Villarreal with the Detroit Tigers
|Boston Red Sox|
May 10, 1987 |
La Guaira, Venezuela
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|April 2, 2011 for the Detroit Tigers|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||4.56|
Minor league career
Villarreal signed with the Detroit Tigers and began his professional career in 2006, pitching for the VSL Marlins/Tigers and going 0–2 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 games (five starts). He moved to the United States in 2007, though he pitched in only one game that season—for the GCL Tigers, with whom he went 0–0 with a 6.23 ERA. In 2008, he pitched for both the GCL Tigers (11 games, six starts) and West Michigan Whitecaps (one start), going a combined 1–6 with a 4.69 ERA. In 2009, he pitched for the Whitecaps again, going 5–5 with a 2.87 ERA in 26 games (16 starts), striking out 118 batters in 1031⁄3 innings of work. He split 2010 between the Lakeland Flying Tigers and Erie SeaWolves, going a combined 7–8 with a 3.55 ERA in 24 starts. He struck out 136 batters in 1291⁄3 innings pitched.
Major league career
On April 12, 2011, Villarreal achieved a rare feat. Entering the game with a man on first and two outs, he picked off the runner immediately. With that, Villarreal recorded a hold without throwing a single pitch.
He spent 16 games at the major league level in 2011, going 1–1 with a 6.75 ERA. In 16 innings, he allowed 21 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 14 batters. He spent much of the season in the minor leagues, going 3–5 with a 5.05 ERA in 17 games (10 starts) for Triple-A Toledo.
On April 8, 2012, Villarreal was called up from Triple-A Toledo after Doug Fister went on the disabled list with an injured side. Villarreal had pitched in one game with Toledo. In 54 2⁄3 innings pitched, Villareal notched a 3–5 record with 2.63 ERA, 66 strikeouts, and nine holds. However, he was not selected to the Tigers' playoff roster that won the American League pennant. In the minors, he had a 1.29 ERA in eight relief appearances that year.
On July 30, 2013, Villarreal was traded to the Boston Red Sox along with Jake Peavy in a three-team trade that sent Avisail García to the Chicago White Sox and José Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers. He was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on January 22, 2014.
Though Villarreal threw only four pitches for the Red Sox in 2013 (a walk-off bases-loaded walk against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park), his lone appearance still qualified him for a 2013 World Series ring, which he received during the championship ring ceremony at Fenway Park in April 2014.
Villarreal throws three pitches: a four-seam and two-seam fastball that tops out at about 100 mph, and a slider in the upper 80s. Villarreal likes to get ahead of hitters with his fastballs and then use his slider to put them away.
Family kidnapping attempt
In March 2013, Villarreal's family home in Venezuela was attacked by three armed robbers who threatened to kidnap his relatives in the future. Police were alerted to suspicious circumstances by a neighbor. The robbers had assaulted Villarreal's father and threatened to kill his mother and younger brother if they made any noise when officers arrived.
- BR Minors
- Lowe, John (April 7, 2012). "Tigers' Doug Fister goes on DL with strained left side". Detroit Free Press.
- "Detroit Tigers Pitching Stats - 2012". Retrieved 2012-10-26.
- Detroit Tigers acquire Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Avisail Garcia and Brayan Villarreal
- ESPNBoston - Villarreal's ring is as good as anyone's
- "PITCHf/x Player Card: Brayan Villarreal". BrooksBaseball.net. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Family of Brayan Villarreal survives kidnapping attempt in Venezuela
- Brayan Villarreal's Family Survives Kidnapping Attempt In Venezuela