As seems to be the case every spring, there’s a fair bit of uncertainty surrounding the Brewers’ rotation. Milwaukee eschewed a splashy trade or a potentially cumbersome long-term pact in free agencu, instead opting for lower-cost deals with righty Josh Lindblom (three years, $9.125MM) and Brett Anderson (one year, $5MM) As things currently stand, that duo will likely join holdovers Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser in comprising four of the top five spots.
As for the fifth spot in the rotation, Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters yesterday that the competition will likely boil down to left-hander Eric Lauer and right-hander Freddy Peralta (Twitter link via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). Righty Corbin Burnes isn’t entirely out of the race, but Counsell did indicate that veteran right-hander Shelby Miller won’t be considered just yet. While Miller was invited to MLB camp and will presumably get some innings there, he’s working to reestablish himself after several lost seasons.
The competition between Lauer and Peralta will be a key one for Brewers fans to follow this spring. The former, a 24-year-old lefty picked up alongside Luis Urias in the trade that sent Zach Davies and Trent Grisham to San Diego, already has nearly two full seasons of MLB experience under his belt despite his relative youth. Lauer started 29 games for the Padres last season, pitching to a 4.45 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.20 HR/9 and a 39.9 percent ground-ball rate in 149 2/3 innings.
Lauer pitched into the seventh and eighth inning on a few occasions but ultimately averaged about five frames per start — a concept that should be plenty familiar to Brewers fans at this point. Milwaukee regularly limited the aforementioned Davies and right-hander Chase Anderson to two trips through the opponents’ batting order, leveraging a deep bullpen thereafter. If he wins the fifth spot in the rotation, Lauer could be deployed in similar fashion.
Peralta, meanwhile, is still just 23 year of age. Like Lauer, he’s racked up a fair bit of big league experience in his early 20s, pitching to a combined 4.79 ERA in 163 1/3 Major League innings to this point. Peralta spent most of the 2019 season in a multi-inning relief role — showing better in that capacity than he did as a starting pitcher. But Peralta has added a new pitch to his repertoire this winter, as Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently highlighted, which could change his fortunes. A chat with former big league righty and current Brewers special assistant Carlos Villanueva led to Peralta trying out a slider in the Dominican Winter League, and he responded with a 34-to-3 K/BB ratio in 20 innings with los Toros del Este.
The 25-year-old Burnes could be something of a wild card as camp progresses. A consensus top 100 prospect heading into 2018, Burnes debuted in dominant fashion with the ’18 club when he tossed 38 innings of 2.61 ERA ball with a 35-to-11 K/BB ratio. He made 30 total relief appearances, allowing just 27 hits (four homers); of his 11 walks, two were of the intentional variety. Burnes posted elite spin rates on his curve and heater while flashing high-end velocity. He looked like a potential cornerstone for the pitching staff.
The 2019 season was an unmitigated disaster for Burnes, however. The hitter-friendly nature of the 2019 ball likely didn’t help matters, nor did a sky-high .414 average on balls in play. But Burnes’ poor showing can’t be solely blamed on a juiced ball or poor luck; he was absolutely torched for 48 runs in 49 innings of work — yielding a stunning 17 home runs in that time. The right-hander showed a clear knack for missing bats (12.9 K/9, 17.2 percent swinging-strike rate) but struggled with location both in and out of the zone far. Burnes’ walk rate increased, and his inability to command the ball within the zone contributed to that barrage of long balls.
Regardless of how it shakes out, the Milwaukee rotation will enter the season facing its share of scrutiny. That’s been the case in both of the past two seasons, however, and the team reached the postseason in both instances. A year ago. The 2019 season saw Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Woodruff, Davies, Houser and Gio Gonzalez make the majority of its starts. A year prior, the Brewers entered the season with Chacin, Anderson, Davies, Junior Guerra, Brent Suter and Wade Miley (then on a minor league reclamation deal) heading up its rotation mix.
