Results tagged ‘ Tyler Thornburg ’

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #30 Tyler Thornburg

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We did it! Another milestone along the way to Opening Day has been reached and passed. We’re officially inside of a month. Just 30 days remain until April 6 when Miller Park springs back to life. I can almost smell the tailgating.

As we continue to wind our way through “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, we’ve reached #30 and as such have reached…

Tyler Thornburg.

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Conveniently, Thornburg had his first appearance on the mound in his #30 Brewers uniform in quite some time yesterday. It was a rough finish for Thornburg in 2014 after all. He went down with what was originally called an elbow injury. Thornburg suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament during his freshman year of high school but rehabbed his way through it and hadn’t dealt with issues since. Word eventually came down that Thornburg had inflammation in his right wrist and elbow but would not need Tommy John surgery, the fix for a ruptured UCL. It was later termed as “UCL weakness” and without significant progress on his own, the decision was made for Thornburg to have a platelet-rich plasma injection (or “PRP”) in the elbow. That seemed to do the trick and despite a distinct lack of information over the winter, Thornburg was expected to be ready during Spring Training.

It turned out to be better than that as Thornburg began throwing bullpen sessions in January. He’s on the right track for Opening Day and the decision was even made to stretch him out to increase his stamina and perhaps have him be the long reliever or return to starting games at Triple-A. One of Thornburg’s issues when he first switched to relief was getting his arm to bounce back, and a move back to starting or long relief — which tends to have more down time — could be better for him physically anyway.

After all, Thornburg was having a very good season up until June 6th when his arm failed him and he was lit up in an inning of work against the Pirates. He was one of the best relievers in Ron Roenicke’s bullpen early, carrying a 0.61 ERA at the end of an April that saw him make 14 appearances. May wasn’t great. 11 games and a 6.00 ERA. He had a very good June 3rd appearance that dropped his ERA back under 3.00 but then disaster on the 6th when five earnies pushed his ERA back up to 4.25.

We all know that when Thornburg is right, he’s got electric stuff. He works hard to keep the ball down and his strikeout numbers were up last year before the injury. That said, he did post a 6.4 BB/9 which is frightening, but to be fair four walks came in that final inning of work on June 6 so that skewed the number a bit.

Regardless of his eventual role, a healthy Thornburg will be a major asset to Roenicke and the Brewers either right away as the 2015 season gets underway or at some point if he has cause to start with the new Class-AAA affiliate in Colorado Springs. Either way, expect to see a healthy Thornburg as a key contributor.

Welcome back.

You can (and should) follow Tyler on Twitter: @TylerThornburg

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.

FRIDAY

P&C weekend began with Brewers.com’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)

SATURDAY

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.

SUNDAY

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, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal checked in with this Sunday evening tidbit.

And this clarification…

Brewers On Deck 2015 – Attendees List, Pricing, Additional Details

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BREWERS ON DECK TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Event to Feature Community Book Drive; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

OFFICIAL RELEASE

Nearly 50 Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under.  Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under.  A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.

This year the event will feature a community book drive that will help support Next Door’s Books for Kids program. The goal of the Books for Kids campaign is to help all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of their family income or education levels, have books they can call their own. Local author Marla McKenna will help host the event. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children’s books to donate. In appreciation for their contribution, fans who donate a book will receive a free copy of McKenna’s newest publication, “Mom’s Big Catch,” a story based upon events that took place at Miller Park.

Once again food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task.  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

  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Juan Centeno
  • Matt Clark
  • Clint Coulter
  • Khris Davis
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • David Goforth
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Hector Gomez
  • Brooks Hall
  • Jim Henderson
  • Jeremy Jeffress
  • Taylor Jungmann
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Corey Knebel (just added)
  • Adam Lind
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Gerardo Parra
  • Wily Peralta
  • Shane Peterson
  • Jason Rogers
  • Luis Sardiñas (just added)
  • Logan Schafer
  • Will Smith
  • Michael Strong
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

COACHES

  • Darnell Coles (Hitting Coach)
  • Joe Crawford (Video/Scouting)
  • Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers Mgr.)
  • Mike Guerrero (1st Base Coach)
  • Marcus Hanel (Bullpen Catcher)
  • Rick Kranitz (Pitching Coach)
  • Jerry Narron (Bench Coach)
  • Ron Roenicke (Manager)
  • Ed Sedar (3rd Base Coach)
  • John Shelby (Outfield Coach)
  • Lee Tunnell (Bullpen Coach)

ALUMNI

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Cecil Cooper
  • Craig Counsell
  • Rob Deer
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle

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, a 50/50 raffle, live auction 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 Brewers.com/ondeck.

