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Improved Slider Puts Jeff Brigham On Radar

Righthander Jeff Brigham grew up on University of Washington athletics.

"We used to ‘sailgate’ to the football games,” said Brigham, who was preceded at UW by his parents and his brother. "We had a boat, and we’d dock it a couple hundred yards from Husky Stadium.”

Now, Washington basketball has produced Markelle Fultz, a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the NBA draft in June.

"It’s super exciting to see fellow Huskies having success,” said Brigham, 25.

Brigham’s draft day was in 2014—the Dodgers selected him in the fourth round—but the ex-Huskies standout is hoping he has a breakthrough year. But first he’s focused on making his 2017 debut.

Brigham had Tommy John surgery in July 2012 but had bounced back in pro ball. The Marlins last year assigned him to the Arizona Fall League, but he was shut down with shoulder discomfort after only one start.

"It was disappointing when I couldn’t show my stuff,” Brigham said.

Brigham, whose fastball sits 93-95 mph and has touched 98, is highly competitive, and that’s what he considers his top asset.

As a starter at high Class A Jupiter last season he recorded a 4.04 ERA, while making his biggest strides with his slider, a pitch he didn’t have a feel for previously.

"My slider had been inconsistent,” Brigham said. "Now I can throw it for strikes but also locate it out of the zone when I need to. That just comes from throwing it more and gaining confidence.”

Brigham, whom the Marlins acquired at the 2015 trade deadline in the three-team deal that shipped Mat Latos to the Dodgers, could ultimately land in the bullpen because he has a below-average changeup.

"It has shown signs of improvement,” Brigham said. "I never threw it much in college, but now I work on it regularly.”


2016 Arizona Fall League Rosters

Breaking down the rosters of the 2016 Arizona Fall League clubs

— Walter Villa is a writer based in Miami

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