The Milwaukee Brewers have a lot of options for their starting rotation heading into spring training 2017. As fans, who we want to be in that rotation and who we expect to be in that rotation may or may not be two totally different lists.
Today we will look at the thirteen options that you want to see in the rotation, not necessarily who you think will actually make it (that’ll be a different poll). Once you’ve read through the list, pick five of the 13 pitchers listed to vote for in the poll at the bottom of the post. If there is someone not listed that you want to see in the big league rotation, feel free to list them in the comments - as long as they’re currently in the Brewers’ organization, of course.
- Chase Anderson - Chase spent all of last season in the Brewers’ rotation, starting 30 games (with one relief appearance). He worked 151.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.37 and an xFIP of 4.76. He won 9 and lost 11. Anderson is 29.
- Zach Davies - After starting the season at AAA Colorado Springs, Zach quickly came up to Milwaukee in April. He worked 163.1 innings, went 11-7, posted a good xFIP of 3.94, and worked to a 1.25 WHIP. Davies turns 27 Feb. 7th - happy birthday!
- Matt Garza - Garza began 2016 on the DL, making his first start in June. The 34 year old worked 101.2 innings with an xFIP of 4.44 - not bad. His WHIP was 1.50 - not good. He went 6-8 over the last half plus of the season.
- Junior Guerra - Juni G had a great “rookie” campaign after joining the Brewers from the Sky Sox in May. His 121.2 innings produced an ERA of 2.81 but only a 4.29 xFIP. However, he went 9-3 with a WHIP of 1.13. Guerra will be 32 in the 2017 season.
- Josh Hader - Hader is rated as one of the top lefty prospects in all of baseball. He has yet to make his major league debut. He was dominant last season at AA Biloxi, but not so much at the high altitude of AAA Colorado Springs. Josh’s FIP jumped from 2.18 to 3.81 with his promotion, his WHIP moved from 1.00 to 1.43, but his K/9 rate stayed at about 11.5. He will be only 23 for the 2017 season, but has pitched in the minors since 2012.
- Taylor Jungmann - Jungmann followed up a good rookie season in 2015 with a disastrous 2016 campaign. He was so bad starting the season in Milwaukee that he lasted just 6 starts before going to AAA (he’d return to the big leagues in September for two relief appearances). There, he was somehow even worse. Between those two levels he worked 57.2 innings and allowed 10 homeruns. He hit 11 batters. His WHIP climbed from 1.76 in Milwaukee to 2.39 at Colorado Springs. Yeah, he settled down for 75.1 fairly solid innings for AA Biloxi, with a 2.99 FIP. So he’s got that going for him. Taylor is 28.
- Jorge Lopez - Another casualty of pitching at altitude - hopefully. Lopez’ 79.1 innings in 16 starts for the Sky Sox produced an FIP of 6.30 with a WHIP of 1.97. Going to Biloxi brought those down to a more manageable levels of 3.81 and 1.35. At 24 the Brewers hope for a bounce back 2017.
- Tommy Milone - Milone will be 30 for the 2017 season and joined the Brewers as a free agent this off season on a 1-year, non-guaranteed deal for $1.25 mil. Milone comes from the Twins after an OK 2015 and a not so OK 2016. But he’s a lefty, and could come out of the pen and spot start if he doesn’t establish himself as a starter while competing for the Cactus Cup.
- Jimmy Nelson - Jimmy, a home grown pitcher in his third season for the Brewers, started April and May last year as the ace of the staff. Then the rest of the season happened. He ended up setting personal highs for innings pitched (179.1, most on the Brewers) - and xFIP (4.91), losses (16), homeruns allowed (28), walks (86), and WHIP (1.52). This is an important season in Nelson’s career.
- Luis Ortiz - Luis came to Milwaukee last year in the Jonathon Lucroy/Jeremy Jeffress trade. He was a first round selection (30th overall) in the 2014 amateur draft, and worked last season at the A+ and AA levels for Texas and at AA for Milwaukee. He is just 21, and worked 90.2 innings overall. He was better for the Rangers last year, and there is still work to be done. But hey - he’d probably post numbers as good as Jungmann or first half Wily Peralta if the Brewers went crazy and put him in the rotation. So go ahead and vote for him!
- Wily Peralta - Wily will turn 29 this year and is operating on a one year, $4.3 mil deal that he signed through arbitration. I am allowed, for my own reasons, to only tell you about Wily’s performance after his recall to the Brewers after pitching for Milwaukee, Colorado Springs, and Biloxi last year. In 61.2 innings, Wily worked to a 3.59 xFIP (2.92 ERA) with a WHIP of 1.15 and a 20.8% K rate, 6.5% walk rate. If you really want to see how bad he was for the Brewers and Colorado Springs before that you can look it up.
- Aaron Wilkerson - Aaron will turn 28 next May and came to the Brewers from the Red Sox in the Aaron Hill trade. He worked well for Pawtucket and not so well for Colorado Springs - although his FIP was a manageable 3.87 for the Sky Sox. He started 19 games over all, and threw 102.2 innings. For the season he came in at a 9.7 K rate and a 2.3 walk rate.
- Brandon Woodruff - Brandon has shot up the Brewers’ prospect lists, moving from the twenties last year into the top 10 in many this year. When you look at his season in AA Biloxi last year you can see why. 20 starts, 113.2 innings. FIP of 2.49 with a K rate of 9.8 and a walk rate of 2.4. He worked to 18 decisions in his 20 starts (!), and even had a complete game (!!). His WHIP was 1.04. Woodruff was the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016.
So there you go! Make your choices and tomorrow we will look at what we EXPECT the rotation to look like as opposed to what we WANT it to look like. We’ll look at the results from both later this week.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs