Needing a new Triple-A affiliate is something that hasn’t been a thing for the Milwaukee Brewers since following the 2003 season when the Brewers and Indianapolis Indians ended their relationship. The Brewers affiliated with the Nashville Sounds beginning in 2004 and spent 10 productive, is at times contentious, years together.
But that’s where the Milwaukee Brewers officially found themselves on Wednesday, September 18, 2014 as the Nashville Sounds finally officially announced that they would be affiliating with the Oakland Athletics for the next four years. I could go into a soapbox diatribe about how the Sounds were petty and disloyal and unappreciative, but I won’t. “Business is business”, after all.
Instead, let’s be excited together about new beginnings. Over the next several hundred words, I hope to give you some information — both important and frivolous — about the Brewers’ new Triple-A affiliate…
…the Colorado Springs Sky Sox!
From the team’s website:
The Sky Sox were honored by Baseball America as the Bob Frietas award-winner in 2011 as the Triple-A Organization of the Year, the highest award given to Minor League Baseball franchises.
The 2014 Sky Sox baseball season was one of the most exciting and memorable in the organization’s 26-year history. Sky Sox fans showed up in record numbers as the team drew 350,374 fans over 70 openings to mark the sixth season in a row that the franchise has eclipsed the 300,000 mark and the first season over 350,000..
The Sky Sox franchise is an original member of the Pacific Coast League, which was founded in 1903. The franchise operated in Sacramento, CA (Solons 1903-1960) was relocated to Honolulu, HI (Islanders 1961-1987) then moved to Colorado Springs (1988-present). The name “Sky Sox” was adopted in honor of Colorado Springs’ Western League Sky Sox (Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) that played at Memorial Park from 1950 through 1958. When Colorado was awarded a Major League franchise, the new Rockies arranged for the Sky Sox to become their AAA affiliate. From 1993 through 2014, Colorado Springs were the top affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
In 1988, Sky Sox ownership (Elmore Group, LLC) privately funded the construction of a new $3.7 million ballpark, which was built on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, near the corner of Powers Blvd. & Tutt Ave. The 8,500 capacity “Sky Sox Stadium”, now known as Security Service Field, was home to the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A team from 1988-1992, culminating in a PCL Title in the Sky Sox’ final season with the Indians.
The Sky Sox have won two PCL titles, in 1992 and 1995.
And here’s some more about the currently-named “Security Services Field” (the naming rights for which belong to Security Services Federal Credit Union):
Baseball – 8,500
So as you can see, the facility is rather old although it’s still 10 years younger than the consensus “worst ballpark in the Pacific Coast League” that the Brewers just left behind in Nashville. There was a significant renovation in 2005 which included replacing the entire field along with a vastly superior drainage system. And while old Herschel Greer Stadium had a seating capacity of 10,300 fans, you’ll notice in the pull from the Sky Sox’s website that they enjoyed record attendance in 2014. That’s a number that outdrew Nashville (323,961) in total attendance by more than 26,000 fans. Despite the Rockies being so close in proximity, it’s clear that there’s a passionate baseball fanbase in Colorado Springs. Hopefully the local residents will be able to let themselves embrace the Milwaukee Brewers as a parent club. That the new Player Development Contract is but a two-year pact will impact just how rapidly they embrace their new group of dreamers.
In what I’ve read and watched over the past several hours, the baseball staff of the Sky Sox is committed to a quality baseball experience for their fans. Part of that comes from the quality of the team on the field, and the Brewers have fielded a much more competitive team at the Triple-A level over the past year, including featuring the Pitcher of the Year in the Pacific Coast League each of the past two seasons (2013 – Johnny Hellweg, 2014 – Jimmy Nelson).
Here is the official press release from the Brewers which includes comment from Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin:
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a two-year player development contract with Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League that will run through the 2016 season. The announcement was made by Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with Dave Elmore and Colorado Springs,” said Melvin. “The Brewers have a familiarity with the Elmore group, Dave and D.G., and their understanding of the player development process. We have had a successful history working with D.G., owner of the Helena Brewers. Many players on our current roster have come up through our minor league system and we believe that Colorado Springs will continue to help us produce talent at a Major League level.”
