On Thursday the Cincinnati Reds promoted right-handed pitcher Austin Brice to the major league roster. Let’s take a quick look at what he offers.
Brice was originally drafted by the Miami Marlins in the ninth round in 2010 from high school in Pittsboro, North Carolina ,population 3,473. Initially a starting pitcher, he took a step forward after converting to relief in 2016, reaching the majors for the first time last August. He posted a 7.07 ERA in 14 innings late last year but with a more pleasant 14/5 K/BB.
The Reds acquired him on January 19th, 2017 as part of the Dan Straily deal.
Brice ranked 18th on the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with the following comment:
18) Austin Brice, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, originally drafted in ninth round by Marlins in 2010, traded to Reds in Straily deal; posted 2.74 ERA with 89/30 K/BB in 102 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with just 82 hits; posted 7.07 ERA in 14 major league innings but with promising 14/5 K/BB; should fit well into bullpen with 90-95 MPH fastball, hard slider, assuming control holds up. ETA 2017.
Brice also has a softer curveball to go with the fastball and slider mentioned in the earlier report. He opened 2017 on the disabled list with “right ulnar neuritis” but was activated on April 7th and has performed well for Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville, posting a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings with a 9/5 K/BB.
Overall he projects as a middle reliever, although with a three-pitch arsenal and his starter background he could also be used as a long reliever or spot starter.