BRANDON MAURER, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 3, 1990
Height: 6′ 5″
Drafted: 23rd Round, 702nd Overall, 2008 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Orange Lutheran HS (Orange, CA)
Agent: Fyre McCann Sports
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Maurer made it to AAA as a starter, but moved to the bullpen when he struggled both there and in the majors. He mostly pitched well as a reliever from 2014 until San Diego traded him to Kansas City in July 2017. The wheels came off at that point for some reason. Maurer features a fastball that’s generally around 96 mph. He mixes his pitches more than many hard-throwing relievers, relying a lot on his slider and also throwing a fair number of changeups. He’s generally had good walk and K rates, but at times his walk rate will increase sharply or his K rate will decrease sharply. He’s habitually had better xFIPs than ERAs, with career marks of 4.25 and 5.36, respectively. During his career in the majors, he’s been slightly better against left-handed than right-handed batters. He’s not particularly a ground ball or fly ball pitcher, but those figures have fluctuated sometimes. The Pirates signed him to a minor league contract for 2019, with an invitation to major league spring training.
Maurer put up strong numbers across the board in a brief, rookie ball debut.
Seattle moved Maurer up just one level, to advanced rookie ball. He pitched well, but not quite as much so, with a much lower K rate.
Maurer got into only 15 innings due to a sore elbow.
Maurer split his time between low A and the horrific pitching environment at High Desert in the California League. He pitched well at the first stop and better than the ERA indicates at the second; gopher balls — one every five innings — were a problem at High Desert. He was limited by a shoulder strain to 13 starts and three relief appearances. After the season, Baseball America ranked him 21st in Seattle’s system.
Maurer put together a strong season in AA, making 24 starts. BA ranked him sixth in the Mariners’ system after the season and they added him to the 40-man roster.
Surprisingly, Maurer opened the season in the Seattle rotation. He struggled through ten starts, with an ERA of 6.93. The Mariners sent him to AAA, where he didn’t pitch well, either, partly due to control problems. He returned to Seattle at the end of August, pitching mainly in relief, and had a little more success. A lot of his trouble in the majors stemmed from gopher balls, as he allowed 16. His xFIP of 4.25 was respectable, and he had a good walk rate and a decent K rate.
Maurer spent the first two weeks of April and most of June in AAA, but otherwise spent the season with the Mariners. He made seven starts in the majors in April and May, but pitched exclusively in relief when he returned in late June. He had an ERA of 7.52 as a starter and 2.17 as a reliever, with a similar divergence in his peripheral numbers. After the season Seattle traded Maurer to the Padres.
San Diego kept Maurer in the majors all season, until he went out for the year in early August with right shoulder inflammation. Despite a lower than usual K rate, he got very good results pitching mainly in the seventh and eighth innings.
Maurer spent the first half of the season as the setup man for the Padres and moved to the closer role at the beginning of June. He pitched a little better than the ERA indicates, with a 4.16 xFIP.
Maurer served as the Padres’ closer until they traded him to the Royals a week before the deadline. He pitched much better with San Diego than the ERA shows, as he he was hurt by an extremely low strand rate of 54.3%. His xFIP was 3.68. His performance went sharply downhill with Kansas City. Some of it was control problems and some an extremely high batting average on balls in play of .435.
Maurer struggled in his first few games and the Royals sent him to AAA in mid-April. He returned in June but showed significant control problems throughout the season. He also had gopher ball problems, allowing one every four and a half innings. His velocity was not down, but he threw far fewer strikes than in previous seasons and gave up a lot of hard contact. The Royals removed him from the roster after the season and he elected free agency.
Maurer got off to a slow start in spring training due to a knee problem, then pitched well in camp, but was assigned to the minors. With the Pirates’ bullpen falling apart, he’d have had a good chance of a callup, but in late April he went out with renewed knee problems. He made a couple of rehab outings with West Virginia in June, but went out again and did not return.
Maurer will be a free agent in the fall.
|2019: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $150,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 4/4/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2012 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2018)
MLB Service Time: 5.040
|June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round, 702nd overall pick; signed on July 7.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners.
December 30, 2014: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the San Diego Padres for Seth Smith.
July 23, 2017: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Trevor Cahill and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals for Travis Wood, Matt Strahm and Esteury Ruiz.
May 3, 2018: Outrighted to AAA by the Kansas City Royals.
June 15, 2018: Called up by the Kansas City Royals.
October 2, 2018: Designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals and elected free agency.
January 30, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.