Colorado Springs is a member of the PCL’s American Northern Division along with Omaha, Iowa and Oklahoma City. The Sky Sox play their home games at Security Service Field.
“We couldn’t be happier to start the newest era in Sky Sox baseball with a world-class organization like the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Sky Sox President and General Manager Tony Ensor. “Their long and rich baseball history, as well as their commitment to a winning culture is something that we know our fans will embrace. We can’t wait to get started on this new and exciting partnership.”
The Brewers are the third Major League affiliate of Colorado Springs. The team had previously been affiliated with the Cleveland Indians from 1988-1992 and the Colorado Rockies since 1993.
And here is the press release from the Sky Sox:
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox are excited to announce today that they have agreed to a new, two-year player development contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that will run through the 2016 season. A formal announcement ceremony will be scheduled in the coming days.
The National League Brewers become the third affiliate in the history of the Sky Sox, following the Cleveland Indians (1988-1992) and the Colorado Rockies (1993-2014). This will also be the second time a Milwaukee team has affiliated with a club in Colorado. The Milwaukee Braves were affiliates with the Denver Bears from 1963-1964.
“We couldn’t be happier to start the newest era in Sky Sox baseball with a world-class organization like the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Sky Sox President and General Manager Tony Ensor. “Their long and rich baseball history, as well as their commitment to a winning culture and player development is something that we know our fans will embrace. We can’t wait to get started on this new and exciting partnership.”
“We are very pleased to be working with the Brewers in Colorado Springs,” said Sky Sox Owner and 2014 PCL Hall of Fame Inductee, Dave Elmore. “The Brewers are a first class organization that we are very familiar with as we have been working with them for many years through our Rookie level team in Helena Montana.”
This season, the Brewers are locked in a battle for the 2014 playoffs. Coming into today, the club boasts a 79-73 record and are just 2.5 games back in the wild card chase. Recent Minor League affiliates who have won titles with the Brewers include the Nashville Sounds (AAA-Pacific Coast League, 2005), Huntsville Stars (AA-Southern League, 2001), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A-Midwest League, 2012) and the Helena Brewers (Rookie-Pioneer League, 2010,1996,1995).
Five players who played significant time with Milwaukee, including Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, and Don Sutton, are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Both Yount and Molitor are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Brewers cap insignia. The Brewers also have one of the most legendary broadcasters in Major League history on the mic in Bob Uecker. In 2003, Uecker received the Ford C. Frick Award, bestowed annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for “major contributions to baseball”.
A new Brewers era of Sky Sox baseball begins on April 9, 2015 as the Sky Sox begin their 28th season of professional baseball in Colorado Springs. For ticket and team information visit www.skysox.com.
So all in all, the Brewers appear to be a comfortable, if not ideal, spot for at least the next two seasons of Triple-A baseball.
(Oh, and can we talk for a second about how their annual Police vs Fire Departments charity softball game is called “Guns ‘N Hoses”? Because that’s fantastic.)
The Brewers announced today a pair of PDC extensions. They’ve extended their relationships with their Double-A and High-A affiliates.
Still no word on Triple-A Nashville. (***UPDATE*** Nashville informed the Brewers earlier today that they would not be signing back as the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers. ***END OF UPDATE***)
What follows is the official press release from the Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a four-year player development contract extension with Double-A Biloxi of the Southern League through the 2018 season and a two-year PDC extension with Class-A Brevard County of the Florida State League through the 2016 season. The announcements were made by Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“We are excited to extend our contracts with Biloxi and Brevard County,” said Melvin. “We look forward to working with Ken Young and his ownership group as the team relocates from Huntsville to Biloxi and into a new ballpark. The top-notch facilities will give our players the necessary tools to further develop into Major Leaguers.”
The Brewers were affiliated with the Huntsville Stars since the 1999 season. Earlier this year, a Biloxi ownership group led by Ken Young purchased the Stars. Construction of a new ballpark in Biloxi, Mississippi is underway for the 2015 season.
“We’re looking forward to bringing baseball to Biloxi and are eager for this new chapter,” said Biloxi General Manager Buck Rogers. “The Brewers are a class act organization and we can’t wait to get started in our new ballpark.”
The Brevard County Manatees recently completed their 10th season as an affiliate of the Brewers, which began with the 2005 season. The Manatees play their home games at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida. They are owned and operated by Central Florida Baseball Group, LLC.
