Big Red on the Farm
A friend of mine posted today that he was in Texas watching the AAA Round Rock Express take on the Nashville Sounds. ”Go Sounds!” was my response, and then he asked me about any Brewers prospects he should keep an eye out for. After rattling off a few names (Caleb Gindl, Taylor Green, and Brett Carroll),* I checked the box score where something caught my eye. A name I hadn’t heard in a few years: Seth McClung.
McClung threw his last major league pitch as a Brewer in 2009. He appeared in 41 games that year, most of them before landing on the DL on July 25. Unlike the year before, he wasn’t particularly effective (4.94 ERA, 1.629 WHIP, 1.03 K/BB). McClung became a fan favorite in 2008, when he compiled a 6-6 record over 105 innings. He appeared in 12 games as a starter in 2008, where he was not spectacular but at least serviceable (6-5, 4.33 ERA, 49:25 K:BB).
But after earning about $1.6 MM in 2009, the writing was on the wall for McClung, and he became a free agent in December of that year. He signed a minor league contract with the Marlins, but did not make the major league roster and wound up sitting out 2010.
The big red machine couldn’t be held down for long. In December 2010, he signed with the Texas Rangers and was assigned to AAA Round Rock. I wish I could say that the results have been encouraging. In 11 games as a starter, McClung has gone 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA and 30:27 K:BB. He’s also given up 9 runs in about 15 innings as a reliever.
I want to end this on a positive note, though, by saying that McClung has pitched much better recently. I think I can speak for all of Brewers nation when I say we wish you the best of luck, Seth.
*Seriously, these are some names you need to know. Casey McGehee is stuck in the most prolonged slump of his big league career, and Ron Roenicke has shown he’s willing to consider other options by starting Craig Counsell and Mat Gamel at the hot corner over the past few days. McGehee is frustrated beyond belief, as you can imagine; immediately after this game-ending swinging strikeout McGehee snapped his bat over his knee. Meanwhile 3B Taylor Green has been raking in AAA (.310 BA, .372 OBP, 11 HR, 4o RBI, 44:26 K:BB). Despite some fielding difficulties, Green could wind up the Brewers’ answer in the second half if push comes to shove with McGehee.
Carroll and Gindl, both outfielders, are unlikely to see time in the majors before rosters expand, but both have made a good case. Carroll’s line is similar to Green’s (.300 BA, .374 OBP, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 53:28 K:BB), but he has a bit more speed (8 SB). Gindl is hitting .274, with a .354 OBP, 10 HR, 28 RBI, and 56:29 K:BB.
UPDATE: Sounds’ RHP Sean Green gave up a three-run walk-off home run and the Sounds fall to the Express tonight, 6-9. McClung pitched two innings with one run and a srikeout.