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Brewers Reacts Survey: Picking Milwaukee’s fifth starter

With Aaron Ashby and Jason Alexander out to start the season, Craig Counsell has three main options for the fifth rotation spot

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mark Hoffmann / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

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.
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Here we are, just over a week away from opening day. With that, Craig Counsell has a decision to make: who to insert as the team’s fifth starter to begin the season.

Milwaukee had seven pitchers make at least 10 starts in 2022, including Corbin Burnes, Eric Lauer, Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, Aaron Ashby, Freddy Peralta, and Jason Alexander. With Ashby and Alexander out with throwing arm injuries to begin the season, that leaves Milwaukee with five players who made at least 10 starts for the team last year.

However, the Brewers also added Wade Miley and Bryse Wilson in the offseason, both of whom could potentially be used as Milwaukee’s fifth starter to open the season. With Burnes, Lauer, Woodruff, and Peralta already having the 1-4 spots in the order locked up, Counsell will need to make a decision about who to use in the fifth spot or even in a sixth spot. Let’s take a look at each of Milwaukee’s options.

Houser had a very strong 2021, finishing with a 3.22 ERA across 28 appearances (26 starts), although his FIP of 4.33 indicated some luck. He came back in 2022 with a 4.73 ERA, but his FIP actually improved to 4.21. He made 21 starts and pitched in 102 23 innings with the team, striking out 69. Baseball Reference projects him to improve a bit in 2023 with a 3.99 ERA across 124 innings.

After a career-best 2.67 ERA with Milwaukee in 2018, Miley had a few up-and-down years with the Astros, Reds, and Cubs from 2019 to 2022. His best season during that time was last year, when he finished with a 3.16 ERA, albeit in only nine major league appearances (eight starts) spanning 37 innings. He did pitch 163 innings with the Cubs in 2021, making 28 starts, so he’ll look to pitch a full season for Milwaukee in 2023.

A former top prospect of the Braves, Wilson hasn’t had much success in the big leagues to this point in his career. Still just 25, his career ERA sits at 5.54 across 56 games (43 starts), including a 5.52 ERA across 20 starts with the Pirates last season. The Brewers, who have had success revitalizing former prospects in recent years, will look to do the same with Wilson in 2023.

Who do you think the Brewers should deploy as their fifth starter to begin the season? Answer below and stay tuned for results later this week.