After a strange 2020 season, the 2021 MLB season will be starting on time. Currently, teams are slated to play all 162 games which means pitchers’ workloads will return to normal. More innings and more batters on more teams mean pitchers will actually have time to ramp up, unlike in 2020. During spring training, teams will need to start getting a feel for what their rotations might be. Here is an early look at the Milwaukee Brewers projected 2021 pitching rotation.
1. Brandon Woodruff
Woodruff had one of the highest workloads of any starting pitcher in 2020. He started 13 games, which was an MLB-high and pitched 73.2 innings. Even with that level of work and the unprecedented circumstances, he put up a career-best ERA of 3.05.
The previous season, Woodruff was an All-Star and his total ERA was only .01 higher than 2018, even as he pitched almost 80 more innings. In short, his career trajectory is on the upswing. He deserves to be at the top of the Brewers’ rotation in 2021.
2. Corbin Burnes
Corbin Burnes has had an interesting career. In two of his three seasons, while getting a relief pitcher’s amount of work, he threw for an ERA under 3.00. In 2019, however, his ERA was a massive 8.82 while getting roughly the same amount of innings.
The Brewers should take the most recent numbers into account. Considering their fall from grace after participating in the 2019 NLCS, known commodities are best for this team. Milwaukee knows Burnes can turn it on. If he does not, though, he can easily be put back into a relief role.
3. Josh Lindblom
A true journeyman, Lindblom is going into his second season with a team for only the second time in his seven year career. He has been a Dodger, Ranger, Pirate, Philly, Athletic and now a Milwaukee Brewer for the back-to-back years.
Lindblom also got a fair amount of work during the pandemic-shortened season, pitching 45.1 innings. His ERA was not fantastic, at 5.16, but the amount of work he saw is encouraging if the Brewers are trying to inject some veteran presence into the lineup. Third seems about right for Lindblom.
4. Adrian Houser
Very similarly to Lindblom, Houser saw a fine amount of work. He started 11 games and pitched 56 innings, earning an ERA of 5.30. These middle spots in the rotation are for players looking to prove themselves and with only one full season under his belt, Houser needs to do just that. Given his production during that full season, though, he deserves this chance in the rotation.
5. Brett Anderson
Anderson has been in the MLB since 2009 and has spent seven of his 12 seasons in different stints with the Oakland A’s, with stops in Toronto, the North Side of Chicago, Colorado and now Milwaukee. He is the veteran presence on the Brewers’ pitching staff in 2021.
He pitched 176 innings in 2019, earning a respectable ERA of 3.82. In 2020, he pitched 47 innings, putting up a 4.21 ERA, over a much smaller sample size. Putting him at the end of the rotation is hard, considering the experience, but that seems to be where his talent will likely place him. Having him in the rotation at all, though, is the important move for the pitching staff’s maturity.
Featured Image courtesy of Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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