Milwaukee Brewers: Drew Pomeranz Has Been Solid In Relief
Drew Pomeranz has been pitching well in relief for the Milwaukee Brewers since being acquired at the MLB Trade Deadline.
The Milwaukee Brewers activity at the MLB Trade Deadline may have left many unsatisfied.
Though they appeared to make moves that could help them on the margins, the Brewers failed to land the kind of impact talent and names that could have pushed them firmly into contention for a playoff spot this season.
For as underwhelming as their activity seemed on that day, however, two of the players the Milwaukee Brewers landed at the trade deadline have actually been quite impactful. In fact, both have played a major role in keeping a scuffling Brewers team from falling completely out of the race for the National League Wild Card.
One is starting pitcher Jordan Lyles. We recently wrote about his impressive run of starts since coming over to Milwaukee at the trade deadline.
The other player who’s made his mark on the team in a positive way is reliever Drew Pomeranz. Let’s dive into his stats to see what kind of impact he’s had.
Drew Pomeranz in Milwaukee
Since coming over at the trade deadline on July 31st, Pomeranz has been, by some measures, the Brewers best relief pitcher.
According to FanGraphs, Pomeranz leads all Milwaukee relievers in WAR at 0.4 since August 1st. That puts him ahead of the likes of Junior Guerra and Jay Jackson, both of who are having fine runs of form of their own.
Pomeranz’s success has been fueled by Josh Hader-like numbers in the strikeout department. In his 12 1/3 innings he’s pitched for the Brewers so far since being acquired at the deadline, Pomeranz has struck out 16.05 batters per nine innings. That’s only a few tenths behind Hader’s Major League-leading K/9 rate on the season of 16.34.
His significant improvement in strikeouts in Milwaukee is a continuation of the trend he showed in the few outings he pitched out of the pen in San Francisco after struggling as a starter. Overall, his K/9 rate in relief stands at an eye-popping 15.28 over the 17 2/3 innings he’s pitched so far out of the pen. It may be a small sample size, but it’s worth noting that if he did that over an entire season, it would put him third in baseball among all relievers this season.
Pomeranz has also been doing a great job of inducing ground balls at a significant rate on the rare occasions when opponents have been able to put balls in play against him. This in turn has helped him cut back on the home run issues that plagued him as a starter.
Though his hard contact rate on batted balls in put in play stands at a high rate of 42.9% in relief, 55.6% of the balls put in play against him have been on the ground. The line drive rate of opponents is also just 7.4% against him when he’s pitched as a reliever. All of this suggests that his .350 BABIP against in Milwaukee is not a good reflection of how well he’s been doing when he’s gotten batters to make contact against him.
Overall, Drew Pomeranz has pitched the tune of a 2.19 ERA in Milwaukee, with very solid underlying stats to boot. His FIP is 2.16, and his xFIP is a 2.40. Both of these numbers suggest that his production in Milwaukee could be sustainable so long as he continues to miss bats at a high rate, and keeps the contact against him on the ground.
It may be a small sample size of innings, but there’s no doubt that Drew Pomeranz has been elite since being converted into a reliever this year. The Milwaukee Brewers may be a significant long shot to make the playoffs at this point, but that shouldn’t take away from what Pomeranz has done for them so far.
If he continues to produce at this level, the Brewers should do everything they can to retain him in free agency this off-season. He could be on his way to becoming an elite left-handed reliever who can pitch multiple innings out of the pen. That makes him exactly the kind of arm that Milwaukee has tried to build their pitching staff around.