There is no question who will be on the mound when the 2020 season starts. Brandon Woodruff is coming off of an all-star campaign 2019 in which he made 22 starts for the Brewers going 11-3 with a 3.62 era. He threw 121.2 innings last year. Assuming they play enough games this year, the Brewers will need that innings number to increase this season.
The rest of the rotation isn’t so concrete. We know who the other pitchers will be for the most part, but the order in which Craig Counsell slots them is obviously still up in the air. Adrian Houser appeared in 35 games for the Crew last year, making 18 starts. You can expect Houser to be primarily starter this year unless someone else emerges or Houser struggles. He tallied 111.1 innings last year with a 3.72 era. If he can replicate those numbers in 2019, the Brewers will be thrilled. He is obviously not a #2 starter, but the way the Brewers play; all they need is 5-6 good innings.
One person this delayed season is helping is newcomer Eric Lauer. The Brewers acquired Lauer as part of the trade with the Padres that sent Zach Davies and Trent Grisham to San Diego. He was supposed to start the 2020 season on the IL with a shoulder injury. Lauer was the opening day starter for the Padres in 2019. He went 6-7 with a 4.45 era in 149.2 innings last year. He is going from a great pitchers park in San Diego to a hitter’s paradise in Milwaukee. It was will be interesting to see how that impacts his pitching.
Another new face on the Brewers is LHP Brett Anderson. He signed a one-year deal with the Brewers this offseason. The 32 year old made 31 starts for the A’s last year. He had a 3.89 era in 176.0 innings. He only struck out 90 guys last year, which means he pitches to contact. That is kind of a scary thought with the uncertainty the Brewers have defensively on the infield.
Another newcomer, Josh Lindblom, will round out the starting rotation. He hasn’t made an appearance in the MLB since 2017, when he made just four appearances for the Pirates. He has spent the last two seasons pitching in Korea. He was very effective pitching in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). He was the KBO MVP in 2019. He signed a three-year deal with Milwaukee in December. The Brewers have hade some recent success plucking players out of the KBO (Eric Thames); let’s hope Lindblom can have a similar impact that Thames had.
On paper the Brewers rotation doesn’t look like anything special. Outside of Woodruff, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. But if the Brewers have taught us anything the last few years, they are going to bullpen you to death. As long as the Brewers can get 5-6 good innings out of their starters each night, they feel like they will be in most games.