A handful of roster moves were made by the Brewers in advance of their Friday night series opener in Seattle against the Mariners.
Outfielder Domingo Santana — limited by injuries most of the year and officially injured since June 9 — was reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List. Santana is coming off of his second rehab assignment after his first attempt was cut short upon a recurrence of elbow soreness.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell had said that Santana required between 20 and 30 plate appearances to really gauge where Santana was physically and to get him used to seeing live pitching again. Santana accomplished that between Class-A and Class-AAA, finishing his rehab assignment with a three-hit, two-walk night at the plate which included two doubles, two runs scored, and five runs batted in.
To clear space on the 25-man roster for Santana’s return, right-handed pitcher Damien Magnifico was down optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The hard-throwing reliever was a bit erratic during his first big league call-up but fell victim to injuries to others as much as anything else. The Brewers played in a doubleheader on Tuesday in Chicago, the second game of which saw starting pitcher Chase Anderson leave early after being struck by his eleventh pitch when Kris Bryant returned it to sender at 107 miles per hour off the bat. The bullpen, having already covered a short start in the day game of the split card, were nearly maxed out. Anderson evaded serious injury and should be available out of the bullpen this weekend on his throw day as he looks to avoid the DL altogether.
That doubleheader necessitated a spot starter Friday night in Seattle. With the injured Junior Guerra not quite ready to return from his own DL stint, the Brewers decided to purchase the contract of left-handed pitcher Brent Suter.
Suter, who turns 27 in 10 days, has pitched for Colorado Springs all season. He has posted a 3.50 ERA in 110.2 innings pitched across 26 total appearances, 15 of which have been starts. Suter is a zone pounder who allows his defense to work. This is evidenced by his modest strikeout total (75) but even more so by his miniscule 14 walks allowed.
In order to purchase Suter’s contract, a spot on the 40-man roster was needed. With the return of Santana, the spot was freed up by designating the no-longer-needed and ultimately ineffective Ramon Flores. Flores, coincidentally, acquired over this past off-season from the Seattle Mariners, was given plenty of opportunities in the wake of injuries to Santana and Ryan Braun but ultimately couldn’t seize the chance and establish himself as a part of the future. It was a failed experiment but a worthwhile one by a transitioning team which the Brewers certainly are.
Santana joins Suter by starting tonight’s game, with Santana reclaiming his familiar right field defensive assignment.
When the game officially begins, Suter will end a run of 474 consecutive games wherein the Brewers would send a right-handed pitcher to take the ball first. That’s the second-longest streak in Major League Baseball history behind only a stretch by the Dodgers from September 25, 1992 through July 12, 1997.
While I expect to find this post with low readership because there’s some kind of football game on television later, I thank each of you who decided to click today. I’ll try to save you some time by not drawing out this introduction. Instead, let’s get right into today’s profile of…
I was tempted to simply make this blog post a redirect link so that you could read Tim Brown’s excellent profile of who Robert Chase Anderson is as a man. Instead, I decided to still give some additional background and go over his performance on the field like I tend to do in these things. You absolutely should read Brown’s piece too though, and probably first.
Anyway, Anderson comes to Milwaukee this off-season as part of the return for sending Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Anderson is a right-handed pitcher who has worked exclusively as a starting pitcher for four of the past five seasons after spending his first two professional years splitting time with a bit more spent entering games in relief. 2013 is the oddity as he worked in 26 games but only 13 starts.
That decision was made in no small part because of, as is so often the case with pitchers, injury. Anderson first suffered a sprained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow in 2011 which caused him to miss almost the entire season. He had additional, likely related, elbow issues each of the next two years which ultimately led to the D’backs shifting him to the bullpen for part of the year to see how Anderson reacted physically.
Anderson didn’t pitch well out of the bullpen though so the move back to the rotation was made. Fortunately, Anderson had been healthy since (up to midsummer 2015) and was able to showcase his abilities to the point where he’s not only made his MLB debut (May 11, 2014) but stayed in the big leagues. Outside of one start on August 2nd last year with the rookie ball team, Anderson has been a big leaguer since he became one.
Now 28 years old, the 6’1″ Anderson is firmly in what is often considered the prime of one’s baseball career. He started 27 games for the D’backs last year, throwing 152.2 innings. His overall season numbers don’t look great (4.30 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 95 ERA+) but there’s nuance inside of those numbers.
