Well, that’s the way we do things for the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” season preview/Opening Day countdown series, and after a day off yesterday because nobody will be wearing #76, we’re back!
The lucky recipient of #75 and today’s subject is…
Webb, 28, is a veteran of parts of 6 seasons in the minor leagues (along with missing all of 2008 due to rupturing his ulnar collateral ligament and subsequent Tommy John surgery and recovery). He was originally an 8th round draft choice by the Cincinnati Reds back in 2006 and had spent his entire professional career to this point in the Reds’ organization before becoming a minor-league free agent this offseason. Physically, Webb throws left-handed and stands 6’4″ tall while being listed at 205 pounds. (For a visual reference, former Brewer Mitch Stetter was listed at 6’4″, 220 lb.)
When Webb was first signed, many people thought that he could be a legitimate option as a LOOGy reliever for the Brewers bullpen. Granted this was before the signings of either Tom Gorzelanny or Michael Gonzalez by Milwaukee, but any non-Rule V, career minor leaguer making a 25-man roster out of Spring Training is a bit of a long-shot to begin with. Working in Webb’s favor though is that he certainly performed better against left-handed hitting in the minor leagues than against their right-handed counterparts.
2012 vs. LHH: 24.1 IP, 16 H, 0 HR, 9 BB, 25 K, 1.11 WHIP, 5 XBH, .186/.273/.279 against, 38.1% ground ball rate, 14.3% line drive rate
Those numbers indicate a player who misses bats to a degree and when someone makes contact it usually isn’t good contact. The walk total is a bit higher than I’d like to see but some of that likely can be attributed to not giving in to hitters by offering of a batting practice meatball if he falls behind in the count.
Bottom line for Webb at this point appears to be that something bad would have to happen for him to get a shot at the 25-man roster early on. Should someone go down with an injury, for example, Webb might get a promotion. His age and experience, but status as a NRI signed to a minor-league deal, almost guarantees that the first pitch he throws in a 2013 regular season will be with “Sounds” across his chest. (That’s an educated guess because the Brewers Triple-A Affiliate Nashville Sounds open their season with an eight-game homestand.)
Still, look for Webb to be used in big league camp in LOOGy situations to gauge what the Brewers might have in him. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see those appearances come early in games while established major league hitters are still in the lineups, at least in the beginning stages of the Cactus League.
In those outings, you can expect Webb to feature a mid-to-upper 80’s four-seam fastball, a changeup which sits in the mid-70s, a slider which is right around 80 MPH, and the occasional curveball. One report I found said that Webb’s fastball has some cutting action to it.
Certainly sounds like a player who might be able to help the parent club one day. I’ll be paying attention come camp.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
Per the minor league watchdog Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the following players who finished 2012 in the Brewers’ system are now minor league free agents. Their contracts expired and they have not (at least not yet) agreed to new deals with Milwaukee.
RHP: Evan Anundsen (AA), Brian Baker (AAA), Josh Butler (AA), Mike McClendon (AAA), Amaury Rivas (AAA), Claudio Vargas (AAA)
LHP: Mitch Stetter (AAA), Philippe Valiquette (AA)
C: Humberto Quintero (AAA)
1B: Erick Almonte (AAA)
3B: Andy Gonzalez (AAA), Juan Sanchez (HiA)
SS: Domnit Bolivar (AA), Hainley Statia (AA)
OF: Jordan Brown (AAA), Corey Patterson (AAA)
The full post with all 30 MLB teams’ minor league free agents from Eddy is available here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/11/minor-league-free-agents-2012/
You can follow Matt Eddy on Twitter: @eddymk
On September 1st each baseball season, teams are allowed to carry a MLB roster of up to 40 players. This is as opposed to the standard 25.
Teams almost always promote at least a player or two though the outside amount seems to have something to do with their postseason aspirations. If you’re in the hunt for October you don’t want several inexperienced hands trying to find their way during a pennant race, for example.
The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t exactly in that position this season.
Sure they opened the day 7.5 games behind the brand new second Wild Card berth, and start things have happened as recently as last year, but to call it “unlikely” is quite fair.
In part due to their record and in part because of the situational circumstances for certain player (i.e. shutting down Mark Rogers due to an innings limitation), the Brewers will probably be calling up a healthy group of their higher-end minor league talent.
Infielder Eric Farris was a lock to be recalled in my opinion but was already called up to the 25-man roster yesterday after Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. I also expect the Brewers to help out all three areas in a couple of days when the Triple-A regular season has concluded.
For the bench I would be shocked if infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Logan Schafer weren’t recalled. I do think they’re likely to call up outfielder Caleb Gindl as well.
In the pitching side there is an opening in the starting rotation with the aforementioned exclusion of Rogers. Not coincidentally at all, right-hander Wily Peralta made his final start of the season for the Nashville Sounds on the same night Rogers was making his last for the Brewers in 2012.
Along with Peralta, you can expect Tyler Thornburg to come back up and start once or twice add the season winds down.
I would normally expect Mike McClendon to be rewarded for a long season with a recall but he was taken off the 40-man roster the most recent time he was sent back to Nashville.
Any other bullpen help would likely come from outside the current 40-man composition but the Brewers can add as many as three players to it right now should they choose to do so.
I do think they’ll add coverage though so perhaps someone will get an add. Maybe Brandon Kintzler, Donovan Hand, Rob Wooten, John Lowe, maybe even Hiram Burgos…just some names to think about.
Regardless of who gets to don a Brewer uniform for the rest of the year, there should be plenty of reasons to continue to pay attention if only to see these guys get some playing time.
So, those are my thoughts. Anybody I forgot about? Who do you think should come up? Why?
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)
By: Big Rygg
The day was Monday, May 3rd. The Milwaukee Brewers were taking a much needed day off. After scoring all of two runs in the previous four games (three of them were shutouts), a more timely day off there may not be all season.
In Los Angeles, Ryan Braun’s stomping grounds and home to team owner Mark Attanasio, the Milwaukee Brewers got away from baseball and got their heads straightened back out.
Tuesday night saw the start of a series against the Dodgers. It also saw the first of back-to-back 11 run outputs by the offense. The first night they needed more of the 11 than they did the next night, but even still both games wre wins for Milwaukee and suddenly they had won three of four.
Before the team could feel comfortable, though, they put up only three runs in the third game despite having a chance to sweep the Dodgers for the first time in franchise history. That game was lost in the bottom of the ninth inning when LaTroy Hawkins couldn’t get the game to extra innings. He loaded the bases and succumbed to the moxie of Andre “All I Do Is Walk Off” Ethier to the tune of a grand slam. (Hawkins would land on the disabled list two days later with shoulder weakness.)
The Brewers headed for Arizona and Chase Field with a 3-4 mark on the roadtrip to that point.
So what happened after a three-run losing effort from the offense? How about a three-run winning effort complete with Trevor Hoffman’s second save on the trip, his 596th career save? Yovani Gallardo (winning pitcher in the only victory in San Diego) threw another dominant start by striking out 10 Diamondbacks in just five innings.
Thinking that perhaps another pitching duel was on tap, Randy Wolf took the hill in Arizona where he had won six starts in a row in visitors’ uniforms. History would be kind to Wolf on this day.
Wolf started off rocky, letting the D’backs plate two in the first inning, but settled down after that. His demeanor no doubt helped by his team going on a 12-0 run.
Yup. Twelve, zero.
The Brewers finished off the game with five more players touching home plate safely after Wolf gave up a solo home run to Mark Reynolds.
And the last of those runs? Plated when Jody Gerut finished off hitting for the cycle with an RBI double in the ninth. It was only the sixth cycle in Brewers history and the first since Chad Moeller accomplished the feat in 2004.
So to that point, after getting shut out three times in four games, the Brewers put up run totals of 11, 11, and 17 around winning four out of five and having somebody hit for the cycle.
To top off the week, Chris Narveson went out and spun yet another near-quality start, but very good start nonetheless and Prince Fielder hit another home run which is always a good sign.
Narveson struck out eight in 5.2 innings pitched before giving way to Todd Coffey to get out of a jam. Coffey got himself into a jam and was rescued by the freshly recalled Mitch Stetter. The bullpen threw up zeroes the rest of the way (despite Jeff Suppan loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth) and the Brewers head back to Milwaukee owners of a 6-4 mark on this 10-game road trip out west.
So let’s recap this recap, shall we?
Brewers head to San Diego after a brief and rough homestand. They get shut out in consecutive games before Gallardo plays the role of stopper in game three. They promptly get shut out again before leaving San Diego.
The knock Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw out of his start in under three innings and rough up teammate Chad Billingsley as well while putting up consecutive 11-run games. They lose game three in L.A. on a walk-off grand slam. Demoralizing.
In Arizona, the Brewers sweep their gracious hosts and score a total of 26 runs in the three-game set.
What a week.
Then again, that seems to be this team’s M.O. so far this year. As skipper Ken Macha said this week: “Get on the rollercoaster.”
It should be a fun, if frustrating, ride this season with this team.
Yeah, that’s quite the week that nobody saw coming.
By: Big Rygg
The Milwaukee Brewers optioned Mitch Stetter down to the minor leagues this week to make room on the 25-man roster for the return of Jeff Suppan to the rotation.
While this does leave the Brewers with two left-handed pitchers in their bullpen, it does not afford them the luxury of a LOOGy. Chris Narveson has been pitching quite a bit in relief and both he and Manny Parra aren’t exactly quick to warm up.
