Brad Brach has done it. The Baltimore Orioles reliever is the first Monmouth University alum to make it to the Mid-Summer Classic. The reliever is enjoying a very good season, and it has paid off. On Tuesday July 12th, Brach will be a part of the American League roster that will help his league fight for home field advantage in the World Series.
So who exactly is Brad Brach? Brach pitched at Monmouth University between 2005 and 2007. Monmouth University is a small school in West Long Branch, New Jersey that has produced only a handful of Major League players. Brach holds the records for most wins and strikeouts at Monmouth, and was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2008.
Brach made his big league debut in 2011 at the end of the season for San Diego, going an inning and a third against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brach would remain with the Padres organization until the end of the 2013 season, alternating between the bullpen and starting.
In November of 2013, a few months into my freshman year at Monmouth, he was traded to Baltimore for a minor leaguer named Devin Jones. I recall standing on line in the student center waiting to order a quesadilla when I read the news on my phone. I said to myself that day it was a steal for the Orioles, as I had viewed Brach as a potential big league closer down the road thanks to his skills.
In each year he has been with Baltimore his stats have improved. His amount of innings have also gone up, and he has been trusted in more prominent roles and situations. He has cemented himself as a top of the line set-up man who could easily close if the team did not already have stud closer Zach Britton, who is also an All-Star this season.
Now some people may not know who Brad Brach is given his role as a reliever who does not close games, but he is certainly deserving of the All-Star Game nod. Over the course of 44 and two thirds innings, Brach has an ERA of 1.01 and a WHIP of 0.81. He has struck out 50 while only walking 13, giving him an strikeout to walk ratio of just under four to one. Opponents are only hitting .150 against him.
So while relievers who are not saving games typically do not get picked to the All-Star Game, this years American League squad is different, as the AL went with a bunch of deserving relievers. Brach is clearly deserves to have gotten one of those slots, and he has made his fellow Monmouth Hawks proud. He will clearly be useful come the seventh or eighth inning of the All-Star Game.
So congrats to you Brad! The honor is well deserved. All of Monmouth University and baseball fans across the nation will be rooting for you.