When Ryan Brasier arrived to spring training last year to join the Boston Red Sox in March, he wasn’t all that familiar with the roster.
Brasier spent the previous year pitching in Japan and admitted he wasn’t following much Major League Baseball while overseas.
“To be honest, I couldn’t have told you half the roster before I got here after playing in Japan and not really following it for a whole year,” Brasier said, via MassLive. “I couldn’t have told you who was on our team. I could tell you the bigger-name guys.”
It’s probably safe to assume many Red Sox fans — or even players for that matter — likely weren’t familiar with the right-handed pitcher either. After all, Brasier pitched just nine innings with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013. But he knew going into the spring that he needed to showcase his best stuff.
“To me, it was if I didn’t pitch well, I was going home,” he said. “It was basically what they told me before I got here. They didn’t say it like that. But they said, ‘We have some innings for you. If you pitch well, you might make a team.’ So I came in thinking I’m either going to make a (minor league) team or I’m going to be done.”
Brasier certainly impressed after amassing three saves on as many opportunities before being recalled to the team in July. Brasier stayed on the roster and made a name for himself amongst the Fenway Faithful — particularly when he told New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez to “get back in the box” during the Red Sox’s American League Division Series Game 2 matchup.
But Brasier also impressed with his numbers, posting a 1.60 ERA in 34 appearances in 2018.
Fast forward to February 2019, Brasier is familiar with everyone on the Red Sx and even in the running to be the next closer. A lot certainly can change in a year.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports