Biographical

Portrait of Brandon League

Brandon League PRoyals

Royals Player Cards | Royals Team Audit | Royals Depth Chart

Career Summary
Years IP W L SV SO ERA
0 0.00
Birth Date3-16-1983
Height6' 2"
Weight200 lbs
Age33 years, 10 months, 7 days
BatsR
ThrowsR
2012
2013
2014
2015
0.02016
DRA-Based WARP Summary

MLB Statistics

Historical (past-seasons) WARP is now based on DRA..
cFIP and DRA are not available on a by-team basis and display as zeroes(0). See TOT line for season totals of these stats.
Multiple stints are are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR oppTAv PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP TAv WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA- WARP
CareerMLB4980532.027357452018537541.261998.83.10.76.362%.293.2511.333.883.65943.7092.97.8

Statistics for All Levels

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR oppTAv PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP TAv WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA-
2001 MED rok 9 9 38.7 2 2 0 36 11 38 3 .000 8.4 2.6 0.7 8.8 0% -.623 .000 1.21 4.27 4.65 0 0.00 0.0
2002 AUB asx 16 16 85.7 7 2 0 80 23 72 2 .000 8.4 2.4 0.2 7.6 0% .310 .000 1.20 3.08 3.15 0 0.00 0.0
2003 DUN afa 13 12 66.3 4 3 0 76 20 34 3 .000 10.3 2.7 0.4 4.6 0% .313 .000 1.45 3.79 4.75 0 0.00 0.0
2003 CWV afx 12 12 70.7 2 3 0 58 18 61 1 .000 7.4 2.3 0.1 7.8 0% .295 .000 1.07 2.54 1.91 0 0.00 0.0
2004 TOR mlb 3 0 4.7 1 0 0 3 1 2 0 .280 104 5.8 1.9 0.0 3.9 73% .200 .155 0.86 2.94 0.00 97 4.60 97.9
2004 NHP aax 41 10 104.0 6 4 2 92 41 90 3 .000 8.0 3.5 0.3 7.8 0% .302 .000 1.28 3.30 3.38 0 0.00 0.0
2005 TOR mlb 20 0 35.7 1 0 0 42 20 17 8 .266 106 10.6 5.0 2.0 4.3 57% .296 .300 1.74 6.86 6.56 117 6.63 134.9
2005 SYR aaa 19 10 63.0 4 4 0 78 18 35 7 .253 87 11.1 2.6 1.0 5.0 56% .326 .268 1.52 4.60 5.71 101 5.70 108.3
2006 TOR mlb 33 0 42.7 1 2 1 34 9 29 3 .254 106 7.2 1.9 0.6 6.1 77% .240 .195 1.01 3.59 2.53 79 2.92 66.5
2006 SYR aaa 31 1 54.2 3 2 8 57 15 43 0 .255 104 9.5 2.5 0.0 7.1 78% .337 .207 1.33 2.43 2.16 79 2.71 89.3
2007 TOR mlb 14 0 11.7 0 0 0 19 7 7 1 .271 97 14.7 5.4 0.8 5.4 59% .419 .340 2.23 5.02 6.17 103 5.75 115.9
2007 SYR aaa 11 0 12.0 0 0 0 12 6 10 0 .257 73 9.0 4.5 0.0 7.5 71% .375 .316 1.50 4.01 3.00 101 5.55 110.1
2007 NHP aax 6 0 7.7 1 1 0 5 7 7 0 .259 112 5.8 8.2 0.0 8.2 60% .250 .236 1.56 4.18 3.51 104 5.17 106.8
2007 DUN afa 4 0 6.0 0 0 0 5 2 6 1 .262 103 7.5 3.0 1.5 9.0 72% .235 .236 1.17 4.48 4.50 96 4.23 100.2
2007 BLJ rok 1 1 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 .245 101 9.0 0.0 0.0 9.0 50% .500 .146 1.00 1.45 0.00 0 0.00 0.0
2008 TOR mlb 31 0 33.0 1 2 1 28 15 23 2 .260 99 7.6 4.1 0.5 6.3 69% .265 .240 1.30 4.19 2.18 93 3.77 93.7
2008 SYR aaa 20 0 34.3 2 3 2 36 10 32 2 .264 88 9.4 2.6 0.5 8.4 70% .310 .242 1.34 3.26 3.94 84 2.85 86.6
2009 TOR mlb 67 0 74.7 3 6 0 72 21 76 8 .262 105 8.7 2.5 1.0 9.2 56% .318 .250 1.25 3.63 4.58 0 0.00 0.0
2010 SEA mlb 70 0 79.0 9 7 6 67 27 56 7 .259 98 7.6 3.1 0.8 6.4 63% .256 .234 1.19 3.88 3.42 87 3.10 83.5
2011 SEA mlb 65 0 61.3 1 5 37 56 10 45 3 .265 94 8.2 1.5 0.4 6.6 59% .279 .222 1.08 2.82 2.79 83 3.48 91.5
2012 LAN mlb 28 0 27.3 2 1 6 17 14 27 0 .272 91 5.6 4.6 0.0 8.9 58% .258 .190 1.13 2.81 2.30 101 4.09 100.9
2012 SEA mlb 46 0 44.7 0 5 9 48 19 27 1 .258 90 9.7 3.8 0.2 5.4 48% .322 .261 1.50 3.40 3.63 101 3.93 99.3
2013 LAN mlb 58 0 54.3 6 4 14 69 15 28 8 .254 100 11.4 2.5 1.3 4.6 60% .313 .309 1.55 4.90 5.30 108 4.36 108.5
2014 LAN mlb 63 0 63.0 2 3 0 65 27 38 0 .259 97 9.3 3.9 0.0 5.4 69% .320 .264 1.46 3.37 2.57 107 3.33 92.8
2015 OKL aaa 5 0 5.7 0 0 0 5 2 4 0 .276 86 7.9 3.2 0.0 6.4 71% .294 .276 1.24 3.78 1.59 102 4.33 102.9
2015 RCU afa 5 2 5.0 0 1 0 5 0 4 0 .297 107 9.0 0.0 0.0 7.2 65% .294 .206 1.00 2.18 0.00 92 3.33 99.9