“The Manatees are thrilled to continue the great working relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Central Florida Baseball Group Chairman Dr. Tom Winters. “The entire organization is first class.”
Today the Brewers confirmed the call-ups of the three players I reported yesterday afternoon. In that linked piece, I mentioned that the resultant fallout to open up the necessary pair of 40-man roster spots could be interesting. Looks like I was right again.
The additions of two players who earned spots comes at the expense of two who had previously done the same.
Designated For Assignment was Caleb Gindl. Should he clear waivers, it’s a virtual certainty that Gindl would choose to leave the Brewers organization. He has talent but was never afforded a consistent opportunity to showcase himself at the game’s highest level. And since his last chance, he’s been passed on the organizational depth chart by Khris Davis and bumped further down with the acquisition of Gerardo Parra who should return for 2015.
Gindl can be traded during the DFA period as well, but cannot technically refuse an outright assignment to Nashville as he has not been removed from a 40-man roster before in his professional career.
In my opinion, there’s a spot for Gindl on a Major League roster somewhere, but in Milwaukee it just came down to a matter of available space. There just wasn’t enough.
The other player lost, in his case to outright release, was right-handed pitcher Hiram Burgos. The professional story of Burgos is one to behold, as he pitched his way from High-A ball to being on alert as the “next-guy-if-we-need-someone-in-September” all in just 2012. I’ve chronicled that on the blog before, if you’re interested in reading about it.
Burgos pitched well in 2013 winter ball, but after a rough start to his season as lead dog in the Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds rotation, Burgos underwent a “clean up” procedure on his throwing shoulder on June 19th. His season was done, and now we know so was his tenure in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
Bottom line: The Brewers needed two spots and guys have been removed off of 40-man Rosters for lesser reasons than “too much depth at one position” and “growing injury history”. That doesn’t make it less impactful to the lives of the men and families behind the names on a transaction page, but at the end of the day it’s a business.
To Caleb Gindl and Hiram Burgos, two players that have always been gracious where I’m concerned, I wish them the absolute best in continuing their careers outside the Brewers’ organization.
Following their first round of call-ups yesterday, I just heard from a reliable source that the Brewers will call up at least three more players following today’s game now that Nashville’s season has concluded.
Joining the Brewers in the clubhouse tomorrow will be:
- Jason Rogers
- Hector Gomez
- Matt Clark
Rogers, the Brewers’ reigning MiLB Player of the Year, has been playing mostly third base this season in the minor league system. He’s been on an absolute tear of late, finishing his minor-league season on an eight-game hitting streak that included a pair of home runs.
For as hot as Rogers has been at the plate, nobody holds a candle to the lefty clubber Matt Clark. Acquired after Hunter Morris went down with a long-term injury this season (he’s been back and playing), Clark has demolished the Pacific Coast League. In 53 games with the Sounds, Clark is slashing .313/.371/.605 and has hit 16 home runs, all in just 195 at-bats. Of those 16 home runs, a cool 12 have come in the just-completed month of August.
Gomez is primarily a shortstop, and could have been a minor league free agent following this season had the Brewers not added him to the 40-man roster. He was also announced as a participant in the upcoming edition of the Arizona Fall League on behalf of the Brewers so it was widely thought that he would have to be added to the 40-man roster at some point. Gomez played in two MLB games back in 2011 as a Colorado Rockies player, but hasn’t been back since.
As for Rogers and Clark, their first games in a Brewers uniform will be their first games at the highest level of professional baseball.
Congratulations to all three players on strong seasons. They’ve earned these promotions.
Gomez and Clark will require 40-man roster moves. The Brewers could move *UPDATE* Johnny Hellweg (not Tyler Thornburg who is already there) to the 60-day DL easily enough. The other move could be simple, or a bit more interesting depending on how the Brewers choose to go.
The Milwaukee Brewers have made what is at least their first round of September call-ups prior to Monday’s game in Chicago.
As I first told you on Twitter just before 10pm on Sunday night:
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) September 1, 2014
I went on to mention how much sense it makes to have a third catcher in the month of September. Just think back to how the Brewers utilized Yorvit Torrealba, and you’ll get the idea.
