Much has been made of the depth in the Milwaukee Brewers’ rotation competition this spring, with a minimum of seven names in the mix for a regular rotation spot. And probably more. We have seen suggestions for a six man rotation or piggy-back starters to get more of these arms into the mix, lessen the load on the top of the rotation arms, and maximize production.
All good ideas, except I have one problem with this: the top of the rotation pitchers are average, and the rest aren’t - they are pretty bad. They look to make the construction of the bullpen a moot point: if the rotation is regularly putting the Brewers in a five or six inning hole, it won’t matter if the pen does well or not. A closer with nothing to close doesn’t have much value, whether he’s good or not.
I look for a little better offensive production this year compared to last, but the actual chances are it will be pretty similar. I’ve tried to look at the starting pitchers objectively, but I’m generally an optimistic fan...so the following projections are probably too good.
Milwaukee’s goal has to be to get as good as the Chicago Cubs eventually, so I’m including them in this mix. It is unrealistic (well, delusional) to expect the Brewers to compete with the Cubs this year. The Cubs’ offense is better than the Brewers, but the biggest difference is the starting rotation. But the next time the Brewers will compete, it will almost certainly be on the Wild Card level. Just for the sake of argument, I’m giving the Washington Nationals and LA Dodgers their divisions. I’m then going with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets as the top Wild Card contenders.
The projections are my own, but are largely based off of last year's totals as well as projections from Steamer and ZiPS. As such, they have as much value as any of your projections. Not that that will affect my opinion!
|J. de Grom||28||178||164||67||19||46||3.39||3.5|
- Basing each rotation on 1000 innings gives us a pretty good look at how the teams compare.
- Now for a bit of old school: John Lester; Kyle Hendricks; Jake Arrieta. Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom.
Junior Guerra? Zach Davies? Which of these names are not like the others?
WAR is an inexact science, but these will work as comparative numbers. The estimates above give us a relative look, though, and those teams above the Brewers a demonstrably better. By plenty. I've said it before and I'll repeat it ad nauseam: the Brewers need to develop some 1s and 2s in their system to compete. That has not been happening; perhaps a young player like Josh Hader will make that jump. To acquire top flight starting pitching will always cost the Brewers a premium over what a Chicago, New York, LA, even San Francisco would need to pay. It would be nice to start getting a leg up on that process, or the rebuild will flounder.