Brazis Opens Mariners' Eyes
SEATTLE—When the draft rolls around, the big names are no secret. Insider fans may know who is going in the first few round. But only the scouts are likely to know the players drafted in the later rounds, which is why Matt Brazis isn't a household name.
The reliever had a nice career at Boston College, but when Mariners drafted him in the 28th round in June, it seemed like Brazis might be just like most late-round picks—hopeful of a big league career but facing an uphill battle.
It turns out that the batters Brazis has faced are the ones with the uphill battle. He has cut a wide swath through batters in the Rookie-level Appalachian League and now the low Class A Midwest League. Using a deceptive across-the-body delivery, he had found staggering success, averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound righthander struck out 19 while allowing one hit in eight innings for Pulaski after signing, then got bumped up two levels to Clinton, where he was 1-0, 1.10 with 30 strikeouts and five walks in 16 innings.
That's control, and that's opening eyes in the Seattle organization in a big way.
"He has pretty good deception when he releases the ball," farm director Chris Gwynn said. "He has great control and good velocity to go along with it. And he is not afraid to go after hitters.
"It starts with the deception; it's big-time deception."
Brazis was also touching 93 mph and appeared comfortable repeating at 91-92 mph. He throws a couple of secondary pitches with a curveball and a slider. Both pitches need work, but they are effective because hitters have to be prepared for the pinpoint fastball.
"When you have this kind of command, throwing the fastball at the knees both on the inside or outside corners, that makes everything else work," Gwynn said. "What he's doing is what (Mariners rookie reliever) Carter Capps does.
"The hitter has to look for the fastball, so the other pitches look better. And because he locates the ball as well as he does, the fastball is tough to hit."
• The Mariners also promoted catcher Mike Zunino from short-season Everett to Double-A Jackson. Zunino, the third overall pick in June out of Florida, crushed Northwest League pitching, going 29-for-110 (.373/.474/.736), with 10 doubles and 10 home runs. The 21-year-old got off to a .406/.472/.813 with three home runs in his first 32 at-bats with the Generals.
• High Class A High Desert outfielder Leon Landry, acquired in the trade deadline deal that sent Brandon League to the Dodgers, won the California League player of the week award in his first full week in his new organization. He hit for the cycle on Aug. 3 and fell just a homer short of the cycle twice in the next two weeks. The 22-year-old led the minors with 18 triples.