Projecting the 2025 Brewers starting rotation with Brandon Woodruff back in the fold

The starting rotation for next year just got a lot more exciting.

Sep 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) throws a
Sep 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) throws a / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Last fall, the Milwaukee Brewers made one of the tougher decisions they've had to make as a franchise. They non-tendered former Opening Day starter and starting rotation stalwart Brandon Woodruff, making him a free agent for the first time in his career.

The decision wasn't a surprising one considering seven-year MLB veteran was set to miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season following shoulder surgery. Despite the separation, though, there was always a possibility the two sides could reunite later in the offseason even with 29 other teams potentially vying for Woodruff's services as well.

Much to Brewers fans delight, a reunion is exactly what happened on Monday when MLB insider Jon Heyman announced that Woodruff would be heading back to Milwaukee on a two-year deal. Even if he doesn't pitch all year, the Crew gets a team leader back in the clubhouse.

It will be extremely likely that Woodruff doesn't pitch at all for the Brewers in 2024, instead throwing his next pitch for Milwaukee in 2025. That's a long way away, but it's fun to think about what the rotation might look like when he returns.

Well, let's have some fun and project what the Brewers starting rotation could look like in 2025 with Brandon Woodruff back in the fold.

We're going to make one big assumption here and say that the Brewers don't pick up the second year contract option for starter Wade Miley. As the option would pay $11.5MM to a 37-year-old starter, that's not a crazy assumption to make. So with that in mind, here is how the starting rotation projects for 2025.

No. 1 starter: RHP Freddy Peralta
No. 2 starter: RHP Brandon Woodruff
No. 3 starter: LHP Aaron Ashby
No. 4 starter: LHP Robert Gasser
No. 5 starter: RHP Jacob Misiorowski
No. 6 starter/swingman: LHP DL Hall

After the last few years, it might be weird to see Peralta ahead of Woodruff, a former Opening Day starter, in the rotation. Freddy is coming into 2024 as the Brewers ace, though, and if he has a solid season in that role, he'll deserve to repeat the following season.

Ashby missed the entire 2023 season due to injury and, like might be the case with Woodruff in 2025, has some uncertainty around just how he'll look in his return this season. Early reports coming into spring have been positive and he will get the chance to eventually find his way into the rotation mix. The prediction is that he does and parlays that into a full-time spot next year.

Two of the most anticipated pitching prospect debuts are that of Robert Gasser, who pitched all of 2023 in Triple-A, and Jacob Misiorowski, who at just 21 has been flying up the Brewers system. There's a chance that both debut at some point in 2024 and do their parts to secure permanent rotation spots in 2025.

With the Brewers often having to deploy a six-man rotation at times during the season, newly acquired DL Hall gets the call for the this spot. It speaks as much to the questions around whether his eventual role is as a starter or reliever as it does to the talent possessed by Gasser and Misiorowski that they would earn a spot ahead of him.

There are other players who could throw their names into the mix as well. Janson Junk could finally take the step forward he needs to get a second look. Carlos Rodriguez is another very impressive pitching prospect who is rising through the system but it still needs to be seen what he'll do at Triple-A (the same is true of Misiorowski, but some were wondering if he would make his MLB debut already in 2023).

Also, like Hall, some question whether Misiorowski would be better suited as a weapon out of the bullpen. If that ended up being the fate for both pitchers, it would open up a pair of future rotation spots.

No matter how things shake out, the 2025 Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation looks like an exciting one. Of course, it really got that way when an old friend decided to reunite with the Crew.