WASHINGTON – Lefty Ben Braymer, earlier this summer, was working out at the alternate camp in Fredericksburg as a starter.
Then he was called up to the Nationals, who used him out of the bullpen for his first Major League outing on Aug. 28. He gave up four hits and one run while retiring four batters in a 10-2 win over the Red Sox in Boston. Braymer faced nine batters and threw 41 pitches in a game started and won by Max Scherzer.
“Going to the Major Leagues (the first time), Ben went there as a reliever which he has never done before,” recalled Brad Holman, the pitching coordinator in player development who has been in Virginia this summer.
“He got a couple of innings under his belt. It was a situation where they had a big need” for a lefty reliever.
And that is the case once again as Sean Doolittle went on the Injured List on Friday after he was injured pitching against Atlanta on Thursday. Baton Rouge native Braymer came back to the Nationals on Friday in time for the second game of the series against the first-place Braves.
“Ben has been a starter. He knows how to pitch. He has always had a decent breaking pitch but he has developed an above-average changeup,” Holman said. “He is a good competitor. As far as pitchers go, you can never count those pitchers out.”
Holman feels the 6-foot-2 Braymer, 26, could profile as a fifth starter or long guy out of the pen one day. The lefty was drafted by the Nationals in the 18th round in 2016 out of Auburn.
Last year he made 13 starts under Holman – then the pitching coach – with Triple-A Fresno and 13 starts with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League.
He was 4-10, 4.53 in the 26 starts in 2019 and has pitched in 75 games in the minors, with 52 starts.
“He is maturing right before my eyes,” said Holman, who pitched in the majors for Seattle.