The Milwaukee Brewers got a needed sweep at Wrigley Field over the weekend, closing the gap in the NL Central from 5.0 games to just 2.0 games with 19 games remaining in the 2017 regular season. The series victory over the Cubs did not come without a price, however, as breakout starter Jimmy Nelson went down during Friday’s contest with an injury suffered while running the bases. Nelson’s partial labrum tear and rotator cuff strain will keep him out for the remainder of the 2017 season and depending on whether or not surgery is needed, the healing process could mean a delayed start in 2018, as well.
In the here and now, however, the Milwaukee Brewers are in a pennant race and are down a starting pitcher. Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter are scheduled to take the ball in the first two games of the upcoming three-game set with the Pirates at Miller Park, but Wednesday’s starter is still listed as to be determined. The organization has reportedly been mulling over all possible internal options for that contest, and for the three other starts that Nelson will now miss during the final few weeks of the regular season.
There seems to be a pretty clear pool of candidates forming that does not include Corbin Burnes, who David Stearns has already said won’t pitch in the MLB this year. Keeping in mind that Nelson can be placed on the 60 day DL so clearing a roster spot won't be an issue, who should take the ball for the Milwaukee Nine on Wednesday?
Chase Anderson on short rest
Anderson started for the Brewers on Saturday, tossing 5.0 shutout innings in what wound up being a 15-2 blowout victory. With the game well in hand, Chase was pulled with an 11-0 lead after throwing just 67 pitches. Anderson has started only once on short rest in his career, but when healthy he’s been one of the top starters in the National League this season. In 21 starts covering 116.2 innings, he’s compiled a 2.96 ERA/3.62 FIP with 8.49 K/9 and 2.93 BB/9.
The Brewers have already had a couple of bullpen games this month, with Brent Suter going 3.0 innings in one and Matt Garza lasting 2.1 innings in the other. The Brewers could give the ball to Garza again or perhaps to former ace Junior Guerra in hopes of one of them covering 2 or 3 innings before turning things over to the bullpen. From there the Brewers could lean heavily on their expanded bullpen to finish out the rest of the contest.
Now that Colorado Springs has been eliminated from the AAA playoffs, the Brewers may be inclined to call up a few more players from Sky Sox. One of those players is Taylor Jungmann, who actually broke camp with the big league club this spring but was optioned back to the minors after pitching in just one contest. He seemingly overcame his great phobia of pitching with Colorado Springs this season, posting a 2.59 ERA/4.01 FIP with 8.17 K/9 and 3.89 BB/9 across 90.1 innings for the Sky Sox. Taylor got the start in Game 1 of the Sky Sox playoff series with Memphis on September 6th, working 6.0 innings while allowing 4 hits, 4 earned runs, striking out 4 and walking 2. The 27 year old has 30 career MLB appearances, including 27 starts, and owns a 4.54 ERA over 146.2 innings.
Wilkerson spent the regular season as a member of the AA Biloxi Shuckers and was one of the top pitchers in the Southern League this year. The 28 year old worked 142.1 innings while pitching to a 3.16 ERA/3.00 FIP with 9.04 K/9 and 2.28 BB/9. He was bumped up to Colorado Springs for their playoff run, and was tabbed to start Game 2 against Memphis on Thursday. In what was his season debut at AAA, Wilkerson threw 7.0 hitless innings, allowing just one walk while punching out 11 batters, en route to a 5-0 shutout victory for the Sky Sox. The 28 year old was an undrafted free agent and spent a couple seasons pitching in independent ball before the Red Sox signed him to a minor league contract in 2014; he came to the Brewers’ organization in the summer of 2016 as a part of the Aaron Hill deal and has yet to make his MLB debut.
If not for the season that Corbin Burnes had, we’d probably be talking about Peralta as the favorite to win the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year. He began the season in high-A Carolina, tossing 56.1 innings with a 3.04 ERA/3.93 FIP, 12.46 K/9, and 4.95 BB/9. Then he made the jump to AA Biloxi to finish out the season, pitching another 63.2 innings while allowing just a 2.26 ERA/2.31 FIP with 12.86 K/9 and 4.38 BB/9. The diminutive 21 year old finished tied for 9th in the minor leagues with 169 strikeouts, but his 33.4% strikeout rate was 2nd best among pitchers with at least 100 innings and his .177 batting average against was the best. Peralta will need to be added to the 40 man roster this winter, lest he be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. He’s ranked as Milwaukee’s #11 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs
Who should take Jimmy Nelson’s next turn in the starting rotation on Wednesday?
This poll is closed
Chase Anderson on short rest