Roster Rundown #1: Andrew Brackman
Initially, I had planned to do a full rundown of the 40-man roster, going through each player. And then I actually read through the 40-man roster and I was like, “Yeah, I know you and you and you and you and–what the fuck?! Wilkin De La Rosa? Michael Dunn? Eric Hacker? Aren’t you all people who will toil in the minors until four fifths of the rotation lies in a coma due to a tragic bass-fishing accident and then pitch just above replacement level, leading every fan to ponder in the offseason what would have happened if only AJ hadn’t cast that line?” So instead I decided to do the big names/potential big impact on the 40-man roster, which is just my excuse to drool over Phil Hughes and obliquely trash Presidential Trade Bait (Ian Patrick Kennedy) and make wild, unfounded speculations about how Francisco Cervelli’s existence has convinced Jose Molina to practice knife-fighting in the event he has to protect his backup role with force.
Anyhow, the first person I’ve chosen to rundown (not literally, he’s much, much faster than me): Andrew Brackman
…Is HUGE. He is the biggest thing to hit the Yanks since…well, I don’t even know. He towers over the competition and looks to make big strides with the team.
Okay, I relent, he’s six feet, ten inches and I’m making bad puns. But even once his talent comes into play, the double entendre still stands. He makes this list in part because he’s actually on the 40-man roster and in part because of his major talent.
Brackman wouldn’t show up on this list without the help of Scott Boras. His agent was the reason he fell to the Yanks, who wrapped him up with a $4.55 million, 4 year commitment and a guaranteed spot on the 40-man. For that reason, the Human Skyscraper is bigger on my radar than the younger and possibly equally talented Dellin Betances.
What He Can Do: Brackman is GoldenArmed with both two-seamers and four-seamers in the mid-90′s. His spike curve is, by many accounts, filthy, and supposedly he’s turned a mediocre changeup into an above-average pitch (file that one under: I’ll believe it when I see it). Scouting report courtesy RAB.
DEF CON 4 (Worst Case Scenario): Since Brackman is coming off his first full pro season after TJ-surgery, wildness and injury are the two biggest concerns. So, in other words, he could end up pitching like a wilder Daniel Cabrera (leaving a three/four row deep buffer zone around the stadium), or he could end up pitching like Carl Pavano (The Damned One), which is to say, not at all. Or, in ultimate DEF CON 4 fashion: after a horrible game and a messy argument with much shouting and tears, Brackman and his GoldenArm agree to divorce, leaving Brackman to learn how to do everything left-handed while watching his GoldenArm shamelessly flirting with Daniel Bard at the top of the inning during Pawtucket games.
Paradise (Best Case Scenario): Brackman’s GoldenArm turns out to be 24K, and while extremely heavy and vaguely creepy, it sufficiently distracts hitters while throwing 96 mph cheese. Brackman almost never walks anyone, mostly because with light reflecting off his arm, he triggers the instinct to use an object to block out or step away from lights in your eyes in every batter he faces. His rise through the system is meteoric, and, like Joba before him, he debuts in August, except in the starting rotation because Cashman doesn’t want to deal with mouthbreathers suggesting that Brackman and his GoldenArm should set up for Mo. Brackman continues to mow down hitters, becomes an integral part of the 2009 championship team and then uses his offseason to de-worm orphans in Somalia and provide liquidity to the lending market.