The Arizona Fall League is a finishing school for exciting prospects. The Milwaukee Brewers sent several great youngsters.
Among them is right hander Nate Griep. Thanks to ten hits and two walks through his first 5.2 innings in the AFL, it looks as though he is struggling. That culminates to a scary 2.25 WHIP. But keep in mind that he is a reliever. In three of his five appearances, the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher has not given up a run. However, he has surrendered at least on hit in every game. Overall, it is mediocre to this point.
This comes after a dominant 2017 season with the Carolina Mudcats. Griep 49 innings on his way to collecting 30 saves. He tacked on a 3-1 record for good measure. The thing is, he was not this hittable during the season. Over the entirety of the season he allowed only 32 hits, which is a much better pace than his AFL numbers show.
The 24 year old bullpen arm joined the Milwaukee Brewers via the 2015 draft. He was an eighth rounder out of Kansas State. Originally Griep tried his hand at starting. But after struggling through five games in 2015, he transitioned to the bullpen. Since then he consistently improved into a reliable arm.
Each season he has been in the Milwaukee Brewers organization he moved up. Starting with Helena in 2015, Wisconsin in 2016, and ultimately Carolina in 2017. Despite the rough 2016 numbers, he performed to the tune of a two ERA in the following years.
Following his standout 2017, Griep was named an All-Star alongside Lucas Erceg. In the scope of other AFL pitchers, Griep and Torres-Costa are in similar situations. A rough game or two masks the fact that they aren’t off to bad starts. However, starter Adrian Houser is having his share of struggles.
While Griep is not a household prospect name, he poses a future middle reliever. Or if he can continue to blossom, and allow less hits, he could be a future closer. That is if Corey Knebel goes somewhere.
But either way, Griep is playing very well. It is the kind of play that opens up eyes. He will no doubt get a shot with Biloxi next year, if not higher. While relievers coming up don’t create a ton of buzz, there probably should be if this trend continues.