Auburn, Ala.--Auburn’s pitching staff has undergone a huge overhaul since last season and one of the players expected to play a key role for the Tigers this year is junior college transfer Ben Braymer. A powerful left-hander that was one of the keys for LSU-Eunice on the way to a junior college national championship last season as a starter, Braymer has been moved to the bullpen for Auburn as they get ready for the 2016 season.
With a fastball that can reach the mid-90’s and also a strong breaking ball, Braymer is a player that Coach Butch Thompson compares to second round draft choice Jacob Lindgren from Mississippi State. A dominant performer out of the bullpen for the Bulldogs in 2014, Lindgren was selected 55th overall and sets the example for Braymer to follow in his new role. He discusses that and more in this Q and A:
How is the move to the bullpen going?
“I feel very confident in my new role on the team. I think with me and Casey (Mize) back there we’re going to be really solid.”
Butch has shown in the past guys like (Jacob) Lindgren and (Jonathan) Holder working together. When he showed you those thing did that make it a pretty easy move for you?
“Yes sir, I did. Whenever he started mentioning me in the same sentences as Lindgren it really boosted my confidence. It allowed me to understand what he was doing now and for the future.”
He’s talked about building games from the back end. Being a part of that how exciting is it?
“It’s very exciting. I get a chance to pitch every day. When we’re in a situation where it’s a 2-1 ballgame in the seventh inning and me or Casey comes in the game our team is going to feel very confident that we won the game.”
For you growing up and watching this league, how excited are you to finally take part in it?
“It’s very exciting. I get chills thinking about it and watching highlight clips. I think the most important thing is just going to be keeping a level head and trusting our work and the process we put in during the fall and up to now and just letting it show for itself.”
Kind of describe your style of pitching for those that haven’t seen you before. Describe what you like to do on the mound.
“As a pitcher I just like to go out there and challenge hitters. My mindset when I toe the rubber is ‘let’s make this hitter prove he can hit me’. I’m going to throw him my best stuff all the time and until they prove they can hit it I’m going to attack with the fastball and put them away with the breaking balls.”
Coach Thompson and other pitchers have talked about how he lets guys have ownership of their pitching and works with what they do the best. Is that comforting as a pitcher, being able to do what you do and then let him tweak it as he sees fit?
“It’s very comforting. It’s a little bit of an adjustment having to call your own game, but especially now that I’m on the back end of the bullpen I get to focus on two pitches. I’m still going to throw a changeup and still going to flip my curveball, but I get to focus more on being a power guy and that’s pretty cool.”
Game times for the weekend series vs. Sacramento State are set for 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.