Paolo Espino was originally scheduled to start today’s game for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in El Paso against the Chihuahuas. Instead, Angel Ventura was called up from Biloxi to make his AAA debut (and wound up pitching pretty well, 6 innings with 2 runs allowed). However, no reason was officially given for Espino being scratched, so I tweeted this:
Paolo Espino didn't make his previously scheduled start today for Colorado Springs...— Kyle L. (@brewerfan28) May 17, 2017
Our friend Adam Rygg of @BrewerNation responded with this:
@brewerfan28 And they cleared a 40-man spot with the Jhan DFA...— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) May 17, 2017
After awhile nothing was announced, so I DM’d my old buddy and fellow New Berlin native Adam McCalvy of Brewers.com to see if he knew what was up. After thanking me for the heads up, he told me that he had messaged Tom Flanagan and would dig into to see what he could find about it. A couple hours later, Adam tweeted this:
Why didn't Paolo Espino pitch as scheduled today? After asking around, I think this falls into the category of "stay tuned." https://t.co/SCTD2Dkvl1— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 17, 2017
The Brewers signed the 30 year old Espino as a minor league free agent over the winter, and the righty has gotten off to an astoundingly excellent start for AAA Colorado Springs. Making his home starts in baseball’s worst pitching environment, Paolo has authored a 2.54 ERA with a 40:5 K/BB ratio in 39.0 innings for the Sky Sox. Deserved Run Average feels that his true runs allowed totals should be at 0.75 per nine based on how he’s actually performed, which easily ranks him among the top pitchers at the AAA level. Really, it’s just been a continuing of the dominance that he’s had over the upper minors dating back several years now. Espino is a short, stocky pitcher who works in the 88-92 MPH range with his fastball, but also features a sinker, slider, changeup, and his signature pitch, a big breaking 12-6 overhand curveball.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have two obvious weak links in their current starting rotation: Wily Peralta and his 6.08 ERA along with Zach Davies and his 5.80 ERA. Davies is scheduled to face the Padres tomorrow in the series finale in San Diego while Peralta is listed as the probable starter for Friday’s matinee in Chicago against the Cubs. The Milwaukee Nine currently sit at 22-18, a half-game back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and in the lead for the 2nd National League Wild Card spot. With a tightly contested playoff chase like the one they’re currently in, the Brewers can hardly afford to be wasting starts on arms who have struggled all season long.
For what it’s worth, I swear I predicted something like this might happen in a draft of a post I wrote up on Jhan Marinez’s DFA, but didn’t publish because -JP- had already posted one a few minutes before.
We’ll have to keep an eye on how the situation develops, but we may very well see a roster move to add Espino within the next day or two, if Milwaukee chooses to replace one of their struggling starters.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus