The 2019 season saw Milwaukee finish only two games behind the Cardinals in the division but they were still able to grab a Wild Card spot. They went 89-73 with a strong lineup even after losing Christian Yelich for the year near the final run and sported one of the best bullpens in baseball. This season they look to be a team that can keep their high level of play and make a run in the division.
In terms of their starting rotation, they no longer have Chase Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Jhoulys Chacin or Zach Davies. These four combined to make 94 starts for the Brew Crew last season. Anderson, Chacin and Davies had been a part of the roster for quite some time. Now they will be looking to almost a completely new group for their 2020 rotation.
Here is a look at what their rotation may be if the 2020 season is not fully canceled due to COVID-19.
1.) Brandon Woodruff
When healthy Brandon Woodruff has absolutely electric stuff. He strikes out well over a batter per inning, his batting average against is in the low .240s and over the past two seasons, he sports a 3.61 ERA. While he may not be an ace just yet, Woodruff can absolutely be the top-line starter this team needs.
The only issue has to be his experience. Over the past three seasons, he only has 34 starts with 22 coming last season. He will have to grow and mature quickly in order to keep this team in big series down the stretch.
Luckily if he does struggle a bit there are some pretty impressive pitchers in the bullpen that he can come out of the game for. Truthfully if he can just give the Brewers quality starts on a regular basis then that should be more than enough.
2.) Brett Anderson
This is not a guy that will necessarily surprise anyone or exceed expectations. Brett Anderson has been around for a long time and he just knows how to get people out. He is not going to blow anyone away, only having 90 strikeouts last season in 176 innings but he just gets the job done.
For a team that is completely rebuilding their starting rotation, having someone like Anderson can be relieving in a sense. They know what they are going to get out of him and that consistency can go a long way.
It feels unlikely that he will be the number two starting pitcher as the season goes on and certainly as they head into the playoffs. But with so many unknowns surrounding him, having Anderson as a known will definitely be a benefit for Milwaukee.
3.) Josh Lindblom
Josh who? Yeah, a lot of people are asking that same question. But this guy has quite the pedigree for a 33-year-old with only six MLB starts under his belt. He was once a top pick and prospect who just could not push his way onto a team. Then he went to Korea for a couple of years and found himself.
In his second stint in Korea, from 2017-2019, Lindblom went 40-10 with a 3.07 averaged ERA, nearly a strikeout per inning and a WHIP hovering around one. This made him a pretty attractive signing for most teams and the Brewers were able to nab him for three year and $9.125 million.
While he is a bit of a wild card, he has clearly figured something out in Korea. It may take him a bit to get himself settled in back in the MLB but once he is, he should be battling for a top spot in the rotation. If he mentally goes back to what he ways before he left, then this rotation could be the Achilles Heel for an otherwise very strong team.
4.) Adrian Houser
Another solid if not unspectacular starting pitcher for the Brewers. Starting to notice a trend? Either way, Adrian Houser has the least experience of this group but definitely showed promise in 2019. In 35 games and 18 starts, Houser had a 3.72 ERA, over a strikeout per inning and was a groundball machine.
For a backend of the rotation guy, this is exactly what teams want. Houser at a minimum will eat some innings until the team can get to their bullpen. But, if he can start to truly figure it out, Houser could be a very nice surprise for the Brewers who clearly lack major firepower in their rotation.
5.) Eric Lauer
Coming over from the Padres with Luis Urias in the Zach Davies trade, Lauer is the youngest and possibly the most promising member of this rotation. Over two seasons Lauer has shown that he can get guys out via the strikeout and is close to taking the next step.
In his first two full seasons, he has averaged a 4.40 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning and is still working out getting his WHIP down. Walks and hits come when he loses focus. This is something many young pitchers struggle with. Luckily it can be coached out of the 25-year-old lefty.
The Brewers traded for him because they knew that the talent was there. If this kid can put it together, even in a short season, then he could become a stalwart in this rotation alongside the likes of Woodruff and Houser.
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