Anderson’s worst stretch of the year came in the five starts leading up to a stint on the disabled list with right triceps inflammation. In those five starts prior, Anderson struggled to a 9.12 ERA. He would miss about three weeks with the injury and pitched much better afterward overall.
From a business standpoint, Anderson offers a lot of value for the rebuilding Brewers. There exists a full five seasons of team control for Anderson which means the next two are pre-arbitration. Brewers brass indicated that Anderson will join the rotation immediately which more or less sets the starting rotation (barring injury or trade).
But obviously the true test of value comes in the execution of the baseball skills. If you can pitch effectively, you’ll be worth the paycheck. If Anderson is healthy, all signs point to his being good enough to be worth more than he’ll deposit into his bank account this year.
How will he accomplish that? Anderson will tell you (as he did on the radio recently) that his best pitch is his change-up. It’s been that way for awhile for the native Texan. Around the time of Anderson’s MLB debut, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (who had spent the previously three seasons as Arizona’s minor league pitching coordinator) was quoted as saying this about Anderson’s best pitch.
“It’s definitely the best in our system. Hitters obviously don’t recognize his change-up and they see fastball. He has such good hand speed and arm speed and deception on the pitch.”
A quality change should serve Anderson will in Miller Park and it’s made even better by the fact that his average fastball velocity was up over 93 MPH at the end of last year. Increased difference in the speed of those two pitches isn’t a bad thing.
The bottom line for Anderson is that the Brewers seem to be getting a hard worker with high character who is effective when healthy.
Follow Chase on Twitter: @ChaseAnderson87
Catch up on BBtJN ’16:
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, infielder Aaron Hill, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
“In Chase Anderson and Aaron Hill, we are adding two proven Major League contributors who will impact our team this year,” said Stearns.
“Chase is a young starting pitcher who has already enjoyed success at the Major League level. Aaron has a long history of production and positional versatility. In addition, we are excited to be able to add Isan Diaz to our growing supply of high upside minor-league talent.”
Anderson, 28, owns a career Major League record of 15-13 with a 4.18 ERA in 48 starts, including 6-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 starts for the Diamondbacks last season. He was selected by Arizona in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and tied the Mets’ Jacob deGrom for the most wins by a National League rookie in 2014 (21gs, 9-7, 4.01era).
Hill, 33, is a veteran of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with Toronto (2005-11) and Arizona (2011-15). The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2009, 2012) and former American League All-Star (2009) is a career .268 hitter with 151 HR, 650 RBI and 70 stolen bases in 1,400 games (116g, .230, 6hr, 39rbi in 2015). Throughout his career, the versatile Hill has started games at second base (1,148), third base (72), shortstop (61) and designated hitter (39).
Some of Hill’s best work at the plate has come at Miller Park, where he owns a batting average of .429 (18-for-42) with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 10 career games. Hill hit for the cycle against the Brewers on June 29, 2012 at Miller Park, his first game at this venue.
Diaz, 19, completed his second professional season in 2015 as he batted .360 with 13 HR, 51 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 68 games at Rookie Missoula. He earned Pioneer League Most Valuable Player honors as he led the league in doubles (25), slugging percentage (.640), total bases (174) and extra-base hits (44) while ranking among the top five in the circuit in hits (2nd, 98), runs (2nd, 58), home runs (T2nd), batting average (3rd), RBI (3rd), on-base percentage (3rd, .436) and triples (T5th, 6).
Segura, 25, batted .266 with 23 HR, 144 RBI and 96 stolen bases in four seasons with the Brewers (2012-15). A National League All-Star in 2013, he batted .257 with 6 HR, 50 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 142 games last season.
Wagner, 25, was selected by Milwaukee in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut last season as he started three games for the Brewers (his first coming on May 31 vs. Arizona), going 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA. Wagner owns a career record in the minor leagues of 35-23 with a 2.95 ERA in 91 games, including 88 starts.
Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?
The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.
Sean Maloney (’97)
Greg Mullins (’98)
Pete Zoccolillo (’03)
Joe Winklesas (’06)
Mitch Stetter (’07-’11)
Francisco Rodriguez (’11-’15)
Chase Anderson (’16-Current)