Milwaukee Brewers: Is it time to give Burch Smith a chance?

Matthew Dewoskin
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 26: Burch Smith #64 relief pitcher of the Kansas City Royals throws in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium on August 26, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 26: Burch Smith #64 relief pitcher of the Kansas City Royals throws in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium on August 26, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Should the Milwaukee Brewers give journeyman Burch Smith a chance in the starting rotation? The answer isn’t as obvious as it may seem…

Burch Smith owns a 6.77 ERA in 114 1/3 innings over parts of two seasons in the Majors. He first got the call when he was 23 years old and a legitimate prospect. He then spent the next four years in the Minors before picking up 78 innings with the Kansas City Royals last year. He came to the Milwaukee Brewers on a Minor League deal this past off season for organizational depth.

With Jimmy Nelson still working his way back, Freddy Peralta on the Injured List and Corbin Burnes back in Triple-A, should the Milwaukee Brewers give Smith another shot?

How was Smith’s Spring?

He, uh, didn’t impress. Smith threw 7 2/3 innings with the Milwaukee Brewers in the Spring, and posted a 7.04 ERA. He walked six and struck out four. He was assigned to Minor League camp, and was added to the Triple-A roster.

How about his time in Triple-A?

Smith has made two starts with the San Antonio Missions, and they’ve gone really well.

He’s tossed 11 innings, and has a 0.82 ERA. He’s allowed five hits and six walks while striking out 13. His only run allowed has come on a solo homer. He’s been every bit the stabilizing veteran the Brewers needed to add to their Triple-A roster.

Should the Brewers really consider Smith?

If the Milwaukee Brewers are really turning to Smith, then it’s time to get Dallas Keuchel off the couch. In past seasons, turning to Smith would have made sense, but the Brewers are contenders now. They can’t toss Smith out there for a game or two when every game matters as much as it does now.

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It’s great to see Smith throwing well, and he could earn a start in September, but asking him to take the ball in April is a mistake. The Brewers would be better off bringing back Burnes, trying Adrian Houser, or going with any other option than a journeyman with a career ERA over 6.00.

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