Opening day is nothing new for Kyle Lohse. Already starting on that day twice as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Lohse was named the Milwaukee Brewers’ opening day starter in early March. Much of the past two years he has been the leader of the Brewers’ pitching staff and this season he will prove that he is more than ready to step in as the team’s ace.
Although he doesn’t have the overpowering stuff that other pitchers around baseball like Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner have, Lohse has been one of the National League’s best since 2011. In his two seasons in Milwaukee, he has been the most consistent and arguably the best starter in the rotation. Through 63 starts as a Brewer he is 24-19 with a 3.45 ERA. Though he is not known as a strikeout pitcher, he has put together the best strikeout to walk ratio of his career in these seasons averaging over three strikeouts for each walk allowed.
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Many were upset when the Brewers forfeit a draft pick to sign Lohse late in 2013, but he has more than lived up to expectations. Not only has he been the best pitcher on the roster, but he has had a big influence on the young pitchers on the roster. It seems that almost every pitcher who earns a call-up discusses Lohse’s impact on their development. With 14-years of experience, he has plenty of offer to any pitcher who is ready to listen. Recently, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reported how Jimmy Nelson points to Lohse as a leader who has helped him mature as a major leaguer.
Though he will be counted on this spring in a new role with the departure of Yovani Gallardo, I fully expect Lohse to thrive. This spring Lohse has fully lived up to his new role as ace so far. Through 15 innings of work, he has 15 strikeouts, a WHIP of 0.67 and and ERA of 1.80. Even with spring numbers being meaningless, he has showed poise by dominating with each outing. With season just around the corner, there is not a pitcher the team can be more confident in taking the hill each time out than Lohse, the true leader of the staff.