Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 27 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training, and 2 we believe should be on the active roster but won't be for one reason or another. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.
Brian Bruney came to the Yankees from the Diamondbacks during 2006, and proved to be an amazing releiver in that time. In 20.2 innings he recorded 25 strikeouts and 15 walks with a 0.87 ERA. He made it into three games that post season going 2.2 innings, striking out 4 and giving up one earned run off a homer. He would throw in the high nineties sometimes hitting triple digits, and missed a lot of bats. He was very dominant.
Then came 2007, and Bruney began to show why the Diamondbacks kept him in the minors all of 2006. He seemed to lose velocity and control. He walked 37 batters last season while striking out 39. In 50 innings he posted a 4.68 ERA, and fell out of favor with Joe Torre. The season did not start off badly for Bruney who had ERA's of 2.70, 1.64, and 1.04 in the first three months of the season, but his control slowly left him. In April he started strong, striking out 14 while walking 7. In May he struck out 10 and walked 6. In July, he struck out 2 and walked 11. Torre used Bruney sparringly throughout the rest of the season, and Bruney did not like it. The coaches tried to have him make some mechanical adjustments, but he gave them up and kept pitching awfully.
My Fearless Prediction:
The Yankees beleive that Bruney's problems can be fixed, because otherwise they wouldn't have kept him and gave him arbitration money. If Bruney can throw strikes he can be good, but he still needs to miss bats. His fastballs get hit hard when he misplaces them. I expect Bruney will flourish with Girardi as manager. As much as I liked Torre, he still misused bullpens, and once a pitcher was out of favor it was near impossible for them to get back into favor with Torre. An ERA in the mid 3's with 50 strikeouts is what you can expect for Bruney. However, if he is not over his control issues then expect Bruney to be waltzing into Scranton before long.
Little Known Bruney Fact: Brian Bruney was the captain of his high schools Waltzing team.