In order to clear a 40-man roster spot, which I mentioned they’d need, the Brewers moved infielder Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day Disabled List.
The only other true September call-up at this point is outfielder Logan Schafer, likely recalled a day earlier than he would have been due to the uncertainty surrounding the injured wrist of Carlos Gomez. Gomez said he felt a pop in his left wrist while swinging during an at-bat in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. He was pulled from the game after awkwardly finishing his at-bat with a bad swing.
To Schafer’s part, he’s had a whole lot full of better looking swings since getting back in a groove due to his regular playing time with Nashville. When he was demoted following the acquisition of Gerardo Parra, Schafer went back to a .236/.349/.375 slash line in Triple-A. All he’s done is get hits in 19 out of his 23 games (including eight multi-hit affairs) and raised his slash line to .273/.356/.461 which is not an insignificant increase. Schafer still brings his glove with him which he might need early.
As for the other additions made official on Monday, while Jimmy Nelson is technically a September call-up (he was only officially with the Brevard County Manatees on paper while awaiting his scheduled MLB start Monday afternoon), the Brewers otherwise activated both Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang off of the 15-day Disabled List.
Garza is scheduled to rejoin the Brewers starting rotation on Wednesday in Chicago. He has been out since being pulled during a brilliant start against the St. Louis Cardinals back on August 3rd after straining his left oblique. The Cardinals came back to steal that one from the Brewers prompting Garza to say that they “dodged a bullet.” Hopefully it doesn’t take Garza long to round back into that same form. The Brewers are going to need him.
The Brewers probably won’t need much from Wei-Chung Wang though. Wang has been stretching out during his rehab assignment, most recently completing the longest outing (7.2 IP) of his professional career with the Brevard County Manatees. In it, he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, something he hadn’t done since his first appearance in 2013 in the Pirates’ system. It will be good experience for Wang to be around a pennant push, though I wouldn’t expect him to pitch maybe at all in September. They’ve got more than enough arms to cover themselves and Ron Roenicke rightfully won’t exactly trust Wang with every pitch being so crucial over the next 28 days.
The other new face in the Brewer locker room on Monday is expected to be relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton whom the Brewers officially acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just after noon on Sunday. For more on that deal, check my write-up here as well as my short interview with Broxton’s agent.
I wanted to give you a little something extra today as it relates to the newest Milwaukee Brewers, Jonathan Broxton, so I reached out to his agent, BB Abbott, for a couple of quick questions to gauge how the big right-hander has taken to the news.
The first thing I asked Mr. Abbott was when they learned about the waiver claim and that the trade had been agreed to. Abbott told me that they “just found out today” when the Reds “brought Jonathan into the office and told him about 1:30 (eastern time).”
I then asked about how Broxton was taking to the news of being traded at all, and specifically to Milwaukee given their position relative to Cincinnati’s. Abbott said that Broxton was “surprised to get traded in the middle of a long-term deal”, mentioning how a player kind of puts down roots in those kinds of situations. But as it set in, Abbott said that Broxton “has realized it’ll be a good spot for him.” He said that Broxton is understandably “excited” to be joining a pennant race and “respects the organization” a great deal given their history on the field over the years.
Finally, I asked Abbott about 2015 and whether that was a thought yet for Broxton. Abbott admitted that being in the closer’s mix makes sense but assured me that Broxton’s “focus is to [join the team] and help the Brewers in any way that they want.” Abbott also stated that Broxton “certainly hasn’t looked past this year and helping the [Brewers].”
BB Abbott is a licensed athlete agent and MLBPA certified baseball agent living in Tampa, FL. He works for Jet Sports Management. He also represents a pair of Brewers prospects, pitcher David Goforth and 2012 Organizational Minor League Player of the Year, Hunter Morris.
Because sometimes you just can’t help yourself.
The official release reads like this:
SAN FRANCISCO – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two players to be named. Broxton, who is eligible for the Brewers’ postseason roster, will join the team tomorrow in Chicago. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
Broxton, 30, is 4-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 7 saves in 51 appearances this season. Opponents are batting just .190 (32-for-168, 3hr). He has pitched for Los Angeles (2005-11), Kansas City (2012) and Cincinnati (2012-14) during his 10-year career, going 35-29 with a 3.05 ERA and 118 saves in 531 appearances, all in relief.
