RHP Julio Teheran
As unexpected as Rea's performance has been so far, the title of Most Unexpected Brewers Starter Performance has to go to veteran Julio Teheran, a midseason pickup who was on absolute fire for the Crew after not pitching in an MLB game since 2021.
After being acquired by the Brewers on May 25th, Teheran gave up two earned runs or fewer in his first six starts, lasting five or more innings in each start. Unfortunately, he has come back to earth in his two most recent outings, surrendering 13 combined earned runs. But that strong start still allows him to sit with an impressive 3.64 ERA and 1.021 WHIP at the All-Star break.
RHP Adrian Houser
The starts were originally going to be few and far between for Adrian Houser, who was slated for the bullpen before the season began. But after an injury delayed his season debut until early May, those rotation injuries pressed him into starting duty right away upon his return.
Houser isn't exactly limiting the hits and walks at a 1.539 WHIP and has the lowest strikeout rate (6.0 K/9) among the starters. Somehow, though, he has parlayed his performances into a 3-2 record and a 3.68 ERA. If limiting runs and stacking wins is all that matters, then Houser has done his job more often than not.
LHP Eric Lauer
What the heck happened to Eric Lauer? After two pretty good seasons in 2021 and 2022, things have gone off the rails in 2023. At first it seemed like a decrease in velocity might be to blame, but once that corrected itself, the bounce back never came for the southpaw.
In nine games (eight starts), Lauer is 4-5 with a 5.48 ERA, a 1.523 WHIP, and a whopping 2.7 HR/9. In late May, he was sent to the injured list and then optioned to Triple-A in June once healthy. He has since been placed on the temporarily inactive list and there hasn't been much news about him since then. Odds are the Brewers are working with him behind the scenes and hopefully they're able to right the ship together.
Starters with Incomplete Grades
Brewers "co-ace" Brandon Woodruff was off to a fast start to 2023, giving up just one run and striking out 12 in his first two starts of the season. Unfortunately, he was placed on the IL shortly after his second start and has been there ever since. He is now in the middle of a throwing program and will hopefully be back near the end of July.
Speaking of injuries, Aaron Ashby, a potential starter candidate for 2023, has been out with injury since before the season began. He had shoulder surgery in April and will miss most of this season.
The only other pitcher to make a start in 2023 is prospect Janson Junk. He would give up five runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings in a Brewers loss on April 12th. He was sent back to Triple-A afterward and hasn't been back in 2023.
Things could have gone much worse for the starting rotation in the first half of 2023. But instead of going down in flames, the starting rotation has continued to be a strength of the Milwaukee Brewers, just like it has the past few years.