Brewers: Constructing the Perfect Starting Rotation for 2021

Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

SP5: RHP Freddy Peralta

This may not be the name you expected to see in the fifth starter spot. And in fact, it may not be the pitcher most likely to be chosen by Brewers manager Craig Counsell. But we’re talking perfect world here, and if that’s the case, Freddy Peralta wins out for the final rotation spot.

Peralta was first given the chance to be a full-time starter back in 2019 to start the season and the results weren’t pretty. He put together an 8.31 ERA over five starts to begin that season, only lasting past four innings in one of those starts. He would be moved primarily to the bullpen after that, putting up a 4.26 ERA the rest of the way.

Later, just before the 2020 season, the Brewers would end up signing Peralta to a 5-year contract extension with the long-term vision of eventually making him a full-time starter.

Though he did get one start to begin his 2020 season, where he gave up four runs over three innings, it was bullpen the rest of the way for Peralta. That suited him well as he had a 3.08 ERA as a reliever, holding batters to a .198 average with a ratio of 44 strikeouts to just 10 walks over 26 1/3 innings.

Peralta’s main competition for the final rotation spot would likely be Adrian Houser. The fellow right-hander had a rough 2020 in the Brewers rotation after an encouraging start, finishing the season with a 5.40 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 1.31 home runs per nine that were all worst among regular Milwaukee starters.

Counsell was pretty set on using Houser as a starter even going into the 2020 season, which could make Freddy’s work cut out for him, but wants to eventually see Peralta as a starter as well. Both have shown an affinity for pitching out of the bullpen (Houser had a 1.47 ERA in 30 2/3 innings as a reliever in 2019).

Peralta could help his case by continuing to add to his pitch repertoire. Primarily using just a fastball and curve to start made many think he profiled best as a reliever, but eyebrows were raised by rumors that he was working on a slider last offseason. However, he only ended up throwing it 4.8% of the time in 2020.

Getting more comfortable with that pitch would give him a much better chance to grab a spot in the rotation. In a perfect world, that is exactly what happens and “Fastball Freddy” goes back to mowing down opposing batters as the team’s fifth starter.

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Plenty of offseason remains for the Brewers to round out their starting rotation. We’ll see if it ends up looking like the perfect rotation seen here.