The “Donkey” has been called country strong. That’s an understatment. He hit a home run to the Dew Deck at Miller Park. That’s a LONG way.
Dunn has also been labeled as a member of the 3TO club. When he gets a hold of one, though, it stays hit.
If the game is on the line late, Dunn is the textbook case of where a lefty-on-lefty matchup would favor the Brewers
Breaking into the league last year with an incredible display of power, both in frequency and distance, Jones has quickly established himself as the biggest threat in the Pittsburgh lineup.
At crunch time, if Jones is due up with ducks on the pond or in a one-run game, I’d much rather take my chances with a different look from the left side of the mound as opposed to sending a righty up there.
After all, Jones has hit RHP at a .306 clip over is career while struggling against LHP to the tune of a .195 average.
While Garrett Jones is the biggest threat in the Pirate lineup, Ryan Church has hit his fair share of home runs over his career.
His batting average drops 33 points to .241 when facing a lefty pitcher and his slugging plummets by over 80 points (.463 to .380). Plenty of evidence that you’d want a LOOGy on the mound.
It’s true that Fukudome isn’t exactly a power hitter but as evidenced by his clutch hit off of LaTroy Hawkins this past week, he’s still a tough out…at least in April.
Mike Fontenot makes Kosuke Fukudome look like Hideki Matsui, I get that, but there aren’t many peskier hitters in the Cubs lineup. A left-handed pitcher late in the game with runners in scoring position makes Fontenot go from having a .274 average to a much better .232 rate.
By: Big Rygg
When the hit song “Shout” by Tears for Fears used to hit the Miller Park soundsystem, it signaled the entrance of left-handed specialist Brian Shouse.
During his time in Milwaukee, Shouse entered game after game and shut down the opposing team’s left-handed hitting sluggers. He was effective at getting out of jams and more often than not his inherited runner score rate was impeccable.
One other thing that Brian Shouse was effective at was keeping an actual home-grown pitching talent in the minor leagues.
Mitch Stetter did share some time in Milwaukee with Shouse. When Stetter got his opportunity to be the team’s full-time LOOGy, he proved to be up to the task.
Stetter logged 45.0 innings in 71 games during the 2009 season. He finished 13 games, saving one, and frustrated hitter after hitter like mentor before him.
In fact, Stetter even had a stretch during 2009 where he set a record for consecutive outs recorded via strikeout. While he usually delivers the ball with a sweeping side-arm motion, Stetter can vary him arm slot at times which confounds hitters even more.
In short, he keeps the opposition guessing and when you can make a hitter guess, you’re in the driver’s seat.
Stetter is a lock to make the 2010 roster as the team’s LOOGy once more. The next closest left-hander to contributing might be prospect Zach Braddock.
Braddock was invited to big-league spring training this year, but don’t look for him to unseat the incumbent at any point this year. Braddock projects more as a 9th inning option anyway, so even if Braddock makes a late-season debut in 2010, Mitch “Irish” Stetter will continue to fill the role he has been in sole possession of since Opening Day 2009.
And, as evidenced by Shouse’s remaining in the game even at age 41, if you can get left-handers out at the plate, you can basically play as long as you want. Stetter figures to be in the plans for a while, especially if he keeps performing as we’ve all seen him capable of doing.
By: Big Rygg
What a night for the Milwaukee Brewers…and I mean that in a negative way.
Save for back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches by Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, the Milwaukee Brewers were unable to muster any offense on a night when they were once again playing against a National League Division’s worst team.
In the Brewers’ defense, the San Diego Padres had been playing quite well when Milwaukee came to town on Friday. That was evidenced by the fact that they were able to overcome a 7-1 deficit on Friday night. However, despite the Brewers scoring 7 runs with two outs in the 2nd inning of Friday’s game, the Brewers have been very quiet at the plate in this series.
What’s more, they got an acceptable start from journeyman Mike Burns in the game tonight but Burns may as well have given up three hundred runs as three since there Brewers were unable to put more than two on their own on the board in support.
Burns gave up those three runs over 5.2 IP, giving way to Mitch Stetter with men on in the inning and two away. Claudio Vargas, pitching in his first game since being reacquired by the Brewers prior to the non-waiver trading deadline, allowed one huge insurance run to score in the bottom of the 8th inning. Heath Bell came on, and after allowing a leadoff single to McGehee, struck out Cameron, got Frank Catalanotto to fly out to left and induced a pop out off the bat of Jason Kendall to end it.
Not everything is going wrong for Milwaukee lately, but enough things are going wrong at the same time so that the end result is a loss.
Last night we had a solid run total despite it all coming in one inning, but the pitching staff and defense couldn’t hold San Diego down. Tonight, we got good enough pitching to win most nights, but the offense decided to go to sleep for the most part.
