Crew's top pitching prospect dominates in High-A debut

June 11th, 2023

MILWAUKEE -- Top Brewers pitching prospect doesn’t just want to retire the person standing in the batter’s box.

“I'm still in that same mindset of, 'I'm going to go dominate this dude,’” said Misiorowski, MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 Brewers prospect, following a promotion to High-A Wisconsin this week. “My goal is to make him look stupid.”

He made a lot of hitters flail in his first start following a promotion from Single-A Carolina to High-A Wisconsin on Thursday at West Michigan, where the 6-foot-7 right-hander took a perfect game into the fifth inning and earned a win after allowing one unearned run on one hit in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one, struck out seven and touched triple digits on the radar gun with a handful of fastballs, starting with his final pitch of the first inning.

That outing followed a stint at Carolina in which Misiorowski struck out 46 batters in 26 2/3 innings. Entering Sunday, his 44.2 percent strikeout rate was fourth-highest across the Minors among pitchers with at least 20 innings.

But he’s about more than the fastball. Misiorowski, 21, is less than a year removed from being selected by the Brewers in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, but he believes he’s already well-developed as an all-around pitcher.

“I feel like I'm pretty high up there,” he said. “I think there's always a few more things that you could fix or put it together, I don't know what you would want to call it. But like, there's always something that you're looking to build on. It's always a changeup, the slider might be not working that day, the curveball, you never know. It could be location, stuff like that.”

The Brewers went way over slot value to sign Misiorowski for $2.35 million last summer, making him the team’s highest-paid 2022 Draft pick over first-rounder Eric Brown Jr. ($2.05 million). Misiorowski pitched for Crowder College in Missouri, the same school that produced ‘18 fourth-round pick Aaron Ashby.

Like Ashby, Misiorowski is from the Kansas City area. He went undrafted out of high school in 2020 but grew two inches at Crowder, where he missed most of his freshman season with a knee injury but thrived as a sophomore. It was then that he first hit 100 mph on the radar gun.

“I learned about it a few weeks later, actually,” Misiorowski said. “They kept it from me. It was kind of set by our head coach to keep it from me, trying not to let me get too big of a head.”

When he pitched in the Junior College World Series later in 2022, an in-stadium scoreboard flashed triple digits for everyone, including Misiorowski, to see. He also topped 100 mph with multiple pitches during MLB’s Draft Combine last June, further boosting his stock.

Misiorowski had a scholarship waiting at LSU had he opted to decline the Brewers’ offer and continue his college career.

“I think if he’s doing what he’s doing right now, you’re talking about a top-five pick in the country,” Brewers general manager Matt Arnold said last month. “I really believe that. He has all the ingredients to be a 1.1 [first overall pick] kind of guy, he really does.”

Does Misiorowski ever ask himself, “What if?”

“Not really,” he said. “I think this was a better decision for me. All of the help that I've gotten over this past year and a half. I think this was 100 percent the right decision.”

The Timber Rattlers are on a long trip, so Misiorowski’s next start is scheduled for Wednesday at Great Lakes. That would line him up to pitch in Wisconsin’s first game back home on June 20.

He was asked whether he fought butterflies in his High-A debut.

“I mean, of course there is,” he said. “Any game you go into, there's always butterflies, but as soon as I get on the mound and start throwing warmup pitches, everything goes away and it's just, ‘I'm striking that dude out.'

“It's me versus them. That's all I'm thinking about. The goal is to make him strike out as fast as you can.”