The Milwaukee Brewers have yet to make much of a splash in the 2016-17 offseason, but the club reportedly made a minor move earlier today. According to MiLB Roster Tracker on Twitter, the Brewers have signed right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino to a minor league deal for the 2017 season.
Espino will turn 30 this January and began his career as a 10th round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2006. The native of Panama has never made it to the major leagues, spending the first seven seasons of his career from 2007-2013 pitching in the Indians’ system before signing with the Nationals and spending 2014-16 between their AA and AAA affiliates.
Though he has yet to crack the majors at this point, Espino has a lengthy track record of success in the upper levels of the minors. In 85 AAA appearances (66 starts) covering 426.2 innings, the diminutive right-hander has worked to a 3.63 ERA to go along with marks of 7.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. He spent all of 2016 pitching for AAA Syracuse, appearing in 26 games (24 starts) and tossing 152.2 innings of 3.30 ERA ball. He struck out 133 batters against just 29 walks.
Espino doesn’t have dominant stuff and is slightly built (5’10” and 190 lbs), which may be drivers of the fact that he has yet to be given a chance to pitch in The Show in spite of his minor league success. His fastball sits in the upper-80s and he complements it with a 12-6 curveball:
A team can never have too much pitching, and Espino figures to begin the season as AAA rotation depth in Colorado Springs. He’ll hope to follow the in the footsteps of #2016BrewersAce Junior Guerra as another 30+ year old journeyman who experienced unlikely big league success with the Milwaukee Nine.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference