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Diamond in the Rough

Here's an interesting quote from an article Adam McCalvy wrote yesterday:

Every year, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin challenges his scouts to find at least one diamond in the rough. On the positional side, think Scott Podsednik and Brady Clark. For pitchers, think Doug Davis, Dan Kolb and Derrick Turnbow.
Early in the year, I had to stop myself from simply assuming that the Brewers would dig up another one. Milwaukee's track record for turning waiver claims into productive players (and Carlos Lee and Jose Capellan) is second to none, and it's ridiculous to think we can expect that kind of production for no cost every year.

Now, though, I've realized that this year's "diamond in the rough" is Brian Shouse. I wasn't particularly impressed when the Crew dealt for Shouse, though fortunately I didn't say anything I'd later regret. I remember my general reaction being that Ned finally had the LOOGY he'd dreamed of for so long, and that we'd see him trot in midway through the 7th or 8th inning every damn day.

In part, I was right: Shouse has appeared in more than three quarters of the games since the trade. I didn't expect him to actually be quite good.

Given that the Rangers had basically given up on him (like they more or less did with Francisco Cordero, too!) I think Shouse qualifies as our diamond in the rough for this year. He's third on the team in WXRL, which is a WPA-based reliever stat. Only Cordero and Jose Capellan are better, and Capellan has twice as many innings. Cordero and Matt Wise are the only two Brewers pitchers who, on average, have appeared in higher-leverage situations than Shouse. Both of those stats confirm what we can see watching Ned manage his pen: Shouse's numbers aren't cheap. He's getting the job done against some of the best (lefty) hitters in the league, and he's done so very consistently.

Shouse got a nifty profile a couple of days ago on the official site--it's time he got more recognition from Brewers fans. Not just as "the lefty Ned really needs coming out of the pen," but as a darn good pitcher who has thrived in his new home.

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