Brewers News: Adrian Houser Set To Open 2023 Season In The Bullpen
By David Gasper
The strength of the Brewers is far and away the starting rotation. Led by Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee's staff is one of the best in baseball. That makes earning one of the five spots in the rotation that much more difficult.
The top three are locked in with right handers Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. That leaves two spots, one is occupied by lefty Eric Lauer, who had a strong season last year. One spot is left.
Adrian Houser has occupied that fifth spot in the rotation in recent years, but the offseason signing of Wade Miley has changed the equation.
Based on comments from Brewers manager Craig Counsell, it appears Adrian Houser will be in the bullpen to begin the 2023 season.
It's a crowded rotation picture. Lefty Aaron Ashby was also slated to be among this rotation group, but he's dealing with a bout of shoulder fatigue and will miss the start of the year. Ashby filled the 6th starter role out of the bullpen last year that moved into the rotation when needed. As the injuries piled up, Ashby became a regular starter.
Towards the end of 2022, as the rotation finally got healthy after it was too late to save their playoff hopes, Adrian Houser was the one who was pushed back to the bullpen and out of the starting rotation. Now, as the 2023 season begins, he will begin there again.
With the free agent signing of Wade Miley, this isn't entirely unexpected news. The Brewers didn't bring Miley back into the fold just to put him in the bullpen after his recent success. This also doesn't mean Houser is finished as a starter. The Brewers often go to a 6 man rotation throughout the year and Houser will be first in line to get that start when called for. He's still stretched out, he'll be the long man out of the pen and he'll throw a lot of innings this season.
In the past, Houser has had good success in relief. Out of the bullpen, Houser has 30 appearances with a 1.76 ERA and opponents have just a .601 OPS. As a starter, Houser has a 4.31 ERA and opponents have a .727 OPS.
While Houser has done decently well as a starter, him being forced to the bullpen is a sign of just how strong the Brewers rotation is, and it could help make the Brewers even better because of his success coming out of the bullpen in his career.