There may not be a surefire ace among Milwaukee’s starting staff, but both Woodruff and Houser posted sub-4.00 ERAs with strong peripheral marks in more than 100 innings in 2019. Lindblom is an undeniably interesting flier coming off a dominant run in the Korea Baseball Organization, thanks in part to a new splitter. Brett Anderson has a 4.07 ERA and a 55 percent ground-ball rate over the past two seasons (256 1/3 innings). It’s not the most outwardly impressive group of arms, but the Brewers have begun to make a habit of compiling serviceable staffs that are light on name value. They’ll be looking for more of the same in 2020.
They better score a ton of runs with that rotation if they want to have any kind of chance of sniffing the playoffs.
Brewers should of signed MadBum or Wheeler. They owe Braun a Brwewer lifer to try and get to a World Series.
Like they did two years ago and almost did last year except losing on a freak bounce of a ball (and a bad inning of pitching by the best reliever in the NL) to the eventual WS champs.
As for Madbum and Wheeler, it takes two to tango and there is no guarantee that they wanted to sign up to play at MKE.
Wheeler seemed to be overpaid at that point in the offseason and Madbum has significant negative history in MKE.
They didn’t trade for Kirby Yates…
Losing in the wild card game isn’t almost making it to the World Series.
But it is …
trying to a get to a World Series
and that is what was stated above.
The team that won that game won the world series.
Brewers don’t “owe” Braun anything. He could’ve left any time he wanted instead of signing the extensions he did.
Bum signed in Arizona and nothing would have changed that as he signed for WAY under market value to play there. Wheeler on the other hand was overpaid. Phili had to have him. Neither guy was in brewers plans
Funny how people think he’s already “overpaid” when he hasn’t thrown a single pitch in his new environment
Braun owes them a good season without PEDs
He has been a good player post-PED suspension, with OPS+ of 131 and 135, then 106 to 116 his last 3 years. So have many others, including Marte and Cruz. I personally don’t care if they all use PEDs, like everyone in the NFL does. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’m tired of hearing about PEDs period. Don’t care. Why bring it up in a discussion about the Brewers rotation?
Braun’s PED use isn’t nearly as despicable as his behavior when he was caught. He’s already received more than he deserves out of his career – nobody owes him anything.
100% agree. cheating is bad. lying is worse. Throwing someone under the bus to try and worm your way out = scum.
“I’ve always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who’s been wrongly accused, and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right…I will continue to take the high road because that’s who I am, and that’s the way that I’ve lived my life. We won because the truth is on my side.”
“What could have possibly happened to it during that 44-hour period (before the collector took the urine sample to FedEx)? There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened…We spoke to biochemists and scientists and we asked them, ‘How difficult would it be to tamper with somebody’s sample?’”
Nobody, and I mean nobody, owes Ryan Braun anything for as long as he lives.
Gross. The idea that they owe braun a title when they have yelich a clean superstar on the team makes me physically ill. I’m throwing up people, I’m making messes!
You don’t know 100 percent that Yelich is clean.
You don’t know Trout, Bellinger, Judge or any other player is clean either. Are you implying Yelich isn’t clean or just playing devil’s advocate for kicks?
Btw I’m not stating any of the aforementioned players are cheating just that it’s impossible to know for sure on anyone.
no dirty test results ever. so yes, 100% yelli is not a dirty player, unlike his teammate
That’s no guarantee – A-Rod, Clemens, Bonds and plenty of others never tested positive either (except in the “anonymous” testing prior to institution of the MLB PED management program).. That’s not to say Yelli is guilty – not at all. It seems now the only players caught are Dominican kids where “supplements” are far less regulated. Hopefully that means usage is negligible now. .And its more understandable the DR kids would go above and beyond to reach the bigs and a huge payday.
I’m calling BS!
Brewers dont owe Braun anything if anything Braun owes the organization after signing a long term contract while playing on PEDs.
Why would the Brewers owe anything to a cheater?
Inconclusive. I guarantee there are tons of PED users who go years even entire careers without testing positive. PEDs today are fast acting and flush out of the system quickly. Testing is infrequent. I also feel that some users get tipped to when testing is coming. They may pay for that… Think of it. Users who get caught do it because it’s low risk. They wouldn’t do it if it was high risk. Most users don’t get caught. Period. I’m not saying Yelich uses. I’m just saying the tests are inconclusive. For everyone. But I would still err on the side of saying that he doesn’t use. We just don’t know for sure.
Twins fans don’t like it when it’s pointed out that an increased risk of glaucoma and stroke are side effects of steroid use. Most baseball fans don’t like it when it’s pointed out that ligament and muscle strains are a common sign of past steroid use, then are directed to look at Griffey’s injuries that took started taking place the season after testing began.
Didn’t the Royals have some players that ended up dying from brain cancer? That cancer isn’t all that common, but the Royals had like 3 or 4 players from the ’80’s die of it.
Not saying they were steroids… probably something in the ground under the field or something.
Chesterfield said MadBum signed for less than market value. The only way that can be true is if you think the market has had an adjustment by raising its cieling…which is exactly what I think happened.
As if right now I don’t care if he would have had any interest in signing with Milwaukee. I don’t think having someone who uses an alias to compete in rodeos is a good idea for any team.
Next we’ll find out he crashed a dirt bike or something and won’t be able to pitch for 2-3 months…
@rogers. When I read about his rodeo activities, I thought the same thing. I know MadBum is just doing his thing but when you have so many millions on the line I would be concerned about his extra curricular activities if the Braves had signed him too.
Can’t wait for Braun to come off the books.
I haven’t gone to a Brewers game since 2011 because of him. Once I saw his February 2012 soliloquy debacle I wanted nothing to do with the Brewers until he was off the team.
No one misses you
Psyched to see how Burnes and Peralta progress this year. There is no way CB is as bad as he was last season.
If that is what you’re excited about, brewers are in trouble.
Actually I have a feeling they’re going to need good seasons from these 2 to compete. They at least have potential and Peralta has added a new pitch. Brett Anderson will get injured at some point, and Woodruff is the only really solid starter they have.
like last year it looks like their downfall, but also like last year it will probably not matter
Brewers are ran very well. They have made great moves to get to relevancy. Brewers will win a ton of games this season with this rotation. If they can acquire a TOR down the line- they can do some damage in playoffs if they make.
They’ll finish ahead of cubs and cards this season
By finishing ahead of the Cubs and Cardinals you certainly mean that the Brewers season will end on September 30, while both the Cubs and Cards make the playoffs, right? That’s about the only chance of finishing ahead of them both.
The Cubs did nothing of value in the offseason. There’s no reason to believe they are better than the Brewers at this point in time. Cardinals is a different story but not out of the realm of possibility. People are quick to jump that they lost Moose and Grandal but they supplemented their power numbers with new acquisitions. The question mark becomes how the pitching staff works with Navaez.
I don’t see Milwaukee acquiring a TOR but it’s stupid to simply discount them in the playoffs. They have found ways to make the playoffs no matter how much fans of other teams deny that they can.
They aren’t acquiring a TOR guy down the line; they don’t have the trade capital for that. It seems to me that the rotation will be fine (eventually), but they are lacking one very good arm in the pen (especially with the uncertainty around Knebel). Fastball Freddy could be that guy…thats why I’m hoping that Lauer can prove to be serviceable in the rotation.
Burnes could also be a key bullpen arm. He has great stuff – hope his off-season work on the mental aspects of the game will help, and maybe a baseball with slightly higher laces will aid his control.
The Brewers rotation isn’t necessarily worse than any other team in the NL Central.
Woodruff looks really good. Houser and Lauer are interesting. Lindblom is a bit of a wild card. Brett Anderson being counted on for a full season outside of Oakland has only happened once, so that is where the Brewers depth could be tested.
The Brewers’ rotation is substantially worse than the Cardinals’ and Reds’ and more than likely the Cubs’.
