Arizona Fall League Action: Jungmann, Haniger, Goforth | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

As the Arizona Fall League rolls along in the desert, right-hander Taylor Jungmann took the mound for the first time, Mitch Haniger continues to mash in his first week of action, and a trio of Brewers’ relievers have seen plenty of action.

Jungmann struggled throughout the year. He owned a 4.33 ERA in Double-A and had almost as many walks as strikeouts. The Brewers presumably assigned him to the AFL to wipe the slate clean. Allow him to recalibrate and see if something clicks for the ’14 campaign, when he could potentially make his major-league debut (depending on a myriad of factors).

His AFL debut went rather well. The right-hander tossed three scoreless innings, giving up a pair of hits, a walk and striking out four. It was probably the best-case scenario for Jungmann. Former big-league scout Bernie Pleskoff liked what he saw, too.

Of course, saying he “looks like he belongs” isn’t much more than a slight pat on the back. It’s not a resounding celebration of his abilities. It’s not projecting him to find future success in the majors. After the year Jungmann had, though, it’s certainly something.

Good thing Pleskoff was in attendance and relayed some positive reports because Jungmann’s stuff didn’t appear impressive. He sat 90-91 mph with his fastball in the first and second innings, but his fastball dropped to 88-89 in the third inning before his day was completed. His repertoire also consisted of a slider, curveball and changeup — all in the low-80s.

That’s concerning. Ideally, as a pitcher, you want to have (at least) three pitches at three different speeds. For example, Kyle Lohse throws his fastball about 90 mph, his slider and changeup in the low-80s and his curveball in the mid-70s. That forces the opposing hitter to think about more than fastball-offspeed at the plate. He’s forced to distinguish between three different speeds and three (arguably four) different pitch shapes, and more to think about obviously makes hitting more difficult.

Jungmann, on the other hand, has a fastball at 89-91 and three other pitches in the low-80s. Opposing hitters can sit on two speeds, which should simplify any approach — especially the second and third time seeing a guy. It’d be nice to see his slider in the mid-80s or his curveball in the mid-70s, but then again, the biggest complaint about his curveball/slider is that it gets slurvy, which is likely a big factor as to why the velocity splits the two ideals.

Overall, it was a positive outing for Jungmann. He displayed good command — which was an issue this year — and chucked up three zeroes. Concerns persist about his repertoire, but that doesn’t take away from his performance on Monday. Solid start for the right-hander out of Texas.

A couple other points from the most-recent AFL games:

  • Mitch Haniger is tearing the cover off the baseball. He’s hitting .500 through the first five games of the season, including a 4-for-4 outing on Friday that included a double. He only hit .250/.323/.396 in High-A, but remember that he’s coming from a difficult offensive environment in the Florida State League.
  • David Goforth, Tyler Cravy and Kevin Shackelford all threw for Surprise on Friday. Neither Goforth nor Cravy allowed a run, while Shackelford surrendered a single run on a walk and a double — though he did strikeout a pair. Here were their velocities:
    • David Goforth: Fastball (94-96 mph) + Slider (84-85 mph)
    • Tyler Cravy: Fastball (90-92 mph) + Slider (83-85 mph) + Changeup (87 mph)
    • Kevin Shackelford: Fastball (91-93 mph) + Slider (86-89 mph) + Changeup (87 mph)

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