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.

A detailed schedule of all Brewers On Deck events will be released next week.

***UPDATE! Here is the schedule…***

Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Bob Uecker will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry card which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center.  The Premier Entry card will be exchanged for a numbered coupon and 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. A schedule is listed below:

PREMIER AUTOGRAPH SCHEDULE

Player                                   Signing Time       Stage

Bob Uecker                           12:30 – 1:15         5

Ryan Braun                          1:00 – 1:45           6

Jonathan Lucroy                 2:30 – 3:15           3

Carlos Gomez                      3:00 – 3:45           1

Players and staff not included in the above autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of those players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10.

The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player (BOLD ITALICS – Premier Autograph).

Autograph Schedule – MAIN STAGES

Stage 1                                                                                               

10:30 – 11:15      Scooter Gennett ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Logan Schafer ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Mike Fiers ($10)

3:00 – 3:45           Carlos Gomez ($10)

 

Stage 2                                                                                                

12:30 – 1:15         Jim Henderson ($10)

2:00 – 2:45           Gerardo Parra ($10)

3:30 – 4:15           Will Smith ($10)

 

Stage 3                                                                                            

11:30 – 12:15      Adam Lind ($10)

2:30 – 3:15           Jonathan Lucroy ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Wily Peralta ($10)

 

Stage 4                                                                                                 

10:30 – 11:15     Brandon Kintzler ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Rob Wooten ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Khris Davis  ($10)

 

Stage 5

11:00 – 11:45 Jimmy Nelson ($10)

12:30 – 1:15   Bob Uecker  ($10)/Mark Attanasio ($0)

3:30 – 4:15   Jeremy Jeffress ($10)

 

Stage 6

11:30 – 12:15      Tyler Thornburg ($10)

1:00 – 1:45           Ryan Braun ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Kyle Lohse ($10)

Players who are not listed above will sign free autographs on the Bonus Stage all day long.

Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs.

The 620 WTMJ Stage will broadcast live from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include interviews with Brewers players and coaches.

New this year, fans are invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games. Fans can also post their photos from the event to Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BrewersOnDeck for a chance to win prizes such as a trip down Bernie Brewer’s slide, game tickets and more. For contest rules, visit brewers.com/onDeck.

Children are invited to visit the Farm Teams Infield for free batting and hitting clinics scheduled throughout the day.  Brewers alumni and players will be on hand for the instructional sessions.  Kids can run around the field or try a quick game of ping pong with Brewers players.

Klement’s Main Stage Schedule

10:15 a.m. – Welcome – Brewers television broadcaster Craig Coshun will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced to fans.

11:15 a.m. – Meet the Coaches – Third base coach Ed Sedar will host a Q&A session with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.

12:30 p.m. – The Brewlywed Game – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show to see which pair really knows each other the best.  Joe Block will host the show.

2:00 p.m. – Meet the Management and Newest Players – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin, Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash will join the newest Brewers acquisitions – Corey Knebel, Adam Lind and Luis Sardinas – in a question and answer session with Brewers fans. The session will be hosted by Brian Anderson.

3:15 p.m. – Call to the Pen – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Pictionary.  Joe Block will host the show.

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.

Roster News: Brewers DL Thornburg, Understandably Recall Fiers

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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!

Milwaukee Brewers 2014 Player Salaries

Here is a listing of the MLB salaries of the 26* men earning MLB-level pay from the Milwaukee Brewers as of Opening Day.

