Yes, Jairo Asencio was a Cub. Don't hold that against him though. (Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports)

Brewers Non-Roster Invitees Offer Intrigue, Little Else

I guess that should be a given.

I mean, there’s a reason that you’re tagged with a designation like NRI, right? The Milwaukee Brewers currently have seven players invited to Spring Training to officially, and publicly, fight for a job as a member of the Brew Crew in the upcoming 2013 season.

And, to be perfectly honest, there isn’t a lot to be very excited about on that side of the table. Not that it means there’s nothing to look out for. I mean, everyone loves an underdog story, right?

Here are two of the more promising members of the NRI squad for the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers.

Jairo Asencio

Asencio is a right-handed reliever that the Brewers picked up after he has spent parts of 2009 to 2011 in the Pirates, Braves and Cubs organizations. He has a career record in the Major Leagues of 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA.

Despite those rocky numbers, a good start in Spring Training could make Jairo a closet contender for a roster spot. He has three pitches – a fastball that touches the low 90′s, a slider in the low 80′s and a change right around the same velocity. He tends to keep his pitches down in the zone, and about 40% of his pitches end us as ground balls. In the minors he had some incredibly low averages against him, but in the Majors it just hasn’t clicked. He has a decent K/9 rate, but a high walk rate is going to need to change if he wants a legitimate chance.

However, he does leave about 60% of runners on base, so I guess like everything else in Spring Training, we will have to see which Jairo Asencio shows up.

Travis Webb

The 28 year-old Webb is a lefty pitcher who has gone from starter to (mainly) a bullpen job in six Minor League seasons. Webb struggled in the early going, but in the last two seasons he blossomed into what – in the hopes of Brewers scouts, no doubt – will become a viable member of a rebuilt bullpen.

In 2011 Travis Webb struck out 10.4 batters per nine innings. He left nearly 68% of his runners on base, despite walking about five per nine innings. He also held opposing hitters to a .215 average against him in 58 innings of work.

All of this was done in triple-A, by the way – so if Travis Webb was to have an appropriate coming out party, 2013 should be it.

It’s easy to say now that these two – as well as the rest of the Non-Roster Invitees – stand little chance of making the team going into Opening Day of 2013. But on a team like this Brewers squad, I think its safe to say that anyone that can help the team win has a shot.

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