Johnny Hellweg (10.97 ERA, 6.42 FIP) was recently named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Year. And while I don't mean to imply he didn't deserve it, he probably skated by on a somewhat lucky 3.15 ERA. Hellweg had control issues galore with Nashville, posting a 5.8 BB/9, which led to a 1.46 WHIP. Some pitchers can get out of those situations with big strikeout numbers. Hellweg did not have big strikeout numbers. While he has shown the ability to make hitters miss in the past, his 6.4 K/9 barely eclipses his walk rate.
Hellweg was up in the majors earlier in the season. His results weren't pretty. He had a 3:13 K:BB ratio in just over 10 innings while starting three games and coming on in relief in a fourth. He gave up 19 hits. He allowed 13 earned runs, but a whopping 20 overall runs in just 10 innings. Yikes. Hellweg is hopefully a big part of the Brewers future, but unless he starts cutting way back on his walks, there's no chance he succeeds in the MLB.
In fact, he might be at risk of flaming out just like Jake Arrieta (5.33 ERA, 4.73 FIP) has done so far. Once a top prospect in the Orioles' system, Arrieta has never found success at the major league level. While Arrieta's control isn't perfect, it wasn't as bad as Hellweg's. Arrieta also put up bigger strikeouts numbers.
In fact, in 2012, things didn't look so bad for him: He had an 8.6 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9. Pretty good, right? A 1.3 HR/9 wasn't ideal, but it's not enough to kill a pitcher. As it turns out, 2012 was Arrieta's worst season as far as giving up runs: He had a 6.20 ERA and put one of the final nails in his coffin with the Orioles.
In the bullpen: