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2017 Starting Pitching Rotation

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Online  2017 Starting Pitching Rotation
#1

Posted: January 19, 2017, 11:18 AM Post
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Such an important part of our baseball team and I would expect it to be very volatile in 2017. I wouldn't be surprising to see 80% (4 of 5) turnover from Game 1 to Game 162 next year.

Possibilities in no particular order:

Matt Garza - Much discussion has surrounded his "worth" vs. taking up space. With the money due him, I would expect him to at least last 1/2 the year in the rotation. 80% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Junior Guerra - Biggest and most pleasant surprise last year. A lock (100%) to start the year in the rotation. If he continues his performance, he would be a trade target just due to his age alone. But I tend to think he will regress.

Zach Davies - Less of a surprise last year, Zach gave just about what I expected. Doesn't blow you away, but is steady. A lock (100%) for the rotation and probably the most likely pitcher to play from Game 1 to 162.

Jimmy Nelson - Jimmy is another volatile discussion point for Brewer fans; trade him, cut him, send him to AAA, or give him another chance have all been greatly discussed. Jimmy's control completely disappeared last year and his walk rate spiked. I tend to think he will get another chance to start. 75% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Wily Peralta - Contrary to Jimmy, Wily's control problems align closer to his career norms. Wily looked better after spending some time in purgatory (Colorado Springs). But his peripherals (even in his good year) weren't impressive. I tend to think that his best move would be to the BP. But someone will always look at his FB (95-98MPH) and want him in the rotation. 50% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Chase Anderson - Similar to Wily, Chase had a better second half but people tend to look down on him as his stuff doesn't compare to the desired benchmarks. Nor does he have Davies' control to make it work consistently. 50% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Tommy Millone - A guy brought in for the BP. Could be the long man or short term 6th starter. Only injuries get him in the starting rotation.

Taylor Jungmann - So who is Taylor Jungmann? TJ of 2015 or 2016? Somewhere between? This is sounding like a broken record. TJ of 2016 completely lost his control and walked 5.7 BB/9IP. His MiLB career on walks isn't great, but certainly isn't that bad. I'd guess we see him at some point in 2017 starting again, but probably not right away. 22.5% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Jorge Lopez - Similar to TJ, Jorge did the equivalent, but in the minors instead. Certainly, purgatory (CS) didn't help him. But he could've adjusted a bit better. I'd like to see him start at the MLB level this year, but I think you need to move someone out of the way above him first. I don't think he jumps anyone at this point. But he will be neck-and-neck with TJ on who gets called up first. Just depends on who starts better. 22.5% chance of making the rotation out of ST.

Josh Hader - I would imagine that Josh is a lock to start at sometime in 2017, but very low probability that he will start the season there. I'm sure they will play the super 2 status game with him. Also, Josh is on target for 150-160 innings this year (30 inning increase from his 126 last year). So it wouldn't surprise me to see him see MLB BP time next year also to limit his innings. 0% chance of making the rotation out of ST.


So as I see it now:
1. Guerro
2. Davies
3. Garza
4. Nelson
5. Anderson

MLB BP: Peralta, Millone

MiLB: Jungmann, Lopez, Hader


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#2

Posted: January 19, 2017, 12:51 PM Post
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In terms of keeping pitching depth, it works against Nelson, Anderson, and Jungmann that they all have options remaining. The Brewers could theoretically stash all three in AAA if they went with Garza-Davies-Peralta-Guerra-Milone at the outset. Not saying I think that's a good idea, just that if the Brewers wanted to keep some of their promising young pitchers out of Colorado Springs (Woodruff, Ortiz, Lopez, Ventura, etc.), they wouldn't have to go to a bunch of AAAA guys to fill the AAA rotation after Hader/Wilkerson.


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#3

Posted: January 19, 2017, 1:02 PM Post
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Very hard to predict the rotation right now given all the options, but Spring Training will definitely help clarify this decision.

I think right now of the 6 most obvious candidates, Nelson is on the outside looking in, but his upside is a strong #2/#3 guy and we'd hate to give up on that, but sending him to Colorado seems like a bad idea too, and sending him to AA seems like dooming him to failure.

I'd go with Guerra/Davies/Garza/Peralta/Anderson, and let Nelson be the long man in the bullpen to start the year. Garza will either prove his worth and get traded or not and get cut (similar to Randy Wolf or Jeff Suppan in the past, Melvin was never afraid to cut a guy in his final year of a contract, I'm guessing Stearns would be the same). Nelson will definitely get a chance in the rotation next year at some point, he's got too much upside to abandon without one last long look.

