In a year where every team will end up using a bunch of pitchers to help cover the innings of a full season, the starting rotation at the beginning of the season might mean even less than normal.
With that said, the Brewers deciding to give Freddy Peralta the nod for the 5th start of the year could be a sign of how much they believe in a breakout for him this year.
With Opening Day just a week away, Craig Counsell announced today Josh Lindblom would start the year in the bullpen, and the rotation will look like this through the first turn:
Josh Lindblom will begin the season in the Brewers bullpen. Freddy Peralta gets that final rotation spot.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 25, 2021
Again, it’s important to remember the “through the first turn” part here.
Houser, for example, has had a rough spring and still struggles mightily to get left-handers out, but he’ll be facing the Minnesota Twins in his first start — a righty-heavy team that only really has Max Kepler as a left-handed threat. But whether he’ll stay in the rotation beyond that could change.
With guys like Lindblom, Brent Suter and Drew Rasmussen stretched out this spring to cover multiple innings and the Brewers talking about limiting innings, the guys taking the ball first in games is certain to be jumbled before too long this season. Likewise, the guy “starting” a game may only go three innings or twice through the order (obviously more likely with Houser and Anderson than Woodruff or Burnes). There will be plenty of shakeup along the way.
Still, there’s little doubt the organization believes in Peralta. That was clear last spring, when they locked him into a longterm contract. This spring, he’s dazzled with 15 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 8.1 innings, with his only run allowed coming on a solo home run. If he can keep that up in the regular season, the Brewers might end up with one of the best rotations in the division, even if they’re starting the year under the radar.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference