With the Milwaukee Brewers 2020 season having now concluded, here at Reviewing the Brew we will be again going through our player report cards. Today we will be looking at Josh Lindblom.
The Brewers signed Josh Lindblom last offseason after he was coming off a stellar 2019 season in the KBO. In 194 innings of work for the Doosan Bears, Lindblom posted a 2.50 ERA, struck out 189 batters, and displayed great control with just 29 walks.
2020 was not his first tenure in MLB. As a former Dodger, Philly, Ranger, Athletic, and Pirate, Lindblom went through many ups and downs as primarily a reliever early in his career. He became a starter when he transitioned overseas in 2018 and 2019 and returned to the states as a starter for the Brewers.
2020 proved to be overall a down season for Lindblom who ended the year with a 5.16 ERA. Lindblom served primarily as a starter for the Brewers, but due to his performance his spot in the starting rotation was skipped a few times and he did appear in two games as a reliever. Overall, Lindblom’s 2020 was quite disappointing.
Overall Season Grade: C-
One thing we did learn about Josh Lindblom in 2020, is that he is rather unpredictable. As a true six-pitch pitcher, his splits were as followed: Fastball (35.1%), Cutter (19.3%), Slider (16.9%), Split Finger (10.1%), Curve (9.5%), and Changeup (9.2%). Opposing hitters at the plate could see a pitch anywhere from 90 MPH to the low 70’s with his curveball.
Unfortunately for Lindblom, his starts on the mound were rather unpredictable as well. In the ten games he started, he failed to reach the fifth inning on five different occasions. The deepest he worked into a game in 2020 was 5.1 IP in his second to last start of the season when he faced the Royals offense and allowed just one earned run with three hits allowed.
It is worth noting that Lindblom was especially bad against lefties in 2020. His ERA against left handed batters was 7.61 as compared to 2.49 against right handed batters. All six of the home runs he allowed this season came against left handed batters.
According to brooksbaseball, Lindblom relied more heavily upon his cutter and changeup/split change pitches vs left handed batters where as with right handed hitters he favored his slider more. When looking at heat maps, to the eye test location seemed to be the major issue with these pitches against left handed batters with often times cutters not getting far enough in on batters hands and changeups catching way to much of the zone and elevated.
The silver linings to Lindblom’s 2020 season is that his expected earned run average was 4.03 and that he struck out batters at a 27% clip, which was good enough for 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. His wide variety of pitches definitely kept hitters off balance and he generated a ton of swing and misses despite not having the best location.
All in all, it was was a rather disappointing season for for a guy whom the Brewers signed to a three year deal last off-season and who experienced lots of success in the KBO.
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As a pitcher who was bounced in and out of the starting rotation in 2020 I expect Lindblom to compete for a rotation spot come spring training of 2021.