The move to curtail the September roster call-ups will also hurt
In 2020 the September rosters will only expand to 28 players, rather than the current maximum of 40. Thus the additions of Gonzalez, Cedeno, and Granderson (with Nick Franklin being sent down) would have already maxed out the Brewers’ roster expansion. While 40 was a little ridiculous, cutting down to 28 is too far.
MLB would have missed out on some amazing September (and postseason) performances.
Brandon Woodruff notched 16 strikeouts in 12.1 innings, with a 0.73 ERA in the last month of the regular season. He went on to belt a homer off of Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS and throw 12.1 innings of 2.19 ERA ball in the postseason.
Most importantly though, Corey Knebel had managed to right himself in the minors, and returned to go 2-0 with two saves, six holds, and a pristine 0.00 ERA. He did not give up a single run in 16.1 September innings, notching 33 strikeouts against just three walks.
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Adding Peralta and the other aforementioned fringe pitchers to the mix in September might have ended up being the difference between the Cardinals and the Brewers in the playoffs. Certainly the Crew will be deprived of developmental opportunities for their young talent, and the information base for building a playoff roster will be substantially decreased.
That depth is something Stearns has built in earnest the last few years. The expanded rosters reward clubs for building deep farm systems. This might be something wealthier teams can afford to ignore, but smaller market teams need any advantage they can get.
Lefty specialists will be killed off by the three-batter minimum coming to baseball in 2020.
Pitchers would be required to face at least three-batters or finish the half-inning, whichever happened first. Two-thirds of Cedeno’s appearances as a Brewer saw him face only one or two batters. Dan Jenning’s “start” against Matt Carpenter and the Cardinals also becomes impermissible under this new rule.
We don’t quite know how Counsell plans to use off-season acquisition Alex Claudio. He’s averaged more than an inning per game in his career thus far, but he may end up the only Brewers lefty bullpen option not named Josh Hader. That and the lock-down bullpen of innings 7-9 would make it more likely Claudio performs a similar role to Jennings and Cedeno in 2018. His value when the rule change takes effect in 2020 might fall dramatically as a result, both to the Brewers and teams that might trade for him.
Had the incoming rules been in place in 2018, there likely would have been no division title, and no NLCS appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers. Going forward, they are going to make it a lot harder for the Crew and other small market teams to succeed in a game where small margins mean everything.
The negotiations between the Commissioner’s office and the MLBPA have reached an agreement, which is great for avoiding a future lockout, but it doesn’t look like it’s one that will be beneficial to the Milwaukee Brewers.