As we transition from the offense and defense, there’s a lot that needs to be said about the starting pitching. The Milwaukee Brewers had an odd 2012 and the starting pitching somehow was just in the middle of it. After the injuries, trades, slumps and whatever else this season threw at us, the starting pitching still held strong. There were ups, downs, but overall 2012 showed us an insight to 2013 and a rotation I have full confidence in. Here’s a look at the starters’ report card:
Yovani Gallardo (16-9, 3.66 ERA, 204 K’s, 1.30 WHIP, 204 IP): A-
Gallardo, the undisputed ace of the Brewers’ rotation, had another strong season following his best year in 2011. However for Gallardo, he started off the season rough and ended it the same way. Despite a few questionable starts here and there, Gallardo was the constant in this rotation and you’d be kidding yourself to believe otherwise. From his start on July 31st til the end of the season, he was absolutely lights out. He did have one ugly start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he gave up seven earned runs, but the Brewers still won that game.
The one concerning thing about Gallardo was that he walked 81 batters in 2012 whereas in 2011 he walked 59 in 207.1 innings pitched. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was down in 2012 at 2.52 (.99 below 2011′s 3.51). In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t affect him too greatly. He did limit his opponents to a .243 batting average, but his opponent’s on base percentage was up from .296 to .313.
Regardless, 2012 was another strong year for Gallardo. He struggled in some starts, but he did have string of games where he won eight games in a row. 2013 looks to be just as promising.
Shaun Marcum (7-4, 3.70 ERA, 109 K’s, 1.27 WHIP, 124 IP): C
For Marcum, his 2012 was a test to see if he warranted a possible extension into 2013. Unfortunately for him, his average season really didn’t impress too many people. Not to mention the fact his arm injury isn’t exactly the most attractive thing to see going into free agency. The reason why Gallardo gets an A and Marcum doesn’t, is that Marcum’s stuff just lacked the dominance that Gallardo has. Marcum is a fly ball pitcher and a lot of his outs come out of those, which in the same regard, makes him a liability to give up the home run ball.
Don’t get me wrong, Marcum is far from a bad pitcher. However, the type of money he would ask for is probably more than what he’s worth. He’s a solid three in any rotation, or maybe a two depending on which rotation he would get into. That said, Marcum statistically had one of his weaker seasons and only made 21 starts as he was on the disabled list. He also had problems with his calf after making two starts from the DL, so the fact that his health is suspect may be a concern for some possible suitors.
Mike Fiers (9-10, 3.74 ERA, 135 K’s, 1.26 WHIP, 127.2 IP): C+
What we saw in 2012 out of Fiers was rather interesting. Fiers started out as completely un-hittable, and against some good line-ups too. Fiers looked really unstoppable and in July, Fiers had a 1-2 record, but a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched. He also proved to be a heavy strike out pitcher, which really took the spot of the departed Zack Greinke. Fiers even flirted with history and had a perfect game going against the Reds which lasted six innings before being broken up.
However, what came after that is the reason why Fiers gets a C+. After that perfect game attempt, Fiers absolutely fell apart. He was allowing an alarmingly high number of runs (4.89 ERA in August, 7.09 in Spetember) and just got beat up every time he went out to pitch. However, it’s hard to tell where Fiers stands heading into 2013. He was highly touted to be the two or three, but now I’m not so sure. 2012 was his first year starting, so we do have to cut him some slack.
Marco Estrada (5-7, 3.64 ERA, 143 K’s, 1.14 WHIP, 138.1 IP): B
Originally, I was highly against Estrada starting and even spot starting in some games. I felt with the bullpen in shambles early, that Estrada needed to be that guy who could pitch two or three innings out of the pen if needed. However, I soon found myself eating my words because Estrada began to soon impress me. While he exactly didn’t get off to the fastest of starts, he seemed to become more comfortable starting as the season went on. In the mid-months of the season, Estrada had an ERA over 4.00. In the last two months of the season, Estrada’s ERA ranged from 3.12 to 2.63.
Like Fiers, 2012 was Estrada’s first year starting games on a regular basis and by the end of the season, I think it’s pretty safe to say he learned the job. That said, we still have only seen one season out of him, so it’s hard to judge how he’ll exactly do next year. What you can take away from Estrada’s 2012 is that he doesn’t allow a lot of base runners. An opponent’s OBP of .285 and a batting average of .247 tells you that Estrada can command his stuff and perhaps get better as he goes along.
Mark Rogers (3-1, 3.92 ERA, 41 K’s, 1.28 WHIP, 39 IP): C
Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.48 ERA, 23 K’s, 1.21 WHIP, 29 IP) C+
For these two, we didn’t see a whole lot out of them. Rogers was a spot starter throughout the season and Peralta really only got a chance to start games in September. It’s not easy to tell how they’ll progress into 2013, but what we did see out them, Peralta especially, is that they have huge starting potential. There’s not a whole heck of a lot more than can be said about these two, because basing anything on them now is a tad unfair. Peralta though I will admit looked incredibly good in his five starts in September, going 2-1 with an ERA of 2.25 and had 22 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched.