When you think of Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospects, the first names that come to name are Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Archie Bradley. The list goes on. One guy that many might not have heard of though is Charles Brewer. He may not have a ceiling that is even somewhat close to those other guy’s I listed but he does have a shot of having an impact at the big league level sometime soon.
Brewer was drafted in the 18th round of the 2006 draft out of high school by the Angels but chose to go on to play at UCLA. At the age of 21, he was drafted again, this time by the Diamondbacks, in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. He would go on to make his professional debut that year in the Pioneer League. He went on to post a 2.45 ERA between High A and Low A in 2010 while throwing just about 150 innings. Brewer opened the 2011 campaign with AA Mobile posting great numbers before he was struck in his pitching hand in June by a line drive hit back at him that sidelined him until the very end of the season. He was able to bounce back for a few starts though and posted a 2.58 ERA with an 8.3 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 that year at AA. He opened 2012 at AA Mobile, pitching in only 17.1 innings before being promoted to AAA Reno where he would spend the remainder of the year. After posting impressive numbers up until 2012, Brewer struggled a bit in Reno. His ERA with them on the year was 5.99 despite still posting solid strikeout and walk numbers (BB/9 of 2.3 and K/9 of 7.0). I had the chance to see the right-handed starting pitcher this season when Reno came to Tacoma and the scouting report that I came away with can be seen after the break.
Brewer is listed at 6’4” 205lb and has a typical pitchers build. He has some lankiness in his body with some room to fill out a little more, especially up top. He has long legs and a good build in his lower half. He also showed some good signs of athleticism on the mound. I think there is some projection left in Brewer, especially in his upper half and we could see him tack on a few pounds as he develops a bit more.
Brewer’s delivery is pretty simple and is low effort. He had a good arm action and repeated his delivery well. He maintains his balance well and does a good job staying upright in his delivery. There are no glaring concerns in Brewers delivery and nothing that shall hamper him as he develops.
Brewer’s fastball sat around 87-90 MPH and he held his velocity late into the game. The pitch was not overpowering but he had some solid late run on the pitch, especially when down in the zone. He got in trouble a bit when he would leave the pitch up and it would flatten out. His command of the pitch was so-so. At times he located the pitch well and flashed good command but there were other times where he struggled to hit his spot. If he nails down his control a bit more his fastball could become a solid major league pitch. I also think he has a shot at adding a couple ticks to the pitch if he fills out a little more.
Brewer flashed a promising looking curve that sat around 76-78. The pitch had good break and depth but was often inconsistent. He would not get over the pitch it would not break much and he would get hurt leaving the pitch hanging up in the zone. When he threw the pitch well though it had nice depth and flashed the potential to be an average big league curve. It was not a strikeout pitch but he did a good job using it to keep batters off balance and worked both sides of the plate with the pitch.
His arsenal also featured an effective slider. Heading into the 2012 year, Brewer had not thrown the slider a whole bunch but he appears to have incorporated it much more into his arsenal. The pitch sat 78-79 and flashed good tilt with two-plane break. Like his curve, his slider would get a little inconsistent and slurvy at times but it shows promise. This pitch has solid potential and complements the rest of his arsenal nicely.
Brewer’s secondary pitch that I was most impressed with was his change up that sat 78-81. The pitch had some good late fade but like his other pitches, consistency was an issue. At times it didn’t move much and would get caught up in the zone. He did a good job working both sides of the plate with the pitch though. It has the potential to be an average major league offering and maybe a tick more.
On the night I saw Brewer his command and control were not very sharp. He was not hitting his spots very well and he threw 109 pitches over 6 innings and 66 of those were for strikes. After reading other reports, I read that Brewer shows above average command of all 4 of his pitches. For the most part, I just didn’t see this out of Brewer on the night I saw him. At times he flashed good control and command but on a very inconsistent basis. Maybe I just saw Brewer on an off night.
The Diamondbacks system is absolutely loaded with pitching prospects and while Brewer does not compare to the big names in the system, he has the potential to make an impact at the next level. He features four average pitches that he flashes above average command of and he does a good job of mixing the pitches up. Brewer is never going to blow guys away or post big strikeout numbers at the next level but he could develop into a solid number 4 or 5 starter if he develops his secondary pitches a bit more and keeps batters off balance with a solid 4 pitch mix. He has the stuff to produce at the big league level next year but there just is no room for him in the Diamondbacks rotation. He will probably start the year at AAA and see a bullpen role with the Diamondbacks at some point next year but Brewer will need to be traded if he wants to find himself in the back end of a major league bullpen.