Another addition of Better Know a Brewer is here to keep you updated on the wheeling and dealings of Milwaukee’s front office.
Today, we get to know Jairo Asencio, a right-handed Dominican native given a Minor League contract with Milwaukee on November 5th.
Jairo was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pirates in 2001 to play for their Dominican team, and made his debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2004. While with the Pirates’ GCL team he received Player of the Month honors in August of that year by posting a 4-0 record with a 1.00 ERA as a starter. In subsequent years he would transition to a bullpen role.
He would move through the Minor Leagues and Majors, making stops with the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago Cubs through a nine-year career. In 2011 he would mix time between the Atlanta Braves and their AAA club in Gwinnett, he led all Braves Minor League players with 26 saves and was fourth in team ERA with 1.81.
Asencio, who once pitched in America under the false name of Luiz Valdez, missed the 2010 season but led the International League in saves in 2009 and 2011. He has a mix of fastballs that can top 90 mph, last year throwing both the two and four-seamer for a majority. He also possesses an above-average slider and can mix a change-up in well for off-speed pitches. He has a career K/9 rate of 6.2 in Major League Service, and 7.7 in the Minors. Command of those pitches appears to continue to elude him in the long-term, as he walked batters with the Cubs at a rate of 6.8 over nine innings last season.
That aside, he has raw talent and high velocity that would make him an ideal back bullpen prospect for Milwaukee, and considering the current state of relievers for the Brew Crew he could be up from Nashville sooner rather than later. With a little work on his control he could become an instant asset to the club.
Jairo, being a transitioned starter, can regular go two or three innings for a club, but with high credentials as a closer also thrives under pressure situations. In short, if he can continue his impressive work in the Minor Leagues, the Milwaukee Brewers may be looking at a new addition to their back-end relief corps. Time will tell, of course, but as a current non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Brewers fans should be able to get a better look at him soon.