21 April, 2006

MLB debut - Brian "Nat Killer" Bannister

Mets' righthanded starting pitcher, Brian Bannister, is all too familiar to Nats' fans. The 25 year old pitched 5 1/3 innings of no-hit ball in his MLB debut at Shea on 5 April before Jose Guillen hit a double. Bannister struggled through the rest of the start, but his 6 inning performance stymied Washington. Bannister allowed 2 hits, 3 runs, while walking and striking out four. Nick Johnson thumped a homer of Bannister as he tired in the 6th. The rookie got a no decision as Ryan "Dutch" Zimmerman tied it up in the 9th off Billy Wagner. The Nats then posted a 5 spot in the 10th to eventually 9-5.

Bannister got his first MLB decision - a win - in his second start, this time at RFK as he beat the Nats 7-1 on 11 April.

DadBrian is son of former Major League pitcher Floyd Bannister, who was the nation's number one draft pick back in 1976 and pitched 15 years mostly in the junior circuit. Bannister senior's best season was 1983 with the Chicago White Sox when he went 16-10 with an ERA of 3.35 as he helped the LaRussa led Sox into the playoffs. He retired with a losing record (134-143), but his ERA of 4.06 was +2% of the league average.

Bannister the younger has a mediocre fastball, serviceable change and curve. From early outings, he seems to have inherited pitching nous. He comes with a reputation as a soft tossing pitcher - sort of a righty version of Jamie Moyer, only with a fastball. His Minor League numbers don't leap off the page, but his stock has risen year-on-year, which is a good sign of a late developing hurler who knows how to use limited talent to get results. The Mets are happy with Brain holding up the backend of the rotation.

Baseball Cube


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