Brewers: 3 Things To Watch As Spring Training Gets Underway
By David Gasper
2. How Will Corbin Burnes And Freddy Peralta Bounce Back?
Two of the most exciting pitching prospects to come through the Brewers farm system in the past decade are Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. After great performances in 2018 as very young pitchers, the sophomore slump hit them both hard in 2019, especially Burnes.
Both were expected to take a big leap forward in 2019, earning spots in the initial starting rotation as the Brewers bet their season on their young starting pitchers thriving with regular opportunities in the rotation. Only Brandon Woodruff thrived last year. Burnes couldn’t stop giving up home runs and Peralta had trouble with control, with both getting demoted back to Triple-A a couple times last season.
Pitching development isn’t always a linear progression, so some troubles were to be expected at some point, but what’s really important is how they bounce back. Both had sustained success throughout the minor leagues and their stuff is legit. Both have big league fastballs, while Burnes rounds out his arsenal with a 4-5 pitch mix, and Peralta has different variations of his fastball.
In winter ball, Peralta lit up the Dominican Winter League. In five starts, Peralta went 20 innings, giving up just three walks, had 34 strikeouts, and a 1.35 ERA. Reports had him adding a slider and a changeup this winter, which are two pitches he didn’t throw that often the past two seasons. With his velocity getting near 100 MPH at times now, if he can add those pitches to his arsenal, Peralta could reach his ace-level potential. If Peralta finds consistency between starts, the rest of the league better watch out.
Burnes has ace-level potential as well, with some of the best pure stuff the Brewers have ever had in a homegrown starter. For a variety of reasons, things went haywire for Burnes last season who struggled, despite his stuff remaining largely the same. It was puzzling for both Burnes and the Brewers last year. With a full offseason and work in the Brewers pitching lab under his belt, hopefully they’ve figured out what went wrong.
The future of the Crew’s pitching staff depends on these two pitchers reaching their potential. These two along with Brandon Woodruff make for an excellent young rotation core that could make the Brewers a perennial World Series team. They need these two to work out.