MVBrewers is a player-by-player look at the most valuable members of the 2012 Brewers, as voted on by you. Here's our top ten:
The series now continues with Lesser Brewers, to cover some of the remaining Brewers that we have not covered so far. This is the thirteenth installment in that segment. You can see all the player profiles in the Most Valuable Brewers 2012 section.
It feels like we've been watching Tyler Thornburg develop for a long time, but really it hasn't been that long.
The Brewers' third round pick in the 2010 draft, Thornburg was pitching for AA Huntsville when the Brewers called out for an emergency starter and brought him to the big leagues. He made his major league debut on June 19, just two years and eight days after signing his first professional contract.
Thornburg's first major league start was a good outing that went south in his final inning, as he pitched five solid frames before allowing back-to-back-to-back home runs in the sixth. He made three more relief appearances and a start in July, then rejoined the team for two relief appearances and a start in September.
There are scouts who seem to feel that Thornburg's long term role will be in the bullpen and the Brewers used him a few times that way in 2012 even though he'd never really worked consistently in that role at any professional level. At times it appeared the Brewers didn't really know what they wanted to do with him, which led to some bizarre usage patterns. At one point in July he started and pitched 4.2 innings on three days' rest. Then he sat for six days before pitching in relief in back-to-back games and only coming out of the second one when the trainer had to come out to the mound to get him.
Even if the Brewers don't sign a veteran starter this winter, Thornburg likely sits behind either five or six starters (depending on your opinion on Mark Rogers) on the Brewers' 2013 depth chart. He still has two options remaining, so barring something unforeseen he'll probably open next season in the rotation in Nashville.
Thornburg looked pretty good in a spot start on the season's penultimate day on October 2 against the Padres, allowing a single run on four hits over four innings with no walks and four strikeouts. He needed just 51 pitches to record 12 outs, but didn't quite pitch deep enough into the game to qualify for the win in a game the Brewers took 4-3.
MLB.com has an interview with Thornburg from after the game:
Thornburg has less than one year of major league service time, so he'll be a Brewer for a long time. He's also got two options remaining.