The top three lefties on the Brewer bullpen depth chart before the season were Zach Braddock, Manny Parra, and Mitch Stetter. It is May 23rd and all three are on the DL, and the Brewers are rolling with the rare all right-handed bullpen, which I didn't expect to last this entire week.
In response to this situation, the Twitters are buzzing about news that the Brewers may have claimed the most interesting possible available lefty (this side of Rob Swindle): former Red Danny Ray Herrera.
- He's 5 feet 6 inches tall.
- He throws a screwball.
- Do you really need a third reason?
Hererra has thrown 92 major league innings in his career, with 6.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. In his career, he's allowed opposing lefty batters a line of .206/.270/.284. As a LOOGY, he's probably better than Stetter at this point. He's not too strong against righthanded batters, but he's also not completely useless facing them.
The fun part is his stuff. Herrera isn't going to throw any harder than 85, but you'll see a slider, change, cutter, and a screwball in addition to the straight fastball. A screwball! The pitch f/x algorithms classify it as a changeup as far as I can tell-- one with some extreme movement and 68 miles per hour velocity. I'll do more investigation if he does end up pitching for the big league club, but that's a spectacle.
The screwball's movement should make it an extremely effective pitch, but as far as I understand, the hard part is hiding it because it requires a different throwing motion than most other pitches. He's had some success with it though, it's been worth about 6 runs above an average changeup in his career.
At this point, I have no idea if the Brewers just plan to add him to the 40-man and stash him at Nashville for depth at lefty reliever, but I would doubt that. They already have the top three lefty relievers on the DL, so if a fourth-string lefty was going to ever pitch in the majors, it'd be now. He's been pretty successful at AAA for the Reds this year so I think there's a decent chance he could join the team this week or even today if this news is in fact true. And if it's not, well, disregard, and somebody give Swindle a call.