Tyler Thornburg
Thornburg with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012
Free agent
Born: (1988-09-29) September 29, 1988 (age 32)
Houston, Texas
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 19, 2012, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics
(through September 1, 2020)
Win–loss record16–9
Earned run average3.49

Tyler Michael Thornburg (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. Listed at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and 190 pounds (86 kg), he both throws and bats right-handed. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2012 through 2016, the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and 2019 and the Cincinnati Reds in 2020.

Early life

At the age of 12, Thornburg played as an outfielder in little league baseball for the Sandy Springs All-Stars, who won the Georgia state championship,[1] and reached the 2001 Southeast Regional final of the Little League World Series.[2]

Amateur career

Thornburg attended Riverwood High School in Sandy Springs, Georgia, where he played for the school's baseball team.[3] He then enrolled in Charleston Southern University, where he played college baseball for the Buccaneers, a member of the Big South Conference within NCAA Division I. With the Buccaneers, Thornburg played as a pitcher and outfielder.[4] In the summer of 2008, Thornburg played collegiate summer baseball for the Winchester Royals of the Valley Baseball League in Virginia; he recorded a 1.48 ERA in ​24 13 innings pitched, and was named to the league's First Team.[5] He played for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer of 2009.[6] In 2010, Thornburg was twice named the Big South pitcher of the week.[7]

Professional career

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Thornburg in the third round, with the 96th overall selection, of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft.[4]

Minor League Baseball

Thornburg signed with the Brewers and pitched during the 2010 season for the Helena Brewers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Thornburg began the 2011 season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Class A Midwest League, then received a promotion to the Brevard County Manatees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League (FSL).[8] Thornburg had a 7–0 win–loss record and 1.50 earned run average (ERA) with Wisconsin,[9][10] and represented the Timber Rattlers in the Midwest League All-Star Game.[11] He was named FSL pitcher of the week in his first week after the promotion.[12] Thornburg participated in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game.[13]

MLB.com ranked Thornburg as the Brewers' fourth best prospect heading into the 2012 season.[14] The Brewers assigned Thornburg to the Huntsville Stars of the Class AA Southern League.[15] He had an 8–1 record with a 3.00 ERA in 13 games started, and was named the Brewers' minor league pitcher of the month for May 2012.[16] He was also selected to appear in the Southern League All-Star Game.[17] However, instead of making an All-Star Game appearance, Thornburg was promoted to the major leagues.


Thornburg made his debut for the Brewers on June 19, 2012, against the Toronto Blue Jays.[18] He was called up to make an emergency start, for the injured Shaun Marcum.[17] In his debut, Thorburg allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to Colby Rasmus, José Bautista, and Edwin Encarnación.[19] He also collected his first major league hit with a double to left center in his first major league at bat.[20] He was assigned to the Nashville Sounds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League after the game.[21] He made additional MLB appearances in July, and then late in the season. Overall, with the 2012 Brewers, Thornburg appeared in eight games (three starts) without a win or loss, with a 4.50 ERA and 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 22 innings pitched.


Thornburg appeared in three games with the Brewers during spring training in 2013, but was cut on March 11 and assigned to Nashville. He was the Sounds' Opening Day starter, pitching five innings and giving up one run, earning a no decision. On June 5, Thornburg was recalled, replacing the injured Marco Estrada;[22] at the time, Thornburg was 0–7 with a 6.75 ERA in 12 starts with Nashville. Thornburg pitched that day against the Oakland Athletics, providing two scoreless innings of relief in the 6–1 loss.[23] He recorded his first win in his next appearance, pitching two scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 8.[24] After the game, Thornburg was optioned back to Nashville, when Jim Henderson was activated off the disabled list. Thornburg made three more starts with Nashville before being recalled on June 29, replacing Caleb Gindl. He spent the rest of the season with Milwaukee. Overall, in 18 games (seven starts) with the 2013 Brewers, Thornburg went 3–1 with a 2.03 ERA, striking out 48 and walking 26 in ​66 23 innings.


In 2014, Thornburg began the season in the Brewers' bullpen before suffering a season-ending elbow injury in June.[25] With the 2014 Brewers, Thornburg made 27 appearances, all in relief, compiling a 3–1 record with 4.25 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 21 walks in ​29 23 innings pitched.


After starting the 2015 season with Milwaukee, Thornburg spent three months in Triple-A regaining his arm strength, before being recalled at the end of July. With the 2015 Brewers, Thornburg made 24 appearances, all in relief, compiling an 0–2 record with 3.67 ERA, 34 strikeouts, and 12 walks in ​34 13 innings pitched.


Prior to the 2016 season, the Brewers decided to use Thornburg as a full-time reliever rather than preparing him as a starter during spring training and in Triple-A.[26] Thornburg became the Brewers' setup-man and displayed career-best fastball velocity, reaching as high as 96 mph (154 km/h) with his heater. He set the Brewers franchise record for consecutive innings without allowing a baserunner by a relief pitcher.[27] With the 2016 Brewers, Thornburg made a career-high 67 appearances, all in relief, compiling an 8–5 record with 2.15 ERA, 90 strikeouts, and 25 walks in 67 innings pitched.

Overall, in parts of five seasons with Milwaukee, Thornburg appeared in 144 games (ten starts), compiling a 14–9 record with 2.87 ERA; he had 220 strikeouts and 91 walks in ​219 23 innings pitched.

Boston Red Sox

On December 6, 2016, the Brewers traded Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox for Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, Josh Pennington and a player to be named later.[28] The Red Sox later sent 18-year-old middle infielder Yeison Coca to the Brewers to complete the trade; Coca was ranked the Red Sox’ number 25 prospect by Baseball America in 2017.[29]

Thornburg started the 2017 season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, and in June was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, requiring surgery;[30] as a result, he missed the entire season.

In 2018, Thornburg's recovery from surgery resulted in him missing spring training. He joined the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox at the start of May, for a rehabilitation assignment.[31] That assignment was stopped after nine appearances, and Thornburg started a new rehabilitation assignment on June 2,[32] pitching in both Double-A and Triple-A. During his rehabilitation assignments, Thornburg made 18 total appearances (one start), compiling an 0–1 record with 4.96 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and eight walks in ​16 13 innings pitched.[33] Thornburg was added to Boston's active roster on July 4,[34] and he made his debut with the Red Sox on July 6, allowing one hit and one run in an inning pitched against the Kansas City Royals.[35] Overall with the 2018 Red Sox, Thornburg made 25 relief appearances, compiling a 2–0 record and 5.63 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 24 innings. He was not included on Boston's postseason roster.[36]

On November 30, 2018, the Red Sox re-signed Thornburg to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million, plus incentives worth up to $400,000.[37] Thornburg was included on Boston's Opening Day roster to start the 2019 season.[38] Through May 22, he had 16 appearances, recording 22 strikeouts and 10 walks in ​18 23 innings with a 7.71 ERA and no decisions. On May 23, Thornburg was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement.[39] He was sent on a rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket on June 9.[40] After being activated from the injured list, Thornburg declined a minor league assignment[41] and was released by the Red Sox on July 10.[42]

Los Angeles Dodgers

Thornburg signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers sometime before the All-Star break.[43] He was assigned to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.[44] He elected free agency following the 2019 season.

Cincinnati Reds

On December 31, 2019, Thornburg signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds that included an invitation to Spring Training. On August 14, 2020, the Reds selected Thornburg to the active roster. In mid-September 2020, Thornburg underwent Tommy John surgery.[45]

Scouting report

Thornburg has a 91 to 96 mph (146 to 154 km/h) fastball. Due to his velocity, size, over-the-top delivery, and repertoire, he has drawn favorable comparisons to Tim Lincecum.[2] He throws two off-speed pitches, including a strong power curveball in the upper-70s, and a sinking change-up in the low-80s.[46]

As a late-inning reliever/closer, Thornburg's fastball is consistently thrown around 94 to 97 mph (151 to 156 km/h). His curveball is his primary off-speed pitch.


  1. ^ "State title for Sandy Springs". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. August 2, 2001. p. JH14. Retrieved June 20, 2012. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Rogers, Carroll (July 9, 2011). "Metro Atlanta native and Brewers prospect on the ascent". ajc.com. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2012 – via Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Riverwood star boasts full arsenal of talents". Atlanta Journal Constitution. June 11, 2006. Retrieved June 19, 2012. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "CSU's Thornburg taken In third round of 2010 MLB Draft – Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports". Live5News.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "Townsend, Nesselrodt top Valley Baseball League awards". The News Leader. Staunton, Virginia. August 13, 2008. p. B4. Retrieved July 4, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Cape Cod Times (June 13, 2009). "Cape League: Brewster, Falmouth end in tie". CapeCodOnline.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "Thornburg again earns weekly Big South award – Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports". Live5News.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Marshall, Ashley. "Thornburg dominant for six, fans 10 | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Milb.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Former T-Rat Tyler Thornburg Gets Start for the Brewers – WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News". Wbay.com. April 9, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Sports: Brewers Notebook: Back on track". Onmilwaukee.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "Chiefs well represented in All-Star game – Pekin, IL – Pekin Daily Times". Pekintimes.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  12. ^ Rogers, Carroll (July 6, 2011). "Atlanta's Thornburg makes rapid ascent to Futures Game". ajc.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  13. ^ Haudricourt, Tom (July 10, 2011). "Brewers pitching prospect Thornburg turning some heads". JSOnline. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Aramis meets with Roenicke about slow start | brewers.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  15. ^ Mark McCarter, The Huntsville Times. "Veteran catchers draw the assignment for Huntsville Stars". al.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  16. ^ Glenn Baeske, The Huntsville Times. "Huntsville's Thornburg, Sanchez honored by Brewers as top pitchers in May". al.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  17. ^ a b McCarter, Mark (November 1, 2011). "Huntsville Stars' Tyler Thornburg promoted to Brewers, to pitch in Milwaukee tonight". The Huntsville Times. al.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  18. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays 10, Milwaukee Brewers 9". Retrosheet. June 19, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  19. ^ "Thornburg's debut a needed delivery". JSOnline. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  20. ^ "Toronto blasts its way past Brewers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 20, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  21. ^ Bayne, Michael (June 22, 2012). "Prospect of the Day: Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers". Minor League Ball. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  22. ^ Haudricourt, Tom (June 5, 2013). "Marco Estrada on DL; Tyler Thornburg called up". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  23. ^ "Oakland Athletics 6, Milwaukee Brewers 1". Retrosheet. June 5, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  24. ^ "Milwaukee Brewers 4, Philadelphia Phillies 3". Retrosheet. June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  25. ^ "MLB Injury News: Tyler Thornburg & Jim Henderson shut down for remainder of 2014". brewcrewball.com. August 15, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  26. ^ "Healthy Tyler Thornburg Excited About Full-Time Reliever Role with Brewers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. March 1, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  27. ^ "Brewers Reliever Tyler Thornburg on an Impressive Run". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 5, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  28. ^ Drellich, Evan (December 6, 2016). "Red Sox trade for Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg". Boston Herald.
  29. ^ "Red Sox-Brewers Complete Trade For Tyler Thornburg". WBZ-TV. June 5, 2017.
  30. ^ Adams, Steve (June 15, 2017). "Tyler Thornburg To Undergo Surgery For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  31. ^ Theroux, Josh (May 1, 2018). "Tyler Thornburg Begins Rehab Assignment". soxsphere.com. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  32. ^ "The Red Sox have a decision to make on Tyler Thornburg". The Boston Globe. June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via Boston.com.
  33. ^ Baseball-Reference.com
  34. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. July 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  35. ^ "Red Sox vs. Royals - Box Score". ESPN. July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  36. ^ Miller, Randy (October 5, 2018). "MLB playoffs 2018: Boston Red Sox set 25-man roster for ALDS vs. New York Yankees". NJ.com. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  37. ^ Abraham, Peter (November 30, 2018). "Red Sox avoid arbitration with Tyler Thornburg, sign him to one-year deal". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  38. ^ Cole, Mike (March 28, 2019). "Red Sox Opening Day Roster: Boston's 25-Player Group Officially Set". NESN. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  39. ^ @PeteAbe (May 23, 2019). "Red Sox placed RHP Tyler Thornburg on the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement" (Tweet). Retrieved May 23, 2019 – via Twitter.
  40. ^ "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". June 2019. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  41. ^ "Red Sox Release Tyler Thornburg". The Lost Jays. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  42. ^ @RedSox (July 10, 2019). "The #RedSox today released RHP Tyler Thornburg" (Tweet). Retrieved July 10, 2019 – via Twitter.
  43. ^ Bradford, Rob (July 29, 2019). "Source: Tyler Thornburg finds a new home with Dodgers". WEEI-FM.
  44. ^ "Tyler Thornburg Stats, Highlights, Bio". MiLB.com. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  45. ^ https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/09/tyler-thornburg-undergoes-tommy-john-surgery.html
  46. ^ "FanGraphs Tyler Thornburg Pitch FX". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014.