Will the Crew be able to put it together tomorrow afternoon and salvage one win against the NL West’s worst? With Carlos Villanueva on the bump for the beermakers, there are no guarantees.
It doesn’t get easier by any stretch of the imagination on Monday night either as after the Brewers finish a three-game series against the last place Padres, they start a three-game series against the class of the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But it all boils down to the fact that the Brewers have been unable to put enough parts of the game together at the same time to win some ballgames at the most crucial stretch of the season.
Four hits tonight (two of them the aforementioned solo home runs) and while they accumulated nine hits on Friday night, only three of those came outside of that big 2nd inning. Throwing that inning out, that’s only 7 hits in 17 innings. That’s not going to get the job done unless the Padres start walking 10 hitters a night.
The Padres, owners of the league’s worst team batting average mind you, have amassed 17 hits and 12 hits in the two games thus far in this series. Yes, that’s 29 hits in 16 innings. You don’t have to look much farther to figure out why they’ve won these two games.
Bottom line, the Brewers need to get it figured out and fast if they’re going to keep it close into September this year.
I’m not in the mood for silver linings on this one, but perhaps a post in the coming days will focus on some positives that can be picked out of the dreck that’s being dumped on the field lately.
Until then, let’s just remember that tomorrow’s another day and that at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, the game is 0-0.
Let’s get one tomorrow and try to keep our head above water for a bit longer.
By: Big Rygg
As I write this, the first game in New York is tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 7th inning. Mitch “Irish” Stetter (my own nickname for him, but feel free to adopt it) has just been removed from the game after allowing Mike Rivera to show why so many professional athletes over the years have taken ballet. I’m not saying Rivera takes or has ever taken ballet, but the spin move he just pulled off was a thing of beauty.
Moving, this post is mostly about the entirety of the upcoming road trip as opposed to the current game (though Hallelujah that Braun got his first home run out of the way a couple of innings ago!!).
The Brewers began the 2009 regular season on the road out in California for three games before hosting two teams for three games each at Miller Park. Beginning tonight, however, the Brewers take their first (of three) 9-game, 10-day road trip.
We start where we are tonight, brand-new Citi Field in Flushing, New York where the marquee matchup of the weekend comes tomorrow when Yovani Gallardo squares off against one of the best pitchers in all of the majors in Johan Santana. Tonight’s matchup, as I mentioned, is all square as I write this but the Metropolitans are threatening. Sunday is looking like a Met win already (hey, until Jeff Suppan shows me a glimmer of hope, I have to go with recent history), so finding a way to win tonight would be a plus.
After the Brewers first series ever at Citi Field (Todd Coffey just got out of a Mitch Stetter jam!), the Brewers head to their personal 2008 House of Horrors: Citizen’s Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, PA. The Brewers were 0-6 in Philly last year, including those two lost games in the NLDS. Philadelphia’s resident ace left-hander Cole Hamels is pitching tonight, so we should see him in Game 3 of the series.
Then, in what on paper (and if you read this blog often enough, you should know how I feel about “on paper”) should be the easiest series of the trip, the Brewers travel to Houston, Texas to take on the Astros. The Crew avoids arguably the best pitcher in the NL Central Division in Roy Oswalt courtesy of the schedule makers. Even still, Houston is a tough place to play as a visitor and the Brewers have an all-time record well below .500 there.
(Todd Coffey just induced a David Wright ground out to escape his own bases-loaded jam in the 8th. Whew!)
Realistically, a team hopes to play at or near .500 ball on the road and over .500 ball at home. Therefore, the best you can fairly expect the team to do on this long road trip is 4-5. Hopefully the Brewers can pick up an extra one here and there and have a very successful trip.
Two notes before I let you all go here, Gary Sheffield hit his 500th career home run in the game this evening. Good for him, I guess, but a hard slap in the face that the team he broke into the Major Leagues with and dragged through the mud before leaving town (yes, he still gets booed mercilessly when he plays in Milwaukee) would give up the milestone.
Second, The Brewers finally have a second lefty in the bullpen due to the situation with David Riske’s elbow. R.J. Swindle was called up to the parent club in what really is fortunate timing. The Mets and Phillies have a lot of potent left-handed bats, and even a couple of switch-hitters that are much more dangerous when batting left-handed. For example, the Brewers used Mitch Stetter tonight in the 7th inning. Should a big situation come up in the 9th (or later should this go to extra innings), Ken Macha has the opportunity to bring in another left-hander. That allows Macha to manage the situation on its own, and not have to worry about a “what if” situation where your lefty might be more useful later in the ballgame. For example, Jerry Manuel used his only lefty in the 6th inning after Ryan Braun hit a 3-run home run with nobody out.
Anyway, it’s the bottom of the 9th, Seth McClung is on the bump and the heart of the Mets order is due up…ain’t baseball grand?
Come on boys! Let’s play some free baseball for the fans in NYC tonight!