Results tagged ‘ Johnny Hellweg ’

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #40 Johnny Hellweg

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Back in the saddle again.

After what was ultimately a five day hiatus from “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” as I decided to skip a pair of non-roster invitees (#45 Brent Leach & #41 Pete Orr) around a two retired numbers and a coach, I was able to recharge my batteries. While today begins the disjointed “through the coaches” stretch, where we only have four scheduled pieces over the next 10 days (including today), it might even allow me to work ahead a little bit and be better prepared for the Thornburg to Lind corridor which has a new article every day for a full week.

But enough about the upcoming schedule. We’re here today to talk about…

Johnny Hellweg.


There’s nothing quite like a season-ending injury in your fourth game of the year to eradicate the good feelings and confidence gained by coming off of a “PCL Pitcher of the Year” performance. Despite poor results in his first taste of the big leagues in 2013, Johnny David Hellweg had a very solid year two seasons ago. He not only was named as the Brewers’ Minor League Organizational Pitcher of the Year, but he won the aforementioned and similarly titled honor from the Pacific Coast League as well.

Last year around this time, I wrote about his future and how he might be contribute at the big league level again in 2014, but during the fourth start of his Triple-A season Hellweg felt a pop in the elbow of his throwing arm. He would leave the April 20th game fearing the worst.

Those fears confirmed, an increasingly common plan was set in motion within days to get Hellweg into surgery and on the comeback trail. Dr. James Andrews performed Hellweg’s surgery on April 29, 2014 so as I type Hellweg is 302 days out of surgery.

There exists good news which is that Hellweg is throwing off of a mound and rehab has gone according to plan. Hellweg remains a viable candidate to pitch competitively in 2015. Nothing is certain until it happens of course, but Hellweg is right on schedule if not a bit ahead.

This is not without bad news though as Hellweg is still a little ways off from being physically ready to contribute to any pitching rotation. As Doug Melvin recently implied, Hellweg’s availability is something they’re counting on. They hope to have it shortly into the season, but the 6’9″ right-hander will still need to build up stamina and strength while avoiding any physical setbacks over these next several weeks.

Depth at starting pitching is a known concern right now for the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers, but that’s why Hellweg’s rehab is important to get right. If something catastrophic happened where you’d need two or three extra starting pitchers in mid-April, the Brewers would be scrambling a bit. Don’t misunderstand though. There are enough bodies to have somebody throw, and it’s not like the new Class-AAA affiliate Colorado Springs is going with a three-man pitching rotation, but suffice it to say that when Hellweg is ready to return, there’ll be an opening for him.

He waits for that full medical clearance at this point, with a target date no doubt already identified by he and the Brewers medical staff. And as he waits, the Brewers have decided to stretch out Tyler Thornburg for possible inclusion as a Triple-A starter if need be.

Once Hellweg returns, if he’s able to build on his solid 2013 season, it’ll be a nice win for the Brewers who could be beginning to wonder about what they actually did get in return when trading away Zack Greinke during the 2012 season. Ariel Peña was recently removed off of the 40-man roster, Jean Segura struggled in the second half of 2013 even before off-the-field mental anguish torpedoed his 2014 season, and Hellweg now carries a question mark albeit a much smaller one than it was years ago. As I said, this surgery, it’s rehab, and the resultant shelf life of pitchers who have had it is becoming a well-read book.

Still, 2015 shouldn’t be a lost season even if 2014 was. Still just 26 years old, Hellweg has plenty of time to take the next step (or three) in his development this year by ironing out his mechanics and becoming more consistent. It’s just that he’ll be a bit behind from the jump.

Catch up on the countdown!

The News You May Have Missed From Brewers Spring Training Over the Weekend

We got a boatload of information in tweet form and in longer-form pieces from the Brewers beat writers fortunate enough to already be down at Spring Training covering the Brewers as camp opened up over the weekend.

Here’s a compilation of what you might have missed if you weren’t paying attention.


P&C weekend began with’s Adam McCalvy reminding us just how beautiful green baseball fields are.

Then the information started coming. We learned that Tyler Thornburg, less than a week removed from being labeled as hopefully a “viable candidate” for the bullpen by Asst. GM Gord Ash, was expecting to open camp with no restrictions.

From there, McCalvy talked to Jonathan Lucroy about the All-Star’s expected workload this spring.

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak also spoke to Lucroy along with Kyle Lohse after the Friday morning announcement about the changes related to the game’s perceived “pace of play” issues.

Tom Haudricourt posted a series of tweets with a quote from the talkative Lohse regarding the team’s collapse. Lohse had said at Brewers On Deck that he would talk to his teammates about it when they got to Maryvale and then move on.

Lohse as transcribed by Haudricourt: “Hopefully we have a group of guys that are pissed off about way things ended.”

