It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.
Scouting Report: Woodruff works fast, and relies heavily on his mid-90’s fastball. Typically throwing it around 60% of the time. The pitch has some late life, and he controls it well. Choosing to work inside frequently to both lefties and righties a like. His slider is above average but can flash plus, typically working low in the zone to the gloveside. His change is average to fringe, with very little movement. He tends to throws this pitch low in the zone to the armside, and rarely uses it vs righties. I love his clean repeatable mechanics, and ability to consistently pound the zone. A solid number 3 type is possible right from the jump if Woodruff’s fastball translates.
Corey Dickerson – Fastball at 94, swinging strike 1, fastball at 95 high and on the outside, strike 2, high fastball at 95 fouled off, high fastball at 95 fouled off again, 85 mph changeup, low and outside for swinging strike 3.
Lucas Duda – 95 MPH fastball high and inside, ball 1, another high fastball, ball 2, 95 MPH fastball hit for a single into left.
Evan Longoria – 95 MPH fastball to outer half of the plate, strike 1, 87 MPH slider low and outside of the plate, strike 2, 87 MPH on the outside, ball, 95 MPH middle in, fouled off, 96 MPH on the inside, fouled off, 83 MPH changeup way low, ball 2, 94 MPH fastball low and inside fouled off, 85 MPH slider low and outside, ball 3, 94 MPH in on the hands popped up to first for the second out.
Logan Morrison -84 MPH changeup, low and outside, ball 1, 94 MPH fastball hit the other way to left.
Steven Souza Jr. – High fastball, ball 1, 94 MPH high and outside, ball 2, 95 MPH low and inside, ball 3, 94 MPH way inside, ball 4. Bases loaded.
Brad Miller – 94 MPH fastball dead red, strike 1, 95 MPH fastball fouled back, strike 2, 95 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, 87 MPH slider hit right back at the pitcher, Woodruff fields and fires to first.
A rough first for Woodruff but he escaped a bases loaded jam without allowing a run. He was relying heavily on his fastball, mixing in the slider and change here and there.
Wilson Ramos – slider at 84 on the outside, ball, slider at 85 down the middle, hit for a single.
Mallex Smith – 93 MPH hit to left for a single, two on, no outs.
David Robertson – 93 MPH high and inside, fouled off, 95 MPH on the black, strike 1, slider, strike 2, fastball high and on the outer half, and he gets Robertson to chase for a swinging strike 3.
Corey Dickerson – Changeup at 83 swinging strike 1, high fastball at 95, swinging strike 2, 95 MPH on the outside, ball 1, 95 MPH fastball on the inside to Dickerson swinging strike 3. Two outs.
Lucas Duda – 95 MPH on the outside, ball 1, fastball low, ball 2, fastball high and tight, ball 3, 95 MPH inside, Duda takes for ball 4.
Evan Longoria – 95 MPH middle-middle, foul tip, strike 1, 87 MPH slider on the outer half, strike 2, 95 MPH fastball hit for a grounder to short, and Arcia fires to second for the final out.
Another tight wire act for Woodruff. So far he’s trying too hard to get hitters to chase fastballs out of the zone, but to no avail. This is second consecutive inning where Woodruff has loaded the bases.
Logan Morrison – First pitch is a 83 MPH changeup hit for a single into center.
Steven Souza Jr. – 83 MPH slider on the outside, ball 1, slider at 84 down and away, ball 2, fastball at 94 hit right at Travis Shaw, but instead of getting the force out at second, Shaw tosses the ball to right field, E5. Runners on the corners.
Brad Miller – fastball on the outer part of the plate, strike 1, another fastball on the outside, fouled off, 93 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, 86 MPH slider in the dirt under the hands of Miller, swinging strike 3. One out.
Wilson Ramos – 85 MPH slider to the outside, ball 1, fastball at 94 hit to center for the second out, Broxton comes up throwing and holds Morrison at third.
Mallex Smith – 94 MPH fastball on the inside, strike 1, 85 MPH changeup at the bottom of the zone, swinging strike 2, fastball at 94, ball 1, Manny Pina comes up throwing and catches Souza in a pickle for the final out.
Better inning from Woodruff, boy is his changeup better than advertised. Though he only uses it to lefties it seems. Still allowed two base runners this inning, even if it should only have been one with the Shaw error.
Mallex Smith – Changeup at 83 down and in, ball 1, fastball high and inside, ball 2, fastball at 93 middle in, fouled off, strike 1, fastball middle up is hit up the middle for a single.
David Robertson – 93 MPH fastball high and in on the hands is popped up in foul ground to Shaw, he makes the catch for the first out.
