Though many of the top Milwaukee Brewers prospects are a couple years away, or more, from big league call-ups, a couple of them are currently knocking on the door at Triple-A Nashville. One of them is their 2019 first round draft pick, left-handed pitcher Ethan Small.
Small, the team’s No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, had a combined 1.98 ERA in 18 starts last season, including nine starts with Nashville, and earned the team’s minor league pitcher of the year award for his efforts. He began the 2022 season at Triple-A once again and has largely dominated.
In seven starts this season, Small has a 3-1 record for the Sounds and has compiled a 1.95 ERA and a 1.175 WHIP. The southpaw has held batters to just a .149 average on the year and is striking out batters at a rate of 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
Small was set to make his eighth start of the season for Nashville on Wednesday at home against the Louisville Bats. Just over an hour before the game began, however, news broke that he was being scratched from his start.
Shoutout to the Twitter account Chatter in the Box for bringing awareness to the lineup change shortly after it was posted.
So, does Ethan Small being scratched from his start mean a call-up to the Brewers is on the horizon?
It is worth mentioning that a pitcher being scratched from a start can sometimes also be injury related. But as of this moment, there has been no news that Small has any injury that isn’t allowing him to pitch.
And there was always a very real chance that Small was going to contribute for Milwaukee at some point in the 2022 season. In fact, Brewers manager Craig Counsell had this to say to Adam McCalvy, the team’s beat writer for MLB.com, before a Cactus League game earlier this spring.
If the Brewers were going to add an arm to the mix, now would certainly be a great time to do it. After tomorrow’s off day, Milwaukee plays 19 games over the following 18 days, thus fresh arms will be at a premium.
As for what Small’s role could be, that remains to be seen. None of the team’s five main starters are at risk of losing their spot in the rotation and swingman Aaron Ashby has been generally solid both as a starter and as a long reliever. Though the team has generally indicated in the past that they would prefer Small to start if he were ever to be called up, that sentiment isn’t set in stone.
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It will be a tense couple days for Brewers fans who are looking to see Small’s MLB debut as they await any further news on the matter. Hopefully it results in another young prospect seeing his dream come true.