Today we take a look at Brewers Starting Pitcher Kyle Lohse, the Brewers top pitcher for the last season and a half. Likely the Brewers ace, Lohse was deserving of his first Opening Day start as a Brewer in 2014, though that honor went to Yovani Gallardo. Since joining the Crew, Lohse owns a team best 3.25 ERA, a 1.135 WHIP, 20 wins, and an outstanding 3.52 strikeout to walk ratio among starters.
Never a strong strikeout pitcher, Lohse relies on great command and a minuscule walk rate (among league leaders) to remain successful. Along with Lohse’s consistency on the mound, he has remained healthy, and leads the team with 312 2/3 innings since the start of 2013. These factors are integral in Lohse also being among league leaders in quality starts (13).
This season, Lohse has the best record (9-2), has walked the fewest batters (22 in 114 innings), and has held opposing hitters to the lowest BA (.235) of all Brewers starters.
Also impressive is that Lohse has a smaller salary in 2014 than fellow starters Gallardo and Matt Garza, yet has outperformed them both. Lohse signed with the Brewers just a week before the start of the regular season in 2013, after garnering less attention in the free agent market than he and his agent had originally anticipated.
This lead to a 3 year, $33 million deal, one that seems very team-friendly these days. There was less enthusiasm for the Crew analysts, however, as Lohse was a 33 year old veteran with just two years as a strong, consistent starter. Prior to the 2011 season, Lohse owned a 4.79 career ERA, and had bounced between four different teams.
At some point, Lohse turned his career around, and he has greatly rewarded the Brewers for their savvy deal. Lohse has been a huge part of the Brewers success so far in 2014, and shows no signs of diminishing returns. Lohse is also a good defender and owns the same WAR (as a hitter/defender) as Jean Segura.
Lohse is under team control through the 2015 season, and should play out his contract with the Crew, assuming they are not sellers this year or the next.