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If the left-handed starter can bounce back to the way he pitched in 2011, it'll answer a fair number of questions about the team in 2013.
MVBrewers is a player-by-player look at the most valuable members of the 2012 Brewers, as voted on by you. Here's our top ten:
The series now continues with Lesser Brewers, to cover some of the remaining Brewers that we have not covered so far. This is the tenth installment in that segment. You can see all the player profiles in the Most Valuable Brewers 2012 section.
Like so many recent Brewers, Chris Narveson is a scrap heap pickup that's gone on to become a better pitcher than most probably expected.
The Brewers signed Narveson as a minor league free agent before the 2008 season and by 2009 he was a big league contributor, posting a 3.83 ERA over his first 21 appearances in Milwaukee. He was a near-full time member of the rotation again in 2010 and 2011, making a combined 56 starts over two seasons with a 4.73 ERA and 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He's not likely to ever win a Cy Young, but the Brewers have certainly had worse players at the back of their rotation over the years.
Unfortunately, Narveson's 2012 season was over very early when he was shut down after just two starts and missed the rest of the year following rotator cuff surgery. His rehab appears to be going well and he's expected to be ready to pitch next spring, but projecting pitchers who are coming back from shoulder injuries is a tricky business and it remains to be seen if he'll be back at full strength.
If Narveson is 100%, he's probably earned an opportunity to open the 2013 season in the rotation. Because of the nature of his injury, though, it's probably not safe to write him into that spot in anything more permanent than pencil. The uncertainty regarding his status is part of the reason the Brewers are likely to look for veteran options on the trade and free agent markets this winter.
Narveson only made two starts in 2012, so the pickings are pretty slim here. He picked up the win in his season debut on April 10, though, holding the Cubs to two runs on six hits over five innings. His day included this first inning double play:
Narveson is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and MLB Trade Rumors projects he'll receive $800,000 for 2013 unless the Brewers decide to non-tender him.