Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff recalled to the bullpen?

Matthew Dewoskin
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 06: Brandon Woodruff
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 06: Brandon Woodruff /
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Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff is back on the Major League roster after a few starts in Triple-A. However, he’s going to work out of the bullpen? Huh?

Brandon Wooruff was expected to play a key role in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation in 2018. That hasn’t happened. Woodruff has exactly one start and two relief appearances at the Major League level this year. He’s spent more time in Triple-A than he has with the Brewers.

He’s back on the 25-man roster, but he’s slated to work in relief. What’s going on here?

How did Woodruff do in Colorado Springs?

Woodruff was fine. He made three starts for the Sky Sox, and notched a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 14, walked seven, and earned two wins. Woodruff was solid for the Sky Sox.

So, why is he working out of the bullpen?

Well, Woodruff is scheduled to work in long relief, so there’s at least a path to a starting job. When he comes in, he’s likely to work multiple innings to maintain his endurance. That’s something, right?

Woodruff has to show that he’s a better option than Brent Suter before he goes back to the starting rotation. Suter will get at least one more start to prove himself, but he’s running out of time. He’s made five starts, worked 25 2/3 innings, and owns a 5.68 ERA. His strand rate is currently at 62.1%. That’s over 13-percent lower than his career average, and a large part of his struggles. For every 10 batters who reach base against him, four reach home plate.

When will Woodruff start again?

For the Milwaukee Brewers? Probably not until May at the earliest. Suter is slated to pitch against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. If he doesn’t notch a quality start, it could end up as his last for a while. If he makes it through Friday’s start, he’ll get the Cincinnati Reds in the Great American Ballpark next week. Woodruff may not spend a lot of time in the Brewers bullpen.

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Woodruff clearly still figures in the Milwaukee Brewers long term plans, but he needs to show a lot more than he did in his first few outings. He’ll get a much longer look this time, but he needs to succeed if he wants to stay in the rotation.

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