Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta rank among the Milwaukee Brewers top prospects. Could both make their Major League debut in 2018? Brewers manager Craig Counsell already weighed in on the topic, and the answer might surprise you.
Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta both broke out in 2017 with excellent seasons. They’ve done so well that Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell thinks they both could spend time on the Major League roster in 2018. Who will arrive first, and what will their roles be?
The case for Corbin Burnes
Burnes has dominated every level that he’s appeared at since his selection in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He flew through Rookie-ball and Low-A in 2016 with a combined 2.02 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. Burnes faced a tougher test in 2017 with stops in High-A and Double-A, but he was even more impressive. He worked 145 2/3 combined innings and posted a 1.67 ERA with 140 strikeouts and only 36 walks.
It’s a miracle that Burnes lasted until the fourth round in 2016. He ticks just about every box that a scout would have for an above average prospect. He’s athletic, highly competitive, and boasts a solid four-pitch mix.
Burnes has got the jetpack strapped to his back for 2018. While he won’t break camp with the Milwaukee Brewers, he could start the year in Triple-A. It remains to be seen how he handles the thin mountain air, but Josh Hader didn’t post great results in Colorado Springs and he made it to the Majors last year.
There’s a very good chance that if/when Burnes arrives in Milwakee, he gets the ‘Hader Treatment’. He’ll start in the Minors, but he makes sense to start in the bullpen for his first taste of Major League action.
Could Peralta arrive as well?
Yes. Even though Peralta is about 15 months younger than Burnes, he could also make his debut for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018.
Peralta also split time between two levels in 2017. He started the year in High-A, and earned a promotion to Double-A. Peralta posted a 2.63 ERA in 120 innings between both levels. He struck out 169 and walked 62.
Peralta doesn’t have the big fastball, but his deceptive delivery and surprising movement are especially tough on right-handers. His change up still needs to develop, and that could cause him to take a little longer to get to the Major League level as a starter.
It’s unclear if he starts in Double-A or heads to Triple-A, but Peralta won’t stay on the farm for the entire year. He’s a solid bet to arrive in Milwaukee by September, if not sooner.
Peralta profiles more like a high leverage reliever in a Major League bullpen than a starting pitcher. He could also start his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in the bullpen. Whether he stays there for 2019 depends on the development of his third pitch.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a pair of impressive young pitchers in Burnes and Peralta. Both could make their Major League debuts this season, and play key roles in the bullpen down the stretch. If the Brewers are serious about aggressively promoting both, that decision may have played a role in the off season. It makes more sense for the Brewers to slow play the relief pitcher market if they knew that a pair of high leverage arms are just about ready to arrive.