The Milwaukee Brewers need to add a starting pitcher at the Trade Deadline if they’re going to succeed going forward. Who should be their top target?
If the Milwaukee Brewers are going to add a starting pitcher, they should get Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman.
Given the current state of the trade market, Stroman’s dominance, and the Brewers need for a frontline starting pitcher with Brandon Woodruff‘s injury, Stroman would be the perfect addition to this Brewers club.
Why Marcus Stroman?
Stroman, 28, has remained healthy in 2019, and he’s returned to ace status because of it. His numbers dipped in 2018 to a 5.54 ERA as he battled through injuries, looking nothing like the 2017 version of Stroman that finished with a 3.09 ERA and looked to be the next big time ace in baseball.
This year, Stroman has a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts covering 124.2 innings. This would immediately place him as the best starter in the Brewers rotation.
He also has a career groundball rate of nearly 60% and has gotten 62% of balls in play against him on the ground each of the past two years. This year, that has dropped to 56.3%, but we’re seeing drops like this across MLB with the theory of a new, “juiced baseball” in 2019.
In Miller Park, keeping the ball on the ground is key to success for pitchers, as fly balls carry pretty well. Even though the fly ball rate against Stroman has increased, his HR/FB rate has dropped to 10% this year, his lowest since his rookie year in 2014.
Also, unlike anyone else currently in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation, Marcus Stroman has the stuff to be an ace and has proven himself to be an ace. Brandon Woodruff was on his way, but is on the shelf and won’t be back for at least six weeks. In the meantime, the Brewers need a replacement ace and they don’t have one ready in their organization.
When Woodruff returns, him and Stroman could be the co-aces that lead this team into a deep October run.
Attitude and Experience
Despite his lack of ideal size at 5’8″ and 180 pounds, that hasn’t stopped Stroman from becoming one of the best young pitchers in baseball and all the doubt that’s been placed on him for his size has put a chip on his shoulder and motivated him even more. He’s got the attitude that Brewers fans should want to see on their team.
Stroman also has experience in the postseason, totaling 30.2 innings, all coming in 2015 and 2016. He started the 2016 Wild Card game for Toronto and went six innings, allowing just two runs and getting the all important win and advancement to the LDS.
I think, given his experience, his youth, and his attitude, he’d be a perfect fit into the Brewers clubhouse. He keeps it loose and likes to have fun out there on the field. He’d be an instant clubhouse favorite and fan favorite as well.
What Could Stroman Cost?
Stroman is under contractual control through the 2020 season, so the Brewers would be getting a year and a half of him. That will increase the Brewers interest in him but also increase the price tag on him.
Also a pitching prospect will have to be included. Two that make the most sense are Zack Brown and Trey Supak. Brown has a high ceiling but has struggled against Triple-A hitting this year in 18 starts. Supak has dominated for the past few years and is a rising prospect.
It could be a steep price, but there are a lot of teams searching for starting pitching, especially ace-level starters, and make no mistake, Stroman is at that level. There also aren’t many of those kinds of starters available at the deadline this year, so it’ll cost a lot to get him.
But if the Milwaukee Brewers are to acquire a frontline starting pitcher in the next few days, it should be Marcus Stroman atop their wish list. He’s a perfect fit for Milwaukee.
Whether the Brewers go all in at the deadline or stand pat likely will depend on how their upcoming series against the Cubs goes. If it goes well, the chips should be all in for Stroman.