When Christian Yelich came off the DL, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to send Jorge Lopez down. This is not the corresponding move that made sense in the minds of fans.
For 68 games spanning back to last year, the Milwaukee Brewers have run out the unreliable Oliver Drake. It is to the point where each bad outing leads to a storm of tweets calling for a DFA. That is not what happened. So, why is he still on the roster?
It might be hard to believe, but before his outing against the Cincinnati Reds, Drake was pitching very well. His numbers, as is, do show a seven ERA and an eight BB/9. However, they also show 11 K/9, and an FIP of 3.27.
Besides the blow up against the Reds, he gave up one run against San Diego during his first outing. Add that to the six in his last and things do not look good. But, all in all, that is seven innings of shutout ball in relief.
The fact of the matter is if you take out the six runs in one outing, you have the numbers of a good reliever. Unfortunately we know the man to be Oliver Drake.
For now, moving Drake down is hard. He is out of options, which means he will have to pass through waivers. That can be seen as positive or negative, but the fact remains that the Milwaukee Brewers organization will not want to risk that. Maybe once Boone Logan comes back and there are more years of experience things will change. Right now, the lack of options matter. That is a huge reason why Lopez was sent down over Drake.
There are certainly parts of Drake’s game to love. He averages over ten strikeouts per nine innings for his career. His FIP is never really that outrageous. But he is scary to have out there. He walks nearly five batters per nine with opposing batters hitting just under .260 off of him. That is not a good combination.
So far this season, Milwaukee Brewers starters are not going deep into games. That poses another issue with Drake. If he stays as a low leverage arm, then he can provide some value. But if they need him to perform in a high leverage situation, his small 10.2 inning sample size says to worry. He has given up three homers in that short time with a wOBA of .396.
Why Is Oliver Drake Still On The Team?
He needs to be. Face it, Drake performs too well to lose to another team through waivers. With some healthy arms, maybe some things change and he is in Triple A. There is no reason to cut him loose when he is honestly not as bad as he is made out to be. He is scary, but still gets the job done.
It is not like he is giving up a ton of runs every appearance. In 74 of his 98 career appearances, no runs have scored. That is about 75 percent of the time. He just has this tendency to give up runs in bunches when they happen. The Reds six runs are a perfect example of that. So, we will see what the future holds for Oliver Drake.