3. The Development Of The Brewers Pitching Staff
For years, the strength of the Brewers was in their offense. In 2020, the pitching staff took over as the driving force of the team, led by huge advancement and development from some key young players.
First off, the Brewers added to the trophy case with Devin Williams winning the Crew’s third straight NL Reliever of the Year award and then topping it off with his own NL Rookie of the Year award.
Williams went from a second round pick struggling to get out of Double-A and dealing with injuries to a fringe bullpen option to the most dominant reliever in baseball all in about a year’s time. His “Airbender” changeup boggled minds of fans and hitters alike. He also has a fastball that comes in at a cool 98 MPH that he pairs it with, and according to Garrett Greene of the Biloxi Shuckers, he has a nasty slider too that he hasn’t used yet.
Speaking of bullpen arms that came out of nowhere to dominate, Eric Yardley had a great season after being claimed on waivers last winter, and Justin Topa was a late add to the Alternate Training Site and then came up for his big league debut and showed some nasty stuff. Topa is in line to be a key piece of the bullpen in 2021.
In the rotation, Corbin Burnes bounced back after the season from hell in 2019 to finish 6th in NL Cy Young voting in 2020. He re-worked his mind and his pitch arsenal and turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the National League. He had an opportunity to win the ERA title this year, which would’ve been the first time in franchise history that happened, but fell short of innings in his final start as he left with an injury.
The development of Burnes into the pitcher the Brewers always knew he could become is one of the great things that came out of this 2020 Brewers season. He’s now a co-ace with Brandon Woodruff atop this rotation and he’s only going to get better moving forward.
The Brewers have struggled to develop a homegrown ace for years, and now they have two at the same time in Woodruff and Burnes.
The development of this pitching staff is a great thing for the Brewers and their chances of winning a World Series in the near future. In the past, the Brewers have always been undone in the postseason by their pitching staff lacking dominant arms. Now they have them.
All they need are the bats, and finding good bats is easier than finding good arms.
There were a lot of great things that happened for the Brewers this year. Hopefully there will be more great things and less bad things in 2021 as the year 2020 finally comes to an end. Happy New Year.