Lesser Brewers: Tyler Thornburg

Tyler Thornburg excelled in his transition to the bullpen, but an elbow injury limited his effectiveness and eventually ended his season.

Tyler Thornburg entered the 2014 season with an unclear role on the Brewers. He started the 2013 season in Nashville, was called up for the Brewers bullpen, but finished in the rotation. Also, his last four starts of 2013 were very encouraging, giving hope to the possibility that he could be a full-time starter. However, when Matt Garza was signed in the offseason, it meant that there was no space in the rotation for Thornburg, and his place would be in the bullpen.

The full-time move to the bullpen paid immediate dividends for the Brewers. Thornburg flourished in April, posting a 0.61 ERA and a 1.84 FIP. The only run he allowed was in his first appearance, and he did not allow a run in April after that. His success pushed him into a setup role, where he handled the seventh and eighth innings. Everything appeared to be going well for him.

However, he came back down to earth hard in May. He posted a 6.00 ERA and 5.63 FIP, allowing runs in six of his eleven appearances. Then, after giving up five runs in an appearance against the Pirates in June, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness. After he went on the DL, it was revealed that he had been pitching with it for a few weeks, which could explain his drop in effectiveness. Unfortunately, he never recovered from it and received a platelet-rich plasma injection in August in hopes of avoiding surgery.

So far, we haven't heard any indications that anything went wrong following the injection, so the hope is that Thornburg will be ready for spring training. What we saw from him in April was impressive, and if he can produce something close to that going forward, he could be a key piece of the bullpen for several years.

Best Game

In the month of April, Tyler Thornburg made 14 appearances, pitching 14 2/3 innings and posting a 0.61 ERA and a 1.84 FIP. His best appearance of the month may have been his last one. On Tuesday, April 29, the Brewers were playing in St. Louis and had the game tied at 4-4 entering the ninth inning. They called on Tyler Thornburg out of the bullpen, and he was stellar that day. He pitched two innings, throwing 36 pitches over those two innings. He struck out four in those two innings, allowing a total of one baserunner on a walk. The Brewers would then take the lead in the top of the 11th inning and hold on to win 5-4.

Contract Status

After the 2014 season, Tyler Thornburg is at just under 2 years of MLB service, with 1 year and 146 days accumulated. He will get another pre-arbitration contract for 2015, and then his service time may qualify him for Super 2 status in 2016, meaning early arbitration. If not, he will be arbitration-eligible in 2017 and will be a free agent for the 2020 season.

Ballpark pup has Brewers celebrating ‘Hanksgiving’

The story of Hank the Ballpark Pup continues to raise money and spirits in Wisconsin. "I am personally going to be celebrating 'Hanksgiving' this year with my family," said the Wisconsin Humane Society's Angela Speed.

Ballpark pup has Brewers celebrating ‘Hanksgiving’

The story of Hank the Ballpark Pup continues to raise money and spirits in Wisconsin. "I am personally going to be celebrating 'Hanksgiving' this year with my family," said the Wisconsin Humane Society's Angela Speed.

Ballpark pup has Brewers celebrating ‘Hanksgiving’

The story of Hank the Ballpark Pup continues to raise money and spirits in Wisconsin. "I am personally going to be celebrating 'Hanksgiving' this year with my family," said the Wisconsin Humane Society's Angela Speed.

Ballpark pup has Brewers celebrating ‘Hanksgiving’

The story of Hank the Ballpark Pup continues to raise money and spirits in Wisconsin. "I am personally going to be celebrating 'Hanksgiving' this year with my family," said the Wisconsin Humane Society's Angela Speed.

Lesser Brewers: Logan Schafer

Logan Schafer provided a needed outfield backup for the Brewers, but saw his playtime time diminish as he continued to struggle at the plate.

When we talk about Logan Schafer, there's generally a negative feeling that comes out. He doesn't have a good bat, he's not very flashy; he's essentially the definition of a replacement level backup outfielder. However, every team needs players like him each season, and he filled that role adequately.

Schafer entered 2014 with the expectations of being the fourth outfielder. In fact, because of the way the Brewers roster was constructed on Opening Day, he was the only true backup the Brewers had for the outfield. That led to him getting some starts as the season went on. However, a few weeks into the season, he strained his hamstring and had to go on the disabled list. It was a short stay, though. He returned shortly after the minimum, and ended up in a more regular starting role with Ryan Braun going on the DL. Despite getting his chances, his struggled at the plate and saw his playing time get smaller until he was optioned back to Triple-A in mid-June.

A few weeks in Nashville seemed to get him back on track, and he was recalled in early July. However, he still continued to struggle when he played, and his role remained limited to a few starts, some pinch-hits, and a few defensive replacements. Then, at the end of July, the Brewers acquired Gerardo Parra in a trade, and Logan Schafer was the odd man out there. He was sent back to Nashville following the trade. He would return as a September call-up, but at that point his role had become very limited. He got a few starts, but was mainly relegated to bench duties for the rest of the season.

