Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the MLB. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Milwaukee Brewers fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate.
In this week’s edition of SB Nation Reacts, we asked Brewers fans what Craig Counsell should do with the rotation after Adrian Houser returns and which prospect the Brewers should call up in September.
The results ended up being very close, as 42% of fans voted for Counsell to send Aaron Ashby to the bullpen, followed by 37% who said Houser should go to the bullpen. A six-man rotation received 14% of the vote while Freddy Peralta going to the bullpen received just 5%.
Ashby has struggled with consistency this season, entering Friday’s start against the Cubs with a 4.24 ERA over 22 appearances (16 starts). He has struck out 108 over 91 1⁄3 innings, but he’s allowed 87 hits, 43 walks and 13 homers.
Houser, who last pitched June 30 against the Pirates, has had his own difficulties this year, pitching to a 4.72 ERA over 15 starts, striking out 57 across 76 1⁄3 innings. Slated to return before the end of August, Houser has given up 82 hits, 31 walks and eight home runs himself. In three rehab starts with the AAA Nashville Sounds, Houser has a 3.24 ERA over 8 1⁄3 innings.
In response to the question about September call-ups, 37% of fans said the Brewers should give Sal Frelick a chance, followed closely behind by newly-acquired Esteury Ruiz at 35%. Brice Turang received 18% while Ethan Small got 8% of the vote.
Frelick has had a great season, advancing from High-A Wisconsin to AAA Nashville and hitting a cumulative .329/.404/.473 with seven homers and 39 RBIs over 353 at-bats.
Ruiz has also looked strong in the minors this year, slashing .326/.457/.533 with 64 stolen bases between AA and AAA in the Brewers and Padres organizations, including a .279/.380/.349 line and four stolen bases since joining the Sounds. He also saw limited major league action with San Diego earlier this year, appearing in 14 games and slashing .222/.222/.333 with a stolen base and two RBIs.
With the roster expanding to 28 on Sept. 1, we’ll know soon enough who the Brewers use in the majors for the final month of the regular season. Given that Ruiz and Small are the only two of the listed players on the team’s 40-man roster, it would be no surprise to see at least one of them get the call.
Finally, in the national survey, just 22% of fans predicted that the Brewers would win the NL Central, compared to 77% who voted for the Cardinals. The Brewers trail St. Louis by three games in the division entering their weekend series with the Cubs, but there’s still plenty of time to close that gap with over a month to go in the season.