Plate Discipline

YEAR PITCHES ZONE_RT SWING_RT CONTACT_RT Z_SWING_RT O_SWING_RT Z_CONTACT_RT O_CONTACT_RT SW_STRK_RT
2008 471 0.5223 0.4947 0.8283 0.6748 0.2978 0.8916 0.6716 0.1717
2009 1099 0.5086 0.4977 0.6965 0.6422 0.3481 0.8162 0.4681 0.3035
2010 1087 0.5087 0.4839 0.7605 0.6420 0.3202 0.8845 0.5029 0.2395
2011 896 0.5324 0.5011 0.7751 0.6562 0.3246 0.8882 0.5147 0.2249
2012 1067 0.4442 0.4564 0.7433 0.6667 0.2884 0.8259 0.5906 0.2567
2013 919 0.4777 0.4755 0.7963 0.6925 0.2771 0.8947 0.5714 0.2037
2014 927 0.3905 0.4498 0.8153 0.6575 0.3168 0.9034 0.6983 0.1847
Career64660.4810.47880.76670.65990.31210.86840.56310.2333

Injury History  —  No longer being updated

Last Update: 12/31/2014 23:59 ET

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2014-02-17 2014-03-03 Camp 14 0 Right Shoulder Strain Latissimus Dorsi - -
2011-06-22 2011-06-24 DTD 2 2 Right Lower Leg Contusion Calf -
2007-08-05 2007-09-05 15-DL 31 29 Right Abdomen Strain Oblique -
2007-03-31 2007-07-14 60-DL 105 89 Right Shoulder Recovery From Strain Latissimus Dorsi -
2007-02-22 2007-03-31 Camp 37 0 Right Shoulder Strain Latissimus Dorsi -
2007-02-17 2007-02-18 Camp 1 0 Thigh Soreness Hamstring -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2017 KCA $
2015 LAN $8,500,000
2014 LAN $8,500,000
2013 LAN $5,500,000
2012 SEA $5,000,000
2011 SEA $2,250,000
2010 SEA $1,087,500
2009 TOR $640,000
2008 TOR $400,300
2005 TOR $316,000
YearsDescriptionSalary
9 yrPrevious$32,193,800
9 yrTotal$32,193,800

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
8 y 145 dACES1 year (2017)

Details
  • 1 year (2017). Signed by Kansas City as a free agent 1/7/17 (minor-league contract).
  • 3 years/$22.5M (2013-15), plus 2016 player option. Signed extension with LA Dodgers 10/30/12. $3M signing bonus ($1M paid in 2012, $2M in 2015). 13:$4.5M, 14:$7.5M, 15:$7.5M. 16: player option. 2016 option guaranteed at 1) $7.5M with 55 games finished in 2015, 2) $8.5M with 55 GF in 2015 and 100 GF in 2014-15, or 3) $9M with 55 GF in 2015 and 150 GF in 2013-15. Annual performance bonuses: $0.15M for 55 GF, $0.25M for 60 GF, $0.1M for 65 GF. DFA by LA Dodgers 7/3/15. Released 7/10/15.
  • 1 year/$5M (2012). Re-signed by Seattle 1/17/12 (avoided arbitration). Acquired by LA Dodgers in trade from Seattle 7/31/12.
  • 1 year/$2.25M (2011). Re-signed by Seattle 1/18/11 (avoided arbitration).
  • 1 year/$1.0875M (2010). Re-signed by Seattle 1/21/10 (avoided arbitration, $1.325M-$0.9M)
  • 1 year/$0.64M (2009). Re-signed by Toronto 1/19/09 (avoided arbitration). Acquired by Seattle in trade from Toronto 12/23/09.
  • 1 year/$0.4003M (2008). Re-signed by Toronto 2/08.
  • 1 year (2007). Re-signed by Toronto 3/07.
  • 1 year (2006). Re-signed by Toronto 2/06.
  • 1 year/$0.316M (2005). Re-signed by Toronto 2/05.
  • 1 year (2004). Contract selected by Toronto 9/19/04.
  • Drafted by Toronto 2001 (2-59) (St. Louis HS, Honolulu). $0.66M signing bonus.

Previous Year Preseason Upside By Year

Yr Proj 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 PEAK 5
201511.612.111.310.311.38.956.7

