Chris Narveson has landed on the 15-day DL as a result of his scissors mishap before Tuesday night’s game, and the Brewers are calling up Frankie (the artist formerly known as Eulogio) de la Cruz to take his spot on the roster. Todd Rosiak of the Journal-Sentinel says Friday’s starter is still TBA, but at this point it seems like it’s going to be either de la Cruz or Marco Estrada.
De la Cruz is an interesting pitcher, for those who are unfamiliar. At 27 years old, he can’t really be considered a prospect anymore, and last year he was struggling in Japan. Still, he stuck around for quite awhile in Spring Training this year as one of the guys in the running to be the fifth starter in the big league rotation while Zack Greinke was out. In Nashville this year, he’s done surprisingly well in a starting role.
In 137 innings, de la Cruz posted a 3.88 ERA, striking out 126 batters. He’s always had a big fastball and good strikeout stuff, but has also struggled with his control. That’s still been true this year, as he’s walked 63 batters and averaging 4.14 walks per 9 innings.
As far as spot starters go, he isn’t the sexiest name the Brewers could have called up — that’d probably be Wily Peralta, or even taking a shot with Tyler Thornburg. With his stuff, though, he should be able to pitch well enough to keep the Brewers in any game he pitches.
Remember, when Chris Narveson was called up in 2009, he was in a similar situation. He posted a 3.70 ERA as a 27-year old in Triple A before pitching in 21 games for the ’09 Brewers, making four starts. He was a non-prospect by that point, but parlayed a strong 47 big league innings into a roster spot the next season. He’s been around ever since, putting together a couple solid years in the process.
Who knows, maybe Frankie de la Cruz is the next diamond in the rough found by Doug Melvin. Even if Narveson only misses a couple starts or is replaced by Estrada instead, de la Cruz could be a difference maker in the bullpen down the stretch if that’s the route the team decides to take.