The Milwaukee Brewers made a couple of important roster announcements after this afternoon’s victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. First:
Manager Craig Counsell announces that RHP Brandon Woodruff will start tomorrow's game at Tampa Bay. He will be making his MLB debut.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 3, 2017
This will be take two for Brandon Woodruff’s major league debut. He was initially called up to the big leagues to start on June 13th, but suffered a hamstring injury while warming up before first pitch. He would ultimately spend 43 days on the MLB disabled list, vesting his pension before even throwing a pitch in the majors. Woodruff was activated off the DL on July 25th and was immediately optioned back to AAA Colorado Springs. There, he has made 15 starts this season and pitched relatively well considering the harsh pitching environment of Security Service Field. In 72.2 innings for the Sky Sox, Woodruff has compiled a 4.46 ERA/3.55 DRA (67 DRA-) with 70 strikeouts and 24 walks.
Woodruff was ranked as Milwaukee’s #2 prospect in Baseball America’s midseason update and checked in at #4 in MLB Pipeline’s re-ranking. Both outlets have him in the top-100 overall, with BA placing him at #43 and Pipeline at #94. According to the reports, increasing his pace on the mound has helped him clean up his mechanics and repeat his delivery more consistently. Woodruff boasts a plus fastball that sits in the 93-95 MPH range with late sink along with an above-average slider and an average changeup that still lags a bit behind his other two offerings. The repetoire plays up thanks to his above-average to plus command, and the overall package could be that of a #3 starter when all is said and done.
In addition to the Woodruff news, manager Craig Counsell had a less-than-stellar update regarding catcher Jett Bandy, who was replaced late in the game after experiencing discomfort during a swing:
Jett Bandy has a fractured rib and will go on the DL. Could be from a HBP a few days ago, Counsell said.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) August 3, 2017
Bandy broke camp with the team this spring but was demoted to the minors when the team acquired Stephen Vogt in early July. He would return a couple weeks later when Vogt went down with an injury of his own. Bandy has struggled on both sides of the ball this season, batting a meager .218/.295/.392 (73 wRC+) with 6 home runs in 173 MLB plate appearances while also accruing a staggering -7 Defensive Runs Saved behind the dish.
With Vogt still a week or two away from returning, the only other healthy catcher on the 40 man roster is Andrew Susac. He was injured to start the season and hasn’t performed well with Colorado Springs, batting only .205/.307/.404 (79 wRC+) with 8 home runs in 202 plate appearances. It seems likely he’ll receive a call-up to come to Milwaukee and play behind Manny Pina until Vogt is ready to return to active duty.
The Brewers have not officially announced the corresponding moves following today’s personnel news, so look for that news to come tomorrow before Milwaukee takes on the Rays in Tampa Bay.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs