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MLB debuts offer some Brewers excitement

June 10, 2015

Sixty games into the season, the Milwaukee Brewers haven’t given fans much excitement. That’s finally changing.

Over the last two weeks, three starting pitchers have made their major league debuts: Tyler Wagner, Tyler Cravy and Taylor Jungmann. The last two have been stellar, combining for a 1.29 ERA with two runs allowed on seven hits over 14 innings. They also struck out 11 and walked three.

Jungmann impressed manager Craig Counsell enough to earn a second start Sunday against the Nationals at Miller Park. Cravy had the misfortune of being sent back down to make room for another outfielder.

To put their starts in context, the last Brewers starter to go seven or more innings in his MLB debut was Steve Woodard in 1997, when they were still in the American League. They’ve now had two in a row.

Jungmann has had the better luck so far — both on the field and with his roster spot — but he and Cravy each should get plenty of opportunities to show what they can do over the final 3 1/2 months of the season. Those starts could be the highlight of the Brewers’ remaining schedule.

Buried in last place 16 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and 9 1/2 games back in the wild card race, the Brewers haven’t had realistic playoff hopes in nearly two months. Their playoff odds haven’t reached 10 percent since the first week of the season and not since May 11 have they topped 2 percent.

Jungmann, the Brewers’ top pick in the 2011 draft, was just the third first-round pick to make his MLB debut with the club since 2007, joining Ryan Braun (’07) and Jeremy Jeffress (’10). He ranks 13th on MLB.com’s list of the Brewers’ top prospects, and 10th on Baseball America’s list. After a slower-than-expected rise through the minors, the 25-year-old right-hander has the chance to show that he belongs as a big league starter.

ravy was a mid-draft find, taken in the 17th round of the 2009 draft. He ranks as the Brewers’ 23rd-best prospect on MLB.com’s list and does not project as a top-of-the-rotation starter. But if his debut is any indication, Cravy could be solid No. 4 or 5.

Wagner, who also may return to the majors sooner rather than later, comes in ninth and 11th on the Baseball America and MLB.com lists. He struggled in his debut (3 2/3 innings, five runs, nine hits, two strikeouts), but has been dominant over his last 30 starts in the minors.

That trio — along with other top prospects that could debut later this summer — is as exciting as anything the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers have to offer. Be sure to mark their starts down on your calendar.

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