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MVBrewers #3: Brandon Woodruff

Woodruff was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball from late June through the rest of the season

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Brew Crew Ball’s MVBrewers series continues this week. This time, we’re shining the spotlight on Brandon Woodruff, who we’ve selected as our third-most-valuable Brewer in 2022.

Woodruff’s season got off to an inauspicious start. Through his first nine outings, he struggled to a 4.74 ERA. While a 3.80 FIP over that stretch pointed toward some rotten luck, Woodruff’s once-stellar quality of contact metrics also took a step back, and his home run rate inflated to 1.44 per nine innings.

The big right-hander left his ninth start of the season with a minor ankle injury, and he developed symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome in his pitching hand as he was closing in on a return. This development sidelined Woodruff for a few more weeks, and he ultimately missed a full month.

The numbness in Woodruff’s hand associated with Raynaud’s may have surfaced in a five-walk outing in San Francisco on July 15, but he otherwise managed the condition well and didn’t let it affect his performance on the mound.

Thanks to better luck and a mechanical adjustment, Woodruff was as dominant as ever when he returned from the injured list. From his return on June 28 through the rest of the year, he posted a 2.38 ERA and 2.79 FIP in 18 starts. He struck out 31.6% of opposing hitters against a 6.7% walk rate and reduced his home run rate to 0.90 per nine, which is where it sat during his career year in 2021.

When the dust settled, Woodruff finished the year with a 3.05 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 153 13 innings. It was another successful season for Woodruff, who has been one of baseball’s most consistently effective starting pitchers dating back to 2019. In that span, he owns a strong 3.02 ERA and 3.04 FIP in 528 innings.

Woodruff’s name has popped up in trade rumors along with co-ace Corbin Burnes this winter, but the latest reports indicate that the Brewers plan to keep their two best starters for at least one more season. Expect the 29-year-old to put up another effective season in 2023.

We’ll continue the rankings of the 10 most valuable Brewers each Monday into January. Come back next week to see who we have at No. 2.

  1. Brandon Woodruff
  2. Hunter Renfroe
  3. Rowdy Tellez
  4. Devin Williams
  5. Kolten Wong
  6. Josh Hader
  7. Christian Yelich
  8. Luis Urias