I think Millone needs to wow some people in ST to have any sort of chance in the rotation, and the bullpen honestly seems kinda crammed right now. I'd love it if he would agree to a AAA assignment.

I have to think that Stearns is planning some trades between now and the Trade Deadline for starting pitching given how thin the market is, but a lot of his assets there still need some polishing before any team will give up anything of value for them (Nelson, Peralta, Jungmann, Garza). If Guerra weren't such an anomaly he'd be the easiest to move for a decent return right now, but obviously that market hasn't worked out otherwise he'd be gone already.

At least the pitching situation this Spring will be interesting to follow....


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#4

Posted: January 19, 2017, 1:24 PM Post
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At some point this spring, a starting pitcher will go down somewhere. If it's one of our guys, that determines our rotation. If not, then we are in prime position to trade one of our six starters (really one of the five not named Davies).

If no one is hurt, and no one is traded, then I think the aforementioned idea of sending Nelson to AAA to work on his control (and also help keep some of our promising prospects away from the thin air of Colorado) may be the best option.

If no trades/injuries occur:

-Davies and Guerra are sure things for the rotation.
-Peralta pitched so well in the second half that I think we have to keep him in the rotation to see if he's finally "found it."
-Anderson is as close to a "solid innings eating vet" as we have. Nothing spectacular, but should put up decent numbers for us until our prospects are up and there's no space left for him, at which point he should be tradeable.
-Garza is probably the most likely to be traded before the season begins. However, outside of one outlier season with the Brewers, he's had a pretty solid career, and a good first half could mean we could get something in return for him at the deadline. On the flip side, with limited team control, he'd be the easiest to jettison if he starts out poorly, opening a spot for someone else.
-Nelson has an option and if we need someone to go to AAA, he looks like the guy who could most use some time away from the pressure of the big leagues to "find himself."

It's not a bad position to have excess MLB talent, with better talent coming up through the minors looking to push our current guys out of the rotation. Most of our rotation will be "pitching for their lives" this season. Hopefully everyone pitches well, and Stearns has some tough decisions to make.


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#5

Posted: January 19, 2017, 1:34 PM Post
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I think one of the top 6 rotation arms is traded heading into spring and we know Garza is gone at some point. Milone sticks in the pen as long reliever/5-6th inning guy/spot starter. If someone is traded by the break, which seems likely, then Hader is up getting his feet wet. I'd like to see Lopez in the pen to avoid him being in AAA but also don't think it serves him well being back in AA.

I think Davies, Nelson, Peralta, Chase are in the rotation the entire year. If Peralta bounces back I see him being traded as has 2yrs left. Heading into 2018 it could look like Hader, Woodruff, Davies, Nelson, Chase + Lopez/Milone. Nelson/Chase traded during or after the season means there's still 2-2.5yrs of control left for them and their spots are filled by Ortiz (if ready), Lopez, Milone.

I don't think Nelson, Peralta, Chase are traded immediately if they bounce back because this team still needs experienced starters with some ability until all the youngsters are up. And Hader/Woodruff aren't cemented in the rotation until the start of 2018 followed by Ortiz the following year. With Davies already up this is 4 very good young rotation arms. But we still need arms with ability to hold us over until those points.


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#6

Posted: January 19, 2017, 1:42 PM Post
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Milone has mainly be a starting pitcher in the bigs, but his stats have some indicators that he would be better off in the BP:

Certainly he is much better earlier in games (numbers from last 3 years):
Pitches  1-15 .253 .322 .413 .734 
Pitches 16-30 .275 .312 .424 .736
Pitches 31-45 .263 .307 .479 .787
Pitches 46-60 .309 .367 .486 .854
Pitches 61-75 .308 .412 .462 .873


He also has some LOOGY tendencies (numbers over the last 3 years):
vs. Left  .244 .299 .400 .699 
vs. Right .280 .331 .460 .792


Perhaps they really want a lefty starting, but I tend to think he is more of an insurance guy. Go from a mediocre Starter to a quality BP arm/LOOGY? With long man possibilities too? Of course, they could also be looking at this 3.7-4.2 ERA history instead of his 5.71 ERA last year.


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#7

Posted: January 19, 2017, 5:08 PM Post
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MLB: 1.) Garza, 2.) Davies, 3). Guerra, 4.) Peralta, 5.) Anderson/Nelson AAA: 1.) Nelson/Anderson, 2.) Hader, 3.) Lopez, 4.) Jungman, 5.) Woodruff How is that for depth? Nelson and Anderson will battle for the 5 spot. Milone could be MLB long relief.


