After signing a minor league deal with a $900K base salary this offseason, the 31-year-old Swarzak has broken out with the best season of his career. In 48 1/3 innings with the South Siders, he’s averaged 9.7 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 with a 40.5 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 2.23 ERA. The former second-round pick is averaging 94.5 mph on his heater this year and has posted a 14 percent swinging-strike rate that dwarfs his previous career-high of 10.6 percent. Swarzak’s 71.9 percent contact rate sits nearly six percentage points below the league average of 77.5 percent.
Swarzak picked up the first save of his career in yesterday’s win over the Cubs, though his stint as the de facto closer in Chicago may not last all that long, as he’s a free agent at season’s end and is widely expected to be traded. The Brewers are known to be on the lookout for bullpen help, and Swarzak’s status as a rental and lack of a dominant track record should make him a reasonably affordable piece to acquire via trade, even with this year’s exceptional results.