Johnny Hellweg (RHP, MIL)
With the Brewers placing Alfredo Figaro on the disabled list, they have called up the twenty-four year old Johnny Hellweg to take his place in the rotation. Acquired in the Zack Greinke deal from the Angels, Hellweg has always got high praise for his plus fastball that sits 94-97 up to 100 at times. He complements it with a decent curveball and change-up that both show average when they are on. While his arsenal is solid, Hellweg has never been able to control or command his pitches, which has led to well below average numbers in the minors. At 6-9 he uses his height well, getting downhill with ease and maintaining an above average ground ball percentage. With a career strong strikeout rate, Hellweg can get the K, though he’s been inconsistent and continues to walk almost six batters per nine innings. Hellweg’s arm action works well, but his inconsistent delivery has played a huge role in his ability to repeat and gain the command needed to take the next step forward in the rotation. If he can make the necessary adjustments and develop consistency in his off-speed pitches he could reach his potential as a middle of the rotation pitcher. At 24, it is hard to predict how much more of a ceiling he has, but worst-case scenario is a power reliever with two usable pitches. In six minor-league seasons Hellweg posted a 3.45 ERA but those 276 walks in 402 innings is a huge concern. If you can’t throw strikes at this level, you’re in big trouble.
STATS: Nashville (AAA) – 14 g, 14 gs, 7-4 2.82 ERA, 76.2 IP 44/50 BB/K .204 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: #5 Starter
POTENTIAL: #3 Starter/Power Reliever