Quick math: The figures below total $101,219,338.00

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Aramis Ramirez $15,137,803

Matt Garza $12,209,424

Rickie Weeks $12,000,000

Yovani Gallardo $11,500,000

Ryan Braun $11,111,111

Kyle Lohse $11,000,000

Carlos Gomez $7,000,000

Marco Estrada $3,325,000

Francisco Rodriguez $3,250,000

Tom Gorzelanny* $3,150,000

Jonathan Lucroy $2,100,000

Mark Reynolds $2,000,000

Lyle Overbay $1,500,000

Zach Duke $850,000

Jean Segura $534,000

Wily Peralta $515,000

Jim Henderson $512,000

Brandon Kintzler $507,000

Logan Schafer $505,000

Tyler Thornburg $505,000

Scooter Gennett $504,000

Khris Davis $503,000

Jeff Bianchi $ 502,000

Martin Maldonado $ 502,000

Will Smith $502,000

Wei-Chung Wang $500,000


*Tom Gorzelanny is on the 15-day Disabled List to begin the season

Source: USA Today

2014 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster

Here is the breakdown of the Opening Day 25-man roster.

PITCHERS (12)
59 Zach Duke* – LHP
41 Marco Estrada – RHP
49 Yovani Gallardo – RHP
22 Matt Garza – RHP
29 Jim Henderson – RHP
53 Brandon Kintzler – RHP
26 Kyle Lohse – RHP
38 Wily Peralta – RHP
57 Francisco Rodriguez – RHP
13 Will Smith – LHP
30 Tyler Thornburg – RHP
51 Wei-Chung Wang – LHP

CATCHERS (2)
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado

INFIELDERS (7)
14 Jeff Bianchi
2 Scooter Gennett
24 Lyle Overbay
16 Aramis Ramirez
7 Mark Reynolds
9 Jean Segura
23 Rickie Weeks

OUTFIELDERS (4)
8 Ryan Braun
18 Khris Davis
27 Carlos Gomez
1 Logan Schafer

DISABLED LIST (1)
32 Tom Gorzelanny LHP (left shoulder)

STAFF
10 Ron Roenicke – Manager
33 Mike Guerrero – Coach
35 Garth Iorg – 1B Coach
39 Rick Kranitz – Pitching Coach
36 Jerry Narron – Bench Coach
37 Johnny Narron – Hitting Coach
6 Ed Sedar – 3B Coach
31 John Shelby – Outfield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher

Legends of the Field Giveaway #2

 

 

We gave away four autographed photos in our last contest featuring Jean Segura, Yovani Gallardo, and Scooter Gennett.

Next week Monday, my sponsor and I will be giving away the three autographed baseballs pictured below.

LOTF_Signed_Baseballs

Clockwise from upper left: Tyler Thornburg, Jean Segura, Rickie Weeks

 

This is a social media contest, and as such there are two ways to enter. You must be following both Legends of the Field and the Brewer Nation on Twitter (respectively: @lotfautographs & @BrewerNation) and/or like both of our pages on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/legendsofthefield & http://www.facebook.com/BrewerNation)

Note: There will be one ball guaranteed to go to a Twitter entrant and one ball guaranteed to go to a Facebook entrant. If you want a chance at all three baseballs, you must enter the contest on both platforms.

Then, once you’re in…

Find this tweet and retweet it:

Like this post on Facebook:

That’s it! We’ll select the winners at random on Monday, March 31st…just in time for OPENING DAY!!!

What better way to commemorate the start of a new season than with a new addition to your autograph collection from your trusted source of Brewers memorabilia, Legends of the Field?

Good luck and GO BREWERS!!

LOTF

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #30 Tyler Thornburg

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It’s the post that would have been written 33 days ago but for the fact that players are allowed to change jersey numbers should they choose.

So instead of 63, today’s profile will focus on 30 instead and its wearer for the 2014 season…

Tyler Thornburg.

Where do I begin with Tyler Thornburg and the 2013 season?

TylerThornburgLet’s start at the end because that where all the statistics have been compiled.

