The Brewers acquired left handed reliever Alex Claudio this past week from the Texas Rangers, in exchange for a Competitive Balance Round A (39th overall) draft pick in 2019. Claudio comes with team control through the 2022 season, and has largely flown under the radar throughout his career due to his sidearm delivery and extremely low velocity. His fastball (sinker) averaged just 86 mph last season, one of, if not the lowest in the Major Leagues. To complement his sinker he has a slider and changeup, both of which generate swings and misses despite being very low velocity.
Claudio was hit with a .369 BABIP in 2018, severely hurting his ERA. Digging deeper though, Claudio had similar peripherals this past campaign compared to 2017 when he recorded roughly 2.0 WAR. I briefly detailed him here a year ago when he was coming off his best season.
Parting with a pick at the back end of the first round may seem a bit steep to pay for a reliever with an ERA over 4.00 last season for the Brewers, but Claudio is well worth it. He suffered from extremely poor luck in his .369 BABIP against, but should benefit tremendously from pitching in front of the Brewers’ terrific defensive unit. He projects to play a big role in continuing the Brewers’ success in the bullpen this year, something that they rode all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last year. The Brewers acquired a really good pitcher looking to bounce back this season. While this move may fly under the radar now, it will get attention down the stretch as the Brewers lean on their bullpen to take them to the Postseason once again.
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