers and the Mets knocked on his door. As it turns out, Brach grew up rooting for the Mets.

He had a very good stint with the Mets, throwing 14.2 innings with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. He struck out 15 batters.

The coaches told him they were interested in having him back for the 2020 season, and a deal was struck.

Upon arriving in New York, coaches said to Brach that they loved his cutter. Jeremy Accardo was among those instructors.

The hurler said he didn’t throw a cutter, but they explained to him that because of his arm angle when throwing a fastball, it could be a cutter at some point.

The Mets helped him

He considered the idea of throwing a cutter in Chicago, but he never did. When he got to the Mets, he decided to give it a try. “I guess when I got here, it was like, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’” Brach said. “I felt like I couldn’t have pitched any worse than I did in Chicago.”

Yes, Brach struggled in Chicago. But according to Accardo, the Mets have faith in him. “We wanted to let him know that ‘we wanted you. We expect great things out of you’. You don’t necessarily want to harp on some of the (bad) stuff. Every pitcher goes through that. Every one of us has. It’s the good ones that can forget it — quick. He’s exactly the type of guy that can forget it. He just wanted to be himself and not be somebody that he wasn’t,” he said.

In his short time with the Mets, he embraced the cutter. The pitch let him attack the zone again, he said. He got in good counts and that was the primary factor behind his success.

Fangraphs has his cutter as one of the most valuable pitches of his 2019 season, with 1.71 runs above average. The number is fantastic considering that he started throwing it in August.

If he’s going to be successful this year with the New York Mets, the cutter will likely have a lot to do with it.