Another day closer to Opening Day, another ballplayer profiled on “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” 2015 edition.
We’re 11 weeks out from the Brewers opener on April 6. That equates to 77 days for those who were told that there would be no math.
Wearing 77 on his jersey once Pitchers and Catchers report on February 20 is the newest Brewers draftee to be added to the 40-man roster…
This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of writing a full article on David Paul Goforth. Last season he was announced as a non-roster invitee a full 11 days after his profile otherwise would have been written up. So we’ll go through some background first before getting into his 2014 and outlook for 2015.
The 5’10”, 205lb reliever was drafted by the Brewers in the 7th round of the 2011 draft out of Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi). Unlike yesterday’s subject, Taylor Jungmann, Goforth would sign right away and actually appear in 19 games for the short-season rookie ball affiliate Helena Brewers in 2011. Despite being targeted as an eventual relief pitcher, Goforth began the 2012 season in the Wisconsin Timber Rattler’s rotation. The Brewers use the philosophy that relievers can develop their repertoire and arm strength more quickly by beginning their development as starting pitchers. It’s a path they’ve taken with many players other than Goforth, one that they’ll likely continue to utilize.
Goforth would spend all of 2012 with the Class-A Timber Rattlers, logging 150.2 IP and a robust 4.66 ERA across 28 starts. That wasn’t much of a worry long-term however, given the plan and the development-based goals. The right-hander would begin 2013 with the Class-A Advanced Brevard County Manatees, still starting, but would earn a promotion to (primarily) the Class-AA Huntsville bullpen in the second half of June. While his numbers were never earthshattering, a combined 3.17 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 125.0 IP were enough to garner Goforth’s inclusion among the Brewers contingent sent to the Arizona Fall League. Goforth would make 12 appearances, striking out 15 hitters over 12.0 IP. He performed well enough that I thought he might make the step up and start this past season at Class-AAA Nashville.
Instead, Goforth would spend all of 2014 with Huntsville. In 64.2 IP over 54 games (including 44 games finished), Goforth would record 27 saves. He’d tally just 46 strikeouts, and walk 29 (for an untenable 4.0 BB/9). His ERA was elevated at 3.76 but part of that was no doubt fueled by a .290 BABIP against.
The end of the 2014 season brought with it an incredibly important decision for Goforth. When it came time to determine whether he deserved protection on the Brewers 40-man roster, the front office thought about it for several more hours than the other additions (Jungmann, Michael Strong, and Yadiel Rivera). When the Brewers first announced 40-man roster adds, it was the other three whose names were mentioned. But in the end, Goforth’s profile as a late-inning reliever whose fastball sits in the mid 90s (touching 98 MPH) who carries a trio of secondary pitches (cutter, curve, change) thanks to his time starting was enough to worry the Brewers that someone else might pluck him in the Rule 5 Draft. After all, relief pitchers are the easiest to “hide” in the middle of a bullpen.
Chances are good that he’ll make his Major League debut in 2015, but the bottom line is that while Goforth has a plus fastball and a promising cutter, it’s his command of his arsenal as opposed to its composition that’ll get him to Milwaukee and keep him there. But it all starts again in about a month at Maryvale for the 26-year-old Mississippi-born fireballer. It could be a season that makes his baseball career.
You can follow David Goforth on Twitter (so you should): @DavidGoforth33
Catch up on the countdown!