A day after missing out on the Justin Turner sweepstakes, the beat goes on as the Milwaukee Brewers added another potential bullpen piece with a valentines day signing of RHP Brad Boxberger to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp.
The 32 year old Boxberger has been quite steady throughout his nine-year MLB career to the tune of a 3.56 career ERA in 329 innings pitched. 2014 was his most dominant season where in 64.2 innings pitched, he posted with a 2.37 ERA and a 14.5 K:9 ratio.
With 77 career saves, the majority of them came in two separate seasons. The first was in 2015, in which he was an All-Star with the Rays that year and collected 41 saves. In 2018, he tallied 32 saves with the Diamondbacks.
Since 2018, Boxberger has played for a different team each season. After a rough go with the Royals in 2019 he did bounce back in 2020 with the Marlins where in 18 innings he finished with a 3.00 ERA.
Since entering the big leagues, Boxberger has been primarily a fastball and changeup pitcher. Over his career, and to the current date, his fastball velocity sits in the low to mid-90s and his changeup in the high 70s to low 80s.
Although this does not seem very overpowering, this 10-15 MPH velocity change between fastball and changeup has been quite successful.
Boxberger’s changeup is typically among the league’s best in vertical drop and at its best can average nearly 6 inches of drop. In 2020, Boxberger’s fastball spin rate ranked in the 90th percentile.
Boxberger will be an interesting player to monitor once spring training begins. The Brewers current bullpen construction consists of a lot of young pitchers, so Boxberger’s veteran presence could be very valuable.
With his experience in the back end of the bullpen, he could help mentor and guide the young Brewers relievers who haven’t fully experienced a 162 game big league season with fans in the stands.
Boxberger’s pitching qualities also would provide another unique look in the bullpen, if he does indeed make the team. From a right handed pitcher standpoint, Drew Rasmussen brings high velocity, Justin Topa has a sweeping slider, Eric Yardley has a sidearm delivery, Freddy Peralta has a knee buckling curveball, and Devin Williams has the best changeup in baseball.
That is quite the variety of pitchers.
Boxberger joins a growing list of non-roster invites who have a chance at a bullpen job, including Hoby Milner, Jordan Zimmermann, Blaine Hardy, and Zach Vennaro, among others. Spring training is just a few short days away.
Only time will tell if Boxberger is indeed able to make the Brewers ball club out of spring training and he will certainly be one name to keep an eye on.