There are still plenty of quality arms available in free agency in the starting pitching department and the Brewers might look at these names to bolster the back end of their rotation.
Brewers RHPs Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are arguably one of the best 1-2 duos in baseball right now. An All-Star in 2019 and the pitcher tied for the most starts in the majors last year, Woodruff possesses ace-like stuff and the durability to make it through the season posting Cy Young type numbers.
Burnes, a great compliment to Woody, made the jump in 2020. He finished sixth in Cy Young voting and was a strikeout machine, averaging 13.3 K/9, good enough for third best in baseball. Now how much can we rely on the rest of the Milwaukee starters?
Adrian Houser is the projected third starter for the Crew as of right now. It was a season to forget for one of the trade pieces that came over from Houston in the trade that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros in 2015. If you remember, Josh Hader was also one of the players in that trade that the Brewers acquired, so how has Houser compared to Hader, his teammate of the last five-plus years?
Well, not great. In 2019, Houser posted a respectable 6-7 record with an ERA of 3.72, but last year was a struggle for the second year starter. Houser had the second-highest ERA of Brewers pitchers that took the mound for 15 innings or more (5.30). He also gave up the second-most home runs (8) on the staff behind Brandon Woodruff, who worked about 18 innings more.
There have been glimpses of brilliance for the 27 year old, but the Brewers need him to make those glimpses become more than just that in 2021.
Josh Lindblom is currently projected as the number four starter in Milwaukee for 2021. Lindblom was an interesting story entering last season as he was dominant in the KBO for the good part of five years. Lindblom had a decent 2020 campaign, going 2-4 with a 5.16 ERA and opposing hitters had an average .244 against him.
It’s nothing near the numbers he put up in Korea (40-10 record in his last three years) but he was tied for the third-most starts for the Brewers, proving to be a guy that’s ready every five days.
As of now, Eric Lauer rounds up the back end of the rotation for the Brewers. Lauer came to Milwaukee with Luis Urias from San Diego in the Trent Grisham and Zach Davies trade. He bounced back and forth from the main roster to the Brewers Alternate Training Site, but when he was on the bump for Craig Counsell, he struggled. He started two of the four games he appeared in and had a higher ERA than innings pitched (13.09 ERA in 11.0 IP).
The former first round draft pick had a fairly successful 2019 season, going 8-10 with a 4.45 ERA and 138 strikeouts with the Padres but was unable to get things on track in 2020 with the Crew. It’s hard to say what Lauer’s role will be with the Brewers this year, but the 25 year old lefty will greatly benefit from more reps and work with Milwaukee coaches.
But to make this rotation one of the best in baseball, the Brewers are going to need an outside addition. Who could somewhat realistically come in and take this rotation to the next level? Here are a few options.