Tyler Michael Thornburg pitched in 33 regular season games in 2013. He pitched in 18 as a Brewer and 15 as a Nashville Sound.

Thornburg pitched with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds to begin the season. He was called up to Milwaukee in early June out of necessity more than anything else. He wasn’t the first guy on Doug Melvin’s call list after how he started 2013, but that had a way of working itself out as you’ll see in a bit.

Thornburg started all 15 of his Nashville games and made seven starts for Milwaukee, including all of his September appearances. Thornburg profiles for me pundits as a relief pitcher, but he’s had trouble with getting his arm to rebound quickly enough to be available as often as most bullpen guys are. But I digress.

For now, more on why Thornburg wasn’t the first option in 2013. For that, let’s actually look at those season stats that I referenced a few paragraphs ago.

Here are his separate pitching lines for 2013:

  • AAA: 0-9, 5.79 ERA, 74.2 IP, 90 H, 54 R (48 ER), 11 HR, 29 BB, 87 K, 1.594 WHIP, 10.8 H/9, 3.5 BB/9, 10.5 K/9, 4.11 FIP, 3.26 SIERA
  • MLB: 3-1, 2.03 ERA, 66.2 IP, 53 H, 17 R (15 ER), 1 HR, 26 BB, 48 K, 1.185 WHIP, 7.2 H/9, 3.5 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 195 ERA+, 3.54 FIP, 5.00 SIERA

If you’re new to the structure of Major League Baseball, let me first point out that Class-AAA (Nashville) is an easier circuit than the big leagues. That may sound like an obvious statement, but Thornburg’s results suggest anything but.

I’ve made known my theory as to why Thornburg struggled in Triple-A last year so much a few times before via various mediums (radio, blog, podcast), but here it is one more time for posterity.

Part of the reason that some feel Thornburg will eventually wind up in the bullpen is that they don’t feel his stuff is dynamic enough to allow him to continually get the same hitters out over extended periods of time. To put it another way, they think Thornburg can be “figured out”. I don’t know how much stock I put in that because I’m not a baseball scout, but it got me to thinking.

Thornburg raced through the Brewers system after being drafted in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He actually skipped over Nashville on his way up to the bigs and debuted in Milwaukee before throwing a pitch as a Sound. He would then be optioned back to Nashville in 2012 to continue to develop. Through that, and the guys he pitched against on the way up starting to reach Triple-A, and with 2013 starting back in Nashville…. it seemed to add up to the idea that maybe too many of the hitters at that level had seen enough of his stuff that he was starting to get hit harder. Combine that with a bit of bad luck (he had a .383 BABip in Nashville in 2013 which doesn’t factor in his 1.3 HR/9 rate), an offense that didn’t do him any favors, and a mental snowballing effect, and you can see how Nashville simply got out of hand.

And it may sound silly to the saber-minded, but with a fresh stat line in Milwaukee, a mental reboot of a new environment, and the excitement of being back in the big leagues, Thornburg went out and pitched very well, even dominating at times.

The only other option is that Thornburg was sulking because he wasn’t in the big leagues, but that doesn’t match up at all with the man’s personality, determination, and demeanor.

The true test of that theory will be 2014 though. Despite Doug Melvin’s correct stance to not want to trade Thornburg for the likes of Ike Davis, the right-hander is unlikely to break camp with the parent club this year after the free agent signing of Matt Garza. After all, nobody makes it through a season with just five starting pitchers so the Brewers brass will likely want to maintain their sudden depth in starting pitching and have Thornburg stay stretched out by fronting Nashville’s rotation.

Thornburg could start the season in the big league bullpen, but the Brewers have enough options there that he shouldn’t have to. I’d prefer for him to start all season and confirm that his 2013 Nashville experience was a fluke.

Expect Thornburg to start for Milwaukee at some point this year though. That feels like a virtual certainty given the law of averages coupled with the injury histories of both Garza and Marco Estrada.

And if I know Thornburg, he’ll be ready to go whenever he gets the ball the next time for the Brewers.

You can follow Tyler Thornburg on Twitter: @TylerThornburg

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

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