Saturday, July 6, 2024

John Brebbia: The White Sox Under The Radar Trade Chip


The White Sox have several very appealing trade candidates ahead of this year’s deadline. Luis Robert Jr. and Garrett Crochet come to mind immediately as the two stars on the roster with the most trade value. Erick Fedde is another player who should net the White Sox a solid haul of prospects. Tommy Pham, Michael Kopech, and Paul DeJong also all have some degree of appeal to contending teams and will likely be shipped out in the next few weeks. But the White Sox have another trade chip with sneaky value: John Brebbia.

Brebbia’s Past Track Record

A veteran of seven MLB seasons, the 34-year-old right-handed reliever spent several years with St. Louis and San Francisco before signing a one-year/$5.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2025 with the White Sox this past offseason. Brebbia has historically been a rock-solid reliever throughout his MLB career, and this year has been no exception despite the immense struggles of the White Sox as a team.

Brebbia’s Sneaky Productive 2024 Season

Calf issues caused Brebbia to miss some time earlier this season, and his overall 4.76 ERA is not impressive. However, his 1.18 WHIP, .233 batting average against, and 11.4 K/9 are. Brebbia is hardly walking anyone and is striking out opposing batters at a higher rate than ever during his MLB career. In addition, his 3.13 FIP suggests he has been unlucky and is a better pitcher than a 4.76 ERA would indicate. Brebbia is not a typical pitcher with an ERA near 5. He has been substantially better than that.

The underlying metrics look favorably at Brebbia’s performance as well. Thanks to his four-seam fastball and slider combination, Brebbia ranks in the 66th percentile or higher in chase%, K%, BB%, and barrel%. Since June 1st, he has a 1.17 ERA, 0.94 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, and 13.7 K/9 in 17 appearances. He has been the best reliever on the White Sox as of late by a wide margin, and given that contending teams always need bullpen help, Brebbia’s performance has to be catching the eyes of opposing front offices as well.

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History Of Durability

Durability is another factor that works in the favor of both Brebbia and the White Sox regarding his trade value. Even despite his calf issues earlier in the year, Brebbia leads all White Sox pitchers in appearances with 38 and already has seasons with 76 and 66 appearances to his name. He takes the ball whenever asked, and given how often relievers are used these days down the stretch of a playoff hunt, that is a crucial quality to have on a contending team. Brebbia should have no issue sliding into a middle relief or setup role on a contending ball club.

Potentially Valuable Trade Chip

As a 34-year-old reliever on a historically bad team, Brebbia is not a building block for the White Sox future. However, that does not mean he has no value to the team moving forward. Chicago will trade as many veteran players as possible in the upcoming weeks. Brebbia is hitting his stride at the perfect time to be part of that group and help infuse the organization with more young talent. 

John Brebbia signed with the White Sox this past offseason knowing he could be on the move at the deadline should he perform well in the first half, and that looks to be what will happen. The White Sox will likely not get anything that incredible for him, as he is an older reliever with minimal high-leverage experience. However, turning him into a prospect was the thought process when the team signed him. And their thought process looks to be coming together perfectly.

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