Wily Peralta's short time in September last season was rather impressive. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewer Rotation Battle Royale: Part One

When it comes to the Milwaukee Brewers’ rotation, there are at least five guys fighting for a spot to get in. Out of those five, only three can get in as Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada have assured places in the rotation. The remaining pitchers who aren’t selected for the rotation will more than likely be put in the bullpen as occasional spot starters and or long relief guys. That said, which of the three have the best shot to hopefully secure a spot in the rotation? Spring Training may tell exactly where this rotation may stand come April 1st.

In part one, let’s a take a look at the top two candidates fighting for a spot .

Wily Peralta –  RHP

What the Brewers saw out of Peralta in September was nothing short of successful. Aside from his one relief effort back in April, Peralta was a solid starter once he was up with the club. He posted a 2.25 ERA in the month of September with a 2-1 record, 22 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched and opponents had a .249 batting average against him. For the 23 year-old, he definitely proved that he belongs up with the team, but where exactly? According to Bill James, Peralta will be used as a starter, but only in 10 games and will get rather tagged with a 3-4 record and a 4.66 ERA. Sure, Peralta had a rough go of things in Triple-A last season, but the fact that he was able to iron out some of those issues and against good offensive teams in the majors like the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds says a lot about him.

Peralta relied heavily upon his fastball (54.9%) and slider (23.1%) to do most of his damage. He’s projected to be a starter in most regards, averaging about 23 starts in 2013 aside from James’ projections. I’d say out of the four remaining candidates, Peralta has the best shot to be in the rotation, though definitely as a four or five. We can’t judge how he’ll do based on the small sample size that was September, but I think he’ll work out the kinks in Spring Training.

Mike Fiers – RHP

Mike Fiers had six perfect innings against the Reds in August. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fiers’ 2012 is a classic example of baseball’s own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At one point he’s un-hittable, nearly throws a perfect game and is just making Brewer fans happy as the team somewhat reaches the wild card race. After awhile, Fiers forgets how to pitch and is just getting blown up left and right and everything he’s throwing is getting smacked back in his face. Once the season came to a close, Fiers’ numbers weren’t as bad as what most people probably anticipated with his horrid August and September. Fiers would end the 2012 season with a 9-10 record, a 3.74 ERA, a WHIP of 1.26 and had 135 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched. What’s also impressive about Fiers is that strikeouts accounted for 25.1% of his outs, so he definitely has some swing and miss stuff in his arsenal.

Fiers’ ERA by month:

  • June: 2.51
  • July: 1.01
  • August: 4.89
  • September: 7.09

What’s interesting for him is like Peralta, James also has Fiers marked as a starter, but for more games. In James’ projection, Fiers will pitch in 29 games, accrue a 12-7 record with a 3.40 ERA and have 170 strikeouts in 172 innings pitched. That’s pretty decent for a guy who’s really had less than a year’s experience in the rotation. I think Fiers can definitely find his way in the rotation as a solid three or four, but if the inconsistencies come back, then he’s going to run into a hard, brick wall.

That’s it for part one. Stayed tuned in a day or two for the second part.

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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