Platoon

SORT_FIELD PLATOON AVG OBP SLG TAv

Definition of multi-year splits

BP Annual Player Comments

YearComment
2015 Despite a shiny ERA in 2014, it was difficult to trust League, especially in high-leverage situations. But his season was much better than, say, his 2013. Pitching a home run shutout for the season was even more impressive considering left-handed hitters posted a .313 batting average against him. If there's such a thing as a right-handed specialist, League is it. He was, inexplicably, given a three-year deal by the Dodgers after 2012, so they're on the hook for one more season, but a repeat of 2014 would go a long way to turning the contract from an utter failure to merely a regular failure.
2014 The three-year, $22.5 million contract the Dodgers gave League was overindulgent nuttiness, the most compelling evidence that the Dodgers with money might somehow be worse than the Dodgers without money. But even the most hyperbolic of critics wouldn't have predicted such a steep downfall. League's strikeout rate cratered, and each of his pitch types was less effective than in years past. His hallmark splitter lost an inch and a half of vertical drop from 2012, and almost four inches from 2011, resulting in a glut of splits that found the bottom of the strike zone instead of tumbling beneath it. League missed fewer bats with both the splitter and his high-speed sinker, as a lack of command had his pitches catching fat patches of home plate. His stat-sheet might have benefited in the walks department, but the results on contact were a disaster that cost him the closer job in early summer. It's money flushed, but the Dodgers will barely notice as League fades harmlessly into the background.
2013 After joining the Proven Closer club in Seattle in 2011, League pitched himself out of the role by the end of May. Even so, the Dodgers traded two prospects, center fielder Leon Landry and pitcher Logan Bawcom, for League in late July, and after a few more hiccups, set about ironing out his delivery to prevent him from pulling to the side in mid-pitch, thus dragging his arm behind him. The changes took hold, and from August 21 through the end of the season, League allowed just one run and eight hits while striking out 22 in 22.1 innings, taking over closer chores from the sidelined Jansen along the way. Colletti's natural response was to shower him with silly money. He'll go to camp as the closer, but the chances of him staving off Jansen during the three-year life of his deal aren't high.
2012 There was a four-game stretch in May when League had a 30.00 ERA, took the loss in all four games, and gave up 12 hits in three innings. Predators picked up the scent of non-proven closer (hawkins latroyus) and closed in. "League isn't a closer," one local columnist wrote. "Closers are a different breed, as much about attitude as stuff." From that point on, League threw 45 innings with a 1.12 ERA, saved 28 of his 30 opportunities, and started walking around town with Samuel L. Jackson's wallet from Pulp Fiction. He's an unconventional closer who —despite a 95 mph fastball—had the third-lowest strikeout rate among pitchers with at least 20 saves. Career-best walk and home run rates, though, make him far less stressful to watch than many of his contemporaries.
2011 In 2009, League’s splitter was baseball’s most unhittable offering, inducing swings and misses on 35 percent of its trips to the plate. Once possessed of such a weapon, few pitchers would seek to minimize its impact, but that’s precisely what League did in 2010, at least partly at the Mariners’ behest. The team altered his delivery in spring training, ostensibly to protect his arm—which had evinced no obvious signs of strain since 2007—and while the change fostered refinements in his infrequently-used slider, it seemed to sap his splitter of some of its ability to generate whiffs. At the same time, the righty restricted the splitter’s usage, and explained the discrepancy by labeling it a “last-resort pitch.” According to League, the decision to throw it more often in 2009 stemmed from poor two-seamer command, which got him into situations where he “had to get a strikeout.” With a return of the two-seamer’s accuracy, he scaled back his reliance on the splitter. Pitching to contact seems a rather curious decision in the case of a pitcher equipped for better; strikeouts aren’t something that League should spurn until the barbarians are at third base, since missing more bats might prevent them from reaching base in the first place. Although his ERA fell on the strength of a BABIP correction, a move to a more spacious home park, and a two-seamer-induced uptick in ground-ball rate, League's defense-independent performance suggests that his new approach could cost him in the long run.
2010 At 26, the hard-throwin’ Hawaiian finally had a full, healthy season in the majors, but despite putting up the sort of peripherals his stuff would suggest (9.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and fewer hits than innings pitched despite a slightly inflated BABIP) he was barely useful according to WXRL. It seems League’s right wing was made of wax in 2009, and the hotter the situation, the more likely he was to melt. Opposing batters hit .257/.325/.411 against him overall, but when the game was tied or within one run they hit .317/.368/.533 with seven homers in 190 plate appearances. Similarly, in situations with a leverage index below 0.7 (1.0 being average), they hit .219/.296/.349, but with leverage marks of 0.7 or above they hit .299/.347/.478. Traded to Seattle in the Brandon Morrow deal, so it's now up to the Mariners to figure out what to make of him.
2009 When League is healthy, his upper-90s fastball is nearly unhittable. After spending most of the first half of last year pitching himself back into shape at Syracuse recovering from his 2007 injuries, League was called up at the end of June and posted 1.78 ERA in 29 appearances over the remainder of the season, holding opposing hitters to a .230/.304/.319 line. It was almost an exact replay of League’s 2006 season, which saw him arrive at the beginning of July and hold the opposition to a .214/.269/.283 line the rest of the way.
2008 Shoulder problems ruined League's season, killing his velocity and pushing him to the disabled list for most of the year. Rest and rehab, rather than surgery, was the chosen course; the results (12 baserunners in five September innings) didn't inspire confidence. He also pitched through an oblique problem during the season. A power groundballer when healthy, League now has just one effective, healthy season in the last three, and it's an open question as to whether he'll be healthy to start 2008.
2007 Brandon League`s groundball-to-flyball ratio last season was 5.71. By comparison, Brandon Webb, the most extreme groundball pitcher among qualifiers for the ERA title, was at 4.06. League throws from a low arm angle, but still delivers the ball on a sharp downward plane, which sometimes creates the illusion that the ball never gets above the hitter`s knees. Instead of throwing down in the dirt when ahead in the count, which hitters are expecting from him anyway, he`ll sometimes do the opposite, getting the pitch up, but employing enough sink that it gets grounded safely to the second baseman. It`s a pretty unique approach, and one that PECOTA isn`t terribly well equipped to deal with, but it`s hard to say how well it will hold up when he gets around the league a couple more times. In any event, the Jays will be counting on League to replace Justin Speier as B.J. Ryan`s primary set-up man.
2006 League has a repertoire most coaches dream of: a fastball in the upper 90s, a power sinker in the upper 80s, and an improving changeup. The Jays put him in the pen at the tender age of 22 and watched him struggle as he walked more batters than he struck out. In truth, for all that heat, League`s strikeout numbers haven`t been incredible, but his performance should improve with repetition and a more settled role. His long-term future is in the rotation, but it may be another year before a spot is projected for him.
2005 League's high-90s heat and MLB-ready slider have scouts drooling; Baseball America named him the Jays' #1 prospect. The Jays were sold enough to push him to the majors at the end of last year, and are counting on him to be a contributor to this year's bullpen. As good as his stuff is, though, his strikeout rate and command haven't been overwhelming. His success has come as much from his location—his "heavy" fastball gets a lot of ground balls and has kept his home-run rate below sea level—as his power. With very little experience above Double-A and some reason to worry about his control, League doesn't project as an impact pitcher this year if he opens the season in Toronto.
2004 League's mid-90s sinker was enough to get him named the Sally League's best flamethrower in lioselwill America's tools poll; the problem is that he has no other effective pitch. If he gets a second pitch, he'll be a dominant reliever: a third pitch, and he'll be a good big league starter. All assuming he stays healthy. Odds are, none of this will happen. He'll still be coveted for his heat for the next few years.

