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Brewers: Are 2021 Starting Pitcher Stat Projections “Fair” or “Foul?”

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 30: Brandon Woodruff #42 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on August 30, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which was postponed April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 30: Brandon Woodruff #42 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on August 30, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which was postponed April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 30: Brandon Woodruff #42 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on August 30, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which was postponed April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

After being one of the strengths last year, we now take a look at Baseball Reference’s predictions for a position group that really doesn’t have all that much to prove. Contrary to the majority of the hitters from last year, the starters kept the Brewers in a lot of games and gave their hitters plenty of chances to secure a victory.

The five starters that I’ll be looking at are the five guys that started the most games for Craig Counsell last year: Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Brett Anderson, Josh Lindblom and Adrian Houser. While Freddy Peralta has inserted himself into the conversation as a potential starter, Baseball Reference has him only logging 81.0 innings this year so we’ll wait for relief pitcher stat projections to look at his.

This group of starters had a collective ERA of just under 4.00 last season. Can they bring that number, along with others, down even further and cement themselves as one of the best rotations in baseball?

Time to take a look at the stats. Are projections for the Brewers starters “fair” or “foul?”

Brandon Woodruff

Projection: 11-8 / 3.80 ERA / 166.0 IP / 1.169 WHIP / 10.4 K/9

Ruling: Fair

He would be the first back-to-back Brewer Opening Day starter since 2014. His name is Brandon Woodruff. The Brewers workhorse shared the lead for the most MLB games started last year with 13 and he had the lowest ERA of his young career at 3.05.

This is a pretty fair projection across the board. His ERA, innings pitched and WHIP all climb a bit, while his K/9 drops. Woodruff actually was 10th in the MLB last year in K/9 with 11.1 so it makes sense to see that number drop, especially if he pitches almost 100 more innings with a longer season (more plate appearances for a hitter within the division).

I do believe his numbers will be better than this, especially his ERA which I see in the area of 3.45, but it’s not too far off to cause a disagreement. Don’t let his record of 3-5 last year fool you. Along with the top 10’s mentioned above, He was also among the best in WHIP, H/9, IP, K and K/BB ratio.

I could absolutely venture to say he’ll hover around top 10 in these categories again, but these estimates via the “experts” don’t show a bad year by any means. If you asked for my projection I’d say somewhere along a 12-6 record, 181.0 IP, 3.45 ERA, 1.097 WHIP, and 10.8 K/9.

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