Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’17 — #51 Damien Magnifico
Which sounds like less: 51 days from Opening Day or 17 days three times?
I ask the question because the way things are presented often greatly impacts the way we receive them. See, I think of 51 days as “nearly two full months” whereas 17 days three times? That’s “like two weeks three times and two weeks isn’t all that long.”
Unfortunately, no matter how you think about it we are exactly as far away from Brewers’ Opening Day on April 3rd as we are, and that amount is 51 days. Therefore, “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profiles the current wearer of #51 on his jersey…
Damien Jack Magnifico made his MLB debut last season in a game at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. The 25-year-old Texan would appear in three games in 2016 for the Brewers, a sample size that’s too small from which to glean anything at all.
A 6'1" fireballer, Magnifico was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma and has had a fairly steady rise through the system since. He appeared in seven games with Rookie-level Helena after signing in 2012, out of the bullpen (like he pitched in college) to monitor his innings. Mostly a starter beginning the next season (to allow him a chance to develop his pitches), Magnifico pitched his way out of Class A ball after about two months and a week in 2013 before finishing the season in Class A-Advanced. 2014 was spent entirely at High-A, and it would be the last time he’d start a game.
In 2015, that unique inaugural season for the Biloxi Shuckers, Magnifico was unleashed full-time in relief. 42 games, 33 games finished, 20 saves, a sparkling 1.17 ERA. He allowed just three home runs that season, compliments of a heavy sinking fastball which he rifles toward the plate in the upper 90s of MPH. Magnifico’s primary secondary pitch is a mid-80s slider which didn’t slide all that much, at least during what was tracked in his 80 MLB pitches by Brooksbaseball.net.
Still, between that hard slider and heavy fastball, Magnifico typically checks in with significantly slower-than-average (which is a good thing) exit velocity. That’s how Magnifico will be getting batters out. Pitching to contact, but making that contact weak. To illustrate it further, Magnifico allowed just two home runs in 2016 and all that time was spent either in the launching pads of the Pacific Coast League (including the bouncy house that Security Service Fields in Colorado Springs can be) and against the best hitters in the world in MLB. He allowed two home runs in Triple-A, zero in his certainly short time in MLB. That’s promising.
2017 looks like it’ll be back to Colorado Springs for Magnifico to start the year. Assuming everyone makes it out of Maryvale healthy, there are simply too many other choices for the big league bullpen to begin the year. Also working against a guy like Magnifico is the remainder of minor league options as he was a fresh add to the 40-man last time around.
I believe Magnifico’s first opportunity at big league innings will come much sooner in 2017 than it did in 2016, in no small part due to the departure of many of the arms which were positioned in front of him last year. Still, there is plenty of competition in camp this year and again, youth can hurt in this game because youth usually means you’ve got options and General Manager David Stearns has made it clear over his relatively brief time in Milwaukee that he intends to maintain depth, especially in the bullpen. Put another way, he isn’t going to risk losing a guy who is out of options over a guy with them if both players are performing similarly on the field.
But, assuming I’m correct, simply bide your time, Magnifico fans. You’ll see him at some point.
Follow Damien Magnifico on Twitter: @D_Magno32
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