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.
GUESS WHO’S BACK — BACK AGAIN?
While I was eating supper with my parents who are in from out of town, the Milwaukee Brewers made official was has been danced around and toward for some time now.
Jimmy Nelson has been recalled from the minor leagues.
He’ll start on Saturday against St. Louis at Miller Park, his first home start of 2014. With the gap in the National League’s Central Division at 2.0 games (as of publishing on Thursday, July 10) the Brewers brass must have felt that rolling the dice with Marco Estrada against a Cardinal team he’s historically struggled against wasn’t what is best for the business of winning baseball games.
Nelson comes with plenty of acclaim and hope, and hopefully plenty of aplomb as he’ll be thrown right into the thick of a divisional race that is as tight as it’s been in roughly three months.
Around making one spot start — for Yovani Gallardo who sprained his ankle — Nelson has spent his season with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds. In a nutshell, Nelson was the top vote-getter for the Triple-A All-Star Game and was going to start the same for his Pacific Coast League squad. To go a little deeper, here’s Nelson’s season line at Nashville:
10-2, 1.46 ERA, 111.0 IP, 70 H, 23 R (18 ER), 3 HR, 114:32 K:BB, 0.919 WHIP, .179/.247/.245 slash line against
Some ratios: 0.2 HR/9, 9.2 K/9, 3.56 K/BB
And some more advanced stats: 2.47 FIP, 2.84 SIERA, 57.3% GB%
In summary, Nelson has been a dominant force in Triple-A this season and is clearly ready to try the next level. But let’s be fair to him. He should not be seen as a savior or the next coming. He’s got the goods to compete, and will likely struggle from time to time as he adjusts to the best hitters in the world, but as he showed in that spot start against the Marlins, he has the chance to compete. That’s something that the team hasn’t always gotten out of Marco Estrada, whose spot in the rotation Nelson will be taking.
ESTRADA LEASES A SPOT IN THE BULLPEN
Speaking of Estrada, of the 4.96 ERA, 5.71 FIP, and MLB-worst 27 home runs allowed, he will be contributing to the team from the bullpen for the foreseeable future.
Estrada should be somewhat useful if he’s able to embrace the role and get all the way back to his strike-throwing, command-heavy ways. Working against him are his splits in the first inning of his appearances so far this season. In his first inning of work in 2014, Estrada sports a 6.00 ERA, having allowed 12 ER in 18.0 IP. Seven of his 27 home runs allowed have come within the first three outs of his appearances and opponents are slugging .653 in the same. And for the sake of full disclosure, Estrada hasn’t walked a batter yet this year in his first innings of work.
But those numbers are why I’ve been a little confused when so many people have touted Estrada for a bullpen job. It doesn’t seem nearly as cut and dried as many say that Estrada will be “so much better” as a reliever.
Time will tell.
WANG INJURED, TRULY AND HONESTLY
The other thing time will tell is just how long Wei-Chung Wang will be on the disabled list. That’s right, conspiracy theorists: The Brewers placed Wang on the 15-day Disabled List with left shoulder tightness.
In all seriousness, I don’t believe that the team has made up this injury. Rule V Draft choices are closely monitored so that teams cannot simply stash them on the DL with false injuries.
But that’s beside the point of this article. The point of this article requires me to tell you that they opened up the spot on the 25-man roster to recall Nelson by placing Wang on the DL.
So, there you have it, Brewer Nation.
- Nelson up and into the rotation
- Estrada moved into the bullpen
- Wang placed on the disabled list
Thoughts? Let’s hear ‘em.
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The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the signings of the team’s first three selections in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, including LHP Kodi Medeiros (First-Round selection, 12th overall), SS Jacob Gatewood (Competitive Balance Round A selection, 41st overall) and OF Monte Harrison (Second-Round selection, 50th overall).
In addition, the Brewers also signed C Matt Martin (27th round) from Wake Forest University and LHP Carlos Leal (34th round) from Delta State University. The Brewers have now signed each of their first eight draft selections and 22 overall draft picks from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Medeiros, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in eight games as a senior at Waiakea (HI) High School. He struck out 83 batters compared to 17 walks and allowed just 14 hits in 43.1 innings pitched this past season. As a sophomore, Medeiros helped lead the Waiakea Warriors to their first-ever state championship. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound left-handed pitcher was selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic. He is the highest-drafted player to be selected out of high school from Hawaii. Medeiros, 18, had a scholarship offer to Pepperdine University.
Gatewood, 18, batted .389 (44-for-113) with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI as a senior at Clovis (CA) High School. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound shortstop won the junior portion of Major League’s Home Run Derby at the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field. A month later, he won the Baseball Factory Home Run Derby at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field. Gatewood had a commitment to the University of Southern California.
Harrison, 18, batted .429 (36-for-84) with 11 doubles, two home runs, 33 RBI and 24 stolen bases during his senior season at Lee’s Summit (MO) West High School. Harrison was a 2013 Underclass First Team selection and a 2014 First Team All-American. A multi-sport athlete, he had a scholarship offer to play baseball and football (as a wide receiver) at the University of Nebraska. His older brother, Shaquille, plays basketball at the University of Tulsa.
The whole thing is finally ready to go!
In this edition of the Brewer Nation podcast we interview Nick Faleris of Baseball Prospectus, and Brewers 2014 draft picks Greg McCall and Kaleb Earls. We then talk roster crunch in our Brewer Nation Roundtable with co-hosts Adam and Cary along with special guest Jeff Miller as well as discussion about the soon-to-be-unveiled Brewers Wall of Honor.
