Hellweg Turning Up The Heat in Arizona Fall League

Post updated with photos.

In what was one of the biggest trades in Major League Baseball during the 2012 regular season, the Brewers acquired RHP Johnny Hellweg from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The 6 foot, 9 inch pitcher is known for his fastball, but one can’t ignore his height.  It is hard to believe that Hellweg was only 6-5 when drafted by the Angels in 2008.

“I had a growth spurt after being drafted and that kind of disrupted my delivery for a bit,” Hellweg said. “There would be mornings I would get up and the ground would seem farther away, there were a lot of weird things like that.  But I have grown into my body now and I’m used to it.  I have a consistent release point, I’m starting to get there and I’m able to repeat my delivery better now that I have stopped growing.”

Hellweg started the season as a starter for Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League.  There, he went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts.  After the July 27 trade that sent him to the Brewers organization, Hellweg joined the Huntsville Stars.  The Brewers showed concern about his innings and shut him down after two starts and five relief appearances.  Over seven appearances with the Stars, Hellweg was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA.

“Hellweg has been lighting up the gun pretty good (in Arizona),” Brewers President – Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin said.  “He has a good head on his shoulders.  It took him some time to get used to his height, but now he knows where he is at and he has been throwing very well.”

Melvin also added that it has been good to see Hellweg pitch out of the bullpen while at the Fall League, a role he is adjusting to, but enjoys since his fastball is one of his best pitches.  During the Rising Stars Game on Saturday, Hellweg hit 99 miles per hour on a few of his pitches and says he can turn it up to triple digits if needed.

“I throw a lot of fastballs and have a good breaking ball and have been working on my changeup too,” Hellweg said. “I like to challenge with my fastball.  I know I have a pretty good fastball, which is what I have to keep telling myself.  Sometimes a lot of pitchers give hitters a lot of credit, but hitting is hard and it is a lot harder to hit when pitches are coming in really fast.  I have to remember that and keep firing them in there.”

Hellweg is 0-0 with a 2.00 ERA (9ip/2er) in six appearances out of the bullpen.   He has held batters to a .233 average (7-for-30).

“I’m really down here just trying to work on maintaining a consistent delivery,” Hellweg said.  “I feel really good with it right now.  I’ve been taking notes, jotting a few things down and keep it fresh for spring.  Just throwing strikes and knowing what I need to do to continue to throw strikes and place the ball.”

No matter where Hellweg ends up the 2013 season—Double-A, Triple-A, bullpen or starting role—he is excited to have an opportunity here at the Fall League and excited about the Brewers organization.

“Doug and Gord Ash have been great, I’m excited to be a Brewer, it is a great organization,” Hellweg said.  “I look forward to getting to Milwaukee and I am going to continue to work hard to get there.  I’m a Midwest boy so I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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