Why the 2024 Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff may operate similarly to 2018

With changes to the starting rotaiton and a key bullpen injury, the pitching staff was already set to look different than recent years.
Jun 21, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Chris Hook (84) visits the
Jun 21, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Chris Hook (84) visits the / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers team has a special place in hearts of many fans as that team finished one game shy of making the franchise's second ever World Series appearance. From a birds eye perspective, most remember Christian Yelich's MVP performances, Jhoulys Chacin emerging as their top starter, and the bullpen being dominant.

Looking back further at the starting pitching staff, outside of Chacin the Crew had players like Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra, Brent Suter, Wade Miley, Zach Davies, Gio Gonzalez, and emerging talents Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta. Chacin and Anderson were the only two that made 30 or more starts and outside of them only Guerra and Suter threw more than 100 innings on the season.

The lack of inning depth from the starters meant that the bullpen, although dominant, was utilized heavily. Jeremy Jeffress led the team in appearances with 73, Dan Jennings was second (72), and that year Josh Hader covered a career high 81.1 innings.

With a bunch of relief options, Milwaukee had several players record saves that year. Although Jeffress emerged as preferred closer by the end of the year, Corey Knebel actually led the team with 16 saves, Jeffress second at 15, Hader third with 12, and then Jennings, Jacob Barnes, Woodruff, Burnes, and Matt Albers all had at least one save as well.

Fast forward to 2024 and there is the potential that the Brewers could be looking at a similar type of situation.

The 2024 Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff may operate similarly to the 2018 team.

If we evaluate the 2024 starting rotation, Peralta is the clear cut choice at the top, but maxed out a season ago at 165 innings pitched and 16 quality starts. While he is a more talented pitcher than 2018 Chacin, that year Chacin covered 192.2 innings and had 12 quality starts.

After Peralta, presumed starters after him include Miley, Jakob Junis, Colin Rea, Joe Ross, and potentially Aaron Ashby. Historically, all of these pitchers have been effective at keeping their team in ball games but by no means are a guarantee to consistently cover at least six innings.

Not mentioned were Robert Gasser, Jacob Misiorowski, and Carlos Rodriguez. Gasser presumably will impact the big league club early on in 2024 whereas Misiorowski and Rodriguez have the potential too but it is not as certain to happen this year.

In the bullpen, closer Devin Williams is out with stress fractures in his back and won't be ready to return until mid-season. It seems likely that Milwaukee will use a "fireman's hat" type of approach as to who gets the ninth inning in which Abner Uribe, Joel Payamps, and Elvis Peguero are the three likely top choices right now. Southpaw Hoby Milner also is expected to see lots of work as their top left-handed option bullpen option.

The end result this year could be multiple starting pitchers with short leases and not throwing more than 100 innings, a few relievers with double digit save totals, and some top prospects making an impact on the big league roster. Hopefully, the results in the win and loss column will be similar this year to 2018 when they won 96 games and were National League Central champions.