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Aaron Ashby Continues Successful Blueprint For Brewers



The Brewers have had success in recent years by allowing their top pitching prospects to get their feet wet in the majors in relief roles.

Righthanders Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff were given high-leverage bullpen innings during the Brewers’ charge to the postseason in 2018 and now stand as their top two starting pitchers.

Lefthander Josh Hader, a starter in the minors, was summoned during the 2017 season and placed in a relief role that he took to immediately. Today he is one of the top MLB closers.

In that regard, it came as no surprise when the Brewers called up lefthander Aaron Ashby last season and began using him mostly in relief.

Ashby made 13 appearances for the Brewers, including nine in relief, with two more in NL Division Series loss to the Braves.

Though his first foray at the top level was something of a mixed bag, Ashby’s quick ascent through the farm system, as well as his potentially devastating repertoire, make him the Brewers' No. 1 prospect.

The 23-year-old has a four-pitch mix topped by a fastball and slider that allow him to dominate hitters at his best. The 2018 fourth-rounder from Crowder (Mo.) JC has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s, but his sharp-breaking slider is a true putaway pitch with good depth and tilt that finishes out of the strike zone, making it effective against hitters of both hands.

Ashby also has made progress with a changeup at 87-91 mph that has a chance to be a third plus pitch. He shows a curveball on occasion to give hitters another offspeed pitch to ponder.

The red flag for the 6-foot-2, 181-pound Ashby is occasional command lapses that have tempered his effectiveness. He averaged 4.5 walks per nine innings in 21 outings (12 starts) at Triple-A Nashville in 2021.

Ashby has the stuff to be a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors. If he sees more relief work in the interim, it will continue a successful blueprint by the Brewers.

MICROBREWS 

Matt Erickson, who managed High-A Wisconsin in his hometown of Appleton for the past 11 seasons, was elevated to Milwaukee’s coaching staff as the infield and assistant hitting coach. Nashville pitching coach Jim Henderson was promoted to big league bullpen coach.

Tyler White, 31, who last played in the majors in 2019 for the Dodgers, signed a minor league deal with the Brewers with an invitation to big league spring training.

(Photo By Joe Puetz Getty Images)

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