The Milwaukee Brewers had an opportunity to address their first base vacancy by accepting a trade offer from the New York Mets, who were willing to send over Ike Davis. The player the Mets wanted in return was Tyler Thornburg – 25 years of age and a talented right-handed pitcher rising in the Brewers’ organization. The Brewers declined.
Thornburg was a third round pick back in 2010 out of Charleston Southern University where he was a pitcher and a talented outfielder. It didn’t take long for Thornburg to quickly make a name for himself as a pitcher in the Brewers’ system. To start the 2011 season, he boasted a 7-0 record with a 1.50 ERA and represented the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at the All-Star Game, soon to be followed by a trip to the All-Star Futures Game as well. Thornburg didn’t slow down after earning his promotion to Double-A. He went 8-1 and carried a 3.00 ERA in his first 13 starts and was selected to be an All-Star once again.
The Brewers gave Thornburg an opportunity for some action in 2013. He took full advantage. Thornburg appeared in 18 games, starting seven of them, and hurled his way to a 3-1 record, 2.03 ERA in just over 66 innings pitched. You can see why the Brewers are so high on him.
Often compared to Tim Lincecum because of his physical stature and deceptive delivery, Thornburg has the repertoire to be very successful at the big league level. He presents four-seam fastball that sits 93-97 mph, a sharp 12-6 curveball that is thrown in the low-80s and a deadly changeup with excellent sink and deception.
With Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta and newly signed Matt Garza firmly cemented into the starting rotation heading into the 2014 season, the fifth spot is open for competition. Thornburg will be competing with Marco Estrada, Will Smith and Johnny Hellweg. Estrada, when healthy, has had great success as a starter but is a bit more versatile with his ability to pitch on short rest which could land him in the bullpen. Thornburg, who’s only 25 years old, is a highly valued arm in the organization which makes it idiotic for the Brewers to put the bullpen stress on his right arm.
Expect Thornburg to make a splash on the major league radar as a starter and prove to everyone why it was smart of the Brewers to not let him go.