Tyler Thornburg

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Tyler Michael Thornburg

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tyler Thornburg was a member of the United States team at the 2011 Futures Game. He made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012.

Amateur Career[edit]

Thornburg was 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA and 86 K in 62 IP as a high school senior, while hitting .551 with 10 homers and a 1.275 slugging percentage. As a freshman, he hit .276/.331/.455 as a regular outfielder, while posting a 2-5, 7.04 record on the hill. As a sophomore, he hit even better (.292/.336/.547, 12 HR, 49 RBI in 53 G) while making good progress as a pitcher (4-4, Sv, 3.73, 35 K, 24 BB, .223 opponent average in 31 1/3 IP). He was 5th in the Big South Conference in home runs. He had 8 saves and a 2.60 ERA for the Brewster Whitecaps that summer and was third in the Cape Cod League in saves. In 2010, the junior produced at a .252/.378/.441 clip and went 5-4 with a 4.14 ERA. Opponents hit .212 and he fanned 88 in 78 1/3 innings, but he walked 34 and threw 11 wild pitches. He was 5th in the Big South in Ks and was second-team All-Conference.


The Milwaukee Brewers took him in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft; the scout was Ryan Robinson. The 96th pick, he went one slot before Addison Reed and he was the first 2010 Brewer draftee to make the majors. He signed for a $351,900 bonus. Debuting with the Helena Brewers, he was 1-0 with a save and a 1.93 ERA, striking out 38 in 23 1/3 IP. In 2011, he excelled for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (7-0, 1.57, 76 K in 68 2/3 IP) before faring worse for the Brevard County Manatees (3-6, 3.57, 84 K in 68 IP). Overall, he allowed a .195 average. Baseball America rated him as the #18 Midwest League prospect (between Garrett Gould and Derek Dietrich) and as the 13th-best Florida State League prospect (between Drew Hutchison and Oswaldo Arcia) as well as the 4th-best Milwaukee prospect (after fellow hurlers Wily Peralta, Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley). He led Brewers farmhands in strikeouts and tied for third in wins. In the minors, he ranked 5th in lowest average after Brad Peacock, Matt Moore, Julio Rodriguez and Keyvius Sampson. In the 2011 Futures Game, he relieved Moore to open the 5th with a 2-0 US lead. He retired Wilin Rosario and Hak-ju Lee on grounders. Starling Marte singled but Jose Altuve flew out. In the 6th, he was replaced by Drew Pomeranz. The USA went on to win, 6-4. With the Peoria Javelinas that fall.

Thornburg began 2012 as a star for the Huntsville Stars - he began 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, while hitting .278/.316/.500. He was tied with Danny Hultzen for the Southern League win lead and was tied with Tim Crabbe for third in strikeouts. He was then called up to the majors to replace the injured Shaun Marcum.


In his big league debut, on June 19, 2012, he started in a 10-9 Brewers loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He faced the minimum number of batters in the first two innings but then unraveled and gave up four home runs (to Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion). After the last three hit back-to-back dingers, Thornburg was yanked in the 6th, replaced by Tim Dillard with a 4-4 tie (thankfully, all the home runs were solo shots). The former college outfielder fared better at the plate, doubling off Jesse Chavez in his first major league at-bat and then scoring on a two-bagger by Carlos Gomez. He spent parts of four different season with the Brewers from 2012 to 2015 before finally earning a full-time job with the team in 2016. He made some starts the first couple of season, then became exclusively a reliever starting in 2014.

In 2016, he was the primary set-up man for the Brewers, until he took over as closer when Jeremy Jeffress was traded to the Texas Rangers late in the year. In 76 appearances, he went 8-5 with 13 saves and a 2.15 ERA. In 67 innings, he allowed only 38 hits and 25 walks while striking out 90 opponents. On December 6th, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in return for 3B/1B Travis Shaw and two prospects, Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington. However, he was injured in spring training with the Red Sox in 2017 and did not pitch at all that season after undergoing surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome. He was still recovering early in 2018 and did not make it back to the minors on a rehabilitation assignment until late June and was activated on July 4th. His first appearance for Boston came two days later and overall he pitched 25 times, going 2-0, 5.63 in 24 innings. He only made 3 appearances in September and was left off the postseason roster as the Red Sox won the World Series.

He saw very little action in the majors over the next three seasons, putting up a 7.71 ERA in 16 games for the Red Sox in 2019 and then pitching just 7 innings for the Cincinnati Reds during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He did not appear at all in either the majors or minors in 2021, but then managed to resurface on the opening day roster of the Atlanta Braves in 2022. The Braves had had some success in recent years resurrecting the careers of some pitchers who appeared to be definitely out of baseball, most notably Tyler Matzek, so it was a good place for Tyler to land.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • Won one World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 (he did not play in the World Series)


Related Sites[edit]