While the Brewers offense got a plenty big enough makeover this offseason, the pitching staff saw its share of turnover as well. Which new pitchers are we excited to see for the first time?
The Brewers made so many acquisitions over the offseason that it’s hard to review all of them in just one article. So last week, we just took a look at a few newly acquired hitters who we can’t wait to see wearing a Milwaukee uniform for their first regular season game.
This time, we move to the pitching staff. General Manager David Stearns brought in several new pitchers via trade and free agency who currently sit on the 40-man roster, both potential starters as well as probable relievers.
Not all of those hurlers are guaranteed to make their Brewers debut in 2020. But here are three pitchers who are likely to pitch this season whose debuts we’re looking forward to seeing.
RHP Josh Lindblom
Lindblom follows in the footsteps of former Brewers Eric Thames and Jay Jackson as players who were signed after reinventing themselves after some time overseas. And like Thames and Jackson, Lindblom certainly found his success during his brief exit from the major leagues.
The righty transitioned from reliever to starter and steadily improved in each of his five years in the Korean Baseball Organization, culminated by his outstanding 2019 season. Last year saw him go 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.997 WHIP, and 189 strikeouts to just 29 walks, a performance that earned him the KBO MVP award.
Last year’s rotation experiment didn’t work for the Brewers, which led them to go in a different direction in 2020. It’s always hard to tell how players who shine in other professional leagues will do in the MLB. But Milwaukee has done well at judging who can make the leap the last few seasons, so it will be interesting to see if Lindblom can hold his own as well.
LHP Brett Anderson
Anderson is another starting pitcher looking to bounce back from previous struggles. However, in his case, he isn’t looking as much to show that he was able to reinvent himself so much as he wants to prove that he is able to stay healthy.
Anderson’s knock has always been that he was injury-prone, yet in 2019 with the A’s, he started at least 30 games for the first time since 2015 with the Dodgers. He also had his best ERA (3.89) since that year as well as his second-best WHIP (1.307) since 2012.
He doesn’t come without other questions. His FIP (4.57) and hits per nine (9.3) last year are slightly concerning, though his walks per nine (2.5) would’ve been third best among qualifying Brewer pitchers in 2019. Anderson is on just a one-year deal, so fans will look to see if he can show that last year was no fluke and whether he can earn a second contract with the Crew.
LHP Eric Lauer
Lauer was the second piece acquired by the Brewers in the trade that also netted them Luis Urias. He may not have nearly as much MLB experience to his name as Lindblom and Anderson, but there’s reason for optimism this season.
The left-hander was thrust into the Padres rotation as a 23-year-old in 2018 and his stats as a major leaguer reflect as much. In two seasons, he has gone a relatively average 14-17 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.460 WHIP.
That said, he did some work on his changeup in Milwaukee’s pitching lab this offseason and was showing signs of living up to the big potential that the Brewers saw in him with an impressive Spring Training performance (3 G, 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) that got shut down early due to injury. Will he grab the team’s fifth starter spot, or be used in more of a long relief role?
Hitters or pitchers, newly acquired or previously rostered, Brewer fans will surely look forward to watching any player on the field for the first time this year. In just a few weeks, those wishes will hopefully come true.