Milwaukee Brewers: What is Ray Black adding to the bullpen?
The Milwaukee Brewers have called up reliever Ray Black from Triple-A. What will Black add to their bullpen?
Ray Black has been added to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 25-man roster, and Jake Faria is heading back down to Triple-A. Is this just another round of reliever roulette for GM David Stearns? Could Black stick at the Major League level? Is Black ‘must-watch’ viewing?
Why send down Faria?
Faria has an 8.10 ERA in 3 1/3 innings with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. While he does have a track record as a starter, his future appears to lie in the bullpen, and he wasn’t delivering the results the Brewers needed. He also still has options left, and the team chose to get a look at Black instead of rolling with Faria. This is the time of year when a hot hand can carry a bullpen, and that’s not Faria…this week.
Why call up Black?
The Milwaukee Brewers called up a 29-year old reliever with 28 games of Major League experience because he has a skill set that few in the Majors possess. Black throws baseballs harder than almost anyone else in the league. He’s reportedly been clocked on a radar gun as high as 105 MPH, and routinely touches triple digits with his fastball. He pairs his heater with a slider and curve that have improved dramatically over the years.
Does Black know where his fastball will end up?
Well, he does a better job of controlling his fastball now than he did a few years ago. Black posted a BB/9 over 9.00 as recently as 2016. That means he was walking more than a batter per inning. In 29 2/3 innings between the Majors and Triple-A this year, Black has only walked 15 batters. He’s practically cut his walk rate in half. He’s doing much better with his control, and he strikes out more than enough batters to pitch over the occasional bout of wildness.
Will Black finally harness his stuff?
The San Francisco Giants originally drafted Black in 2011, and have been waiting on him ever since. However, there are countless stories of guys changing teams and finally developing into the pitcher that they were expected to be. Black has every tool a Major League team would want in a high leverage reliever, and there’s a very good chance that he could figure out how to succeed at baseball’s highest level with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Black is a ‘must-watch’ reliever due to what he can do to a radar gun, but he may become ‘must-watch’ because he can use his skills to get the team through high leverage situations.