As I was watching the Brewer game last night and watched Freddy Peralta struggle against the Cardinals, it made me think. If it wasn’t for Milwaukee’s high powered offense and Josh Hader, the Brewers would be horrible. They do not have good starting pitching which is essential to a championship winning team. Look at recent champs, the 2018 Red Sox, 2017 Astros, and 2014 Giants, they all had great starting pitchers. The Brewers cannot make a playoff push, let alone win the NL Central, with their current starting pitchers. *WARNING* A somewhat pessimistic (honest) article follows…
Jhoulys Chacin, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Zach Davies. On paper, the Brewers have one of the worst starting rotations in the league. If the Cardinals had a starting rotation that looked like ours, fans would be ecstatic for the season.
Chacin and Davies are very consistent. Consistently average. At least you know what you’re getting out of them. However, they can’t be the two guys to anchor down a contending team’s rotation. They are best suited as a very good number 3 and 4 pitcher, not a 1 and 2. Unsuspectedly, Davies has been dominant to start the season. He has started 3 games and shows off a 1.53 ERA, a great sight for Brewer fans. However, I don’t think he can sustain the dominance he has recently showcased. As for Chacin, his best days are behind him.
I love Freddy Peralta the prospect. I don’t love when I see Peralta step on the mound. It’s either he’s putting up a line like he did April 3rd against the Reds when he pitched 8.0 innings, gave up 0 earned runs, and struck out 11 or he’s throwing 3.1 innings and giving up 7 earned runs against the Angels. There is no in between when it comes to the 22-year-old Brewer pitcher. If I had to predict what his numbers will look like at the end of the season, he will be 8-11 with a 4.31 ERA in 166.1 innings and 173 strikeouts. Think former Brewer pitcher Mike Fiers, that’s what Peralta will be this year.
Corbin Burnes was a phenomenal piece to Milwaukee’s bullpen last season. He was 7-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 38.0 innings pitched. He has great stuff but he is a pitcher who is best suited for the bullpen. So far to start the season, Burnes has started 3 games and given up more runs than innings pitched. He leads the league in earned runs. Very not great. Moving Burnes to starting pitcher was a mistake and if I had to place a bet, he will be in the bullpen to end the season. Somebody like Chase Anderson or Junior Guerra will replace him. Honestly, that won’t make much of a difference either.
Brandon Woodruff is like Burnes, he is a bullpen pitcher made starter. The start to the season hasn’t been so kind to the big righty. He’s only 7 earned runs away from his total last year and at this point, boasts a 6.00 ERA. He’s a #PitcherWhoRakes but that doesn’t matter if he’s giving up runs at an alarming rate.
I know it’s early. Some may say it’s too early to make judgements but were almost a month into the season and guys should be starting to settle in. The Brewers need to make a move and make a move fast. The bullpen isn’t what is was last year, they won’t be able to bail out starters like they did so often last season. Guys like former Cy Young winner, Dallas Kuechel, and other pitchers like Edwin Jackson and Bartolo Colon are still available and would help deepen a pitching staff that needs a boost. The Brewers should be looking at all available starting pitching free agents and all available trade partners if they want to stay relevant. I hope I’m wrong, but you see it far too often in baseball where a team is gifted offensively but doesn’t have the pitching to back them up.