It's hard to see Logan Schafer's role with the Brewers growing beyond what it is now. When he has been in Triple-A, the results have been there with regular playing time. This season, he put up a line of .273/.355/.460 in 185 PA with the Sounds. However, the results don't carry over to MLB. He had a line of .181/.278/.276 in 136 PA with the Brewers. The one thing that has kept Logan Schafer on the team is his defensive ability. He's not an exciting player, but he's solid with his glove, has good range, and makes very few mistakes. With some of the other players on the team struggling on defense, that has been good to have, but it probably won't keep him around much longer.

Best Game

Logan Schafer didn't have many good games at the plate, but there was one game where he did drive in the winning run. On September 20 against the Pirates, the Brewers playoff chances were hanging on by a thread and needed every win they could get. With the game tied at 0-0 in the ninth inning, Logan Schafer came up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and one out. It wasn't flashy, but he hit a sacrifice fly to left field deep enough to score Elian Herrera. It was the only run the Brewers scored that day, and they would end up winning 1-0.

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Contract Status

Logan Schafer has just over 2 years of MLB service following the 2014 season. He will have one more pre-arbitration contract in 2015, will hit arbitration for the first time in 2016 and will be a free agent for the 2019 season. The Brewers will probably bring him back in 2015 to be the fifth outfielder, but he's a definite non-tender candidate when he hits his first year of arbitration, and could be expendable if the Brewers make another move this offseason.

Lesser Brewers: Logan Schafer

Logan Schafer provided a needed outfield backup for the Brewers, but saw his playtime time diminish as he continued to struggle at the plate.

When we talk about Logan Schafer, there's generally a negative feeling that comes out. He doesn't have a good bat, he's not very flashy; he's essentially the definition of a replacement level backup outfielder. However, every team needs players like him each season, and he filled that role adequately.

Schafer entered 2014 with the expectations of being the fourth outfielder. In fact, because of the way the Brewers roster was constructed on Opening Day, he was the only true backup the Brewers had for the outfield. That led to him getting some starts as the season went on. However, a few weeks into the season, he strained his hamstring and had to go on the disabled list. It was a short stay, though. He returned shortly after the minimum, and ended up in a more regular starting role with Ryan Braun going on the DL. Despite getting his chances, his struggled at the plate and saw his playing time get smaller until he was optioned back to Triple-A in mid-June.

A few weeks in Nashville seemed to get him back on track, and he was recalled in early July. However, he still continued to struggle when he played, and his role remained limited to a few starts, some pinch-hits, and a few defensive replacements. Then, at the end of July, the Brewers acquired Gerardo Parra in a trade, and Logan Schafer was the odd man out there. He was sent back to Nashville following the trade. He would return as a September call-up, but at that point his role had become very limited. He got a few starts, but was mainly relegated to bench duties for the rest of the season.

It's hard to see Logan Schafer's role with the Brewers growing beyond what it is now. When he has been in Triple-A, the results have been there with regular playing time. This season, he put up a line of .273/.355/.460 in 185 PA with the Sounds. However, the results don't carry over to MLB. He had a line of .181/.278/.276 in 136 PA with the Brewers. The one thing that has kept Logan Schafer on the team is his defensive ability. He's not an exciting player, but he's solid with his glove, has good range, and makes very few mistakes. With some of the other players on the team struggling on defense, that has been good to have, but it probably won't keep him around much longer.

Best Game

Logan Schafer didn't have many good games at the plate, but there was one game where he did drive in the winning run. On September 20 against the Pirates, the Brewers playoff chances were hanging on by a thread and needed every win they could get. With the game tied at 0-0 in the ninth inning, Logan Schafer came up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and one out. It wasn't flashy, but he hit a sacrifice fly to left field deep enough to score Elian Herrera. It was the only run the Brewers scored that day, and they would end up winning 1-0.

Your browser does not support iframes.

Contract Status

Logan Schafer has just over 2 years of MLB service following the 2014 season. He will have one more pre-arbitration contract in 2015, will hit arbitration for the first time in 2016 and will be a free agent for the 2019 season. The Brewers will probably bring him back in 2015 to be the fifth outfielder, but he's a definite non-tender candidate when he hits his first year of arbitration, and could be expendable if the Brewers make another move this offseason.

A few Brewers things for which I’m grateful this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!

Thanksgiving is about turkey, drinking, family, friends, and football. On Brew Crew Ball, we can also make it a little bit about baseball, in between our food comas and strangely rooting for the Bears. Here are a few Brewers-related things that I'm thankful for -- how about you?

