Brewers add to dominant bullpen by acquiring ground ball machine Alex Claudio in trade with Rangers
Texas received a draft pick in the trade
The reigning NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers have added another piece to their already dominant bullpen.
Claudio, 26, is a funky low-velocity left-hander -- he operates with a mid-80 fastball and a dead fish low-70s changeup -- who generates a ton of ground balls. Here is the ground ball leaderboard among pitchers with at least 200 innings pitched from 2016-18:
- Alex Claudio: 63.5 percent
- Marcus Stroman: 61.3 percent
- Clayton Richard: 59.3 percent
- Jeremy Jeffress: 58.6 percent
- Blake Treinen: 58.4 percent
In 202 2/3 innings over the last three years Claudio managed a 3.24 ERA with a 5.8 K/9, so ground balls are his thing, not strikeouts. He has also been far more effective against lefties (.194/.220/.278) than righties (.313/.357/.440) in his big league career to date, so, for all intents and purposes, Claudio is a left-on-left ground ball specialist.
The Brewers already have a stacked bullpen, one they rode to the NLCS this past season. This is what their relief unit currently looks like with Claudio in the mix:
- Closer: RHP Corey Knebel
- Setup: LHP Josh Hader, RHP Jeremy Jeffress
- Middle: RHP Matt Albers, RHP Jacob Barnes, RHP Corbin Burnes, LHP Alex Claudio
- Long: RHP Junior Guerra
Claudio is under team control through 2021 as an arbitration-eligible player, so this was not a short-term pickup. The Brewers added a player with long-term control to their bullpen.
As for the Rangers, that competitive balance pick currently slots in as the 40th overall selection. That will change slightly as picks are gained and lost through free agent compensation this winter.
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