In an unexpected move, the Brewers have officially promoted right-hander Johnny Hellweg to the big leagues to replace Alfredo Figaro, who has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain.
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) June 26, 2013
Hellweg came to the Brewers from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade. He was the fourth-ranked prospect in the Angels’ system in 2012, according to Baseball America, and he was the Brewers’ sixth-ranked prospect this year after he struggled with his command upon being traded to Milwaukee.
The 24-year-old hurler has been throwing the baseball well in recent weeks. In his last five starts, he owns a 0.82 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 11 walks in 33 innings. He also held opposing hitters to a .198 batting average over that stretch. The organization rewarded his fine string of starts in Triple-A Nashville with a promotion to the big leagues.
Hellweg is best known for his mid-to-high 90s fastball and 6-foot-9 frame. He reportedly touched triple-digits earlier this season with his fastball, and he can successfully sustain his velocity deep into games. He also features a slurvy curveball that can generate some swings-and-misses, as well as a developing changeup. His stuff suggests he should be a strikeout pitcher. As he’s moved up the minor-league ladder, though, he’s focused on pounding the strike zone early with his heavy fastball and generating more ground balls.
He struggles with his command at times, occasionally getting himself into significant trouble via the walk. Recently, however, his command troubles have seemingly been held in check, and the organization is hopeful that his 5.17 BB/9 walk rate is not indicative of his future performance with the big league club.
As of now, he’s scheduled to make his major-league debut on Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in spacious PNC Park.