It's time to scratch off one of the more promising freely available LOOGYs today. The Milwaukee Brewers have signed R.J. Swindle to a one-year major league deal. The contract is apparently a split deal, but Swindle will make the 400k minimum if he stays in the majors. Not only is that an awesome deal for the Brewers, it has the potential to be the best relief contract of the off-season.
Swindle is only 25 and formerly of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies organizations. Last season Swindle dominated Triple-A left-handed bats like none other, and had a 14:1 strkeout-to-walk ratio against them. Swindle's previous three seasons give credence that he really is top LOOGY material: 15.53 K/9, 1.41 BB/9, and despite facing 183 lefty batters, he's yet to give a homerun up to one.
Swindle's swinging strike and groundball totals speak well enough for his stuff. In his limited major league exposure, somehow Swindle went three in his debut against the Mets. The first at-bat ended in a David Wright homerun, but here's a look at his Pitch F/x data from that game.
July 7th, versus Mets
|Pitch||AVG MPH||H-Break||V-Break||% Thrown|
In words: Swindle's fastball doesn't go too fast, but does break up-and-in to left-handed hitters. His change-up and slider are similar speed, but the slider breaks away from lefties (Note: it appears the slider is actually a misclassified cutter.) Probably the most interesting thing about Swindle is his curveball. That's not a typo, it really does go 55 miles per hour, and it breaks away extremely hard. Swindle's not going to wow anyone with his stuff, but it's not like most LOOGYs are.
Excellent move for the Brewers.