Yes but there bullpen is substantially better than all those teams and if you watch brewers baseball. Which I’m certain you don’t, than you would see that the brewers don’t use starters the way the rest of the mlb does. Two years in a row in the playoffs, that speaks for itself. When you are impressed with a guy like wade Miley as a starter when you are 1 game away from the World Series. That should tell you the brewers put very little stock in “starters”
The Cubs rotation is full of flashy names that are 10-10 pitchers at the end of the year. You should have stopped at Reds.
Yes they are. Cubs Reds and Cardinals have better rotations, be real.
It’s much, much worse than the Reds rotation
The Reds rotation maybe, maybe.
The Cardinals will be without Mikolas for an indeterminate amount of time.Wainwright is another year older, not another year better. The back end of the rotation is completely up in the air for them right now.
The Cubs rotation has cracks in it for sure. Lester is starting to show age. Darvish can’t be counted on to stay healthy. Hendricks and Quintana are up and down. Chatwood has been awful as a starter for them.
The Pirates, are the Pirates.
Tigers need position help, and Joe Jimenez needs a fresh start. Tristan Lutz and Nottingham – Big Joe
I would rather have Carlos Rodriguez and Luis Medina. Rodriguez could be a future CF and Medina is a solid hitter.
This is not a great rotation but I wouldn’t say they are any worse than last year!? I worry that woodruff won’t duplicate his 2019 season. He’s coming off an injury and his breakout was pretty unexpected. If he becomes average this season, the brewers may have some rotation problems. They’re gonna have to rely on their bullpen a ton, I think.
Woodruff’s breakout was unexpected by people who don’t follow the Brewers. Woodruff always had good stuff, just was a matter of how deep into games he could keep up the velo on his fastball since they only got bursts of what he could do coming out of the bullpen.
I for one am anticipating one of Houser, Peralta or Burnes to take a significant step forward this year and cement their place as the #2 starter behind Woodruff. Add in the fact this group has more depth and the highest ceiling of any rotation under since Stearns took over which is valid reason to be optimistic.
Lindblom seems like he could be as dominant as Ryu or Mikolas with his elite level control and new pitch repertoire but only time will tell for sure.
Anderson is what he is at this point, but could be a solid back end innings eating starter if he can remain healthy.
Lauer has put up decent numbers at a young age which makes me think he will continue to improve as he continues learning how to pitch at this level.
Finally, Miller looks poised to get his career back on track (arrived at camp 30 lbs lighter) and could benefit greatly by the Brewers new state of the art pitching lab.
I think this group will rank around 8-12th in the league when it’s all said and done. That should be enough to keep them in the playoff hunt come September.
Brew Crew not going anywhere this year……have to stay above the Reds in 2020 !….while looking at the Cubs !
I don’t see any team in the NL Central being clear cut favorites this year. They all come with some question marks. The pennant race will be fun to watch develop as the season goes on.
No one fears the Cubs at this point.
Hey Steve, in the 2nd sentence of the 1st paragraph, you said “free agencu” instead of free agency. That’s all.
Please all keep doubting. Just like the last two years. Put the spotlight on the Cardinals and Cubs and Reds. Meanwhile, the Crew will quietly rack up wins.
You just proved my point. Thank you.
Just for the heck of it in going to predict the rotation and bullpen both finish in the top 8 in all of MLB for ERA, and the team wins more games because of good pitching than having to score 7-8 runs a game.
Brewers have taken a serious step back offensively, and their rotation cannot compare with Reds, Cards & Cubs. This was the offseason they needed to pull in an ace or at least a #2 who could give them close to 200 innings. It’s a shame wasting Yelich and Braun’s last year.
Yelich is under contract for another 2 seasons after 2020 so you’re wrong there. The offense isn’t as top heavy as it was last year but it added significant depth. Last years offense had guys like Aguilar, Shaw, Perez, Saladino, Spangenberg all see significant time. Not to mention it had Arica’s bat in the lineup almost every night. Replacing those guys with Garcia, Smoak, Narvaez, Sogard, Holt, Urias and Gyrko made their depth significantly better.
We will see if it’s better to have a top 5 heavy offense with two somewhat stars or if it’s better to have 13 bats who can all contribute.
I think he’s saying “wasting Yelich and wasting Brain’s last year.”
“Braun’s” GD auto correct.
waste the last year of a guy who has +4.1 WAR in the last 3 seasons combined? His WAA is negative… meaning he is a below average player.
you can’t “waste” a below average player… he’s one of the people dragging the team down. That’s like saying the Cubs wasted Ernie Banks’ last 3 years.
A serious step back offensively is an extreme over-exaggeration. Moose was a 250 pull hitter who could hit 30 HRs a year. Grandal will be missed with his ability to get on base but going down Moose and going up Garcia is par for the course as far as offense goes..
A serious step back offensively is an extreme over-exaggeration. Moose was a 250 pull hitter who could hit 30 HRs a year. Grandal will be missed with his ability to get on base but going down Moose and going up Garcia is par for the course as far as offense goes..
Been saying it all offseason. This club goes 72-90, and they should be lucky to get that. Reds have made a strong pivot with recent acquisitions, Cards remain strong, and Cubs still have some punch if their pitching can keep it together. Pirates remain the laughing stock of that division. At least Pittsburgh still has the Penguins. Lol
Were you the same person who said the brewers would be average the last two seasons? Just wondering. If you are setting the over/under at 72 wins for the crew I will gladly take the over and take your money.
Other than utterly imploding both offensively and defensively I don’t see any reason why the Brewers finish with less than 85 wins this season. This team has MLB talent up and down its roster even if they lack many big name players. I have a feeling many of the posters on here will be eating crow come September.
Can I wager an amount against that win total? How about giving me 7-1 odds at 78wins? No you wouldnt because youre chicken and know you’re trolling with that comment. Anyone though?
I’m open to giving you 4-1 odds that the Brewers will finish with at least 78 wins. How do you want to do this?
What odds are you willing to give me on my over 84.5 wins?
Nvm I just realized you were responding to antibelt not me.
Suter, if healthy I believe would b good for 5 innings every 5 days.Brewers have probably 3 to 4 guys they’ll use thru out the year n that type of role and r hoping one of them will establish themselves.
It was stated recently he’ll be coming out of the pen. He’s probably the one guy that has the ability to pitch 5 innings…that most fans would rather he doesn’t. Ever. I think we’d gladly take 2-3 every few days from him. That way he’s not facing anyone 3 times in the same game.
And from what I’ve read (in addition to the article here), Peralta would seem to be in much better position to succeed as a starter with adding another pitch.
I’d rather see Suter in the rotation over Burnes or Peralta. He’s more capable of turning in quality innings.
Plus those five inning would be done in about an hour.
Suter’s month of Sept out of the bullpen is one of the top reasons they made their playoff run. Hader is in a league of his own but after him the team hasnt exactly filled in that Loogy role the last 2 seasons. MLB makes a change to 3batter minimum, Suter a Lefty can not only get Lefties out, but Righties. Just watch Suter is likely to be considered for the AllStar game this year. There always seem to be a couple 7th inning guys to find a way in.
looks like another third place season coming our way
Another would imply that’s where they finished last year. And the year before. My memory is a bit sketchy sometimes, but I don’t believe that was the case either year.
I dont really care where this rotation ranks. I think they are going to compete and these guys are going to be good. Either way I’m going to watch them this year
dynamite drop in monty
Now it’s Ben McDonalds time to shine.
Brewers have taken a different approach than almost every other org this year – Building depth through FA signs.
They don’t really have a choice – their farm system is poor with few ready to contribute in the bigs. But at least they’re trying a different path rather than simply packing it in. And with all the 1 plus option contracts they have the flexibility to kick in a rebuild if things go south with some possibly useful and inexpensive trade pieces, or acquire help if they can (Trade fodder is a problem there though) to reach for the playoffs.
