The Starters: C-
The Brewers took a gamble this year when it came to the rotation. After a year where four of the five players who had the most starts were over the age of 30, the team decided to begin this year with a much younger stable of starters. That plan mostly backfired.
There have been bright spots. Zach Davies, finally injury-free, emerged as the team’s surprise staff ace for a large portion of the year and was in the running for an All-Star bid before a rough stretch that derailed his campaign. At that point, Brandon Woodruff took the title and ran with it, recovering from a poor start to the year and parlaying his season-long improvement into his first career All-Star selection.
Chase Anderson, who started the year in the bullpen, was thrust into the rotation early to add some stability and has mostly met expectations. And in April, the team brought back Gio Gonzalez after he was released by the Yankees. He looked strong before left arm fatigue placed him on the Injured List in May, where he currently remains.
Outside of that, there has pretty much just been disappointment. Corbin Burnes, who had never started a major league game before this year, was removed from the rotation after just four starts and has bounced between the bullpen and Triple-A since. Freddy Peralta also made it four starts before an IL stint of his own, though he largely struggled as well. He has had spot starts since then but has mostly pitched out of the bullpen where he has actually been impressive.
The one starter who should have been carrying the rotation, Jhoulys Chacin, is having one of the worst seasons of his career. His 5.40 ERA would tie his career high, even having looked better in recent starts. Jimmy Nelson and Adrian Houser have also made a string of starts, but Nelson has been moved to the bullpen and though Houser remains in the rotation for now, his results have been uninspiring.
Because of all that turnover, the statistics don’t look great. Brewer starters have a 4.82 ERA so far in 2019, 12th in the NL. The .339 OBP, .274 batting average, and 1.43 WHIP given up is second-to-last in the league. To put it mildly, they’re letting a lot of runners on base.
Things may be looking up. Gonzalez just completed his first rehab start and will hopefully return to the rotation soon after the break. And with most of the poor performers out of the rotation, Milwaukee starters had a 3.60 ERA in the two weeks leading into the All-Star break, good for fifth best in the NL.
But the numbers don’t lie. Whether there is hope moving forward or not, if you look at the full span of games played so far in 2019, the rotation has mostly been disappointing.