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#8

Posted: January 19, 2017, 5:54 PM Post
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Barring any trades or injures...

Garza, Davies, and Guerra are locks. If Wily has no options left then he starts the season in the rotation. I see no way they put him in the bullpen out of camp unless he totally bombs. Anderson gets the last spot due to being a veteran and a strong finish last year. Nelson only makes it if the Wily bomb goes off, otherwise he starts the year in AAA until needed. Once again barring injuries or trades, I see no way anyone else is even considered. I would guess everyone but Millone makes a start this year though.


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#9

Posted: January 19, 2017, 7:47 PM Post
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I still think either Nelson or Anderson will be traded before opening day but if not Garza will be the odd man out. He'll be waived. Oh they could wait and hope he pitches well enough to be traded in July but they'll realize even if that happened the return would be negligible. They might even go with a 6 man rotation. The fact that Nelson and Anderson both can be optioned actually makes them easier to trade in spring training to a team needing depth at AAA.

But Garza is far from a lock.


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#10

Posted: January 19, 2017, 9:23 PM Post
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I agree with Jericho's Ninja regarding Garza. He's a lock and I think it should be obvious he is unless he's traded, obviously. He has 1yr remaining on his contract so final time as trade bait given he's pitched 10yrs in MLB with a 8yr track record of success and consistency. 2015 was bad (and I believe he was injured part of it too) and last year he was injured to start the year missing the first 2.5 months then finished with a 3.64 ERA his final 11 starts (in line with his career norms). Of his 19 starts 3 were terrible. The other 16 (84% of his starts) he posted a 3.41 ERA. The problem with Garza is when he has a terrible start it's REALLY bad, which is why his ERA rises drastically. When he's healthy he pitches well and his track record says so. You don't waive guys like that so 3 other players with options and worse careers can start.


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Posted: January 19, 2017, 10:37 PM Post
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The fact that Garza now has a team option for 2018 at only $5M makes it very enticing to fully commit to him to begin 2017. If he shows well in the first half, that option provides extra value for an acquiring team.


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#12

Posted: January 20, 2017, 8:49 AM Post
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Garza had 2 million deferred from each of his guaranteed contract years. So Garza is still owed 8 million dollars in deferred money which doesn't make him attractive for a team that would be trading for him. If the 2018 option is picked up his pay is 10.5 million in 2017, 7 million in 2018, 2 million in 2019, 2 million in 2020 and 2 million in 2021...23.5 million for two contract years. Garza is pretty strongly in negative value territory and the Brewers would have to eat a whole bunch of this money if they could work out a trade for him, and if that happened they'd still likely only land one "role player" type prospect.


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#13

Posted: January 20, 2017, 9:22 AM Post
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Stearns didn't acquire Wilkerson to make Colorado Springs better and write him off as a 4A player. If he would have been Rule 5 eligible, I fully believe he would have been up last September. He may be unlikely to make the rotation out of spring training while they sort through any advancement made by Garza/Nelson/Peralta, but he will get his shot and I'd put his over/under at 10 starts this season. Honestly, I'd put him ahead of Jungmann on the depth chart right now.


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Posted: January 20, 2017, 9:55 AM Post
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JosephC said:
Garza had 2 million deferred from each of his guaranteed contract years. So Garza is still owed 8 million dollars in deferred money which doesn't make him attractive for a team that would be trading for him. If the 2018 option is picked up his pay is 10.5 million in 2017, 7 million in 2018, 2 million in 2019, 2 million in 2020 and 2 million in 2021...23.5 million for two contract years. Garza is pretty strongly in negative value territory and the Brewers would have to eat a whole bunch of this money if they could work out a trade for him, and if that happened they'd still likely only land one "role player" type prospect.

I believe that the team that Garza played for in any particular year would be responsible for his deferred salary. So the Brewers are already on the hook for the $2M deferred annually for 2014 through 2016 - thus $6M.

In other words, his contract was for $12.5M in 2014 (as well as 2015 and 2016), with $2M of it deferred. So we are responsible for that $2M.

If a trade is made mid-season, I'm not sure how it would work. My guess is that it would be pro-rated - but that's just a guess.


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Posted: January 20, 2017, 10:02 AM Post
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Mass Haas said:
The fact that Garza now has a team option for 2018 at only $5M makes it very enticing to fully commit to him to begin 2017. If he shows well in the first half, that option provides extra value for an acquiring team.

This is exactly correct.

