Yhency Brazoban. I said his name over and over to myself before writing this just because his name is fun. It’s a fantastic name. Dodger fans may forget, for a brief time, he was also a fantastic set-up man. When our goggled and goatee’d flame-throwing closer went down for a while, he also was a serviceable closer.
Yhency’s Baseball Beginnings
Yhency was signed undrafted by the New York Yankees in 1997. In the Yankee Dominican Summer League, he hit .319 as an outfielder. In 99-00 Gulf Coast League he hit .320 and .303, earning a quick promotion to single-A in 2000. In 2003 the Yankees pulled a 180 and converted him into a pitcher. He worked on this transition in 3 different minor league levels.
To The Dodgers
Mere months after converting his life’s work from one position to the other, on December 13th, 2003, the Dodgers acquired him, Jeff Weaver, and Brandon Weeden for Kevin Brown. He earned himself a call up in 2004 after a great year at AA Jacksonville, where he struck out 61 in 51 innings pitched. Not bad for a player who was hitting over .300 two years before this. He made his Dodger debut on August 5th, 2004. He pitched 32 innings in 2004, striking out 27 and walking 15. He posted a 1.224 WHIP.
Yhency the Closer
On June 21st, 2005, Eric Gagne went down for the year to receive Tommy John surgery. As they say, one man’s disaster is another man’s promotion. Yhency stepped up, and established new Dodgers rookie records by appearing in 75 games and recording 21 saves. He ended 2005 with a 1.4o WHIP, and a 4.84 FIP. These numbers are not great, but Yhency got the job done when his opportunity was presented to him.
Yhency’s Arm Falls Apart
Entering 2006, it was looking up for the Dodgers bullpen. Yhency was the set-up man, and Gagne the closer. Elbow injuries followed the bullpen around however, and Yhency’s elbow injury early in the season also lead him to the Tommy John table. Yhency worked his way back to the Dodgers bullpen by May of 2007, but after only 1.2 innings, Yhency suffered another serious injury to his pitching arm, and was again lost for the season. He again managed to work his way back in May of 2008, but after allowing a few earned runs in in two outings, the Dodgers optioned him. The Dodgers placed him on the disabled list for the rest of the year soon after that, and then was eventually released.
After the Dodgers
Yhency bounced around the Mexican league, the Mets system, and then finally in 2011 the Diamondbacks signed him to a minor league contract. He got another cup of coffee with the D-backs, appearing in 6 games (6 innings total) but allowing 8 hits and 4 earned runs. He was sent back to the minors and would never pitch in another MLB game.
He went to Japan for a year, and then for 2 years in the Mexican Baseball League before his career was over.
Dodger fans will remember him as a short-lived closer, as well as set-up man. His conversion from position player to high leverage reliever reminds me of Kenley Jansen. Unfortunately for Yhency, elbow and arm problems really derailed whether that comparison could have been truly realized. Dodger fans still have those 21 saves in 2005 to really remember him by, though.
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