Chicago Cubs: Pitching a focus because it will make the difference in Central
By Jake Misener
Milwaukee Brewers have work to do to stay competitive
If the Milwaukee Brewers simply bank on the success they enjoyed in 2017 and make no substantive additions to the starting rotation this winter, they’re in trouble.
The club will miss starter Jimmy Nelson for a good chunk of next season, and adding Yovani Gallardo isn’t exactly what I’d call a slam-dunk replacement. Gallardo comes off a 5.72 ERA season a year ago, in which he posted a 1.515 WHIP in 22 starts and six relief appearances. He’s a back-end starter – at best.
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Without Nelson atop the rotation, it’s up to the likes of Zach Davies and Chase Anderson to carry the load right now. Both are south of 30 years of age and could be impact arms for Milwaukee for years to come. Davies won 17 games in 2017, pitching to a 112 ERA+ in his team-leading 33 starts. Anderson, meanwhile, put up a 2.74 ERA – but could regress a bit given his 3.58 FIP.
A real drop-off
This is where it gets shaky. After Davies and Anderson, you’re relying on a combination of Gallardo, Matt Garza and Brandon Woodruff. The latter holds the most promise, given he made only eight starts and is yet to turn 25. Garza, meanwhile, is a wasted roster spot if we’re just being honest.
If the Brewers want to legitimately take a run at the Central agin this season, it’s time to pony up some money for a Jake Arrieta-type arm to slot in atop the rotation. If they manage to do that, when Nelson returns, this team could be downright lethal.