With the signing of Matt Garza it appears the first three spots in the starting rotation will be Garza, Kyle Lohse, and Yovani Gallardo (in some order). For the first time in a while the Brewers have several candidates to fill in the back end of the rotation. Here’s a look at the leading candidate for the fifth spot for the 2014 Brewer starting rotation.
Obviously the decision on the fourth pitcher is a major factor in finding your fifth starter. How important is having a lefty or mixing up power pitchers versus finesse types? In the past Ron Roenicke has stated he wants to go with his best pitchers regardless of which side they throw from. Assuming this holds true, I believe Marco Estrada will be given the role of number five pitcher in the starting rotation.
Leading Candidate: Marco Estrada
At 7-4 with an ERA of 3.87, Estrada finished out 2013 as one of the pitchers to look forward to in 2014. Despite his lights out performance during the latter part of the season, health will be a factor for success (last year Marco only started 21 games). Can he sustain his second half stats with at least 30 starts in 2014?
Long Shot Candidate: Johnny Hellweg
It is unlikely Hellweg will crack the starting rotation in 2014. Maybe the question is whether he will even pitch out of the bullpen. Still, at 6’9” there is reason for optimism when a pitcher throws the kind of heat Hellweg is capable of. Unfortunately, last year he lost his ways, his strikeouts were down and walks were up. So far he has struggled with each Major League opportunity, but maybe this year it will “click” and he will become the prospect the Brewers were hoping for.
What do you think; will it be Estrada or Hellweg in the five spot? Who do you have as the fifth starter?