Starting pitcher Jeff Brigham‘s 2018 season culminated in his major league debut, with four starts near the end of the season.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 222 of 286.
Jeff John Brigham is a 6′, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from Federal Way, Washington, population 96,690. The only other major leaguer to have originated from the town is catcher Hank Conger.
Brigham was born on February 16th, 1992, and attended Jefferson HS in Auburn, WS. Starting in 2011, Brigham joined the University of Washington pitching staff, for four seasons of Division I play with the Huskies. After pitching as a freshman and a sophomore mostly out of the bullpen, he joined the rotation in 2014 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. In 16 turns, he was 7-4 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Never considered a power pitcher, Brigham struck out 45 in 90 innings. In that seasons’ draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the fourth round.
Chosen 129th overall off the board, Brigham was the 15th player selected at that spot to make it to the majors. The group is led by catcher Jim Sundberg (1969, Oakland Athletics, 40.5 career WAR), shortstop Greg Gagne (1979, New York Yankees, 26.3 WAR), and first baseman J.T. Snow (1989, Yankees, 11.0 WAR).
After signing with the Dodgers for a $396,300 bonus, Brigham reported to the Odgen Raptors, in the rookie-level Pioneer League. In 11 game, including 10 starts, he went 0-3 with a 3.58 ERA and a surprising 33 K’s in 32 2/3 innings. Here he is with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2015, via ieProSports.
Brigham split the first part of the 2015 campaign between the single-A Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League and the high-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League. On July 30th, the Dodgers sent Brigham to the Miami Marlins as part of a three-team deal.
"The Marlins would receive three minor league pitchers from the Dodgers: Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman and Victor Araujo, none of whom has advanced beyond high Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. – J.P. Hoornstra, via insidesocal.com"
After joining the Miami Marlins organization, he was assigned to the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. He was 2-2 with a 1.87 ERA over five starts and one relief appearance for them, with a 1.28 WHIP and 22 whiffs in 33 2/3 innings.
Brigham’s efforts resulted in him being named the number 28 organizational prospect entering 2016, by MLB Pipeline.
"Brigham has long possessed a power arm when healthy, sitting mostly in the mid-90s with a fastball that can touch 97 mph with good arm-side run. The right-hander complements his heater with a slider in the low- to mid-80s that flashes above average, and he also has a usable changeup. – MLB Pipeline"
2016 would see Brigham go 7-8 with a 4.04 ERA while starting in 23 of his 27 appearances for Jupiter. He struck out a career-high 112 in 122 2/3 innings. Remaining with the Hammerheads in 2017, Brigham was 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA over 11 starts, with a solid 1.17 WHIP.
Brigham started the 2018 campaign with the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. Before making his major league debut in September, he also appeared with the rookie-level GCL Marlins on a rehab assignment and with the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. Between the three minor league levels, he was 10-3 with a 2.36 ERA and a promising 1.09 WHIP, along with 94 K’s in 95 frames through 17 starts. Here he is at the double-A level with the Jumbo Shrimp, courtesy of 2080 Baseball.
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Brigham made his debut on September 2nd, starting against the Toronto Blue Jays. He lasted three innings and allowed three runs, taking a 6-1 loss. He had his best start at the level on September 20th, striking out six and giving up two runs in five innings of a 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Brigham lost each of his four games in Miami, walking 13 and striking out 12 in 16 1/3 innings. His 1.776 WHIP was well above what was projected, and we may be able to chalk it up to nerves. He finished with a 6.06 ERA.
Brigham is in the mix along with about 10 other pitchers for the Miami Marlins Opening Day rotation. His B/R projection has him putting up a 3-6 record and a 4.37 ERA in 68 innings. We’ll see if he can best that mark.
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