Brewers' Thornburg Takes Command Of Future





MILWAUKEE—Prior to the 2010 draft, a number of scouts compared Tyler Thornburg with Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and for three key reasons. Both righthanders stand less than 6-feet tall, both employ an unorthodox delivery and both feature mid- to high-90s heat.

The Brewers selected Thornburg, a Charleston Southern product, in the third round and signed him for $351,900. Lincecum, of course, is a two-time Cy Young award winner and World Series champion.

"It was kind of weird to hear (Lincecum comparisons) because I had just gotten drafted," Thornburg said. "It's not a bad comparison in my mind. I hope I can live up to that.

"People have told me I pitch sort of like him, but I don't try to do that. It's just what feels natural. It's a little bit unorthodox. I don't really know what I do different."

Whatever it is, it's working. The 22-year-old Thornburg made 12 starts for low Class A Wisconsin to begin the year, going 7-0, 1.57 with 76 strikeouts in 69 innings.

At the end of June, Thornburg jumped to high Class A Brevard County, where he started 2-2, 1.67 through five starts before hitting his first rough patch as a pro. In two late-July starts he allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in 10 innings.

In total, Thornburg had struck out 119 batters in 106 innings, and while he had been generous with walks (45), he remained difficult to hit (75). That formula produced a healthy 1.14 WHIP. To illustrate the point, he pitched a scoreless inning at the Futures Game.

Minor league pitching coordinator Lee Tunnell isn't sold on the Lincecum comparisons. He prefers a different one.

"He has a little bit of (Roy) Oswalt in him," Tunnell said. "They are similar-sized guys. Tyler has some deception to his delivery. Hitters have trouble picking up the ball."

Thornburg served as a closer/outfielder for his first two college seasons before entering the rotation as a junior.

"I think just throwing more will help my command," Thornburg said. "I just want to finish up the way I pitched in the first half and keep my numbers as good as possible."

MICROBREWS

• First baseman Nick Ramirez, a third-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton this year, batted .269/.383/.689 with nine homers in 23 games for Rookie-level Helena to earn a promotion to Wisconsin.

• Center fielder Logan Schafer earned a promotion from Double-A Huntsville to Triple-A Nashville after the Brewers called up Brett Carroll. Schafer got a late start after breaking his thumb in spring camp.