Even as far back as July, Doug Melvin wasn’t shy about his desire to obtain another bullpen pitcher, preferably one:
- with closing experience
- who throws right-handed
- has some giddy up on his fastball
So how did this come about? The Reds posted Broxton to revocable waivers and the Brewers put in the winning claim. They had until 1:00pm ET today to work out a trade. They did so and the deal was announced by the Brewers at 12:46pm CT. Typically with players to be named later, the two teams agree upon a list of players who are eligible to be chosen to complete the trade and the acquiring team is given some time to scout them and make their decisions. Sometimes the players are already agreed to but need to be called “to be named later” for various reasons. In this case, it appears to be one of both as Reds GM Walt Jocketty has told reporters that the teams have agreed to one player and have a list for choosing the other. Regardless, a pair of prospects will be headed to the Reds by the end of September. The price won’t be super cheap because Broxton is under contract already for 2015, and there’s value in cost certainty. More on that later.
In trading for Broxton, the Brewers are adding a missing element to their 2014 bullpen. They have lacked an experienced, power righty to match up late in games, probably slot in as the primary set up man, and provide additional confidence for manager Ron Roenicke on days where Francisco Rodriguez can’t or shouldn’t be used in save situations. You can see Broxton’s stats above, and they certainly look quite desirable for a team in the Brewers’ situation.
As several of you decided was worth pointing out on Twitter, this trade doesn’t help the lineup or bench. With comments from “tell him to bring a bat” to “this is no help…he can’t hit”, once again people have decided to miss the forest for the trees. Just because Broxton can’t help the Brewers at the plate doesn’t mean that it’s a deal that shouldn’t have been made. It’s still a big immediate help for the Brewers.
Anyway, welcome to “later”. Broxton’s arm will help in 2014 but he’s also under contract for 2015 and as I said right away on Twitter, he’ll be in the mix come February to close for the Brewers in 2015. He’s owed $9 million in 2015, which is a lot but not undoable, as well as a $9 million mutual option for 2016 with a $2 million buyout. So, the Brewers will be paying Broxton some quality coin over a minimum of the next 15 months or so, but it could certainly be worth it if all goes according to plan.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported this morning that the Milwaukee Brewers were awarded a waiver claim earlier this week but were unable to work out a trade with the posting team. As such, the player was pulled back from waivers and will not be headed to Milwaukee for the balance of the season.
The player in question is Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, he of the National League-leading .317 batting average and good defense.
Morneau, who took a relatively inexpensive deal in Colorado during the off-season, has been very good for the Rockies in 2014 when he’s been healthy. He dealt with a bit of a neck injury around the non-waiver trading deadline, for example.
Unfortunately, in some ways, the Brewers were not able to work out a trade with Colorado to acquire Morneau. The Rockies’ front office has had astronomical asking prices for most of their players this season once they decided to sell. And they wouldn’t move some pieces that made little sense to hang on to (i.e. LaTroy Hawkins). Morneau doesn’t fit the latter. He’s under contract for 2015 at only $6.75 million with a mutual option for 2016 at just $9 million as well. He’s an affordable piece, even for a second-division club like the Rockies. In other words, he’s quite sensible to keep. As for the asking price, while we don’t know exactly what the Brewers offered, we do know that it was a package of players and that Colorado declined it and simply pulled Morneau back.
Morneau would have been a nice upgrade despite Lyle Overbay’s recent successes at the plate. Morneau plays good defense, crushes right-handed pitching, and isn’t terrible against southpaws. He’s not a Coors Field product either. He’s hit for a slightly higher average on the road in 2014, with matching slugging percentages of .500 both at home and away. He also possesses great career numbers at Miller Park. He doesn’t have the power of Mark Reynolds, but that .500 SLG as of press time amidst an overall slash line of .317/.360/.500, is nothing to sneeze at.
But we don’t need to worry about why Morneau would have been a good fit on the field. We also don’t need to worry about the specific pieces that were in the package offered.
