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Milwaukee Brewers: Internal starting pitching options

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ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 1: Aaron Wilkerson
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 1: Aaron Wilkerson /
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It is not even the official offseason yet and I have thrown the phrase “the Milwaukee Brewers are going to need pitching help” around quite a bit.

The truth is, the Milwaukee Brewers are going to need starting pitching helps this year. Chase Anderson signed an extension, which is a great step. But then who? Jimmy Nelson is out for a chunk of the 2018 season. That leaves Zack Davies, Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter as the guys with substantial starting experience.

And no, I did not forget about Junior Guerra. Personally, I just do not want to go down that road again. Take a look at his numbers, he proved to be a much more serviceable reliever and should stay as such.

It is easy and fun to look externally to find the right fit, and to dream about the aces. Well, bad news, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale will not be reporting to Spring Training for the Crew. While I am guilty of wild rumors (see Giancarlo Stanton), the answer a lot of times is a much more practical internal move.

But who?

Josh Hader

This is the obvious answer. If a genie granted me three wishes, seeing Hader start for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 could very well be one of them. He showed a ton of potential out of the bullpen, he deserves a shot at least.

Granted, he is still walking too many batters to be a starter. However, that could settle down with starts. Hader will grow into an ace, he even has the hair for it.

In all reality, look at what Milwaukee Brewers coach Derick Johnson did with Anderson. The two began working together in 2016. The righty ended that season very strong. And then 2017 happened. Now imagine that kind of teachings to a guy that undoubtedly has more potential. Give Hader a chance to start.

Aaron Wilkerson

Now, Wilkerson spent most of 2017 in the minors. However, in 10 innings over three appearances he looked pretty good. He pitched very well against the Cardinals in game 162 let season. That game was a no hit bid until the late innings.

His start prior to that against the Pirates was not as good. Wilkerson made it through only 2.1 innings and gave up three runs. He has shown both sides of a starter. The question is which will show up more?

It would make sense for Wilkerson to be considered heavily for a rotation spot. A lot may depend on what happens in Spring Training. But a lot can happen externally before then too.

Taylor Williams

This will be fairly brief. There will certainly be eyes on Williams this Spring to see how he does. But, in the minors he was a part time starter. As a September call up from Biloxi he pitched very well. That being said, it does not seem likely that he will be used for anything other than a spot start. Odd are he will find himself in Triple A to start the year, as well.

Bubba Derby

Derby’s name recently came up during the awful tragedy in Las Vegas. However, he should be coming up to the Milwaukee Brewers very soon. He looked good splitting his time between Double and Triple A ball.

In Biloxi he started two of the 18 games he appeared in, posting a 2.88 ERA in the process. Then, after a call up to Colorado. he became a full time starter. He started all 12 games he appeared in, with an ERA of 3.88.

At only 23 years old, Derby is showing the ability to compete at high levels. It would not be surprising to see him debut in Milwaukee in 2018.

Cody Ponce

Another 23 year old could be making his debut next season as well. While it is a long shot that either Derby or Ponce will be a rotational mainstay next season, crazier things have happened. Ponce only threw three games in Biloxi and dominated.

But, that is the highest level Ponce has seen. The reason he is involved is because as the number 21 prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, MLB Pipeline gives us an ETA. Despite his level, Ponce is slated to debut in 2018.

Next: Could Anthony Swarzak sign soon?

There are plenty of in house options. It is just that the external choices may be more reliable. But, the simple truth is that there will be five starters come Opening Day 2018. And as the offseason starts, progresses and ends, tat picture will become more clear.

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