Jeremy Jeffress comes up, somebody has to go down. The debate seemed to revolve around whether it should be Jacob Barnes or Jake Petricka. This time around the Brewers decided to option Jake Petricka.
There are likely a few reasons Petricka was the choice rather than Barnes or another reliever:
1. Barnes has been effective of late. In fact, since his March 29 appearance against St. Louis where he gave up three runs and a home run in the one inning he pitched, Barnes has not been scored upon. He’s appeared in five games, pitched 5.2 innings, given up two hits, and not given up a run. That is a pretty good run of success. Let’s hope it continues, because by all accounts, his stuff is closer stuff.
2. Petricka does not have great numbers. His ERA is 9.00. The ground ball specialist really has not had an extended look yet, but he needed to take advantage of the opportunity presented to have a shot of staying with the club once Jeffress came back. In his first outing with the major league squad, he did not fare well. On April 9, the Angels touched him up for two runs in his only inning of work. His only other appearance came on April 14 against Dodgers. They did not score against him. While not a large enough sample, there is cause for concern in that he walked two batters in each of his one inning appearances.
3. Petricka has almost, but not quite, five years of MLB service time. Once he gets to that milestone the Brewers will have to get his permission to be optioned to the minors. His next time up with the big league club may be his last. His performance would likely determine whether he stays with the team for the season or is designated for assignment when the time comes (or accepts an assignment to go to the minor leagues, a la Eric Sogard last year). With that in mind, Petricka might not see Milwaukee for a bit.
This will very likely be the last time Petricka can be optioned without his permission. Just needs ~5 more days of MLB service time to hit 5 years. https://t.co/w5RQDXZAwZ— Toby H (@YouKnowAndThat) April 16, 2019
The good news is Jeremy Jeffress is back and hopefully back to form soon. Further good news is that Jacob Barnes may, and I stress MAY, be taking a next step. Jake Petricka will serve as bullpen depth that Milwaukee stashes in the minors. When and if the time is right, we will see him again. Given that he's headed to Appleton, instead of San Antonio, it might be sooner rather than later.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs