AUSTIN BRICE, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 19, 1992
Drafted: 9th Round, 287th overall pick, 2010 (Marlins)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Northwood HS (Pittsboro, NC)
Agent: VC Sports Group
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Marlins drafted Brice out of prep school. At the time, he threw 90-94 mph with a very good curve. He worked for a while on a change, but it never developed, which contributed to him eventually shifting from starting to relief. In the majors, he’s generally sat around 93-94, although his velocity slipped about one mph in 2021. He’s battled control problems off and on. Brice is a flyball pitcher and, like many of the relievers the Pirates acquire, has had trouble with gopher balls. He’s had a sizeable platoon split in the majors, with left-handed hitters putting up an .862 OPS against him, compared to .699 by right-handed hitters. The Pirates signed Brice to a minor league deal for 2022.
Brice debuted just briefly and had control problems.
The Marlins sent Brice back to rookie ball and, pitching mostly as a starter, he had a strong season apart from a high walk rate. Opponents batted .189 against him. After the season Baseball America rated him the Marlins’ 12th best prospect.
In full season ball, still pitching mostly as a starter, Brice got hit harder and continued to have trouble with walks. BA ranked him 16th in the system.
The Marlins sent Brice back to Low A, where he made 25 starts. He had a rough season, as the walks increased and he got hit harder. BA dropped him to 27th in the system.
Brice made some progress in High A, although he moved to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. His K rate wasn’t impressive, but he cut the walks substantially. BA ranked him 29th in the system.
In AA, still pitching as a starter, Brice made progress in some areas and stepped back in others. Both his walk and K rates increased. For some reason, BA rated him 14th among Marlins’ prospects. Miami added Brice to its 40-man roster after the season.
Back in AA, Brice moved to relief around mid-season and the move helped. His walk and K rates improved after the move, and he allowed fewer hits. He made five strong appearances in AAA and also made his major league debut. The latter was better than the ERA suggests, as more than two-thirds of the runners who reached against him came around to score. During the off-season, Miami traded Brice to the Reds.
Brice started the season in AA, then moved to AAA after three outings and to the majors after another six. The Reds sent Brice back to AAA for most of July, then called him up in early August. In mid-August, though, he went out for season with a strained lat. He didn’t pitch all that well in AAA. In the majors he mostly pitched better, especially with his walk rate, but he had gopher ball problems, allowing nearly one every five innings.
Brice opened the season in Cincinnati, but after a rough stretch in May and early June, went back to AAA. The Reds called him up three different times afterward, but not after the AAA season ended in September. He pitched well in AAA but struggled in the majors. Home runs were a problem, as he gave up nearly one every four innings.
Brice had a hectic off-season, being claimed off waivers by the Angels, Orioles and his original team, the Marlins. With them, he turned in easily his best major league season, when it wasn’t being interrupted. He missed some time early in the season due to illness, then missed much of the second half with flexor and forearm strains. When he pitched he had a good K rate and decent walk rate. He did have trouble with home runs, giving up seven.
Before the season, Miami traded Brice to Boston. He pitched in the majors during the pandemic season and had a tough time, mainly due to walks.
Brice opened the season with Boston, but after several rough outings the Red Sox outrighted him to AAA. He was called back up in July, but made only one appearance before being outrighted again. He pitched only sparingly the rest of the season and elected free agency afterward.
Brice should serve as AAA bullpen depth for the Pirates.
UPDATE: The Pirates called Brice up in late June.
|2022: Major League Minimum
|Signing Bonus: $205,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: 8/12/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2015
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2016, 2017, 2018)
MLB Service Time: 3.164
|June 8, 2010: Drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 9th round, 287th overall pick; signed on July 7.
November 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the Miami Marlins.
January 19, 2017: Traded by the Miami Marlins with Luis Castillo and Isaiah White to the Cincinnati Reds for Dan Straily.
November 2, 2018: Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds by the Los Angeles Angels.
December 29, 2018: Designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels.
January 4, 2019: Claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels by the Baltimore Orioles.
January 28, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles.
February 4, 2019: Claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins from the Baltimore Orioles.
January 7, 2020: Designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins.
January 10, 2020: Traded by the Miami Marlins to the Boston Red Sox for Angeudis Santos.
May 21, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox; outrighted to AAA on May 25.
July 10, 2021: Called up by the Boston Red Sox.
July 16, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox; outrighted to AAA on July 17.
October 15, 2021: Elected free agency.
March 16, 2022: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
June 24, 2022: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.