Get to know a Brewers reliever: Ray Black

The Milwaukee Brewers have about a dozen arms vying for a few spots in the Opening Day bullpen. Ray Black is among them. Is there a chance that Black breaks camp with the team?

Ray Black has to be wondering where all the competition came from. There were only a handful of available options on the roster in November. It looked like the Black would be a clear front runner for the final bullpen job in Milwaukee. As of February, Black has to compete with about 12 guys for two or three spots in the Brewers bullpen. Should fans expect to see Black on the roster when the Brewers take the field on Opening Day?

Where did Black come from?

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Black from the San Francisco Giants along with Drew Pomeranz. Milwaukee sent Mauricio Dubon to San Francisco in return.

How old is Black?

Black will turn 30 before the end of the 2020 season.

How did Black perform in 2019?

Black spent over half of the 2019 season in Triple-A, but he did work 17 games at the Major League level.

He threw 16 innings in stops with the Giants and Brewers, and managed a 5.06 ERA. Black struck out 18, walked nine, and got tagged for five homers in 17 appearances in the Majors.

What does Black’s pitch mix look like?

You don’t remember? It really has been a long winter. Black throws hard. He averaged 98.2 MPH on his fastball last year in limited action at the Major League level. He also owns a respectable slider, but he appears to have abandoned his curve ball.

Does Black have a chance to make the Opening Day roster?

Whether Black makes the 2020 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day roster or not depends largely on how he throws in the next month of exhibition games. If his fastball is humming and he’s able to string together three or four solid outings, he could work his way onto the Major League roster. However, he is competing with about a dozen or so other guys for three spots in the Brewers bullpen.

Next: Who should the Brewers offer contract extensions to?

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Black is on the 40-man roster, so the team wouldn’t have to make a move to keep him on the active roster. However, he doesn’t have any options left. If the Brewers want to send Black down to the Minors, he’ll have to be designated for assignment, and that would expose him to waivers. The only way he would get moved off the active roster is if he gets hurt or has a disastrous start to the season. Both are within the realm of possibility, but the velocity Black can generate will always make him attractive to Major League teams. There’s a non-zero chance that Black ends up in another uniform before the end of the season.

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