Sep 2, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcherTyler Thornburg
pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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 sixth spot for the 2014 Brewer starting rotation.
Being named the sixth starter isn’t even a guarantee you will pitch. Many teams will go with five for most of the season, only relying on their sixth man during long stretches. Of course, if injury strikes one of the first five, they are also expected to step up. It’s a great place for a young pitcher to gain experience with meaningful starts without burning out through the long season.
Leading Candidate: Tyler Thornburg
In December, Ron Roenicke actually said Thornburg would be his number five guy. Now that Garza has is on board, does that just push Tyler down a notch? Thornburg closed out 2013 with an impressive ERA of 2.03 (66.2 innings). Will Tyler be a stud pitcher in the top half of a rotation? 2014 should answer the question of Thornburg’s long-term role; however, barring a spring training meltdown he has earned a starting rotation spot to begin 2014.
Long Shot Candidate: Jimmy Nelson
Baseball America’s number one Brewer prospect, Jimmy Nelson, is a promising pitcher that many are excited to see. Given some of the other flameouts from prospects, the Brewers may want to hold Nelson back another year, but if he has a good showing this spring there will be pressure, especially if an injury occurs.
What do you think; will it be Thornburg or Nelson in the six spot? Who do you have as the sixth starter?