If the Milwaukee Brewers want to contend for the playoffs in 2017, their starting rotation is going to have to step up big time. Unfortunately for the Brewers and their fans, the names in their starting five are not exactly guys who will be instilling fear in opposing hitters every night. But maybe they will have a few breakouts.
With the Chicago Cubs leading the way, the NL Central is likely out of range. That would mean if the Brew Crew wants to sniff the postseason, it will be a Wild Card slot. The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates are two teams within their own division that could stand in their way. So let’s take a look at the five guys who will need to step up if the Brewers want to surprise the baseball world.
- Junior Guerra, RHP – The Brewers did not have many bright spots within their rotation last season, but Junior Guerra was the exception. The now 31-year-old righty emerged out of nowhere in what was only his second stint in the Majors. Over the course of 20 starts and 121 and two-thirds innings, Guerra pitched to an extremely solid 2.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He is hands down the club’s best option for an Opening Day starter based off last seasons results.
- Zach Davies, RHP – After Guerra, the rest of the rotation is a total crapshoot. You might as well throw six names in a hat and pick out four at random to determine starters number two through five. When determining who to place in the two slot, Zach Davies is the name I pulled. Davies recently turned 24 and he earned 11 victories in his rookie campaign. He ended the year with a 3.97 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He is far from a flamethrower, with his average fastball velocity sitting around 90 mph, but his decent stat line will be enough to earn him the number two spot for the Brew Crew.
- Matt Garza, RHP – Time to bring in a veteran to hold down the middle of the rotation. Matt Garza’s time in Milwaukee is far from great, yet he still finds himself in the mix for the rotation every season. He will likely be subject to trade rumors throughout the season, but the Brewers really need to see him produce in order to get anything worthwhile back in return. The man they call the Mexican Superman will be used as an inning eater, with hopes that he can reach back to his prime just a little bit to help build up some of his value.
- Chase Anderson, RHP – There simply is nothing to get excited about with Anderson. With an ERA of 4.39, the 29-year-old will likely be keeping a spot warm for a younger guy when the year starts. He is the type of pitcher who should have no issues transitioning to the pen when the time comes. So basically, he will begin the year as a backend starter, pitch some subpar games, then eventually be demoted to the bullpen.
- Jimmy Nelson, RHP – This last spot will likely come down to three men: Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, and Tommy Milone. Peralta has simply never lived up to his potential and Milone simply is not all that good. That brings us to Nelson, who at least has some upside. The 27-year-old is a former top prospect who has pitched in parts of four MLB seasons. As he enters the prime of his career, he will look to turn things around into the right direction. His 4.62 ERA and 1.52 WHIP are numbers that will need to be improved upon if he wants to hold onto his rotation spot.
How do you see the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation shaking out for the upcoming 2017 MLB season? Tell us in the comments!