The one player in particular that nobody really knew how they would do in 2013 was none other than Brandon Kintzler. The Milwaukee Brewers made sure to avoid another disastrous bullpen in anyway they could, thus making room for Kintzler.
With the opportunity in front of him, how did Kintzler fare in 2013?
The newly formed bullpen was faced with the task to overcome the shadows from the past season, and Kintzler was going to be a big part of that. In desperate need of a multiple innings eater, the team looked to nobody else but Kintzler. Granted, Kintzler was someone who hadn’t had much experience prior to 2013, only 29 major league appearances between 2010 and 2012.
At the beginning of this season, Kintzler was hit pretty hard before eventually settling down in a groove from mid-June until the rest of the season. Kintzler had run into a lot of instances where he was giving up two runs an inning, however he was manager Ron Roenicke‘s go to guy for multiple innings out of the bullpen, so it was to be expected at times. At the end of April, Kintzler’s ERA was 5.23, but would increasingly come down month by month.
As Kintzler evolved into a major league reliever, so did the opinions of Brewers’ fans who had been concerned with the bullpen of the past. Kintzler soon found his role as one of Milwaukee’s best bullpen guys next to closer Jim Henderson and eventually became the set-up man for Henderson. Still, the versatility Kintzler showed in 2013 from pitching multiple innings to being a set-up man says good things about the future of the bullpen.
It’s hard to compare Kintzler’s 2013 to any other season he had pitched because with his 77 innings this year, it completely blows out any other season. With those innings, Kintzler sported an ERA of 2.69, a WHIP of 1.06 with a pretty decent K/BB of 3.63 in 71 games. Kintzler definitely helped erased the memories from last year with his efforts this year.
Kintzler did have many impressive stats this season such as his ERA- of 71, his FIP of 2.54 and not to mention he had the lowest HR/9 of any Brewer at 0.2. What was also incredible was that he did all of his damage against hitters (who hit .229 against him) with three pitches, a fastball averaging at 92.2 MPH, a slider and a change-up. Kintzler definitely found his niche inside this bullpen and it’s something that I think we can all be grateful for.
Heading into next season, Kintzler will more than likely continue to be the set-up man for Henderson. I would be hesitant to say that Kintzler’s time out of that role is going to be limited, but if the Brewers feel the need to set the table for Henderson, then Kintzler is the guy for that job. Then again, 2013 was Kintzler’s first full major league season so it’s hard to tell where he’ll be next season, but hopefully some of the momentum can carry over.
Kintzler’s final grade: A