Milwaukee Brewers: Players to watch at the World Baseball Classic

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Feb 26, 2016; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez (28) poses for photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez (28) poses for photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have nine representatives in the World Baseball Classic, two of them have a lot to prove.

The World Baseball Classic rosters are out and the Milwaukee Brewers have nine representatives. Adam McCalvy has the full list here. Of the Brewers selected, the most interesting story lines revolve around Wily Peralta and Jorge Lopez. Both players are coming off of forgettable seasons, and have had some positive developments. Lopez at double A and winter ball, Peralta at the tail end of the 2016 Major League season.

Wily Peralta

2016 was not kind to Wily Peralta, but his last month gave some reason for hope. Peralta showed an increase in velocity and pitched better in September. 31.2 innings pitched is a small sample, but Peralta did keep his walks under control, walking only 1.7 per 9 innings during this span. It is still unclear how Peralta will be used in the WBC, but we may get a preview of how he could function as a bullpen arm. Something I have suggested in the past.

There is a limit to what you can take away from international tournaments like this. He may get shelled, he may pitch great, he may not be used at all, but at least it gives Brewer fans something to look forward to. I will take any good performance as a positive at this stage with Wily Peralta.

Jorge Lopez

Lopez has a similar narrative to Peralta, be it at the minor league level. He struggled mightily at Triple A, and was sent back to Double A. Lopez pitched better in Biloxi and continued his positive play in Puerto Rican winter league. Again, it is unclear how Lopez will be used, but I think the WBC could be a confidence builder for the young right-hander.

Like Peralta, it is probable he will work out of the pen in the WBC. This again will be interesting, and while I do not want to give up on Lopez as starter. It may be preferable to put him in the bullpen at some point this year as opposed to high altitude Colorado Springs. The St Louis Cardinals are notorious for pitching their young prospects out of the pen before moving them to the rotation. I am not saying this will happen, but this may be an option given his struggles in AAA.

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