The 'Miz' earns nod as Southern League Pitcher of the Week

April 30th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MILWAUKEE -- With a fastball flirting with triple digits, and coming off his first taste of big league Spring Training camp, it’s not hard to draw a line from top Brewers pitching prospect to one of the live arms in Milwaukee’s Major League bullpen.

“It reminds me a lot of [Abner] Uribe,” said Brewers vice president of player development Cam Castro. “His first couple of showings in big league camp last year, it’s high-octane [stuff]. We knew it was just going to be a matter of getting in the [strike] zone and staying in competitive situations as much as possible.

“Because of the starting point of the stuff, it was like, ‘It’s not crazy to think about this guy starting the year in Double-A, helping the Major League club later on in the year.’ And sure enough, [Uribe] was pitching in leverage situations by the end of the year in the big leagues.”

Now, before anyone books Misiorowski’s plane ticket to Milwaukee from Double-A Biloxi, where he was just named Southern League Pitcher of the Week, consider that Uribe had already made the transition to relief by this time last year. Misiorowski, on the other hand, has been starting, and the Brewers remain committed to developing him in that role.

But recent history shows that Milwaukee isn’t afraid to give a young prospect a shot to help the Major League bullpen if the need arises.

“We’ve talked about this on the pitching side, that there’s always somebody who isn’t on the [40-man] roster and starts the year in Biloxi and ends up pitching in some big games,” Castro said. “It’s one of those things where it’s like, ‘Why not?’ But ‘Miz’ will tell us when he’s ready.”

Recent results are promising. A 2022 second-round Draft pick who ranks second on MLB Pipeline’s Brewers Top 30 prospects list and No. 30 on the overall Top 100, Misiorowski earned Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday after a pair of starts in which he surrendered one run on one hit in eight innings, with 13 strikeouts. Misiorowski has held opposing hitters to a .115 batting average over 18 1/3 innings, the best mark in the Southern League.

And after walking 11 batters in his first 10 1/3 innings, Misiorowski issued two walks in two starts last week.

His story, it appears, will be told in part by how well Misiorowski can command the baseball.

“It’s not a story of stuff. It’s not a story of competitiveness,” Castro said. “You watch him pitch and I think he’s maybe the most cerebral guy we have as far as coming set, holding runners, making both the hitter and the runner uncomfortable. His acumen is really high.”

Misiorowski returned to Biloxi this season after making five starts there at the end of last year. Brewers officials wanted to return him to the Double-A level to start this season in part as a way to better manage Misiorowski’s workload after he logged 71 1/3 regular-season innings last year.

Case in point: In Sunday’s extra-innings loss to Pensacola, Misiorowski threw only 47 pitches, down from 75 pitches in his start earlier in the week. If you see some pitch counts like that from the Double-A staff this season, it’s best not to be alarmed.

With Minor League teams playing six-game series with rolling Monday off-days, the Brewers typically are employing six-man rotations or tandems in Single-A Carolina and High-A Wisconsin and a starter gets one start per week. In Biloxi, it’s a five-man rotation, so whoever starts Tuesday will also line up to start Sunday.

“It’s kind of that Major League five-day [rotation],” Castro said. “So early in the year, that first start will be a normal start, and then on Sunday we end up reducing the volume a tick. They focus on being able to take the ball on the fifth day without taxing the pitch count.”