Corey Dickerson – After three consecutive pickoff attempts, Woodruff pegs Mallex Smith at first, and there’s two away. 94 MPH fastball on the outer part of the plate, and a swinging strike 1 for Dickerson. Dickerson now has 6 swinging strikes on Woodruff’s fastball. 93 MPH fastball on the outer-half is called a ball, questionable call, 94 MPH fastball up and in, swinging strike 2, 7 whiffs for C-Dick, 94 on the outer-half fouled off, 85 MPH slider in the middle of the zone is hit for a dribbler back to the pitcher, Woodruff throws to first for the final out.
The inning started exactly the same as the last two, as Woodruff allowed another leadoff hit. He did well to get bad contact from both Robertson, and Dickerson, as well as picking off Smith at first. Kevin Cash should consider sitting Corey Dickerson if the Rays face Woodruff again. He’s looked lost against the righthanders cheese.
Lucas Duda – Changeup at 83 over the outer part of the plate for strike 1, slider at 83 on the low outside corner of the zone, strike 2, slider at 85 down and in, bounces before Pina’s glove, ball 1, fastball at 94 in on the hands, fouled off, another fastball at 94 over the inner-half of the plate fouled off, another 94 MPH fastball on the inside is hit directly into the shift for the first out.
Evan Longoria – 94 MPH middle-low is taken for strike 1, slider at 86 way on the outside, ball 1, another slider this time at 84 on the outside, ball 2, 94 MPH once again way on the outside, he’s thrown three consecutive pitches off the plate to Longo, fastball at 94 is middle-middle, and struck for a lazy fly to left. Two outs.
Logan Morrison – 94 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, slider at 85 on the outer part of the plate is struck to right-center for Lo-Mo’s third single of the day.
Steven Souza Jr. – High fastball at 93, ball 1, high fastball at 94 swinging strike 1, fastball at 94 on the outer-part of the plate, strike 2, fastball at 94 in on the hands is popped directly back and out of play, 85 MPH slider on the inner-half gets a swinging strike 3.
Best inning of the day for Woodruff, he was efficient with his pitches, located the slider much better to the armside, and continued to spot his heat all over the zone.
Brad Miller – Woodruff starts off Miller with a 81 MPH changeup, low and outside, and Miller foolishly swings bouncing it to first for the out.
Wilson Ramos – Fastball at 93 at the top of the zone is fouled off, strike 1, slider on the outer-half of the plate is bounced foul, strike 2, slider at 84 down Main St. is fouled back in the dirt, fastball at 94 at the top of the zone is lined right into the shift for the second out. Milwaukee is one of the most shift happy teams in the majors and it’s paying off for Woodruff today.
Mallex Smith – Slider at 84 low in the zone is fouled off, strike 1, 84 MPH slider middle-middle is hit to Broxton in center for the final out of the inning.
A 7 pitch inning for Woodruff, and he’s been even better the third time through the order. The righthander has taken full advantage of Tampa’s aggressive approach early in counts, generating lots of weak contact. Fastball still sitting 93-94, 90+ pitches in too.
David Robertson – 84 MPH slider on the low outside corner, strike 1, another slider this time at 85 to the same spot, is called a ball, bad call, 94 MPH fastball high on the outer part of the plate is fouled off, strike 2, a high inside fastball at 93 gets a swinging strike three. That’s it for Woodruff, quite the MLB debut for the rookie.
Final Line: 6.1 IP, Win, 7 Hits, 2 Walks, 0 Runs, 6 K’s, 12 Swinging Strikes, 97 Pitches, 64 Strikes.
Summary: Not too shabby a debut, as Woodruff gets it done on the road, holding a solid AL lineup scoreless over 6 1/3rd innings. In the early going he looked to find his footing, but got out of two bases loaded jams, without any damage. He seemed to get his sea legs in the third, and was very efficient the rest of the way. His fastball is solid, has a little movement, and gets swings and misses, particularly from Corey Dickerson. His changeup is better than expected and is very effective vs. lefties, though he didn’t throw a single one to a righthanded batter all day. His slider isn’t as good as I hoped, but he seemed to find it in the last two innings, getting sharper break, and painting the corners. A very encouraging start for Woodruff, if he remains in the rotation he’s certainly a player to grab for the back end of your rotation if you’re hurting for starters.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
Disabled List (Ranking When Active): Clayton Kershaw, LAD (3), Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Stephen Strasburg, WAS (9), Robbie Ray, ARI (12), Lance McCullers, HOU (16), David Price, BOS (24), Johnny Cueto, SF (28), Chase Anderson, MIL (29), Michael Fulmer, DET (34), Brandon McCarthy, LAD (42), Felix Hernandez, SEA (54), Aaron Sanchez, TOR (66) Matt Andriese, TB (68), Jake Odorizzi, TB (69), Kyle Freeland, COL (76), Scott Feldman, CIN (84), Matt Harvey, NYM (99) Brandon Finnegan, CIN (100)
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