- Full name Brian Anthony Bruney
- Born 02/17/1982 in Astoria, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Warrenton
- Debut 05/08/2004
- Drafted in the 12th round (369th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bruney had three stints with the Diamondback in 2004, with mixed results. While he was able to keep the ball off opposing hitters' bats, he also had trouble throwing strikes. He gained confidence as the season wore on, and allowed just four hits and one run in his final 10 appearances. Bruney is all about velocity. He gets a lot of leverage behind his 92-94 mph fastball, and can touch 96. An inability to find a second pitch has been Bruney's bugaboo throughout his career. At times he throws a curve, at times he throws a slider, and at times he throws a slurvy combination of the two. None of them have enough break to fool hitters, and he has problems commanding them as well. Bruney's motion is a little violent, and he tends to short-arm the ball. He has been passed by Greg Aquino for the major league closer job, but Bruney still projects as a major league set-up man, a role he'll ease into in 2005.
Along with Sergio Santos, Bruney is one of the few high school draftees who have panned out for the Diamondbacks, who are increasingly leaning toward college selections. In November, he allowed the ninth-inning homer to Mexico's Luis Garcia that eliminated Team USA from the 2004 Olympics. Bruney's fastball and slider are plus offerings. He can put three digits on radar guns but gets better command when he throws 95-96 mph. His slider took longer to develop, but El Paso pitching coach Claude Osteen helped him turn it into a hard, 85-86 mph breaker last April. Bruney also has the perfect mentality for a closer: a burning desire to take the ball and a short memory. Bruney is a reliever because there's effort in his compact delivery and he has just a passable feel for his changeup. He throws it mainly against lefties, and it moves away from them. Bruney should earn a role in Arizona's bullpen in 2004, possibly in the eighth inning. Among their relief prospects, he's the best suited to be the long-term closer.
Bruney was only 17 when he signed as a raw talent from a town of 2,200 on the tip of northwest Oregon. Credit the scouting department for finding him and the development staff for refining him into a closer prospect. He dominated in the Arizona Fall League after a strong 2002 season, not allowing a run in 16 appearances. Bruney routinely hit 99 mph with his fastball in his first two years in the organization. He now works more in the mid-90s, and the pitch has natural cutting action, making it that much more difficult to hit. His slider has improved, and his most important achievement has been refining a consistent delivery. Control has been a problem at times for Bruney, though as he has grown he has learned he doesn't have to throw 99 mph every pitch to be successful. His average of 3.1 walks per nine innings last year was by far the best ratio of his career. He doesn't have much of an offspeed pitch, but he rarely needs one. If Matt Mantei can't stay healthy and Byung- Hyun Kim gets his wish to become a starter, Bruney could become Arizona's closer in the near future. He needs at least one more year of minor league apprenticeship first.
In Mike Rizzo's two years as scouting director, Arizona has signed 32 pitchers out of the draft--with 31 of those coming out of college. The lone exception is Bruney, who threw three no-hitters and hit .505 during his career at Warrenton (Ore.) High, where he was also a basketball standout. After walking 29 in 25 innings in his pro debut in 2000, he wasn't the most likely candidate for a breakthrough. But the athletic righthander made outstanding progress towards harnessing his lively arsenal, which features one of the best heaters in the system. While he works consistently in the 91-95 mph range, Bruney's fastball has been clocked as high as 99. His high leg kick adds to a deceptive, powerful delivery. He shows the makings of an average breaking pitch with slurvy action, but he lacks an effective offspeed pitch to combat lefthanders. Bruney limited opponents to a .214 average and has a chance to move quickly if he continues to make strides with his command. Scouts have compared him to Kerry Ligtenberg.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004
- Rated Best Fastball in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004