Kind of threading the needle. We’ll see how it goes. But since the division is a bit down without a sure thing its certainly worth a shot to compete at reasonable cost.
Ive picked the Brewers the last 2 years for the Central but I just cant this year with this staff-
If feels more vulnerable / less upside –
If anyone can manage the Inns its Counsell but boy I dont envy the task-
Knebel is huge huge huge for this team, if he can get back to a top 5 Nl closer it really helps to position Hader better as well……. He was there for a brief moment in time and Ive always been a huge believer in his stuff but his delivery is ultra violent and Im not shocked at the inj
The emergence of Peralta Burnes, Knebel is a must…… Cain coming somewhere in-between 2018-2019 would be nice too
Everybody is judging the Brewers rotation using traditional thinking on how a rotation should be assembled. The problem is the Brewers aren’t trying that. They’re not looking at having an “ace” Cy Young contender going 7 innings every turn. They just want five guys to give them four or five quality innings every time. And they’ve done that quite well.
This. And I think they’ve accumulated enough bullpen guys that can go not just 3 batters, but get 5-6 outs on a regular basis to bridge from starter to setup and closer.
The Brewers rotation is no different than the last couple seasons. It will be fine. What will be VASTLY different is the ability to get into September and play the reliever game which has made the Brewers the best team in baseball in September the last two seasons. They have been darn near unbeatable. NO team in baseball will be affected more than the Brewers with the 28 man roster and the ability to only add one arm on September 1. Counsell was a pitching staff master the last two seasons and it won’t happen this year. The difference in the Brewers not being in contention late will be the late season bullpen, not the rotation.
I agree not having an endless supply of bullpen arms come September was implemented because of the way the Brewers masterfully utilize the system. This is why Stearns has clearly added more rotational depth and signed guys like Phelps who can all go multiple innings when needed. My guess is come September they will have at least six, maybe seven, starting pitchers on their roster to eat up those additional innings and keep their bullpen fresh.
Depending how you slice it, they might have 7 most of the season. Assuming Anderson, Lauer, Lindblom, Houser, Woodruff, Peralta, and Suter stay on the MLB roster all year, and burnes I believe finds a spot. All have been starters in the past..just a matter of who performs in ST, injuries, and so forth.
Call me crazy but I got the brewers winning the central even with the mediocre starting 5.
‘Assessing The Brewers’ Rotation’ as a mess…
assessment: it blows
Like your mom
Oh Hai, you mischievous scamp!
Newsflash. This imo is the best Brewers Starting Rotation heading in to a season this Century. Can anyone here arguing against the rotation name me the battle for #5 in any of the last 19seasons? I cant think of one #5 in the Brewers rotation going in to the season I felt comfortable about. I am comfortable with whoever wins the battle for 5 this year. What the Brewers Front Office has created this offseason is going to change this game and FA….At least until the powers that be change the rules to undo what the Brewers are doing. (3 batter minimum, 28roster in Sept) they have numerous guys to pitch 3.5-4.2ERa 5-6IP. To turn that over to a bullpen highlighted by Hader, adding Suter, Kneble back from TJ, with the losers of the #5 battle joining in. David Phelps. The Brewers are stacked for innings 6-9. And in case you hadnt noticed, that FO knows how to add around the deadline for the Sept run. Easiest money youll make is betting the over on Brewer wins.
The only #5 I remember beyond 3 years ago id Claudio Vargas..and thats because I recall some online debates about him not being good enough, or pitch deep enough into games to help get them to the playoffs. I simply asked said ‘hes the #5 starter, how good do you really expect him to be?’
Brewers have the worst rotation in the NL central. Half the guys are complete question marks. Mediocrity is not a recipe for success. Brewers let fans down by not signing a top starter to anchor things. With this rotation, they will have to score tons of runs to finish 3rd in the NL central
Look at Corbin burnes now…