If the Brewers were looking for a pitcher with big game experience, they found him today, signing Pat Misch to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
In 2015, coming off of Tommy John surgery, Misch pitched for the Marlins AAA team, before being released in July. He then moved to an independent league, then had his contract sold to the Lamingo Monkeys.
There, he pitched a remarkable no-hitter in Game Seven of the Taiwan Series, clinching the Chinese Professional Baseball League championship. Misch started Game One, Three, and Seven, while pitching in relief in Game Six, tossing nearly twenty (!!) innings in the series.
You can watch his Game Seven performance here, which, at 99 pitches, also qualifies as a Maddox. Misch topped out at 88 mph (142 km/h) with his fastball, and sat around 86-87. That lack of velocity and his low three-quarters arm slot makes me think his value would be purely as a lefty specialist, though he has actually been better against righties in his Big League career.
Still, Misch is a great example of the kind of player you want in your system. He has a clear love of the game, going to pitch in winter ball in Puerto Rico last year, where his team also won the championship. I can’t imagine there are many players who are champions in both Taiwanese and Puerto Rican baseball leagues.
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On the pitching end of things, Misch has struck out just 5.2 hitters per 9 in his 200 Major League innings, from 2006-11. He has shown relatively good command in his career, and walked just 2.88 batters per 9 in his 16 games with the AAA Zephyrs in 2015. Then again, he hit eight batters in 72 innings, including a record breaking four in a row to start a game last May.
In his Major League career, Misch owns a 4.80 ERA (4.77 FIP) in 78 games, including 24 starts. His OPS allowed as a starter is .823, while as a reliever, it’s a more palatable .717. That difference in performance is also reflected in ERAs of 5.55 and 3.42, respectively.
Of course, those stats are years old, but Misch’s pitching profile hasn’t changed a lot since then. Given his time in Taiwan, he clearly has the ability to go deep into games, should the Brewers place him in the starting rotation in Colorado Springs. Otherwise, he would be well suited to serve as the team’s swingman. Or the Journeyman could make the Brewers crowded bullpen out of Spring Training, and complete his long journey back to Major League Baseball.