In Need of Pitching Depth, Milwaukee Brewers Claim Chi Chi Gonzalez

Coming into the season, there was no question that the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff was going to be the strength of this team–and very likely one of the best in baseball. Which, for the most part, has all been true.

However, as of late, the Milwaukee Brewers have run into some injuries, with Freddy Peralta heading to the 60-day IL and Brandon Woodruff still out after being diagnosed with Raynaud’s syndrome. Not to mention that the bullpen has also been without Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave, and Luis Perdomo.

Without Woodruff and Peralta in the mix, the Brewers’ rotation has consisted of Corbin Burnes, Aaron Ashby, Eric Lauer, and Adrian Houser, along with Jason Alexander providing a few starts as well. In the bullpen, the Crew still has Brad Boxberger, Devin Williams, and Josh Hader on the back-end.

While that is still a capable rotation and a very good late-inning trio, there is no such thing as having too many arms to rely on. So with Peralta and Woody sidelined, the Milwaukee Brewers would claim right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, who had just DFA’d him a few days earlier.

Gonzalez made his big league debut in 2015 with the Texas Rangers, and over six seasons, he has also spent time with Colorado and, most recently, Minnesota on a minor league deal. In three of those six seasons, Gonzalez has thrown fewer than 20 big league innings.

What you need to know about the Milwaukee Brewers’ newest pitcher

Over his career, Gonzalez has spent time both as a starter and out of the bullpen, appearing in 63 games while starting 49 of them.

Statistically, his best season came in 2015, when he recorded a 3.90 ERA with a 4.97 FIP in 67.0 innings. The 2021 season with Colorado is the only year in which he appeared in over 100 innings, logging an ERA of 6.46 with a 5.37 FIP. He appeared in only seven innings this season with Minnesota, allowing 12 hits — including a pair of home runs — and six runs while striking out four.

In total, over his six MLB seasons, Gonzalez has a 5.69 ERA, a FIP of 5.37, a WHIP of 1.496, and a 14.3% HR/FB ratio. He has a low strikeout rate of 13.4% and a high walk rate of 9.4%, according to Fangraphs. Meanwhile, right-handed hitters have a career OPS of .838 against him, while lefties are at .797.

Gonzalez has utilized a steady four-pitch mix in his two outings this season, which consists of a four-seamer, a sinker, a change-up, and a slider, per Brooks Baseball. The four-seamer he has thrown the most at 32% of the time, and the change-up the fewest amount of times at 18%–but all are used relatively evenly.

If the Milwaukee Brewers decide to go back to a six-man rotation, which they have utilized for much of the season, they could choose to use Gonzalez in that role. Or perhaps he heads to the bullpen and provides them with another arm that can cover several innings of work when needed.