The Milwaukee Brewers had an open spot on the 40 man roster after outrighting JJ Hoover (and subsequently losing him to free agency), and they didn’t wait long to fill it. This afternoon the club announced that they have claimed right-hander Alec Asher off of waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers:
Asher, 26, began his career back after getting drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft. He went from Texas to Philadelphia in 2015 as a part of the Cole Hamels trade, and it was later that season that he would make his big league debut as a member of the Phillies. Asher made 12 MLB start with Philadelphia during 2015 and 2016 before getting acquired by the Orioles for cash shortly before Opening Day in 2017. He spent a significant chunk of time in the big leagues with Baltimore last season, appearing in 24 games (6 starts) and working 60 innings. He hit the waiver wire when he was DFA’d by Baltimore prior to Opening Day 2018 and was claimed by the Dodgers, for whom he made only one AAA start.
Part of the reason for Asher’s travels have been his lack of results at the big league level, as he’s worked to a 5.55 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 across 116.2 innings in his parts of three seasons. Run estimators like DRA (5.95) and FIP (5.17) aren’t much bigger fans of his work, either. He has a strong body of work in the minors leagues, though, including a 3.50 ERA in 574.0 innings pitched since turning professional as well as a 3.74 ERA and 122:40 K/BB ratio in 173.1 innings at AAA.
Asher doesn’t throw particularly hard, with a fastball that averaged 91.1 MPH last season with the Orioles. He does throw the kitchen sink at you, though, with a four-seam, sinker, cutter, changeup, and curveball all within his arsenal. He doesn’t miss many bats (7.9% career swinging strike rate) and is prone to fly balls (37.3% career ground ball rate), instead relying on generating soft contact. He hasn’t yet proven to be exactly adept at that, though, with a 30.2% hard contact rate and 1.5 HR/9 allowed as a big leaguer.
Asher has an option year for 2018 and will report to Colorado Springs to begin his time with the organization, but it stands to reason that he could see time in the big leagues as depth in the starting rotation and/or bullpen. Of course, it’s also quite possible that he’ll wind up back on the waiver wire within the next few days. You never quite know with Slingin’ David Stearns.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus