MVBrewers #4: Kyle Lohse

Scott Cunningham

His signing just a week before the season was nothing if not controversial. Whether or not you agree with the move, Lohse pitched well for the Crew this season.

I volunteered to write today's MVB, regardless of who the "winner" was, so it would figure that it would be Kyle Lohse. I could not be more uninspired to write about him.

Listen, I do know it's not Lohse's fault that I still dislike the fact that the Brewers signed him for three years and $33 million dollars and gave up the 17th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. But that doesn't seem to stop me from fundamentally just disliking the guy. I mean, I don't hate him. I'm not going to boo him. Mostly, I'm pretty indifferent. He represents bad things for me and I'm just not thrilled he's here, you know?

Sigh. Poor Kyle. Because none of that is to say he didn't pitch well this season.

Was he a pitching upgrade? Sure. Fangraphs says he was worth 1.8 WAR this season, which is .8 more than I figured on. But since the Brewers were way more than 1.8 games away from the postseason, it just was such a pointless move. He was a luxury upgrade for a machine that was in need of basic parts.

The Milwaukee chapter of the BBWAA voted Lohse the team's most valuable pitcher as well as top newcomer.

And he was solid. In 32 starts, the 35-year-old Lohse went 11-10 with a 3.35 ERA. He led all starters in innings pitched (198 2/3) and quality starts (20).

He only got better down the stretch, when many thought his older arm might get tired. His best game of the season came on a game when he was meant to be shut down after just a few innings. Just 10 days before that, he threw a complete game in which he retired 23 Reds in a row.

His numbers might have been even more impressive were in not for a truly horrific May. Of course, joining the team one week before the season might have added to his struggles, but his ERA was in the mid 6's and he gave up 20 runs in 27 innings.

He was prone to missing location and giving up the long ball - only three other NL pitchers gave up more, but he also excelled at stranding runners on base. Opponents hit just .256 against him, second best among Brewers with 100 innings pitched.

There is always talk of trading Yovani Gallardo and if that comes to pass this offseason, Lohse would be the Brewers #1 starter.

Best Game

Once again, Poor Kyle. His 89-pitch complete game shutout was totally overshadowed by the Carlos Gomez/Brian McCann, et al dustup in the first inning, but let's go ahead and give Kyle credit where it's due. If a complete game under 100 pitches is a Maddux, is doing it in less than 90 pitches a MegaMaddux?

Lohse was completely locked in as he gave up two hits and no walks, but recorded just five strikeouts to set down the Braves and put up his second complete game of the season. It was to be Lohse's final start of the season and the coaches had decided he'd pitch about five innings and call it a year. Instead, he pitched an absolute gem that only hardcore fans appreciated among the rest of the hubbub and few will remember.

Contract Status

As stated above, 2013 was the first year of a three-year, $33 million contract for Lohse. He earns $11 million each year, but $7 million of the 2013 salary was deferred to be paid in 2016-2018, which reduces the contract's present day total value to $31.95, according to Cotts. He earns a performance bonus of  $0.35M for 190 innings pitched.

Previous MVBrewers posts can be seen at the links below:

#1: Carlos Gomez
#2: Jonathan Lucroy
#3: Jean Segura

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