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Eric Lauer’s 2020 shoulder injury was worse than initially thought

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Eric Lauer was not good in 2020, and his shoulder may have been partially to blame

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 season was one to forget for Eric Lauer. When David Stearns sent Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to San Diego in exchange for Lauer and Luis Urias, both fanbases, for the most part, felt pretty good about the trade. Unfortunately the performances of Lauer and Urias compared to Davies and Grisham in 2020 made the trade look really lopsided in favor of A.J. Preller and the Padres. At least those are the early returns, but unbeknownst to Brewer Nation, Eric Lauer may have had reason for his awful performance.

Evidently there was a tear in Lauer’s left shoulder capsule. While the initial diagnosis was shoulder impingement, later test revealed the tear. By the time Lauer was physically able to come back from the injury, he was shutdown again due to being in quarantine after being in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The results in 2020 were a 13.09 ERA over just 11 innings pitched.

Prior to coming to Milwaukee, Eric Lauer pitched pretty well across two seasons in San Diego. Lauer pitched to a 4.45 ERA in 2019 and a 4.34 ERA in 2018 while also striking out more than 8 per 9 in each of those seasons. Take into account that Lauer allowed 24 earned runs across four starts at Coor’s Field in those two seasons, and his pitching numbers in 2018 and 2019 begin to look even better.

With the announcement that Lauer’s shoulder injury was worse than initially thought, it makes sense to be optimistic about the lefty’s 2021 and beyond in a Brewers’ uniform. Yet shoulder injuries can have lasting effects. It is beyond the expertise of this writer to know one way or the other, so the hope is that Eric Lauer can get back to the solid back-of-the-rotation lefty arm that he was in San Diego. If he does then the Brewers’ rotation will have one more quality arm, and the trade with San Diego will begin to look a lot better.

Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs