FanPost

Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville Rotations

Spring Training is fast approaching, and after a 2012 filled with dominance from pitching prospects (Thornburg, Burgos, Nelson, Gagnon) and disappointments (Bradley, Pena, Heckathorn) there's sure to be a lot of shuffling within the rotations of Milwaukee's Advanced A, AA and AAA clubs. I've grouped together these rotations with respect to the player's 2012 performance by class, number of starts per class, and service time. Stats shown reflect the 2012 season, unless otherwise noted.

Class A+, Brevard County

Pitcher

Age

2012 Class

G/GS

ERA

WHIP

IP

K

BB

HR/9

Jed Bradley

22

A+

20/20

5.53

1.668

107.1

60

43

0.8

Chad Thompson

22

A

18/18

4.31

1.237

85.2

74

37

1.2

Matt Miller

23

*A/A+

22/22

3.68

1.288

132

95

38

0.5

Brooks Hall

22

A

16/13

4.33

1.558

68.2

40

35

0.9

Chad Pierce

25

A

27/12

3.47

1.227

124.2

115

41

0.7

*Class A stats only

This group doesn't look particularly impressive, but if Bradley has the bounce back 2013 performance that many expect, that could change in a hurry. Chad Thompson is 6'8" so those HR numbers should regress. Although he was drafted in the 27th round he pitched as well as Miller, an earlier draft pick with 2 years on him. Miller was drafted alongside Jimmy Nelson, but clearly hasn't followed the same development track. Not much to say about Hall, an average performance all around. Pierce is coming off an impressive season though at age 25 it certainly comes with an asterisk. He is also a Wisconsin native and UW Milwaukee alumnus so it'd be great to see him build off his impressive 2012 and dominate A+. Other possibilities here are Mark Williams (23 yrs old) he posted a solid 3.88 ERA and pitched well in the MWL playoffs. Also David Goforth (24 yrs old), who started 28 games at Class A Wisconsin and put up underwhelming numbers for a power pitcher (4.66 ERA, 5.6 K/9), before making an impact in the postseason. Austin Ross (24 yrs old) could also find his way into the rotation at some point, but will have to prove himself after a season ending injury just 3 starts into 2012 resulted in Tommy John Surgery.

Class AA, Huntsville

Pitcher

Age

2012 Class

G/GS

ERA

WHIP

IP

K

BB

HR/9

Jimmy Nelson

23

A+/AA

23/23

2.83

1.25

127.1

119

62

0.4

Taylor Jungmann

23

A+

26/26

3.53

1.34

153

99

46

0.4

Drew Gagnon

22

A/A+

25/25

2.83

1.07

149.2

114

37

0.5

Nick Bucci

22

Rk/A+

10/10

1.90

1.10

42.2

44

15

0.8

Ariel Pena

23

*AA

26/26

3.93

1.36

146.2

140

65

1.2

Johnny Hellweg

24

*AA

28/23

3.29

1.40

139.2

105

75

0.5

*Includes games pitched in the Texas and Southern Leagues for Milwaukee and LAA affiliates

Potential logjam here, you could reasonably argue that Pena should start the year at AAA, but given his struggles after being acquired by the Brewers (7 GS, 7.24 ERA, 1.95 WHIP) he may need to prove he can handle the Southern League before he faces the hitter friendly PCL. Hellweg has the raw talent but hasn't been able to harness the command so one or both of them may be destined for the bullpen. Nelson impressed in his A+ debut, showing vastly improved control and an 8.5 K/9. But he hit a roadblock upon his promotion to AA with 37 BB in 46 innings pitched, however he was able to maintain a 3.91 ERA despite the walk rate and 68.8 LOB%, a .256 BABIP and 0.4 HR/9 helped quite a bit on that front. Bucci has been in the organization since 2008 and is still only 22, with 31 starts at A+ and a 3.52 ERA he has nothing left to prove at that level. Gagnon quietly put up stellar numbers with the Timber Rattlers before his promotion to A+, where he showed the ability to limit walks, keep the ball off the bat and in the park. His development has followed a similar path to Thornburg's so far, minus the strikeout totals. Jungmann didn't do anything during the year to warrant an advancement to AA during the 2012 season, but he racked up the ground ball totals and posted a solid walk rate. He and Gagnon consistently pitched deep into games.

Class AAA, Nashville

Pitcher

Age

2012 Class

G/GS

ERA

WHIP

IP

K

BB

HR/9

Tyler Thornburg

23

AA/AAA

21/21

3.20

1.17

112.2

113

37

0.6

Hiram Burgos

25

A+/AA/AAA

28/27

1.95

1.03

171

153

49

0.4

Josh Stinson

24

AA

29/24

3.16

1.64

145.1

91

71

0.4

Another dozen starts, another promotion for Thornburg, yawn. He's breezed through the system, obliterating the competition and basically just not caring about your favorite hitter's feelings. Sure he served up the long ball far too often in Milwaukee (I blame Roenicke for not yanking him after 5 IP vs. the Blue Jays) but for now I'll chalk it up to sample size as it's never been a problem for him in the minors. The biggest knock on him besides his size, is his less than elite control, but it's improved as he's climbed the ladder. We'll see him in Milwaukee in 2013, hopefully as a starter. Burgos had gone through his entire minor league career with little fanfare. Well he certainly woke up in 2012, his second taste of A+ ball only lasted 6 starts before he moved on to dominate AA, and more than hold his own in Nashville as well. He averaged over 6 innings per start and earned Brewers Minor League Pitcher of The Year honors, no small feat considering some of the performances we saw from pitching prospects in 2012. But can we reasonably expect a guy who was so hittable in the 3 seasons prior to 2012 (H/9 over 10) to avoid bats like he did in 2012 (6.7 H/9)? Stinson posted a great ERA with ugly peripherals, but has a low to mid 90's fastball with good movement and generates a lot of ground balls, so perhaps he will end up as more than just organizational filler. Other than these 3, the rest of the Nashville rotation will likely be comprised of non prospects like Brian Baker, Johnnie Lowe etc...

The conclusion

By now we all know what the general consensus is on Milwaukee's pitching prospects, they're full of potential back/mid rotation guys and innings eaters, but none of them have a third pitch and will never be the kind of front line starters that this club hasn't had much of in the last 20 years. But like Bill Schroeder says whenever the 396 is shown at Petco Park CF, "I'm not buyin' that".

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