Brewers’ Ethan Small Looks To Bounce Back From Uneven 2022

The 2022 season was a mixed bag for Ethan Small.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefthander achieved every baseball player’s ultimate goal by making his major league debut in a spot start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 30.

But the rest of his campaign was uneven to say the least, and after 27 appearances the 25-year-old Small had posted a 4.46 ERA in 103 innings for Triple-A Nashville.

What was especially troubling was how Small finished the year.

After running up a 7.80 ERA in four August starts, he opened his September by allowing 10 hits and eight earned runs in 4.2 innings.

That prompted the Brewers to move Small to the bullpen, where he finished on a better note by posting four scoreless appearances in his final six.

“Hard to put a finger on his second-half struggles,” Brewers vice president of minor league operations Tom Flanagan said. “His first two months were fairly solid.

“Early on in his season, he was able to attack hitters a little bit more regularly than he ended up doing toward the end of the season. He had his fastball/changeup combo working pretty well.”

Flanagan said that Small, whom the Brewers drafted in the first round out of Mississippi State in 2019, struggled with his command later in the season and tried various ways to fix it.

Small made one other spot start for the Brewers on July 26 against the Twins. But his inconsistency cost him a shot at potentially becoming a more regular contributor as Milwaukee’s rotation was hit especially hard by injury.

Small still struck out 114 in 103 innings at Nashville, while also walking 5.1 per nine innings, despite not having overwhelming stuff.

Rediscovering the deceptiveness and competitiveness that served him well previously will be the key moving forward.



— Outfielder/second baseman Tyler Black saw his Arizona Fall League stint end two weeks early after breaking his left thumb sliding into second base. In 76 plate appearances, Black hit .279 with a homer and 10 RBIs to go with an OPS of .790.

Black, a supplemental first-round pick out of Wright State in 2021, had his regular season end on July 10 after fracturing his left scapula.

— Reclamation project Lucas Erceg took his next big step forward in his transition from third baseman to reliever by signing a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp.

Milwaukee’s 2016 second-round pick just completed his first full season pitching out of the bullpen and finished with a 4.55 ERA in 49 appearances split between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville.

The righthander actually performed much better at the higher level, going 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 39.1 innings with the Sounds. He possesses a high-octane arm with the ability to hit triple digits, making him an intriguing name for the Brewers in 2023.


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