Eric Lauer may be an unsung hero of the rotation. After a rough first month and a half, punctuated by a brutal tweet from Ken Rosenthal, Lauer has been able to turn it around since becoming a member of the Brewers rotation on June 27th.
In that time, Eric Lauer has been on a tear. The southpaw has made 10 starts, 11 total appearances and has recorded a 1.85 ERA, 7.71 K/9, and 2.93 BB/9 over 58.1 total innings. Over the season, Lauer has thrown 96.1 Innings, with a 3.18 ERA, 8.50 K/9, and 3.08 BB/9. And that emergence has been helped along by a change in pitch selection.
After a rough 2020 season, Eric Lauer has found his rhythm and is helping the Brewers on their quest for a World Series title.
Lauer’s surge has come with a change in his pitch selection. According to Baseball Savant, Lauer has been incorporating more sliders into his repertoire. Up until June 27th, Lauer threw his slider only 13 times, accounting for just under 2 percent of all pitches he threw.
Since June 27th, Lauer has thrown his slider 17% of the time. His slider has the 2nd highest Whiff% of his repertoire of 24.7%, second only to his four-seam fastball (26.1%). Despite not throwing his slider until June, Lauer’s slider has been his best when looking at Run Value, recording a -4.
Opponents are hitting .140 against the slider with a .220 SLG, and a K% of 28.1%, and a measly wOBA of .222.
To incorporate the slider, Lauer has relied less on his cutter, with usage falling from 29.3% pre-June 27th down to 13.5%. That decision to rely less on the cutter may have come from the .494 opponent slugging percentage and only a 11% K% against the cutter.
Lauer also has relied less on his changeup since June 27th, throwing it 13.8% before, and just under 11% since. Opponents are only hitting .222 with a .306 slugging percentage against it, but have much higher xBA and xSLG (.316 and .524 respectively), and a 52.9% hard hit%. While the results were not as bad as they could have been, the hard hit% and expected stats indicate Lauer could have benefited from the strong defense behind him.
Eric Lauer has inserted himself into the discussion of starters not only for next season, but also into the October rotation. Behind the Brewers “Big 3” of Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta, Eric Lauer appears primed to step up and add a lefty arm into that postseason rotation.
Armed with his new arsenal, Lauer has seen much better results, and the man behind the results appear ready to be a key contributor well into October.