When Tyler Thornburg was sent down to AAA Colorado Springs, it was not a demotion. Instead, it was a move made with the future in mind. With the Brewers in the early stages of a rebuild, expect Thornburg to be pitching in the team’s rotation before July hits.
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Before the 2014 season began it appeared that Thornburg (who was then viewed as the Brewers’ top prospect) was in line for the fifth spot of the rotation, but after the team signed Garza, that never happened. Instead, Thornburg excelled in the bullpen until an elbow injury ended his season.
This spring, Thornburg was again moved from bullpen, to starter and back to the bullpen. Now finally in AAA working in a rotation, the 26-year-old Thornburg has a chance to live up to the giant potential that he has shown as a minor leaguer.
So far through three starts and a very small sample size, Thornburg has been the best pitcher in the AAA rotation. Playing his home games in a hitters paradise, he has not let the ball park effect his numbers. While the pitching staff has a league worst ERA, and many are well above four, Thornburg has a 2.31 ERA. After being eased in during his first two starts, Thornburg went five innings allowing just two hits and one run in a Skysox 2-1 loss.
Though former first round draft pick Taylor Jungmann originally looked to be the next man up on the Brewers’ staff, Thornburg has certainly taken over that role. For Thornburg, these next few starts will be about continuing to prove his health and show that he is ready to eat innings as a starter. With the way things are headed there will be changes on that Brewers’ roster and it is only a matter of time before he finally gets his full time shot in the rotation.
He has proved everyone wrong throughout his climb to the majors and I expect him to be a very successful middle of the rotation starter when he finally gets into the Brewers’ rotation for good.