There’s a lot of fun information in here. For example, did you know that the Brewers may have actually saved money on 2nd round pick Monte Harrison? Find out what I mean at the 6 minute mark.
Following Saturday’s game, the Brewers announced that they had place right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg on the 15-day Disabled List. The official cause for the designation was termed as “elbow soreness”. Before the game, manager Ron Roenicke said that it was something that had been there for a little while. That would explain both Thornburg’s limited use lately and lack of effectiveness with Friday’s game as the most glaring example.
In his place, the Brewers have recalled right-hander Mike Fiers. Fiers dazzled for much of 2012 both as a starting pitcher and a reliever before a late season swoon chalked up mostly to workload concerns. 2013 got off to a rough start as Fiers dealt with off-field distractions and was eventually lost almost entirely to injury.
This season has been phenomenal for Fiers at Triple-A Nashville. His season line for the Sounds reads as such:
6-3, 2.53 ERA, 67.2 IP, 11 GS, 54 H, 21 R (19 ER), 5 HR, 9 BB, 92 K, 0.931 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 10.22 K/B
I have to point out a couple of things again for you.
- A league-leading 92 strikeouts (ninety-two)
- A 12.2 K/9 ratio
- A 10.22 K/B ratio because he’s walked nine (9) in 67.2 innings pitched
I know it’s the Pacific Coast League and not the National League, but these are the kinds of encouraging numbers that belie that Fiers’ command and control are with him this season.
Welcome back to The Show, Mike!
Here are the comments after Day 1 of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft from General Manager Doug Melvin and Director of Amateur Scouting Bruce Seid.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected three players on the first day of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, including LHP Kodi Medeiros in the first round (12th overall), SS Jacob Gatewood with a Competitive Balance Round A selection (41st overall) and OF Monte Harrison in the second round (50th overall).
Medeiros, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in eight games as a senior at Waiakea (HI) High School. He struck out 83 batters compared to 17 walks and allowed just 14 hits in 43.1 innings pitched this past season. As a sophomore, Medeiros helped lead the Waiakea Warriors to their first-ever state championship. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound left-handed pitcher was selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Medeiros, 18, has a commitment to Pepperdine University.
Gatewood, 18, batted .389 (44-for-113) with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI as a senior at Clovis (CA) High School. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound shortstop won the junior portion of Major League’s Home Run Derby at the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field. A month later, he won the Home Run Derby at the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field. Gatewood has a commitment to the University of Southern California.
Harrison, 18, batted .429 (36-for-84) with 11 doubles, two home runs, 33 RBI and 24 stolen bases during his senior season at Lee’s Summit (MO) West High School. A multi-sport athlete, he has a commitment to play baseball and football as a wide receiver at the University of Nebraska. His older brother, Shaquille, plays basketball at the University of Tulsa.
The 2014 First-Year Player Draft, which is comprised of 40 rounds, will continue on Friday at noon CT for Rounds 3-10. The Draft will resume on Saturday for Rounds 11-40 at noon CT and will continue through its conclusion.
LHP Kodi Medeiros
Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii
School: Waiakea (HI) High School
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6-2 Weight: 195
Born: May 25, 1996
Commitment: Pepperdine University
SS Jacob Gatewood
Hometown: Clovis, CA
School: Clovis (CA) High School
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6-4 Weight: 180
Born: September 25, 1995
Commitment: University of Southern California
OF Monte Harrison
School: Lee’s Summit West (MO) High School
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6-3 Weight: 198
Born: August 10, 1995
Commitment: University of Nebraska
Here’s the audio from a quick media availability with Kodi Medeiros.
The interview is roughly nine minutes long.
And since I didn’t put it on the other post, Kodi Medeiros is on Twitter. Follow him: @kodi_medeiros
Following his season debut (5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K), spot starter Jimmy Nelson was optioned back down to the minor leagues. As I said on Twitter at the time, it was an exciting glimpse at a piece of the Brewers future.
Nelson had a number of high leverage moments in his start and got through them all with high marks.
In his place, the Brewers filled their opening on the 40-man roster and strengthened their bench by purchasing the contract of infielder Irving Falu from their Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. Falu fills the open spot on the Brewers’ 40-man roster that was vacated when utility man Jeff Bianchi was outrighted to Nashville following Saturday’s game in Miami.
Falu, 30, will join the Brewers as they arrive home following their season-long 10-game road trip. He brings with him a .280/.342/.333 slash line in 38 games for the Sounds. He has also appeared in 14 games defensively at shortstop, including 12 starts. That’s a key note because when the Brewers decided to outright Bianchi to Nashville, they did so knowing that they preferred a replacement who could help fill the void as a backup defenseman, especially at the crucial position of shortstop. Falu is skilled at second base and third base as well, once again providing quality versatility.
(For more on Falu’s background, check out his “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” entry from Spring Training.)
Like Elian Herrera who has also been tapped more than once this season in no small part because of his defensive versatility, Falu is a switch-hitter. Unlike Herrera, Falu’s career handedness splits aren’t as drastic at all. In 2014 for Nashville to this point though, he’s slashing .314/.386/.392 as a right-handed hitter but only .259/.315/.296 as a left-handed hitter.
Still, Falu should be capable of proving a nice boost off the bench where Bianchi had been faltering of late. It remains to be seen exactly how Ron Roenicke orders his defensive depth chart, but the Brewers field manager is on record as liking the game of Falu who was one of the final players cut in Spring Training.
Hopefully he performs better and more consistently than did his predecessor.