Brewers: The Value Of A Homegrown Starting Rotation
By David Gasper
The Milwaukee Brewers have the best starting rotation in baseball. That’s not an opinion, it’s a statistically certified fact, at least through the first 10 games of the 2021 season.
Brewers starting pitchers have a 1.99 ERA over 54.1 IP in the first 10 games of the year, the best mark in baseball by far. The next closest team is the Miami Marlins, with a 2.31 ERA. Milwaukee’s rotation is led by Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, both of whom have had long no-hit bids early on in the season already.
They also have the highest LOB% (Left on base percentage) among big league rotations at 88.9%. The Brewers rotation has the second-lowest H/9 allowed, third-highest strikeout percentage, and the fourth-best xFIP. Simply put, this group has been elite.
What’s even more remarkable about the Brewers rotation’s dominance is how it was built.
The MLB Draft is a vastly overlooked piece of the player acquisition puzzle by fans. It doesn’t get near the attention that the NFL Draft does, since the players are a few years away from contributing at the highest level, but the recent success the Brewers have had on this front is paying big dividends.
Any baseball executive will tell you that the cheapest and best way to get talent in your organization is drafting and developing. Two huge success stories on the Draft front for the Brewers are Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes.
Woodruff was drafted in the 11th round back in 2014 while Burnes was a 4th round pick in 2016. Both have far outperformed their expected draft values and have been better than any of the scouting reports at the time indicated they would be. They had talent, and the Brewers developed them into studs atop the rotation.
Meanwhile, two other young members of the rotation were acquired as prospects and were developed into the starters they are now. Adrian Houser has been with the Brewers since coming over in the Carlos Gomez trade with the Astros in 2015. He was drafted out of high school in the 2nd round in 2011, but the bulk of his development in the rotation has come with the Brewers. Houser feels homegrown even though he was drafted by Houston.
Freddy Peralta was signed by the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent in 2013, and was traded to Milwaukee in 2015 as part of the Adam Lind trade. He was a raw, teenage pitching prospect at the time, and the Brewers developed him into the rotation piece he is now that has allowed just five hits in 13 innings this year.
Brett Anderson is the veteran on the staff, and was signed as a free agent for just $2.5MM this season.