Power Lefty Braddock Fits Perfectly Into Brewers' Pen

MARYVALE, Ariz.—It didn't take long for lefthander Zach Braddock to make an impression in his first big league spring training.

Before exhibition play even began, Brewers manager Ken Macha said Braddock already had caught his eye.

"Braddock has been real impressive," Macha said. "He is overpowering. His stuff is not going to keep him out of the big leagues. It's a matter of putting it where he wants to.

"This is a guy who could contribute before the year is over."

Because Braddock, 22, had injury problems early in his pro career, the Brewers last year converted him from starter to reliever.

Braddock thrived in that role, spreading 40 innings over 26 appearances and going 3-2, 1.79 with 62 strikeouts and seven walks—an incredible ratio of nearly 9-to-1. He finished the season with Double-A Huntsville.

"It was different, just in game preparation," said Braddock, an 18th-round pick in 2005 who signed the following year out of Burlington (N.J.) CC as a draft-and-follow. "I thought I made the adjustments pretty well.

"They put me in a position to be successful. It obviously worked out and I'm thankful for that. I definitely feel good about it. Once you make a decision and make an effort to stick to an idea and a game plan, it's nice to see some production from it."

Though the Brewers had good intentions in switching Braddock's roles, some wondered if relieving might lessen his impact once he gets to the majors.

"The impact of guys who can come in and dominate can be great," said Macha, who indicated that Braddock profiles more as a set-up reliever now because his hard stuff is ahead of his offspeed stuff.

"Does this kid have that going for him right now? We'll see. I'm not sure. But could he at one point, with his stuff? Yeah."

When informed that Macha mentioned his name unsolicited, Braddock smiled and said, "It's even more motivation to stay with what I've been doing and keep working as hard as I've been working. It is validating."


• Outfielder Logan Schafer, the organization's reigning minor league player of the year, suffered a slight groin strain during workouts in the minor league winter program and did not report as scheduled to camp as a non-roster invitee.

• Righthander Josh Butler was set back at the outset of big league camp with arm stiffness. Butler started his offseason program later than usual after a long 2009 season, which included an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.