Brewers News

Milwaukee Brewers: Burnes vs. Hader, who starts first?

Matthew Dewoskin
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 05: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on August 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 05: Josh Hader #71 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on August 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have a pair of fantastic young pitchers in their bullpen. Which one of them will make the move into the starting rotation first?

Josh Hader is already an All-Star reliever. Corbin Burnes worked six straight scoreless appearances. Both have been starters for the majority of their Minor League careers. Who should get the first crack at starting for the Milwaukee Brewers?

When will Hader get to start?

The plan in the winter was for Hader to start the year in the bullpen, and transition into a starting role towards the end of the season. It’s pretty clear that he’s staying in the bullpen for the remainder of the season. He’s become the bridge to closer Corey Knebel, and proven capable in the ninth inning. His success in relief has cost him a chance to start this year.

However, the Milwaukee Brewers desperately need a left-handed starter. Brent Suter is out for the rest of this year, and most of next year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was also a capable swing man, but not a reliable option for the starting rotation. Unless the Brewers discover a power lefty in a trade or through free agency, Hader needs to move into the rotation next year.

Could Burnes start this year?

Nope. Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell squashed any hopes of Burnes transitioning into the starting rotation. He’s survived several rounds of ‘roster roulette’, and looks like he’s in the Major League bullpen for the remainder of this season as well.

Burnes could also follow the ‘Hader Formula’, and spend all of next year in the bullpen before transitioning into a starting role in 2020.

So, who starts first?

It has to be Hader, right? He’s been in line longer and the Milwaukee Brewers still see him as a starter long term, don’t they? The odds are that Hader gets the first chance to start, but the Brewers could also keep Hader in the set up role, and give Burnes a shot at starting.

How many rotation spots will the Brewers have available?

Jimmy Nelson and Zach Davies should both have starting roles next year. Jhoulys Chacin is still under contract, and Chase Anderson will start. That’s four rotation spots. Leaving one spot for Burnes, Hader, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta to compete for. Unless a deal is made next year, the Milwaukee Brewers could end up with both Hader and Burnes in the bullpen, and Peralta in the rotation.

Next. Why did the Brewers claim Jordan Lyles?. dark

Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns could also flip Anderson and Davies for bats and possibly DFA Nelson, but that would never happen. The path to a starting job may looked blocked right now, but a lot is going to change between now and April in 2019. The Brewers could very well start the year with Burnes, Peralta and Hader in the Opening Series next year.

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