Catching up with our series of prospect and rookie profiles, we turn our attention to John Brebbia, rookie relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Brebbia came up on May 27th and has held down a bullpen role ever since. Let’s take a look.
Brebbia was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round in 2011 from Elon University. He was a solid enough reliever at the lower levels, posting a 2.96 ERA in 52 A-ball innings in 2012, but was less effective in Low-A and High-A in 2013 (4.06 in 69 innings). He wasn’t bad, but got caught in the numbers game and was released at the end of the season.
He hooked up with Sioux Falls in the independent American Association for 2014 and performed well (3.31 in 65 innings). His 2015 season for independent Laredo was even better (0.98 in 64 innings, 19 saves), which led to a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks that September.
He never threw a pitch in the Arizona system, being claimed by the Cardinals in the minor league portion of the 2015 Rule 5 draft. He was mediocre in Double-A and Triple-A last year (combined 5.03 ERA in 68 innings, with an unattractive 82 hits allowed) but kept his job.
His performance in 2017 with Triple-A Memphis was excellent: 1.69 ERA in 27 innings, 29/5 K/BB, leading to his promotion to the majors. So far he’s been solid out of the Cards pen, with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings and a 7/2 K/BB.
Listed at 6-1, 185, born May 30th, 1990, Brebbia relies on a four-seam fastball in the 89-96 range, averaging 94, along with a two-seam sinker in the 88-93 range. He will mix in a low-to-mid-80s slider, the occasional softer curve, and a rare change-up.
This is a typical middle relief profile and Brebbia can fill that role as long as his command holds up. It’s always a treat to see “never give up” guys like this perform well.