Yes, the Brewers lost tonight and spoiled a solid outing from Chris Narveson. However, the real story has to be the Major League debut of Jeremy Jeffress, who threw a scoreless eighth against the Reds. Jeffress’s career has suffered from two drug suspensions totaling 150 games. To begin the 2009 season, his age 22 season and fourth professional season began all the way down with Low-A Wisconsin with a change from starter to reliever. Jeffress still had potential, but his personal issues along with his lack of production when he was actually on the field combined to crumble his prospect status. Not too many people imagined he would make it to the show in 2010, and personally, I would’ve been surprised to see him in Milwaukee by 2011.
Instead, Jeffress tore apart Low-A, High-A, and AA, striking out 11.7 batters per 9 innings while walking only 3.3. On top of that, Jeffress didn’t allow a single extra base hit in his 33 innings. Obviously, that’s not a lot of data to go on, but we definitely saw why Jeffress is performing so well in the minors tonight. Jeffress flashed a 95-98 MPH fastball and supplemented it with a biting 76-80 MPH curveball (data via Brooks Baseball. That’s a great arsenal, and although his control didn’t exactly seem refined last night, that arsenal should allow Jeffress to develop into a high quality reliever. I wouldn’t expect him to begin 2011 with the Brewers at this point, but with a little more development in AAA and another year of, dare I say it, maturity, we could see Jeremy Jeffress producing at the MLB level within a year. That’s a huge boost for this Brewers organization, and today’s debut is something worth celebrating.