Welcome back to this lengthy consecutive days streak for the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series.
Yesterday, which was 59 days away from Opening Day, saw the first legitimate 2012 big leaguer profiled in John Axford.
Today, which is 58 days away from Opening Day, sees a guy who bounced back and forth a couple of times between Milwaukee and Nashville over the past couple of seasons:
Michael Melton McClendon is a 6’5”, 225 lb, right-handed relief pitcher who made his MLB debut on August 14, 2010 after being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round of the 2006 amateur draft.
McClendon has had a fair amount of success in the big leagues, given his inauspicious promotion and use in mostly low-leverage situations.
He stayed up with the Brewers from his debut in 2010 through the end of the season. His MLB campaign saw the Texas native appear in 17 games, totaling 21.0 innings pitched. His first two appearances were 3.0 inning jobs, which shows that he wasn’t exactly designated for “close and late” situations. The balance of his year resulted in a line of: 2-0, 3.00 ERA, 21.0 IP, 15 H, 7 ER, 2 HR, 7 BB, 21 K. He held opponents to a .195 batting average and saw his WHIP finish at 1.05.
The next year, McClendon got a nice look in the spring but wasn’t brought north to Milwaukee. He began the season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds where he would pitch in three games (1-0, 6.1 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K, .174 BAA) before being recalled to Milwaukee on April 19th.
McClendon would pitch that same night against the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing just one walk in an otherwise perfect ninth inning, sealing up a win for Milwaukee.
That appearance kicked off a 2011 for McClendon that would see him pitch in eight more games for the Brewers before being sent back to Nashville due to the return of Zach Braddock from the disabled list. In those nine appearances, McClendon only gave up runs twice. One was a true blow up type where he allowed three earned runs on five hits (including one home run) in an inning and two-thirds at home against San Diego. I remember, because I was there! It was that game where the Padres scored eight runs in the eighth inning en route to a 13-6 victory.
Otherwise, another very encouraging season from McClendon. He totaled a 2.63 ERA in 13.2 innings, won three games, finished with a 1.32 WHIP after surrendering 15 hits and three walks. He did strike out 10 over the nine games as well.
The other lasting legacy of McClendon’s time in Milwaukee was the introduction of the quick pitch to many fans. LaTroy Hawkins used it a few times as well, but McClendon really brought it to the forefront of Brewers fans’ minds.
Back in Nashville, McClendon finished the Triple-A season with 38 appearances, all in reliefe. He tossed 58.2 innings, and produced a 5-6 record, 3.53 ERA and recorded 8 Saves.
Looking at the total picture, it was a solid season for McClendon. He has things to work on, but so does every player. The bottom line for the team is that he’s shown flashes of being a reliable and capable option for a call-up in the case of injury to one a member of the bullpen.
Barring injury, Mike McClendon isn’t likely to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He will start the regular season in Nashville’s bullpen. These are likelihoods that you can feel comfortable with.
I just suggest that he keeps at least one carry-on bag packed.