St. Louis Cardinals Player Projections: John Brebbia
By Matt Graves
John Brebbia’s role with the club took a step backwards in 2018. Will 2019 be the year that Brebbia claims a more solid role with the St. Louis Cardinals?
John Brebbia came up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and almost immediately became a stable part of yet another not so solid bullpen. After pitching in 50 games in 2017, I figured he would continue to be a part of the bullpen in 2018, but for some reason was shuttled back and forth between AAA Memphis more than he deserved.
In 2017, Brebbia appeared in 50 games and had a 2.44 ERA with a 174 ERA+. This was definitely over performing what Brebbia is truly capable of, but the pitcher still found himself a firefighter role in the bullpen under Mike Matheny.
While not quite as dominant as he was in 2017, last years version of Brebbia was still an above average pitcher (122 ERA+, 3.20 ERA) but appeared in five fewer games. There really wasn’t a good reason for his lack of use in 2018. I may be missing some stat somewhere but the only thing I can think of was that the Cardinals had too many right handed pitchers in the bullpen and with Brebbia being a sophomore, he had options so they sent him down.
After debuting as an old rookie at 27 in 2017, Brebbia enters 2019 as a 29 year old who will likely be a valuable piece for the bullpen. Some writers have suggested that Brebbia would be a great fit for a closer out of the gate, but I would think he would be best suited as an earlier-inning firefighter as he has been the majority of his career. Let’s look at how ZiPS thinks he will perform:
ZiPS has Brebbia taking yet another step back in 2019 and while I really hope he outperforms these numbers, it could be spot on. ZiPS seems to think he will have more of a role in the bullpen which I agree with, but again, if Brebbia only gets you 0.8 WAR in 2019, the bullpen for your St. Louis Cardinals is in trouble.
Here’s what gives me hope that Brebbia outperforms these projections- his fiery personality. His flames are not limited to his beard color as we all may remember his response to Kris Bryant‘s comments about St. Louis
Brebbia has helped fire back up the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and I hope that fire comes out while he’s pitching. We have seen it while he pitches before…
My Prediction: 3.30 ERA, 65G, 130 ERA+, 1.2 WAR
I believe if Brebbia pitches like does in those projections, he will be a very solid option for Shildt out of the ‘pen. The good thing about Brebbia is that we don’t need him to be the shutdown closer. We have Jordan Hicks and Andrew Miller. Brebbia just needs to perform in the spots that he is put in, and continue to help stabilize what was a really mediocre bullpen in 2018.