We're just a few days away from actual baseball games being played, and the Milwaukee Brewers are starting to set up their pitching assignments for the first couple games.
According to Tom Haudricourt, Hiram Burgos will get the first start of the Brewers' exhibition schedule, taking the ball for Friday's exhibition against UW-Milwaukee.
#Brewers manager Craig Counsell said RHP Hiram Burgos will start first exhibition game Friday vs. UWM at Maryvale. Burgos ramping up for WBC— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 21, 2017
Burgos, Jorge Lopez and Wily Peralta are on rosters for the World Baseball Classic, so they're working on an accelerated schedule compared to their fellow starting pitchers.
The first official Cactus League game (and first TV broadcast of the year) will be Saturday against the Angels. Despite the fact 6 or 7 guys are fighting for 5 rotation spots, Haudricourt says it looks like Saturday will be a bullpen game.
Counsell said “bunch of relievers” will share time in first Cactus League game Saturday vs. Angels, including Carlos Torres.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 21, 2017
Torres is also slated to pitch in the WBC as a member of Team Mexico's bullpen.
One pitcher that won't be gunning for a rotation spot this spring is former first-round pick Taylor Jungmann. The tall righty was unable to recapture the success he had in 2015 as a member of the Brewers' rotation, getting crushed for a 9.15 ERA in five starts before being sent down to Triple-A (and then Double-A, when he got crushed in Colorado Springs). He didn't resurface in the majors until September, when he put up two scoreless outings as a reliever and finished the year with a 4-inning start in which he only gave up 2 runs but also walked 4.
Whether it's due to a roster crunch or ineffectiveness, it looks like Jungmann's days as a starter with the Brewers may be over.
Counsell said former starter Taylor Jungmann will be given chance to make club in bullpen role. Jungmann was in rotation last spring.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 21, 2017
Jungmann's mechanics have had a tendency to fall apart as a starter recently, so a move to the bullpen -- where he only has to get through one or two innings -- might end up being for the best and could end up resurrecting a career. The switch to relief could also help him maximize his fastball/curveball combination, and his pitching style could end up playing better in the bullpen. It's not the kind of value you'd like to get out of a first-round pitcher, but it's better than no value at all at this point.
Friday's game against UWM starts at 2:05 pm central time. The televised game on Saturday will start at 2:10 pm CST.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference