For the last few months it has seemed that the Milwaukee Brewers were going to have a nice healthy competition for the fifth and final spot in their starting rotation. Johnny Hellweg, Tyler Thornburg and Jimmy Nelson are the young pitchers thought to be fighting for that spot. They were thought to be fighting for that spot until the Brewers signed Matt Garza. Now the Brewers have no spot available.
Hellweg need not feel saddened by this because his off-debut at the end of 2013 probably put him behind Thornburg who would have been the favorite anyway. With things this way, Hellweg and his competitors will be competing for first alternate basically. They’ll all probably hit the minors unless the Brewers decide one of them needs to go to the bullpen.
The fact of the matter is that Hellweg still isn’t thought to be the favorite but his minor league numbers are just fine. He isn’t far behind Nelson or Thornburg so he should take Spring Training as his chance to jump his name up that list of alternates. It could happen in the few weeks of camp that precede Opening Day.
While the Brewers won’t think too hard about Hellweg’s six-plus debut ERA, he could surely help them forget it further if he has a great spring. If nothing else, Hellweg still could use a healthy dose of positive momentum heading into the minor league season at the Triple-A level. With that he should be good enough to place his name on the quick call-up list for 2014.