Lohse: “We had an excellent 4 ½ months. I’m pissed. You don’t get that many opportunities to get to the playoffs.”

Lohse: “When you have it that close, it should help drive you. Let’s learn from it and not let that happen again.”

The official Twitter account of the Brewers Player Development staff got in on the news making by dropping this tweet on Friday.

But of course, we already knew about half of that the night before. (h/t @Mass_Haas)


Day Two of camp opened with some news about a potential #7 starter in the person of Michael Blazek.

Speaking of starting pitchers, Rosiak told us that Johnny Hellweg, just 9.5 months removed from Tommy John surgery, is throwing off a mound and should be in games before April.

Rosiak also talked to Ash about Thornburg and Jim Henderson.

Haudricourt checked back in on Twitter with a reminder about the backup corner infielder spot.

As for the back-end of the bullpen? Well, at least for now…

Ron Roenicke spoke with reporters. Todd Rosiak tweeted that the hot corner could have more games started by not Aramis Ramirez than in years past.


Adam McCalvy worked his beat hard on Saturday, and on Sunday we saw the results of some of his efforts. Included among them was this conversation with Dontrelle Willis, who is aiming to make the Brewers on a minor league deal.

From outside the Brewers beat,’s Ken Rosenthal checked in with this Sunday evening tidbit.

And this clarification…

Don’t Call It a Comeback

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My annual countdown to Opening Day will return for another season!

There has been some decent 40-man roster turnover since Spring Training. I mark the passage of time from (roughly) the turn of the calendar until Brewers Opening Day by previewing players who wear a certain uniform number on the corresponding day.

We’re 98 days away from Opening Day, so we won’t get underway on this thing quite yet, but once the countdown coincides with a jersey, you’ll see the first column go up.

I call the series “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” and it works a little something like this:

  • Opening Day is April 6, 2015.
  • March 29th is eight days before April 6th.
  • Ryan Braun wears number 8 on his jersey.
  • I’ll write an article reviewing Ryan Braun’s 2014 and looking ahead to his 2015 and post it on March 29, 2015.

Make sense? Here’s another example:

  • Jonathan Broxton wears number 51.
  • 51 days before April 6th is February 14th.
  • I’ll post my Broxton column on February 14th.

I do a column on every player who is on the Brewers 40-man roster along with most Spring Training non-roster invitees. I’ll update this space with a full schedule once the uniform numbers for the newest 40-man additions are announced. I’ll update it again as non-roster invitees are revealed.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me this winter. BBtJN is a very popular series and I thank you for that. Stay tuned!

Second Round of September Call-Ups Coming

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.

2014 Opening Day Affiliates Rosters

Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!

What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.

Nashville Sounds

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (9)

Outfielders (3)

Huntsville Stars

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)

Manager: Carlos Subero

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (7)

Outfielders (4)

  • Kentrail Davis
  • Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
  • Brock Kjeldgaard
  • D’Vontrey Richardson

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

26 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (8)

Outfielders (3)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

27 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)


Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #40 Johnny Hellweg

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Today is Thursday, February 20th and we’re 39 days away from Opening Day.

But wait, you say, why does this article say 40? Well, the fact is that I ran out of time to get this posted yesterday. Some things in my personal life took priority and that’s that.

 I had a whole thing written up to open the column too about the synergy between having another balmy day here in the southeastern Wisconsin, again eclipsing 40 degrees farenheit and how it was convenient as we were 40 days out from Opening Day.

But even though the timing no longer words that smoothly, we’re here to think much warmer thoughts of spring training, Opening Day, summer nights at the ballpark, tailgating, and all the rest anyway.

With that as our goal, let’s take a quick look at…

Johnny Hellweg.


John David Hellweg, all 6’9″ of him, was among the 73 players to make their Major League debut in 2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Okay, so it wasn’t that many, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

Anyway, for all of the successful debuts, Hellweg was unable to experience much of the same for himself. Coming off of a strong 2012 organizational debut (in Huntsville) and a start to 2013 at Class-AAA Nashville which would ultimately see him named the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year, Hellweg posted some pretty rough numbers in the big leagues.

The problems came from his control, like I mentioned a year ago was one of his biggest hurdles to overcome. His walk rates at both levels last year were poor. And despite the changes in his approach to maximize batter contact and seek out groundballs, Hellweg was bitten by a multitude of extra baserunners (Not literally; that would have made more headlines) which were only on base through his own fault.

Still, Hellweg shows tremendous potential as a 25-year-old. He’s a lot of arms and legs and has had trouble repeating his delivery at times which certainly doesn’t help his command. He’s young enough to figure it out though and still have a very solid MLB career. To take it to the extreme, before Hellweg turned his focus to generating ground balls, he brought some serious velocity on his fastball. That, coupled with his height and frame, led to comparisons to future Hall of Fame member Randy Johnson (though Hellweg is right-handed). Johnson was a guy who didn’t debut in the big leagues until he was 25 years old and didn’t really “figure it out” until his third big league season.

