So awhile back, I made my first post about Brewers’ Double-A pitcher Dan Merklinger, a guy who I would continue to follow. Well, now that the season has begun not only in the majors, but for the Huntsville Stars, Merklinger has another season ahead of him to prove himself MLB worthy. At 26, Dan has some nasty pitches and being a lefty is certainly deceptive to some hitters. Here’s a little look into Dan’s season so far:
Dan was named the number one starter in the Stars rotation for this season. However his first start didn’t go exactly as planned, but it wasn’t terrible. On April 5, Dan started against the Jacksonville Suns and went 5.1 innings, gave up two runs on two hits while walking three and striking out eight. Dan also got the loss in the game. The strikeouts impress me, especially since it was done in 5.1 innings. That means out of the 16 outs he recorded, half of those were strikeouts. Pretty impressive stuff Merklinger has, especially his “killer” curveball that fools a lot of hitters. We already knew Dan was a strikeout pitcher, something that helps a lot of younger players adjust to the majors.
Unfortunately, Dan’s second start of the season was a bit rougher. In his second appearance, Dan went 4 innings, gave up four runs on three hits, walked four and struck out five against the Birmingham Barons. Fortunately enough, Dan got the no decision, leaving his current record at 0-1. As it stands now, Dan has an ERA of 5.79, 9.1 innings pitched, seven walks and 13 strikeouts. So far, he hasn’t given up a home run and his opponents are only batting .156 against him. Don’t let the ERA fool you. For one, it’s still very early in the season and two, Merklinger shows enough confidence in his pitches and is learning from his mistakes. Sure, he’s walking more batters early on, but once he learns how to control his stuff, he’ll be good to go. The fact that he gives up so few hits really says something positive.
Despite all this, Dan’s season will on hold for a little bit as he was placed on the 7-day disabled list on April 13 with an undisclosed injury. There’s been no timetable on his return, but hopefully Dan can get back into the action soon enough. Like I’ve said before, it’s not impossible, but Dan will have to work his butt off if he wants any shot at a possible call up this season. He does have Triple-A experience under his belt so he’s pitched to hitters who have been in the majors.
I’m thinking of a possible interview with Dan for my third post following up on him. Instead of making this just an early on blogging series, I’ll follow Dan for the remainder of the Minor League Baseball Season and hopefully by the end of it, he’ll be ready enough to be up here in Brewer Blue. Hearing from Dan himself would be great and it would let us dive more into his mind and how he carries himself.
Until next time guys and gals.