The Milwaukee Brewers did not have any left handed pitchers in the bullpen for much of the 2011 season. The Brewers will have four left handed relievers at Spring Training vying for a spot on the 2012 roster. Here's a look at these four players.
Braddock looked promising in his 2010 rookie season, with a 2.94 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings in 46 games. Last year was a different story. He spent time on the disabled list for treatment of a sleep disorder and was sent down to the minors for disciplinary reasons after being late to the ballpark and late for team activities multiple times. Things did not go well when he did pitch; he was 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA in 25 appearances. After getting hammered for 10 earned runs in six appearances in July, Braddock was sent to Triple A Nashville for good after the Brewers acquired Francisco Rodriguez.
Braddock is 24, and his problem with tardiness may be due to immaturity. If he has a good attitude and work ethic and can pitch the way he did in 2010, he has a good chance to be on the Opening Day roster. If he struggles in Arizona, a little more time at Nashville would be in order, but in the end, I expect to see Braddock in Milwaukee at some point in 2012.
The Brewers signed Parra to a one year contract for $1.2 million for 2012, the same as he was paid in 2011. That's a lot to spend on a player who didn't pitch an inning for the Brewers in 2011 and was limited to eight minor league appearances due to injuries, so I'm assuming the club feels he's fully recovered and ready to go.
Parra has had mixed success as a starter, but he seemed to find his niche when he was moved into the bullpen in 2010. In 37 2/3 innings of relief that year, Parra had a 2.39 ERA compared to the 6.19 ERA he had in 16 starts.
Parra was counted on to be part of the bullpen in 2011, and based on the size of the contract, it looks like the Brewers are giving him a vote of confidence for 2012. The club has had a lot of patience with Parra over the years, and I hope it finally pays off.
Meadows was invited to Spring Training as a non roster player. In 2011, Meadows split time between Double A Huntsville and Nashville. He was impressive at Huntsville, with a 6-2 record and a 1.51 ERA in 41 2/3 innings. He was less impressive after being promoted to Nashville, going 0-2 with a 4.04 ERA in 35 2/3 innings. Meadows also had a forgettable autumn in the Arizona Fall League, allowing nine earned runs in 12 1/3 innings.
Meadows is a good strikeout pitcher, with 316 in 333 minor league innings pitched. This invitation to Spring Training will give the Brewers a chance to see how he does against big league hitters. I would expect Meadows to open the season at Nashville.
Another non roster invitee, the 33 year old Perez has spent most of his 12 year career in the minors. He did have eight relief appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, and allowed two earned runs and just one hit in five innings. Perez also pitched well in the 2011 Dominican Winter League, with a 1.84 ERA and four saves in 27 appearances.
Perez signed a minor league contract that included an invitation to Spring Training. If he has a good spring, I think he'll have a reasonable chance of making the Opening Day roster if either Braddock or Parra are sent down to the minors.
A Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Mark Hudziak has been a fan of the Brewers since they moved to Milwaukee in 1970.
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