There is no value moving Garza to the bullpen. If he does well in the rotation, he's got value due to the low 2018 salary of $5M. He doesn't even have to be that good - just keep his ERA in the low 4.00s, stay healthy, throw 180 innings. That's a decent #5 guy - especially for $5M.

A $5M reliever, however, is not cheap (unless that reliever is really, really good).

The big payoff for Milwaukee is if he is in the rotation. So you put him there. If he ends up being terrible, then so be it. You let him go at that point, and count the contract a bust. But if he does okay, he might fetch a prospect - and perhaps some salary relief.


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#16

Posted: January 20, 2017, 10:22 AM Post
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ZBTMP said:
Stearns didn't acquire Wilkerson to make Colorado Springs better and write him off as a 4A player. If he would have been Rule 5 eligible, I fully believe he would have been up last September. He may be unlikely to make the rotation out of spring training while they sort through any advancement made by Garza/Nelson/Peralta, but he will get his shot and I'd put his over/under at 10 starts this season. Honestly, I'd put him ahead of Jungmann on the depth chart right now.


Agree. Even Hiram Burgos has a shot if a couple guys are traded or injured. He had some dominant stretches in the minors, and coming off a really nice winter league stint. Probably no room for guys like Wilkerson or Burgos, but not they are options.

Also, I wouldn't be shocked to see Lopez or Woodruff make the rotation coming out of ST. They may want to trickle these pitchers in, instead of suddenly adding 3-4 rookie SP in a short amount of time. This would also speed up the rebuild a bit, because all these SP prospects will need a little adjustment time. They probably wouldn't want to start Hader's clock quite yet, but may want to do that with a Lopez since he's older and not quite as concerned about his clock.


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#17

Posted: January 20, 2017, 12:14 PM Post
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FVBrewerFan said:
ZBTMP said:
Stearns didn't acquire Wilkerson to make Colorado Springs better and write him off as a 4A player. If he would have been Rule 5 eligible, I fully believe he would have been up last September. He may be unlikely to make the rotation out of spring training while they sort through any advancement made by Garza/Nelson/Peralta, but he will get his shot and I'd put his over/under at 10 starts this season. Honestly, I'd put him ahead of Jungmann on the depth chart right now.


Agree. Even Hiram Burgos has a shot if a couple guys are traded or injured. He had some dominant stretches in the minors, and coming off a really nice winter league stint. Probably no room for guys like Wilkerson or Burgos, but not they are options.

Also, I wouldn't be shocked to see Lopez or Woodruff make the rotation coming out of ST. They may want to trickle these pitchers in, instead of suddenly adding 3-4 rookie SP in a short amount of time. This would also speed up the rebuild a bit, because all these SP prospects will need a little adjustment time. They probably wouldn't want to start Hader's clock quite yet, but may want to do that with a Lopez since he's older and not quite as concerned about his clock.


If they didn't have six MLB guys already, I'd agree that one of the rookies could start in the MLB rotation. As it stands, they should probably trade someone just to make room for the guys they have. Then, the rookies will get sprinkled in as injuries occur, if someone is ineffective, or when someone gets traded at the deadline.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

~Bill Walsh


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Posted: January 20, 2017, 12:17 PM Post
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I would hope if the top 6 starters are all healthy that Anderson is the odd man out. Davies & Guerra aren't going anywhere. Peralta/Nelson have higher upside. Garza makes the ca$h and at least when he starts there's always the off chance he airmails one into the stands.


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#19

Posted: January 20, 2017, 12:32 PM Post
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ZBTMP said:
Stearns didn't acquire Wilkerson to make Colorado Springs better and write him off as a 4A player. If he would have been Rule 5 eligible, I fully believe he would have been up last September. He may be unlikely to make the rotation out of spring training while they sort through any advancement made by Garza/Nelson/Peralta, but he will get his shot and I'd put his over/under at 10 starts this season. Honestly, I'd put him ahead of Jungmann on the depth chart right now.

No doubt. If you were referring to my statement, I meant getting AAAA depth to put after Wilkerson/Hader. Wilkerson's shot in 2017 largely depends on what happens with other players, though. If the Brewers feel Hader, Lopez, or one of those guys is ready, they probably get in line in front of him. And actually, not having a spot on the 40-man right now might work against him a little.


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#20

Posted: January 20, 2017, 12:49 PM Post
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Wilkerson? Burgos? There are 6 rotation arms right now. If half are traded that leaves 2 openings - Hader, Lopez, Milone, Jungmann are all taking a spot over those guys


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