Milwaukee Brewers: Addressing the rumors around Pat Neshek

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 25: Relief pitcher Pat Neshek
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 25: Relief pitcher Pat Neshek /

Recent reports say that the Milwaukee Brewers are in the running to trade for Pat Neshek of the Philadelphia Phillies.

There is no clear leader in the race for the righty between the Milwaukee Brewers, the New York Yankees, and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Neshek is the latest name to come up as the Brewers seek out arms to help them close out the season in first place.  The original rumor involved Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray.  Followed by JA Happ, and now Neshek.

Of the listed names who are still up for grabs, Neshek would certainly be the cheapest.  That is mostly due to the fact that he is a reliever, not a starter.  The other aspect that would cheapen the blow to the farm system is the fact that he is almost 37 years old.  Not a lot of future there.  That being said he was an All-Star this year.

But he is immediate help to the bullpen.  Through 40 appearances this year he holds a 1.21 ERA.  In addition to a K/9 of 9.64 and a BB/9 of 1.21.  If you are not sold on him yet, he has left 92.5 percent of runners on base this year.  At 36, this is arguably his best year so far.

According to Fangraphs, Neshek features three pitches.  A fastball, a slider, and a slow changeup.  And when I say slow, I mean slow.  It has an average velocity of 67.6 this season.  But he only throws it about three percent of the time.  More often than not, a hitter will only see a fastball and slider combination.

The slow changeup become much more effective when coupled with a low 90’s fastball.  Ideally the changeup will sit about 10 MPH less than the fastball, but the slider takes place of that coming across the plate in the low 80’s.

At first glance, Neshek’s flyball numbers can be scary.  He is a flyball pitcher, which as a reliever is not always the best.  But the homerun conversion rate of five percent calms the nerves.  The question is why can he get away with it when a lot of relievers will not?

For anyone who has seen Neshek, the answer is pretty clear.  It is his mechanics.  The most accurate way to describe his delivery is screwy.  He will bring his body towards the plate as if he were going to release it from a submarine angle, then last second he will lift his chest up to come from a sidearm angle.  It is different, and the hitters have a hard time picking it up.

Personally, I like the move to bring in Neshek. It would let Josh Hader try his hand at starting to fill in for some of the injuries if the wanted to go that direction.  More than likely though, it will just solidify the bullpen with one more reliable name to call.  It will free up the ability to move down a guy who is struggling.

The trick would be finding the right balance with who to give up.  Clearly the Phillies will want the future, but the age of Neshek will not warrant giving up anyone to valuable.  It will be a tall task for David Stearns.

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Be forewarned if this move happens, the age has not been an issue this year.  If someone is complaining about trading for a 36 year old, tell them to look at the stats.  This is a very good move to help improve the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff.