Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Lohse is, without a question, the ace of the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff. He rapidly acquired this title from incumbent starter Yovani Gallardo, who has seen his once promising career take a hit these last few seasons.
Lohse, 35, signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the Brewers just as spring training was ending in 2013. Because Lohse refused a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals, signing him cost the Brewers more than just money as they were forced to give up their first round pick in the 2014 draft. And despite Lohse’s strong season, it is still debated whether acquiring the right-hander was worth the forfeiture of a draft pick. Most Brewers fans lean in the direction of not worth it.
But that is beside the point. Whether or not it was a good move by the Brewers, Lohse still put together a praise-worthy season. In 32 starts, he went 11-10 with a 3.35 ERA (lowest among Brewers regular starters). But for a team who ranked in the bottom ten for ERA among starters, that’s not all that impressive.
So let’s compare his statistics to the league average among NL starting pitchers.
As the table shows, Lohse was a little above average as a starting pitcher last season. While his ERA was miles ahead of the league average, his FIP fell below the average line. And even though his strikeout percentage isn’t grand, his career K% sits at 14.6%. Besides, Lohse isn’t a strikeout pitcher. He welcomes contact, which is why his HR/FB ratio was his highest since 2009. No doubt Miller Park had something to do with that.
Kyle Lohse is no ace. But when you look at the Brewers rotation, there’s no way you can claim he’s anything but. If he’s able to put up similar numbers to 2013, along with improvements from Wily Peralta, Marco Estrada, and Gallardo, the starting rotation should witness more success.
But until then, let’s continue arguing if he was worth a first round pick because there’s nothing better than arguing over things that can’t be changed.