How A Shortened Spring Training Negatively Impacts The Brewers

MARYVALE, - MARCH 12: View of an empty dugout at American Family Fields stadium, spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers, following Major League Baseball's decision to suspend all spring training games on March 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The decision was made due to concerns of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
MARYVALE, - MARCH 12: View of an empty dugout at American Family Fields stadium, spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers, following Major League Baseball's decision to suspend all spring training games on March 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The decision was made due to concerns of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Pitchers and catchers were supposed to report this week, six weeks prior to Opening Day. With the lockout still in place, they did not report, and this could have some negative impacts on the Milwaukee Brewers.

As baseball works it way through six weeks of spring training in late February and March, many lament how long the spring lasts and that most of the actual starters that people want to see barely play in the games.

The position players don’t really need six weeks of preseason and around four weeks of games to get ready for the season. The reason spring training lasts so long, as many fans know, is for the pitchers. The pitchers, especially the starters, need those six weeks to ramp up as safely as possible for the season.

You can’t just wake up one day in March and throw 100 pitches in a game and call yourself good to go. Especially with pitching injuries on the rise in recent years, giving pitchers as much time as possible to ramp up safely to get ready for the season is paramount.

A shortened ramp up period for the Milwaukee Brewers will negatively impact the starting rotation, which is the foundation of this team’s success.

By the time a CBA is agreed to and the lockout ends, we’re likely looking at four weeks of spring training rather than the typical six weeks. Losing those extra two weeks can change the ramp up schedule for pitchers, which would put them at an increased risk for injury.

Injury isn’t guaranteed, and predicting that any specific player could get hurt because of this is impossible, but the overall risk does go up.

Granted, the Brewers pitchers and likely pitchers across baseball are still throwing and could be starting their ramp up periods at this moment anyways. After all, they’ve gone through spring trainings before and they know the schedule and the routine to ramp up safely. However they aren’t able to do it under the watchful eyes of their coaching staff, medical staff, or do so in game action.

Especially if we get to the point where spring training games are officially lost, then teams are going to have to adjust their typical ramp up schedule for their starters.

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For the Brewers, the starting rotation is the foundation of the team. Corbin Burnes, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta make up the big three in this rotation. Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer, and Aaron Ashby fill out the group. Any of these guys going down would be a big blow to the team. With these guys being at a higher risk of injury given a shortened ramp up, this lockout is now having a direct negative effect on the Brewers.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, at least as far as the Brewers go.

As stated above, the shortened ramp up doesn’t automatically mean someone will get injured. We could make it through a shortened spring and all the Brewers pitchers are still fine and healthy. The point is, the risk of injury goes up.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell is a smart man, and he knows this risk is there. As such, fans should expect Counsell to be extremely cautious with his pitchers, especially the starting rotation, in spring and early in the regular season.

Counsell won’t push them more than he has to and he knows there’s a long season ahead. He wasn’t willing to push them too far even late in the regular season last year, so he certainly won’t push too quickly in March and April.

For the first two weeks of the regular season, whenever that is, expect Counsell to take it real easy on his starters as he finishes getting them ramped up to normal levels. Don’t be surprised if Corbin Burnes just goes something like five innings or 75 pitches on Opening Day.

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Hopefully the lockout ends soon, not just for the pitchers’ sakes, but for everyone.

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