BP Articles

Brandon League is referenced in the following articles.

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  Title Author Date
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This article requires BP Fantasy or Premium accessFantasy Freestyle: Home-Style AuctioningMike Gianella2013-04-09
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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 73: Did the Dodgers Overpay for Brandon League?/Are Gold Glove Voters and Defensive Stats Learning to get Along?Sam Miller2012-10-31
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This article requires BP Premium accessBizball: Do the Dodgers Really Have a “Secret Deal” to Avoid Revenue-Sharing?Maury Brown2012-10-02
This article requires BP Fantasy or Premium accessResident Fantasy Genius: Low-Cost Saves for Your Keeper LeagueDerek Carty2012-09-24
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Transaction Analysis: L.A. ConsequentialKevin Goldstein2012-08-27
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BP Unfiltered: The Trade Deadline Transaction Analysis Thread UPDATEDBaseball Prospectus2012-07-31
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Prospectus Perspective: The New Jack Zoo ReviewBradley Ankrom2011-09-09
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BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2013-06-11 14:00:00 (link to chat)Will need 3 pitchers for next week in 5x5...main need is saves but can use all categories...Suspects are Lyons, Gregerson, Jansen, Maholm, Turner, Tillman, Vargas...WW has guys like Phelps, Westbrook, Kendrick, Norris, Straily, Lohse, Gee, McCawthy, Archer...Suggestions please!
(LittleRon from WV)
If you need saves, keep an eye on the news regarding Huston Street (who is ready to begin a rehab assignment) and Brandon League (who might not be long for the ninth inning). Depending on the headlines there, either Gregerson or Jansen could take one of the three spots.

