Washington Nationals’ prospect Ben Braymer got the nod on Tuesday, picked to start in the Grapefruit League matchup with the Miami Marlins with Max Scherzer (side issue) held out of his scheduled turn in the rotation.
Braymer, 25, knew it was possible he would be called upon, and the 2016 18th Round pick was excited to get an opportunity to start, after pitching out of the bullpen in his only two previous appearances this Spring.
“Any time you get to start a game with the regulars behind you, that’s exciting,” Braymer said, after throwing with the Nationals’ expected everyday infield around him and Nats’ catcher Kurt Suzuki behind the plate.
The left-hander worked around three singles in the first inning on Tuesday afternoon, with help from Suzuki on a pickoff play, stranded a two-out single in the second, and was lifted after giving up back-to-back hits and a run in the first two at bats of the third, with another run charged to him when it came around after he left the mound.
“Definitely feel like — for me it felt like I just got a little amped up, you know,” Braymer said.
“I was excited to pitch behind those guys and compete alongside them, and any day I get to have the opportunity to help the team is a great day and I’ll do so in any way that I can.”
“He was a little amped up,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after what ended up a 3-2 loss to the Fish.
“But he attacks the strike zone. I thought he did well. I think he’s going to be OK.”
“I thought I was okay,” Braymer said.
“Got a little hairy in that first inning and was able to get out of it. Suzuki made a nice throw to first, picked him off from behind, that was huge, but overall I felt like I attacked the zone with all three of my pitches. There were a few pitches that I thought I could have executed better, but other than that, felt pretty good, not having pitched for a few days, and coming out here I was pleased just with attacking the zone with all three pitches. Of course I could have been finer with a few things, but other than that I thought it went decently well. A few more hits than I would have liked, but sometimes it happens like that.”
Starting exclusively in 2019, Braymer finished the year with a 2.51 ERA, a 3.37 FIP, 21 walks (2.39 BB/9), and 69 strikeouts (7.86 K/9) in 13 starts and 79 innings at Double-A Harrisburg and a 7.20 ERA, 7.98 FIP, 35 walks (5.25 BB/9), and 47 Ks (7.05 K/9) over 13 starts and 60 IP for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies.
He was added to the Nationals’ 40-Man roster this winter to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Will we see Braymer don a curly-W at some point in the regular season as well this year?