The road back from Tommy John surgery is rarely linear. That’s been the case for righty Silvino Bracho, who emerged as a solid relief option for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018 before going under the knife in spring of 2019 due to UCL damage, and that paired with the pandemic-shortened 2020 season have limited him to just 5.1 IP at the big league level ever since.
The Cincinnati Reds are hoping he can turn back the clock to his pre-surgery days, back when he pitched to a 3.19 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP in 31.0 IP with Arizona back in 2018. Given Bracho’s rough road back from TJ, he and the Reds agreed to just a minor league pact on Thursday, as the team announced on Twitter.
Since appearing in a lone game with the Diamondbacks in 2020, he’s bounced around through the systems of the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves, finally getting back to the bigs with Atlanta for 4.1 IP during the 2022 season. That was on the back of an impressive run with AAA Gwinnett where he allowed just 6 ER in 26.0 IP (2.08 ERA) while ripping off an impressive 34 K against just 6 BB.
While it’s not yet back to his pre-surgery peak of 93.6 mph, his average fastball velocity in that small sample with Atlanta ticked back up to 92.9 last year. In this day and age, however, that’s not indicative of an overpowering reliever anyway, and he’s begun to lean much more on a combination of slider/change, something that surely caught the eye of the Reds pitching gurus.
This is not the move to end all moves, obviously, but it does bring an intriguing arm with a track record of at least some big league success, and does so at a very low cost. That’s what we’ve come to expect from the Reds anymore and, well, they’ve met those low cost expectations again with this one.