As I told one of my radio stations when we recorded my segment about 10 minutes after the news broke (you can hear it today at 3:30pm in Wausau on ESPN Radio, by the by), while Morneau makes sense on paper, the Brewers’ best offer wasn’t deemed to be enough by Colorado. That’s what matters to me because Doug Melvin was willing to go to a point but not past it to somewhat improve a position. Colorado has every right to ask for the moon, but Melvin has a good track record of knowing what’s a fair return. If he didn’t think that the juice was worth the squeeze, then it probably wasn’t. It’s not ALL about 2014. It unfortunately never can be. And Melvin is right far more often than he isn’t when it comes to matters of roster decisions.
Let’s just hope it wouldn’t have made the difference.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a pair of minor-league prospects; outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda.
Parra is expected to join the team tomorrow in St. Louis.
The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense,” said Melvin. Parra, 27, is batting .259 with 6 HR and 30 RBI in 104 games this season. He has made 98 starts (96g in RF, 2g in CF).
Signing as a non-drafted free agent on 8/30/04, Parra had spent his entire professional career in the Diamondbacks organization. He is a career .274 hitter with 39 HR and 250 RBI in 787 Major League games (2009-14). Known for his exceptional defense, Parra has won National League Gold Glove Awards in left field (2011) and right field (2013). Entering today, his 62 outfield assists since 2009 were tied for second (with two others) in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (63).
To make room for Parra on the 25-man roster, outfielder Logan Schafer will be optioned to Triple-A Nashville. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Tyler Thornburg was moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Haniger, 24, was selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .255 with 10 HR and 34 RBI in 67 games at Double-A Huntsville this season.
Banda, 20, was selected by the Brewers in the 10th round of the 2012 draft. He was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 2 saves in 20 games (14 starts) at Class-A Wisconsin this season.
In the sequel to the pre-All-Star break roster shuffle, the Milwaukee Brewers today announced that they have made a move in an attempt to bolster the big league bullpen.
The move required both a 25-man roster spot as well as a 40-man roster spot. To facilitate those moves, RHP Rob Wooten was optioned to Triple-A Nashville (25-man) and rehabbing right-hander Jim Henderson was placed on the 60-day disabled list (40-man).
All this was done so that the Brewers could select the contract of RHP Jeremy Jeffress.
Jeffress was made headlines more than once in Milwaukee. He was a part of the package of prospects sent to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Zack Greinke. Earlier this season, he chose to re-sign with the Brewers organization after being designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays and electing free agency after clearing waivers. He also was almost out of baseball completely during his first turn in Milwaukee’s system as he was suspended more than once for marijuana use. By multiple accounts, he’s clear of that recreational drug use though, but is now back on a 40-man roster anyway.
Much more importantly than his off-the-field history is his on-the-field production so far in 2014. In other words, there’s a much better reason that he was added to the 40-man roster this time around.
While pitching for Nashville this season, the former first-round draft pick of the Brewers (16th overall in 2006) has posted the following line:
30 G, 1.51 ERA, 41.2 IP, 0 HR, 45 K, 18 BB, 1.224 WHIP
That’s good for a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.50 K/BB, but it’s also worth noting that he’s been even better recently. Jeffress hasn’t given up a run since June 23rd, a span of nine appearances. He’s only given up two runs in his last 15 games and just three total in his last 24 trips to the mound.
Jeffress has always brought the gas on his fastball, but it will be his ability to command his breaking ball that will translate to big league success. He’s shown the other sought-after ability to miss bats at multiple levels as well, something which would serve him and his new team very well moving forward for the balance of 2014.
As for the others involved, Wooten hasn’t been bad and will likely be back up in September if not sooner. In fact, by effectiveness, Brandon Kintzler may have been a better candidate to go down, but Wooten’s option year is already burned and that likely played a part in the decision.
For Jim Henderson, this must be seen as a referendum on where he’s at physically. Recent reports show him lagging behind the needed 97 MPH on his fastball. I haven’t seen any recent accounts of his slider command nor how his “work-in-progress” change up have fared since he got back on the mound, but without the heat I’m not sure the other pitches matter a lot. The timing doesn’t make much difference on his being moved to the 60-day DL though (he’s already spent more than 60 days on the DL having been placed on it on May 2nd), so maybe everything is progressing fine, but you normally wouldn’t make the move with a guy set to return any time soon.
Time will tell, I suppose.