If you weren't watching closely, you might have forgotten that Tim Dillard spent most of the season as a part of this Brewer team.
Dillard was called up for the first time on May 13 but, in what would become a theme for him this season, he had to wait a while to get into a game. He was used for the first time on May 23, ten days later. He made 13 appearances for the Brewers in June but was sent back down on July 2.
Dillard's second stint with the Brewers was where his inactivity really became notable. He was recalled on July 16 and pitched two thirds of an inning on the 18th, but appeared in just one of the Brewers' next 21 games. He made just six more appearances in the two months that followed.
You wouldn't know it from the way Dillard was used, but he was actually pretty effective in his brief work this season. His 1.047 WHIP was outstanding, as was his 1.3 walks per nine innings. His 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings were the most he's ever averaged at any level.
2011 was Dillard's eighth season in the Brewer organization, but he's accumulated just one year and seven days of major league service time. As such he can't become arbitration eligible for the first time until at least the 2014 season, and won't be eligible for free agency until at least 2017.
Dillard is also out of options, so he can't be sent to the minors in 2012 without being designated for assignment and exposed to waivers.
Dillard was mostly used in mop-up duty in 2011, but there was one very notable exception. On June 5 Dillard was called in during the bottom of the ninth inning of a game against the Marlins with disaster brewing: The two teams were tied at five and Florida had loaded the bases with one out against LaTroy Hawkins and Zach Braddock. Dillard entered the game and defused the threat, getting a groundout and a fly out to end the inning. He went on to pitch a 1-2-3 10th to keep the game alive and allow Josh Wilson to win it in the 11th with this blast:
Should Tim Dillard be a part of the Brewer bullpen in 2012?
Yes (93 votes)
No (43 votes)
Undecided (35 votes)
171 total votes