Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Call-Up Candidates: Pitchers

     In a little over a week, the calendar will turn to September, and teams will be allowed to carry 40 players on their active roster. Most of the time in Milwaukee, this is a chance to look at youngsters who might be able to help out at a later date when the Brewers will hopefully contend for a playoff spot. Things are different now, however, as this is the year the team and its' fans have been waiting for. As a result, the club (if you believe Bill Schroeder) will not call up a large number of unproven minor leaguers, but seek to add pieces that will help the team win games in the seasons final month. (Players will have to be called up by August 31 in order to be eligible for the playoff roster.) The Brewers don't have an Aroldis Chapman or David Price sitting in Nashville, waiting patiently to be dropped like an H-Bomb on an unsuspecting National League, but there are several possible call-ups who could help the club this month and in the future. We'll profile the pitchers today and the position players tomorrow.
Wily Peralta: (40-man)

YearAgeLevERAGGSIPHRHRBBSOWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201122AA3.462121119.2106579481171.2878.00.73.68.82.44
201122AAA1.803320.011403240.7005.00.01.410.88.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/24/2011.

Peralta is a big (6'2, 240) Dominican right-hander with excellent stuff, including a low to mid 90s fastball and solid slider. Having laid waste to the PCL after a good half-season in Huntsville, Peralta is a strong candidate to fill a bullpen role this September with an eye on a 2012 gig in the big-league rotation. It's hard to see such a role opening up next year, but that can be filed away under "a nice problem to have", as Peralta would almost surely be in the big-league rotation by now if it were any of the previous three years. Forecasting aside, there's no reason Peralta won't be in a Brewer uniform soon, and can be a capable bullpen cog in short order.

Mike McClendon: (40-man)

YearAgeLgERAGGSIPHRHRBBSOWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201126AAA2.5833052.15019115401.2428.60.22.66.92.67
201126NL2.639013.215513101.3179.90.72.06.63.33
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/24/2011.

Over the past two years, organizational soldier McClendon has done pretty much everything his managers could ask for, striking out batters, getting grounders, and not hurting himself with walks both in Nashville and Milwaukee, while not getting any chance to rise above his current role of up-and-down middle reliever. Granted, his stuff is not really conducive to effective major league pitching, leaving many to wonder when the other shoe will drop on his mildly surprising effectiveness. (There just aren't many successful big-league hurlers equipped with a "fastball" as harmless as McClendon's mid-to-upper 80s sinker.) On the other hand, McClendon is yet to fail at any level, and it would be borderline criminal for him to not at least get another look soon, but this may be too much to expect from a manager that has struggled all season to get work for the bottom of his bullpen.

Randy Flores: (not on 40-man)

YearAgeLgERAGGSIPHRHRBBSOWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201135AAA3.1656057.05526615471.2288.70.92.47.43.13
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/24/2011.

Flores is a bit of a long shot, as calling him up would require dropping someone else from the 40-man roster for a questionable talent in the first place. Conventional wisdom says that the Brewers' main pitching need (beside a league-average defense) is a LOOGY, and membership in that exclusive club is where most of Flores' value lies. Heck, he's spent part of the last seven seasons in "The Show" and even pitched for Tony Freaking LaRussa! Flores is just 12 months removed from being a quality setup option, but almost nothing has gone right for him this year. Right now, it's hard to tell what exactly he is, and there isn't a ton of reason to believe Flores will be any better at retiring southpaws than any of the various right-handed setup options, so don't hold your breath here.


Danny Ray Herrera: (40-man)

YearAgeLgERAGGSIPHRHRBBSOWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201126AAA2.3443057.24919315511.1107.60.52.38.03.40
201126NL21.60201.2651104.20032.45.45.40.00.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/24/2011.

If you're the type that is longing to see someone left-handed in the Brewers' bullpen, LOOGY or LNOGY, Herrera just might be your guy. In addition to being conveniently on the 40-man, Herrera adds extra spice as a 5'6 Texan with a mid-80s fastball and screwball. This, however, raises the question of why exactly the Brewers need a LOOGY so badly. Any argument in favor likely involves being caught empty-handed come postseason time when a lefty slugger comes up late in the game, during which Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito, and even Chris Narveson will be readily available. So while having Herrera around won't hurt anybody, he's by no means a necessity.

Check back tomorrow for the position players.

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