You Can Never Have Too Much Pitching
When the Cleveland Indians acquired right-handed pitcher Charles Brewer from the Arizona Diamondbacks back in November, most Tribe fans probably had the same initial reaction that I had: “Who?” Of course, that’s even assuming one noticed the under-the-radar acquisition. So who is Charles Brewer, and why did the Indians trade for him?
Charles Brewer spent six years in the Diamondbacks’ organization, after being drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 MLB draft. He’s worked almost exclusively as a starting pitcher in the minors. He’s pitched in 137 games (124 starts) and has a 50-42 record with a 4.09 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, and 7.84 K/9. He was at one time considered a solid prospect, ranking as the 18th best prospect in a very pitcher-heavy 2012 Diamondbacks system (one that included fellow Indians Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw). However, his 2011 season was cut short due to a broken hand and the results haven’t really been there since. He really struggled in 2012 after being bumped up to AAA. It was much of the same in 2013, though he did manage to make his Major League debut out of the bullpen for the Diamondbacks. 2014 saw Brewer return to the rotation in the minors and he split time between AA and AAA, and once again he struggled to find results at the AAA, posting a 4.99 ERA in 126.1 innings.
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Charles Brewer (74) poses during photo day at Goodyear Ballpark. Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Brewer is primarily throws a 4-seam fastball that sits at 90 mph. He also has a curveball and changeup that he throws, and he’ll occasionally mix in a two-seamer. He’s been described as having a “live arm” though he will be 27 in early April so there’s likely not a ton left in terms of upside with him. That said, he should at worst provide depth in the rotation as he could open in the Clippers rotation along with some combination of Tomlin, House, Salazar, etc. If the rotation doesn’t work out the Indians could give him some looks out of the bullpen to see if his stuff “plays up” as they say in shorter stints. As the old adage goes, you can never have too much pitching, so even if Brewer simply spends the entire year at AAA, then no harm no foul with the add.
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Then again, Brewer is also likely one of the first in line to lose their 40-man roster spots should the Indians decide to add one of the non-roster spring training invites (Chen, Downs, etc). Brewer is at best the #9 starting pitcher in the Indians pecking order and may be even lower depending how vets like Shaun Marcum and Bruce Chen look in spring training. The Indians cut a somewhat similar player in Scott Barnes to make room for Brewer (though Barnes was out of options unlike Brewer).
Bottom line, not much should be expected out of Charles Brewer for 2015. Very good chance he never sees Cleveland though he provides valuable depth as both a starter and a reliever. A valuable commodity but likely nothing more.