Brewers: Ethan Small Should Be Called Up After the All-Star Break
By Matt Carroll
The 2022 All-Star break has come and gone. Brewers pitchers Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader, who were originally named to the team, both didn’t end up pitching in this year’s game. Meanwhile reliever Devin Williams, who was originally snubbed, was later named as a replacement and did make an appearance, giving up just a walk in one scoreless inning.
For the rest of the players, it served as a much-needed break. The Crew scuffled a bit to end the first “half” of the season, losing seven of their final 10 games. Yet, various contributions left the team with a 50-43 record and in first place in the NL Central and a half game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Looking ahead to the second “half,” one area that needs to be addressed is the fifth spot in the starting rotation. The Brewers have already stated that the starters for the four-game series against the Rockies coming out of the break will be Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Eric Lauer, and Aaron Ashby.
But past that, nothing has been announced. Two of the most recent starters to see time in the rotation, Jason Alexander and Chi Chi Gonzalez, have since been optioned to Triple-A and designated for assignment, respectively. And the Brewers don’t currently have another starting option on the 26-man active roster.
To fill the fifth spot in the rotation, the Brewers should call Ethan Small back up to the big leagues.
The top pitching prospect in the Brewers organization per MLB Pipeline (No. 8 overall), Ethan Small got off to a phenomenal start to the 2022 season at Triple-A Nashville. That, in part, earned him his first opportunity to make an MLB start against the Cubs on Memorial Day.
Things would start well enough with him giving up two hits over the first two innings while striking out four. His third inning saw his control escape him, though, a problem that has plagued him at times. He would give up two runs on two singles and four walks and would eventually be pulled from the inning largely due to pitch count.
Small would be optioned back to Triple-A the next day. He is now up to 15 starts with the Nashville Sounds and is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .192 batting average.
The Brewers go right into a quick two-gamer with the Twins after their series with the Rockies ends, and it’s likely they will need a 5th starter as opposed to turning the rotation over on short rest. If so, the team should give Small another crack at it.
Gonzalez is no longer with the team and is not an option. And while Alexander put up some nice starts with the Crew when he was called up around the same time as Small, he had some rough outings heading into the All-Star break and now has a 5.60 ERA in 10 MLB outings.
The Brewers have seen what they need to see with Alexander for now. The same can’t be said for Small, however, who is a pitcher with a much higher ceiling. And with Adrian Houser and Freddy Peralta not appearing to be returning any time soon, now is the perfect time to give Small a second chance.
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Whether its two series from now or later, the Brewers will need to get their 5th starter figured out. Small would be a great solution to that problem.