For the others, without taking the time to look closely at matchups, I'd roll with Paul Maholm and Dan Straily (who I believe will face the Mariners at the tail-end of the week, albeit with a start in Texas earlier). Also, I'd recommend checking out Paul Sporer's SP Planner on Friday for more info. (Daniel Rathman)
2013-05-22 18:00:00 (link to chat)Other than Rodney are there any other closers who have struggled you would specifically avoid? Johnson, Chapman, and Soriano have all blown their fair share of saves.
(Kyle from Denver)
The closer market isn't as such where any one can be avoided. I traded for Jose Veras 3 weeks ago and have enjoyed what he's been able to do. Brandon League - that's avoidable. (Jason Collette)
2013-03-06 20:00:00 (link to chat)What closer do you think loses his job first?
(Wes from Texas)
Bruce Rondon, does he count? Was he ever the closer in Detroit? For an actual closer, I'd be shaking in my boots if I were Brandon League with Kenley Jansen behind me. (Paul Singman)
2013-02-27 20:00:00 (link to chat)How long before Jansen starts taking away save opps from League?
(Sean T from Bethesda)
Tough to say, but even in a best case scenario for Brandon League owners it's not hard to see Kenley Jansen saving 5-10. The simple answer is if League struggles I don't think Don Mattingly will have orders from up above to use League because he has the big contract. (Mike Gianella)
2013-02-22 13:00:00 (link to chat)% chance Brandon League stays closer all year?
(Fred from LA)
I wonder what the minimum is for this question. Incumbency is so important, after all; if Clay Hensley were the declared closer going into Opening Day, how often would HE be the closer all year? That's the floor. I'd guess 12 percent is the floor. Maybe 6 percent, maybe 18 percent. Somewhere between 6 and 18 percent.

League: 24 percent. Not a pitcher I like much. (Sam Miller)
2012-12-20 14:00:00 (link to chat)Lindbergh and miller talked about their favorite/least favorites moves on the podcast the other day. Your favorite/least favorite offseason move?
(Roberto from jury duty (fml))
Glad I could make jury duty go by a little faster, Roberto — and I've got my own appearance to look forward to not long from now.

If we count extensions, I wasn't a fan of the Brandon League move for the Dodgers; if we limit this to free-agent signings, relative to some of the deals handed out since, the three-year, $25 million hitch the Royals gave Jeremy Guthrie seems a little out of place. Specifically, I liked the one-year, $6 million deal for Scott Feldman and the two-year, $15.5 million deal for Brandon McCarthy. And from a bullpen standpoint, one year and $4.25 million for Koji Uehara looks good.

To just choose two, I'll take League and Feldman. (Daniel Rathman)
2012-12-05 13:00:00 (link to chat)How hard is it as a writer to adjust to the new money in baseball? It seems like you should scream that's a terrible contract to most of the recent signings, but maybe we have to realize that the market is changing.
(jfive613 from New Mexico)
Talked about this some with Marc Normandin yesterday on twitter. The market is most certainly changing. I don't see *writers* having difficulty with that per se, but i see lots of fans freaking out about it. Look at all the hoopla about the Brandon League signing a coupla weeks ago. In light of what we've seen in the subsequent days, that deal looks almost reasonable.

But yes, your point is well taken: whether it's the new TV money or just the changing landscape of the game, free agents are getting mo money and payrolls are going waaay up. (Ian Miller)
2012-02-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)Who's the closer in Seattle?
(JT from Exhibition Stadium)
Brandon League. He seems underrated this year. (Derek Carty)
2012-01-18 13:00:00 (link to chat)If Seattle moves Brandon League mid-season, who takes over as the M's closer?
(PepeShady from St Paul)
The obvious candidate is George Sherrill, given his previous closer experience. If he bombs... David Aardsma might be rehabbing by then.

Also, quick use of dianagram's ESC trick has shown me that Aardsma's sister is attractive. -- Dave (Best of BP with Ben and Dave)
2010-07-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)Who closes in Seattle? Is League still the next best thing if Aardsma is traded or continues to blow saves?
(Nordburg from Golfing carrying memorabilia)
Brandon League is supposedly their best trade chip, so neither of them might stay. I don't think the Mariners are too worried about who is going to close games. (Marc Normandin)


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PITCHf/x Pitcher Profile

A Collaboration between BrooksBaseball.net and Baseball Prospectus - Pitch classifications provided by Pitch Info LLC


Although he has not thrown an MLB pitch in 2016, Brandon League threw 7,055 pitches that were tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2014, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2014, he relied primarily on his Sinker (94mph), also mixing in a Splitter (86mph) and Slider (87mph). He also rarely threw a Fourseam Fastball (94mph).