In his second start since being demoted from the big league roster on July 30, Brewers right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg took to the mound Tuesday night for the Nashville Sounds on the road against the Sacramento River Cats, the triple-A minor league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
Here are a few of my own observations on Thornburg’s performance.
5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
Total Pitches: 78
Strikes: 44 (56%)
Balls: 34 (44%)
What did he throw?
Fastball: 57 (73%)
Curveball: 18 (23%)
Changeup: 3 (4%)
Fly ball-outs/Line drive-outs: 6
Swings and misses: 7
Foul balls: 13
- Thornburg struggled to command his pitches right from the get-go, walking the first hitter of the game and getting himself into trouble by loading the bases in the top of the first. His fastball was very sporadic early on, struggling to get the pitch near the vicinity of the plate and seldom hitting his spots. The same goes for his curveball, which he strayed away from in a few key situations; the pitch was even more inconsistent than his fastball to the point where he spiked the pitch in the dirt three straight times in one at-bat. His changeup was almost nowhere to be found through the first few frames and he struggled to set hitters up because of it.
- After getting his feet under him, Thornburg seemed to settle down. His four-seam fastball that hitters have been known to make solid contact with was suddenly inducing a few swings and misses and a number of ground-balls in the later frames. The same can be said about his curveball, though not quite to the same extent; the pitch had nice bending action to it however I could hardly tell where the pitch would end up.
- All in all, it was a pretty mediocre start by Thornburg’s standards.
- Command — Thornburg’s command has witnessed massive improvements from his early days in the minors, but it still appears he has a ways to go in that respect. Above all else, he’ll need to show signs of confidence and control of his curveball.
- Lack of a third pitch — Thornburg has thrived off his two-pitch mid-90s fastball and big-bending cuveball combination for a while now, and while it worked in the lower minors, odds are it won’t skate in the big leagues. If he has any intention of joining Milwaukee’s rotation for the long-haul, he’ll need to develop his changeup.