The Milwaukee Brewers have great depth in the starting rotation and could look to utilize all seven options in that capacity in the early going.
Few teams in baseball are willing to get as creative with their pitching staff than the Brewers. Craig Counsell mixes and matches his pitchers with great success, and when he has an expanded group of them, he’s even better.
To start the 2020 regular season, the Brewers will be able to carry 30 players on their roster, with 16-17 pitchers in that group, per Craig Counsell.
In such a short amount of time to prepare for the season, it’s expected that, across the league, starting pitchers will have shorter starts in the early going. The Brewers have traditionally been slower to ramp up their pitchers in spring training, and in an abbreviated camp, they might only be willing to go four or five innings at most to start.
An easy way to remedy the issue is tandem starts, such as what happens down in the minor leagues on occasion. If you have one starter cover four innings, and then a second one come in to cover four innings, all of a sudden there’s only one inning left for the bullpen to cover.
Tandem Start Duos
Counsell and the Brewers have not said specifically that they would use tandem starts in the early going of the season, but with abbreviated starts to prevent injury and a good number of available starting pitchers to use, it makes sense as a viable option.
Should the Brewers opt to go that route, there are some interesting combinations they could use.
A Brett Anderson–Freddy Peralta combination would be quite strong. Anderson is a lefty that sits in the low-90s and has a fastball-slider-cutter-changeup repertoire while Peralta is a righty that’s in the mid-upper 90s at times with a fastball-curveball heavy mix. By having two pitchers that are basically opposites tandem with each other, it makes it difficult for opponents to plan their lineup.
Imagine the change of pace with a Brandon Woodruff–Brent Suter tandem early in the season. Woodruff, the hard throwing righty with power stuff for a few innings followed by Suter, the quirky soft-tossing left-hander with a quick pace. That kind of change would be dizzying for opposing hitters.
Then there’s a possible Eric Lauer–Corbin Burnes tandem. Lauer is a lefty that generally sits in the low-90s with his fastball and in the low-80s with his slider. Meanwhile, Burnes is a power righty sitting in the mid-uppers 90s on his fastball and he pairs it with a power slider in the high-80s or low-90s.
Each of these tandems bring different strengths to the mound and by pairing them together, they can make things extremely difficult on opposing batters.
Should the Brewers decide to go this route with their pitching, tandems like this could be what we end up seeing.