Tyler Cravy (RHP)
Profile: With a 17 inning game on Sunday necessitating some additional pitching help at the the major league level, the Brewers promoted Tyler Cravy to Milwaukee, returning pitcher Tyler Wagner to the minor leagues. Not even in the starting rotation when Double-A Huntsville opened the 2014 season, Cravy made a name for himself with an outstanding start to his year before injury shut him down for most of the second half of 2014.
Drafted in the 17th round in 2009, Cravy bounced between the rotation and the bullpen early on in his career, spending 2009 in Maryvale and 2010 at Helena. He split the 2011 season between Helena and Wisconsin and returned to Wisconsin in 2012, where he posted a 3.38 earned run average in 24 relief appearances. Cravy advanced to Brevard County in 2013 and enjoyed a successful season in the Florida State League, appearing in 25 games and making nine starts. He finished the season with a record of 4-2 and a 2.04 ERA and was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League. In ten games with the Surprise Saguaros, Cravy allowed just five earned runs striking out 16 batters in 16 1/3 innings of work and tossing two scoreless frames in the AFL Championship game.
After a promotion to Double-A Huntsville to begin 2014, Cravy found himself in the bullpen to start the season. When injuries opened up a spot in the Stars rotation, Cravy grabbed it and never looked back, going 8-1 with a 1.72 ERA and earning the starting nod in the Southern League’s All-Star game. A move to Triple-A Nashville followed, but Cravy suffered a strained oblique muscle in his first start for the Sounds and was sidelined for about two months. He returned to make a pair of rehab appearances in late August in Maryvale to finish out his season and earned a spot in big league camp this spring as a non-roster invitee with Milwaukee. Cravy was sent to Triple-A Colorad Springs in March and made nine starts for the Sky Sox, going 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA.
Strengths: Cravy features a low 90’s fastball with good sink to it as well as a slider and changeup. He mixes up his pitches well and pitches with a plan, doing a good job of keeping the ball down in the strike zone. Cravy has shown steady improvement from year-to-year and his versatility provides the Brewers with options as a starter or as a long man out of the pen.
Weaknesses: Cravy’s not overpowering, but he’s not a soft tosser by any means. His strikeout numbers were better as a reliever than as a starter and while he will give you some innings, he hasn’t worked all that deep in to games, averaging slightly over five innings per start this season. In limited opportunities with the bat, Cravy hasn’t done much, posting a .136 batting average during his minor league career.
Future: The 25-year-old righty has flown under the radar for most of his minor league career, but he’s put his name in the conversation for a rotation spot long-term. Even if he can’t crack the rotation or struggles as a starter, Cravy could still be a valuable part of future Brewers teams as a bullpen arm, working as a long man and/or spot starter.