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Brewers: 5 Reasons to be Optimistic Going into 2021

jwaldoch
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 04: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on during Summer Workouts at Miller Park on July 04, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 04: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on during Summer Workouts at Miller Park on July 04, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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2020 sucked. But luckily, it came to an end this week, and we get to start anew in 2021. 2020 was also a rough season for the Brewers, however there are reasons to believe 2021 will be better in Milwaukee.

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the 2021 Brewers season.

1. Dual Aces

The Brewers have struggled to have a bona fide ace since Yovani Gallardo was traded. Even before then, Gallardo battled injuries. It may not be since Zack Greinke wore the Brewer blue that the Crew had a true ace. Luckily going into 2021, they have two: Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes.

Burnes finished in 6th in the Cy Young voting in 2020, despite falling ⅓ of an inning short of qualifying for the season. His resurgence in 2020 was one of the best stories in baseball this past season.

He shifted from heavily relying on his four-seam fastball, to relying predominantly on his sinker and cutter. And the results speak for themselves. Burnes was able to translate his already high spin rates into success on the mound, having one of the highest K% in the league (13.12 K/9), and a low 2.11 ERA, and an even lower 2.05 FIP.

Woodruff can blow you away with a fastball, or tie you up with a curveball, all while avoiding barrels. After becoming a rotation mainstay in 2019, Woodruff followed up his breakout with a spectacular 2020 season.

Woodruff was nearly similar in his stats to 2019, striking out nearly the same K/9 (10.58 vs 11.12), walking at a nearly identical rate as before (2.22 vs 2.20), but he did keep the ball on the ground more, seeing an increase from 44.6% to 49.4%. For Woodruff, he lowered his ERA to 3.05, and was worth more fWAR per inning than in the 2019 season (.027 vs .029).

In the past, the Brewers have struggled to develop quality starting pitching, however with Burnes and Woodruff they have the top 1-2 punch in the division. Both are young, home-grown, under club control for several years, and have elite stuff that will keep the Brewers in games when they are on the mound.

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