When the Milwaukee Brewers drafted Ethan Small out of Mississippi State in the first round of the 2019 draft, they knew the polished college arm had the chance move through the minor leagues quickly. As spring training begins this year, manager Craig Counsell has indicated that he is very impressed with Small. Counsell is impressed enough that he already is hinting that he will make his major league debut at some point this season.
Craig Counsell this morning, ahead of Small’s start against the Dodgers: “Ethan Small is going to make starts for us this year. The way he’s going right now, he’s gonna make starts for us. You still have to earn yourself into that conversation. And he has done that.”
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 18, 2022
How is Craig Counsell this confident in Ethan Small?
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, Small still has very limited minor league experience. He got his feet wet in 2019 after being drafted and a finger injury sidelined him for a few months during his 2021 campaign. Despite the injury, Small posted a 1.98 ERA in 77 innings pitched and managed to reach the AAA level. This earned him the honor of the Brewers MiLB player of the year.
Following the minor league season, Small pitched for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League. This league is very tough to play in given the level of competition and passion of their fanbase. Thankfully, Small was not phased and his dominance continued. He made five starts, allowed four earned runs in 20 innings pitched, and struck out 17 batters.
As new prospect rankings came out, Baseball America ranks Small’s changeup as one of the best in the organization among all prospects. This changeup was on display in the Brewers first spring training game of the year. While facing the reigning batting title champion Trae Turner of the Dodgers, Small got him out on strikes with a beautiful changeup.
All signs are pointing towards Small’s game translating nicely to the major league level. Spring training is a great time to get to see him in action against top talent and other major leaguers. Regardless of what happens this spring, it sounds like Small will be making starts for the Brewers at some point this season.
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