"It was great," Brebbia said of receiving the recognition. "Stuff like that is always fun. It's a wonderful honor to have [that] and you work every week for things like that."
The recent success is a result of Brebbia's progress, posting a 1.38 ERA so far this month. He credits his pitch command and comfort level for these improvements.
"Commanding my stuff. Throwing my fastball, changeup, and breaking ball down in the zone," Brebbia said. "Being consistent with my mechanics as much as possible. I've worked on that from day one up until now so trying to be consistent has been the biggest thing.
"The more you throw, you're just going to naturally get more and more comfortable up there. The more comfortable you get, the easier it is to make improvements and make adjustments because you start feeling at home when you're on the mound and that's a nice feeling to have."
RiverDogs' pitching coach, Danny Borrell, is pleased with Brebbia's dedication to making improvements and believes these improvements have lead to more confidence and aggressiveness.
"The progression with his slider has been good. He's always been working on his changeup and having command with the fastball," Borrell said. "I think overall he's really pitched more aggressively in the zone.
"I think when he first got here he was kind of pitching away from contact, but the ironic thing is the more he tries to pitch contact, the more strikeouts he's been getting."
In 19 appearances Brebbia has an ERA of 3.47 and has 37 strikeouts compared to just 13 walks. Brebbia's aptitude for strikeouts derives, in part, from his deceptive delivery.
"He's got a deceptive fastball and his extension is off the charts," Borrell said. "Just watching these guys swing I don't know if they can even see the ball off of him. It's evident with how many strikeouts he has off his fastball."
This approach has been especially effective against right-handed batters who are hitting just .220 off Brebbia and have accounted for 22 of his strikeouts this season. Left handed batters are hitting slightly better with an average of .291, but have struck out 15 times.
"I think sample size-wise you always look at right versus left and there may be a little discrepancy there, but the strike out numbers are there from both sides of the plate," Borrell said. "Whether it's right or left, when these guys are hitting off his fastball I thing they're just picking it up late and by that time it's already in the glove."
Another key to his success has been his college experience, which has given his a better understanding of pitching.
"John was a college guy who came in from Elon so you expect him to have a pretty good knowledge of the game, have a good knowledge of the strike zone, and be able to throw all his pitches for strikes and that's exactly what he's been doing," Borrell added. "He's gotten better every time out and he's been fun to watch."
Although Brebbia has pitched well thus far, he and Borrell both expect improvements to continue to be made.
"You can always make improvements on everything," Brebbia said. "You don't ever get to a point where you've stopped getting better and just move on to something else. Always, always, always locating your pitches and being consistent with your mechanics.
"I feel like if you can do that successfully, you're going to get the results you want and you're going to have the season that you've always hoped for."
"Just repetition of his mechanics," Borrell added. "The better he gets with his release point, the better his fastball, changeup, and slider are going to be.
"I expect him to continue to go out there and attack the zone, be aggressive, and I really don't see anything changing with him."
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CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston RiverDogs' relief pitcher John Brebbia was named the South Atlantic League's Pitcher of the Week for the week of July 2-8. Over the week Brebbia pitched in two games and earned wins in both appearances. In six innings of work he struck out nine batters, issued no walks, and did not allow a single run.
John Brebbia has quietly been putting batters away consistently over the past couple of months.