Milwaukee Brewers prospect Brandon Woodruff made his Major League debut on August 4th. He tossed 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball and only allowed seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Starter Chase Anderson is due back in the rotation soon. Should Woodruff stay? If so, who moves into to the bullpen?
Brandon Woodruff‘s debut went about as well as it could have. His fastball and change-up were both effective and he didn’t allow more than a single. He showed poise in the running game by working quickly enough to give Manny Pina a chance against baserunners. He even managed to by by pick off Mallex Smith.
Should Woodruff Stay?
Yes? The Tampa Bay Rays don’t have the most potent offense in the league, but they have a solid track record against right-handed starters. Their lefty-heavy lineup can inflict damage when they get the chance. Woodruff did well to keep the Rays off-balance and off the scoreboard. If his Major League debut is any indication, he deserves to stay in the Brewers rotation until he proves that he really can’t handle it.
Who Should Go?
Milwaukee Brewers starter Chase Anderson is expected to return at some point in August. That means someone will have to either slide into the bullpen, or head back to Colorado Springs for a few weeks.
The obvious choice is lefty Brent Suter. He’s done well since joining the rotation in early July. In six starts, he’s only given up more than two runs once and worked into the sixth inning in all but one start.
Matt Garza is another option to slide into the bullpen, but it’s unlikely that he would either want or succeed in a bullpen role.
Zach Davies would have been in this discussion a month ago, but he has a quality start in four of his last five outings. He’s even managed to work deeper into games, throwing at least seven innings in each of his last three starts. The organization has shown a lot of faith in Davies, and there’s no chance he’ll move out of the rotation, especially when he’s producing.
If Woodruff stays on the Major League roster, he needs to prove that he’s better than Suter. Matt Garza would either have to hit the DL again or turn in a string of truly awful results to get bounced out of the rotation.
With any luck, a little competition for slots in the starting rotation will become a positive for the Milwaukee Brewers. Having each pitcher attempt to out-do the previous starter could take stress off the bullpen, and keep runs off the scoreboard.