Milwaukee Brewers: First Half Grades for the Relief Pitchers

The back end of the Brewers bullpen has been sharp, but questions mostly remain elsewhere.

Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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RHP Joel Payamps

Had the three-way trade that netted William Contreras only resulted in their new backstop playing well, the move would've still been considered a big win. So it's even sweeter that one of the other assets that they landed is playing a huge part in 2023 as well.

Joel Payamps, who came from the A's to the Brewers in that move, had mostly been a journeyman middle reliever so far in his career. Now, he's the second most important bullpen arm on the team after Williams.

Through 40 appearances, Payamps is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.969 WHIP, and career high 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He also hasn't given up a run since June 8th and is tied for 17th among qualified NL relievers with a 0.7 fWAR. Because of all that, he has now been made the primary setup man to Williams.

Grade: A

LHP Hoby Milner

Last year, left-hander Hoby Milner emerged to become one of the most used members of the Brewers bullpen, finishing second on the team in appearances in 2022. This season, he is actually leading the Crew in appearances with 42 and has managed to get even better along the way.

In 36 innings, Milner has given up just 10 earned runs (2.50 ERA) with a 1.111 WHIP. He has also been great at limiting free passes to opposing batters as his 4.13 strikeout per walk ratio is second on the team to only Payamps. For much of the season, he's been the only lefty out of the pen, so it helps that he's an awfully reliable one.

Grade: A

RHP Elvis Peguero

Payamps isn't the only reliever to come over via trade this offseason and impress in his first season with the Brewers. Elvis Peguero has become another important part of the Milwaukee bullpen after being acquired in the trade with the Angels that sent away outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Peguero just missed making the Opening Day roster but it didn't take long for him to be recalled from the minors and he hasn't looked back ever since. In 30 games, he has a 3.09 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, and has given up just one homer all season. That steady performance earned the trust of manager Craig Counsell early and he is now earning work in the seventh and eighth innings of most games.

Grade: A-