All of the talk surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers has been about the lack of pitching depth that the team has beyond the major league roster. But with Tyler Thornburg and Michael Blazek with the big club, there is plenty of talent on the AAA roster as the Colorado Sky Sox look to usher in a new era. As the season begins, the new Brewers’ affiliate will not be lacking options. Here is at the bevy of arms the team will have in 2015:
One of the biggest arms to watch this year in the organization is Jungmann. While he was rocked in his final start this spring, he impressed early and showed signs last year of being the pitcher that he looked to be when he was drafted in the first of 2011. More than likely Jungmann will be the ace of the Sky Sox staff and with an awesome groundball ratio throughout his career, he should continued to build off his success from 2014.
After being cut last season, Burgos is back on the AAA roster and ready to work his way back to his 2012 form when he was named the 2012 organizational pitcher of the year. Last season was rocky for Burgos as he battled injury and struggled when healthy. Though he has some big league experience, he is mostly on the roster for organizational depth.
At one point Johnny Hellweg looked to be a top Brewers pitching prospect who was ready to ascend to the top of the major league rotation. But after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2014, he too will look to prove that he is both healthy and back to the form that helped him become the team’s 2013 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. With intimidating size and a plus fastball, Hellweg could become a future option for the Brewers as either a starter or reliever.
Last season Cravy was awesome as a starter in AA, going 8-1 with a 1.72 ERA before being promoted to Nashville. While I see him as a future reliever, he has put up solid numbers everywhere he has gone. He currently ranks as the 24th best prospect in the organization according to MLB.com.
As the forgotten piece of the Zack Greinke trade, Pena has put together a strong minor league resume. The 25-year-old right hander has put together a 62-46 record while posting a 3.73 ERA. Though he has struggled with command throughout his time in the minors, his impressive spring opened eyes as he moved to the bullpen. If he can find the zone with regularity he will be tough to beat.
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Kintzler was a staple in the Brewers bullpen over the past two seasons, but after a tough spring he will return to Nashville to figure things out. As the former setup man in Milwaukee and a pitcher that possesses a plus fastball, there is hope that he is able to pitch his way back to Milwaukee quickly.
Wooten had a steady spring in which he allowed just two runs in 14.1 innings of work, but became the odd man out in the final bullpen picture. By being sent down to AAA, he will give the Sky Sox tremendous depth with experience as both a reliever and closer.
Behind Will Smith, the Brewers do not have a ton of left handed options. After an awful spring, Neal Cotts may not be a roster option for long in Milwaukee opening the door for a pitcher like Leach. Last season Leach was stellar against left handed batters. If he can get off to a strong start he may be a solid and cheap option as a situational lefty in Milwaukee.
Roenicke may never make it to Milwaukee, but he has plenty of mound experience behind him. Not only has he pitched plenty of minor league innings, but the 32-year-old has 220 major league innings under his belt. He could turn into the leader of the Sky Sox bullpen.
Speaking of major league experience, Perez has been resigned to a minor league contract with the club. Perez excelled all spring and with major league closing experience the former two-time all-star will be not only an intriguing bullpen option for the Sky Sox, but he should also be a future option for the Brewers.
During the start of his minor league career, Goforth was used as both a starter and a reliever. Now working solely out of the bullpen Goforth is one of the team’s best relief arms. After an impressive spring, he looks to have future as a late inning Brewers reliever. He should be primarily an eighth inning reliever for the Sky Sox.
Of all of the relievers in Colorado, Knebel is the one to watch. With an amazing skill set, Knebel has the stuff to be the closer of the future in Milwaukee. He should begin the season as the Sky Sox closer and could work his way to Milwaukee before the season ends.