Even though the Brewers have possibly the best offense in Baseball in 2013 it is going to be the pitching that determines how far they will go. On paper it looks like a young staff led by Gallardo. But if you really look into it only one of the 5 potential starters besides Gallardo is younger than him (Peralta). Which may be the point the Brewers are trying to make this season. “At some point, you just say the younger guys have to be given a chance.” Said GM Doug Melvin. Many thought this off-season they would be aggressive in Free Agency. Ryan Dempster rumors swirled all off-season but the Brewers decided to go with their guys.
The #2 pitcher at this point is Marco Estrada and rightfully so. The 2nd half of last year was a promising one for Marco Estrada with an ERA of 3.40 and a 9.1 K per 9 rate. In 6 starts in September he had a 2.63 ERA including 39 strikeouts. At one point he gave up one earned run over a 41.2 inning span. In total he finished the year 5-7 with a 3.64 ERA and a 9.3 K per 9.
After Gallardo and Estrada you have 4 pitchers who all have a possibility to make the rotation out of spring. Mike Fiers, Mark Rogers, Chris Narveson, and Wily Peralta. All four deserve a chance but with only three spots one of them will have to resort to the bullpen or AAA.
Lets start with Fiers. The big question here is did Mike Fiers burn out last year or did hitters just finally figure him out? At one point of the season Mike Fiers was un-hittable. From May-July he had a 1.8 ERA including a 1.01 ERA in 4 starts in July. In June he struck out batters at an unbelievable 10.06 k/9 rate. After July is when it all went down hill though. In 6 August starts he had a 4.89 ERA. Followed by a 7.09 ERA in September. Based on Fiers first 3 months its likely he will have a rotation spot. In all he finished 2012 with a 3.74 ERA and a 9-10 record. Like Estrada he struck out batters at a high-rate including a 9.5 K/9. If it turns out though that it wasn’t fatigue that made him go from one of the best pitchers in Baseball to one of the worst he might be the first one bumped out of the rotation for another guy.
This leaves us with 2 spots and 3 pitchers. Rogers, Narveson, and Peralta. Chris Narveson pitched in 2 games last year before a torn-rotator cuff ended his season short. At 31 years old this is our veteran. This is also our only Lefty starter we have. In 2010 and 2011 combined Narveson went 24-17 but had a very low 7 k/9 and a 1.392 Whip to go along with that. His ERA was also not pretty at 4.73. Coming off arm surgery Chris Narveson might be the least talented pitcher in this group. But as the oldest guy and the only lefty if he shows he is the same pitcher as last year in Spring, a rotation spot will most likely be his.
And then there were two. Wily Peralta who might have the most upside and shown the most promise out of the 5 and Mark Rogers. A former 1st round pick whos time is running short to prove he can be legit at age 27. In his first full opportunity he took advantage of it in 7 starts going 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA and a very good 9.5 K/9 before getting shut down in September. We cannot forget about Wily Peralta though and what he brings to the table. Based on numbers alone Wily Peralta blows out everyone here. But in terms of age he is on the low end. At 23 years old Wily Peralta can go to the minors and improve to wait for a spot to open up, where as everyone else is over the age of 27 and would likely find a spot in the bullpen. Wily Peralta is the Brewers number 1 prospect and the only prospect in MLB’s top 100 (64). Last year Peralta was 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts the final month of the season. He did not strike out a lot of batters though and his command is still a bit of an issue. Based on that in order to make this rotation he would need a pitcher besides Gallardo and Estrada to struggle in Spring for him to get a spot. If that doesn’t happen even though he has the most promise it makes sense for him to go to AAA and wait for a spot to open up for him.
This is the year we need to figure out what we have with pitchers. Since everyone else is getting up there in age besides Peralta I don’t think he gets the spot. We have lots of pitchers in the minor leagues that also have promise with Thornburg, Nelson, Hellweg, Jungmann, Burgos, Bradley, and Pena. Because of that it makes sense to figure out what we have with these guys now and see if they are long-term solutions instead of waiting to find out and clogging up holes in the rotation for some of these younger guys including Peralta.
Opening Day Rotation
1. Yovania Gallardo
2. Marco Estrada
3. Chris Narveson
4. Mike Fiers
5. Mark Rogers
Thoughts? Who would you guys like to see in the rotation?
This is from my blog I am starting at https://brewtownsportsblog.wordpress.com