Honestly, I never thought I’d see the day.
Not after coming within one more failed drug test of a lifetime suspension. Not after struggling to throw strikes for much of his minor league career. Not after struggling in his first two trips to Double A. But now, it seems like it’s going to happen.
The clues have been there ever since he was added to the 40-man roster earlier this season. Doug Melvin has been dropping hints about a possible call-up as a reward for working his way back from (an admittedly self-inflicted) low point. But for whatever reason, I still had my doubts.
While I’m sure there will be plenty of people out there that won’t have too much sympathy for him, I find this to be an incredible story of persevering over personal demons. Regardless of the fact that he got himself into this mess to begin with, it does take a lot to dig yourself out of that hole, and it’s something a lot of people haven’t been able to do.
He’s seemingly re-dedicated himself, he’s the one that suggested he pitch out of the bullpen this year to keep his focus on the game, and he’s shown more maturity than we’ve ever seen from him before. I’m not entirely sure how much we can expect to see Jeffress when it comes to in-game action this September, but he’s worked hard to earn this reward.
I love a good story, and this is a good story. But aside from that, he’s going to be really, really fun to watch. He might not make the Twitterverse go nuts like Aroldis Chapman did, but he throws high-90s heat like it’s nothing and has the good off-speed pitch to match. If he can ever develop that third pitch, he could be that top of the rotation starter everyone thought he could be. If not, the Brewers at least have another fireballer to fit into their bullpen along with Zach Braddock and John Axford.
Isn’t it nice to have some homegrown pitching talent hit the bigs?