I’m not saying that Hellweg will be Johnson. What I’m attempting to illustrate is that there’s enough potential there that if he is able to figure himself out, he’ll be a quality Major Leaguer.

2014 will see Hellweg begin back in Nashville as he works to rein in his inconsistencies. I would expect him to pitch second in Nashville’s rotation behind Tyler Thornburg, if I had to make a prediction.

The sky could be the limit for Hellweg and, though I’m sure he’s heard most every height-based analogy known to baseball,  at least he’s already got a taste of that clearer atmosphere. Whether he can correct things early enough in 2014 will speak to where he finishes the year and how much success he’ll have. After all, 2013 saw him win the Brewers organizational MiLB Pitcher of the Year award as well.

He’s one to keep an eye on this spring, but once the lights turn on in April in Tennessee, the biggest season in Hellweg’s career will begin.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

Brewers On Deck to Feature Over 50 Players, Alumni, Coaches, Broadcasters


Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge.  Tickets are not required for the event.  Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular).  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.  Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

Players (28)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Hiram Burgos
  • Khris Davis
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Caleb Gindl
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brooks Hall
  • Sean Halton
  • Donovan Hand
  • Johnny Hellweg
  • Jim Henderson
  • Elian Herrera
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Rogers
  • Logan Schafer
  • Jean Segura
  • Kevin Shackelford
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

Alumni (7)

  • Craig Counsell
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Geoff Jenkins
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Robin Yount

Coaches (10)

  • Ron Roenicke
  • Joe Crawford
  • Mike Guerrero
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Garth Iorg
  • Rick Kranitz
  • Johnny Narron
  • Ed Sedar
  • John Shelby
  • Lee Tunnell

Broadcasters (3)

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Dave Nelson
  • Bob Uecker


Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  For additional information, visit

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here:

Audio: Doug Melvin’s Season Ending Press Conference


In case you missed it, here’s the audio from Doug Melvin’s season ending press conference which just concluded at Miller Park.


Brewers Announce Organizational Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year

RHP Johnny Hellweg and 1B Jason Rogers Named Recipients of the Robin Yount Performance Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards, Respectively

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2013 Robin Yount Performance Awards, which recognizes the Brewers Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year.  Right-handed pitcher Johnny Hellweg was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year and first baseman Jason Rogers was named Minor League Player of the Year.

“We congratulate Johnny and Jason on their great seasons and well-deserved recognition,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin.  “In his first season at the Triple-A level, Johnny showed why he was chosen as the top pitcher in the Pacific Coast League and we’re excited to see him contribute at the Major League level.  Jason had a great finish to the season in the Southern League as the league’s top run producer while playing nearly every game this season.  This is also a reflection of our player development and scouting staffs as they work hard to provide young players the opportunity to play in Milwaukee.”


Hellweg, 24, spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Nashville and was named the 2013 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, going 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts (125.2ip, 44er).  He led the PCL in winning percentage (.706) and opponent batting average (.228) and was among the leaders in ERA (2nd) and wins (T2nd, 12).  The 6’9” right-hander won 11 of his last 12 decisions with Nashville, including a stretch in which he went 9-0 with a 1.16 ERA over 10 starts (62ip, 8er) from May 16 – July 30.  He was also named to the 2013 All-PCL team.

Hellweg made his Major League debut with the Brewers on June 28 at Pittsburgh.  He has made four appearances (three starts) with Milwaukee and is currently in his second stint with the Brewers.  Additionally, he made one start at Class-A Wisconsin on July 15 and picked up the win in a 6-2 Timber Rattlers victory vs. Lake County.  Hellweg was selected as the Brewers Pitcher of the Month for July (4gs, 4-0, 0.75era, 24ip, 2er).  The Missouri resident is in his second season as a member of the Brewers organization after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last July in the Zack Greinke trade.

Rogers, 25, played the entire season at Double-A Huntsville, where he batted .270 with 22 HR and 87 RBI in 133 games.  He led the Southern League in RBI and ranked among the leaders in HR (T2nd), total bases (3rd, 225) and extra-base hits (T4th, 49).  Rogers was selected as an All-Star for the second straight season (Midwest League All-Star in 2012). 

Rogers earned Brewers Player of the Month honors in July (.338, 24-71, 7hr, 20rbi) and August (.333, 34-102, 5hr, 15rbi).  He was drafted by the Brewers in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Columbus State University.  This marks the second straight season that a Huntsville first baseman has been named Brewers Player of the Year (Hunter Morris, 2012).

Something To Look Forward To: September Call-ups


Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.

About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)

This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.

Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.

A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)

However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.

For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.

So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.

Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…

Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:

Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli

Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:

Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo

The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.

The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.


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