Yankees last-second bullpen acquisition providing substantial value

Colten Brewer, yankees
Apr 2, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Colten Brewer (54) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ newest reliever is making an immediate impact in the short time he’s been part of the organization. I’m not sure what it is when it comes to signing lesser-name relievers and then getting the most out of them, but that is undoubtedly one of Cashman’s best attributes. Yesterday, we saw just how vital reliever depth was, courtesy of Colten Brewer, first and foremost. 

When the Yanks signed Brewer, I was part of the crowd that wasn’t all that impressed with the move. However, flashback to when the Yankees got Clay Holmes, and I guarantee you the reaction was quite similar to this. Brewer hadn’t really pitched at the MLB level since 2020, though now the Yankees may have found a diamond in the rough. 

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The Yankees took a huge flier on Colten Brewer:

Brewer’s last full season was back in the shortened 2020, where he tossed 25.2 innings and posted a gaudy ERA and FIP. He finished the year with a 5.61 ERA and 6.04 FIP and wasn’t getting enough strikeouts to indicate his stuff was great. He only struck out 8.77 guys per, walked 4.91, and was giving up homers at an astronomical rate — 31.6% HR/FB%. 

It seemed like this move was nothing more than a depth move for the team after both Trivino and Kahnle went down for significant time periods. The two studs in the bullpen may not be pitching until well into this season, so Brewer was a necessity more than a commodity. However, now we’re getting some of the best value out of him following his solid start to the season. 

Last night, the Brewster came in and shoved 3.0 innings of shutout baseball when the team needed it most. German had another rough start, only going 3.0 innings in his own right and walking five guys. He left with runners on both second and third, and Brewer came in and nailed down the inning. He walked the first batter he faced but then made an excellent play on the mound to get the force at home, followed by a double play. 

They’ve come to snuff the Brewster:

He’s excelling at generating soft contact, gets tons of ground balls, and has good enough stuff to keep hitters on their toes. So far this year, he’s tossed 5.0 innings, and despite not getting the K’s — 3.60 K/9 — he’s boasting an astonishingly impressive 92.3% GB%. He knows what his stuff is made to do and has been excelling at it. 

It reminds me of Zack Britton a bit when he’s on the bump, even though there’s no devastating 97 MPH sinker he’s working with. He’s getting guys to ground out, almost at will, and doesn’t look phased in the big moments. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but if he can keep this up, that’ll be a huge plus for the Yankees as the season goes along. 

Brewer probably won’t pitch until this weekend due to his massive workload yesterday, but having him as a multi-inning guy becomes all the more valuable, with Loiasiga’s season looking murky due to his injury. Brewer has a 0.00 ERA right now and a less-flattering 4.40 FIP (because he is a ground ball pitcher). 

The Yankees may have found another key weapon to utilize going forward, and they can add him to the pot of current bullpen arms that the Yanks are getting great value out of — Holmes, Hamilton, Cordero, and Wandy, were all guys that at one point didn’t really have a place. Now, they’re contributing big innings for a WS-contending team. Hopefully, the Brewster can keep the good times rolling.