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In spite of a catastrophic season in Triple-A, Thornburg showed his worth when he was promoted to the big league team in 2013. He appeared in 18 games (seven starts) and went 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA.
Hellweg and Burgos (who is having quite an offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League) struggled during their time in Milwaukee last season, posting ERA’s of 6.45 and 6.44, respectively. Nelson made only four appearances (one start) with the Brewers after churning out a wonderful season in the minors, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A. In ten innings of work, Nelson gave up one earned run, two hits, and struck out eight.
Smith, whom the Brewers received from the Kansas City Royals for Norichika Aoki, would be my choice for the fifth spot in the rotation. I say this mainly because he’s a left-handed pitcher which is a component missing from the rotation. I believe every staff needs at least one southpaw.