  • I'm thankful for Mark Attanasio. A decade ago, the Brewers were at the bottom of the league as far as spending goes. Since then, they've brought in free agents like Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza and Jeff Suppan. They signed an MVP player to a long-term contract that makes it fairly likely he will spend his whole career as a Brewer. Some of these things have worked out better than others, but the Brewers have an owner who is OK with spending. They don't have to deal with a Dick Monfort or a Jeffrey Loria. They aren't being talked about for relocation like the Athletics or the Milwaukee Bucks. Mark Attanasio is pretty great.
  • I'm thankful Ryan Braun seems to be getting healthy. The Brewers need him to be back to close to his old self for them to have a good shot at competing next year, and hearing him say he's felt better than he has in years is a good sign. Even besides baseball, his thumb being pain-free is something that's good to hear for him as a person who has to live everyday life.
  • I'm thankful for Carlos Gomez and the fun and passion he clearly has when playing the game. He's a frustrating player at times, but he's my favorite player to watch because you never know what's going to happen. He'll rob home runs and trip jogging in center field. He'll steal second and force a bad throw to take third then take home when that throw gets away from the defense. But he'll make dumb outs on the basepaths at other times. He'll swing and miss in majestic ways, then hit a home run into the second deck. Carlos Gomez is amazing and a treat to watch.
  • I'm thankful for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers had not had a longterm solution at catcher in a long, long time before Lucroy came along. Now, they have a player who was fourth in MVP voting this past season, and on a ridiculously great contract. He's a stand-up guy, and a leader of the team, and someone everybody can root for.
  • I'm thankful for Miller Park. I don't get to go much anymore since I've moved to New York, but Miller Park is (relatively) reasonably priced and a great place to take in the game. Both the facilities and the atmosphere are top notch.
  • I'm thankful for all of you, the people who read Brew Crew Ball. Whether you're here for the first time, check in once a month or week, stop by daily or constantly keep it open in a tab. This sounds like pandering -- and it is, a bit, maybe -- but that doesn't mean it's not true. When I say that the people who read BCB are what makes it exist, I'm not lying. I enjoy writing and I love baseball, and this gives me a way to merge the two. But without readers, without the discussions in the comments, without engaging with you all here and on Twitter and on Facebook -- without all that, I wouldn't be doing this. You make it fun and worthwhile, so thank you for coming by.
Happy Thanksgiving from myself, JP, Derek, Jordan, and everyone else at BCB!

A few Brewers things for which I’m grateful this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!

Thanksgiving is about turkey, drinking, family, friends, and football. On Brew Crew Ball, we can also make it a little bit about baseball, in between our food comas and strangely rooting for the Bears. Here are a few Brewers-related things that I'm thankful for -- how about you?

  • I'm thankful for Mark Attanasio. A decade ago, the Brewers were at the bottom of the league as far as spending goes. Since then, they've brought in free agents like Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza and Jeff Suppan. They signed an MVP player to a long-term contract that makes it fairly likely he will spend his whole career as a Brewer. Some of these things have worked out better than others, but the Brewers have an owner who is OK with spending. They don't have to deal with a Dick Monfort or a Jeffrey Loria. They aren't being talked about for relocation like the Athletics or the Milwaukee Bucks. Mark Attanasio is pretty great.
  • I'm thankful Ryan Braun seems to be getting healthy. The Brewers need him to be back to close to his old self for them to have a good shot at competing next year, and hearing him say he's felt better than he has in years is a good sign. Even besides baseball, his thumb being pain-free is something that's good to hear for him as a person who has to live everyday life.
  • I'm thankful for Carlos Gomez and the fun and passion he clearly has when playing the game. He's a frustrating player at times, but he's my favorite player to watch because you never know what's going to happen. He'll rob home runs and trip jogging in center field. He'll steal second and force a bad throw to take third then take home when that throw gets away from the defense. But he'll make dumb outs on the basepaths at other times. He'll swing and miss in majestic ways, then hit a home run into the second deck. Carlos Gomez is amazing and a treat to watch.
  • I'm thankful for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers had not had a longterm solution at catcher in a long, long time before Lucroy came along. Now, they have a player who was fourth in MVP voting this past season, and on a ridiculously great contract. He's a stand-up guy, and a leader of the team, and someone everybody can root for.
  • I'm thankful for Miller Park. I don't get to go much anymore since I've moved to New York, but Miller Park is (relatively) reasonably priced and a great place to take in the game. Both the facilities and the atmosphere are top notch.
  • I'm thankful for all of you, the people who read Brew Crew Ball. Whether you're here for the first time, check in once a month or week, stop by daily or constantly keep it open in a tab. This sounds like pandering -- and it is, a bit, maybe -- but that doesn't mean it's not true. When I say that the people who read BCB are what makes it exist, I'm not lying. I enjoy writing and I love baseball, and this gives me a way to merge the two. But without readers, without the discussions in the comments, without engaging with you all here and on Twitter and on Facebook -- without all that, I wouldn't be doing this. You make it fun and worthwhile, so thank you for coming by.
Happy Thanksgiving from myself, JP, Derek, Jordan, and everyone else at BCB!

Ballpark pup has Brewers celebrating ‘Hanksgiving’

The story of Hank the Ballpark Pup continues to raise money and spirits in Wisconsin. "I am personally going to be celebrating 'Hanksgiving' this year with my family," said the Wisconsin Humane Society's Angela Speed.