The Milwaukee Brewers made a much anticipated move to add depth to their bullpen. This aid came in the form of Anthony Swarzak from the Chicago White Sox.
At 31 years old he is finally putting together the pieces that have always been there. Swarzak was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He showed plenty of promise to be a middle of the rotation starting pitcher while on his journey through the farm system.
Once he reached the majors with the Twins, things were drastically different. He was consistently posting ERAs that were above four. Except for his great 2013 year, where he posted a 2.91 earned run average through 96 innings.
After the run with the Twins came to an end in 2015 he started signing minor league contracts. He has always made it back to the show though. This includes appearances with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. Finally he landed in Chicago where he is have a great year, prompting a trade to the Milwaukee Brewers.
To put his line simply, Swarzak has thrown 48.1 innings with a 2.23 ERA and 52 strikeouts. This puts his K/9 at 9.68. He has also left a career high 80.5 percent of runners on base this year.
There are two pitches he uses to get batters out. A mid 90’s fastball that he throws just under 50 percent of the time, and a slider he throws just over fifty percent of the time. Him sliding to the bullpen has allowed him to throw with more effort on each pitch, so he is throwing harder by about two MPH.
The big change since becoming a reliever is that he dropped his changeup and curveball to become a two pitch pitcher. Swarzak adopted the philosophy to throw predominately breaking balls last season. It has started paying dividends in a big way this year.
This has created more swing and misses than in any year before. He is boasting his career high in percentage of strikes swung at and missed at 14. His previous personal best was 10.6 percent back in 2015.
Just look at his WAR this year. It stands at a 1.7, which is higher than any season prior. Even during his time as a starter. During his stellar 2013 campaign he only graded out at 0.8 WAR for the year. We only just passed the halfway mark this season.
According to Fangraphs, the monetary value for Swarzak based on his season is through the roof compared to the rest of his career. They set him at a 13.4 million dollars, where his previous personal best amount was 5.9 in the 2013 year.
By all accounts this is the best Swarzak has ever pitched. It is a move that solidifies the back end, giving Corey Knebel a strong late inning partner. Gaining more reliable arms will help the Milwaukee Brewers in a serious way down the stretch. This may not be the last move, but it is a great move by David Stearns.