The Milwaukee Brewers did very little in the off-season to bolster their team besides rebuilding the bullpen, which was a must for anyone that watched the Brew Crew play last year. By taking a 20 percent cut in team salary, the Brewers have stated that they will rely on their young arms in the starting rotation to get them to the promise land in 2013.
Yovani Gallardo will reprise his role as the ace of the rotation while Marco Estrada, Michael Fiers, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta are expected to fill in the other four spots. These five men will be the difference between the Brewers clinching their second playoff berth in three years or going home early once again.
Assuming Milwaukee’s offense will compete at a high level, and that is a big assumption considering Corey Hart will be out for four months with a knee injury, and the rebuilt bullpen will be able to hold up their end of the bargain the only thing holding the Brewers back will be the starting pitchers. Owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin have decided to utilize the talent in the farm system and give the three prospects a legitimate shot.
“One of the things we can measure is how many of these guys are being asked about in trades,” said Attanasio at the “Brewers On Deck” fan fest. “The answer is all of them. If other teams including winning teams want these guys, why not us use them?”
If other teams want to use Milwaukee’s top prospects in their own starting rotations then it does not make sense for the Brewers to pay top dollar for a mediocre starter when they already have better pitchers who will play for a far cheaper price. And even though Fiers, Rogers and Peralta all have less than one year of big league experience under their belt, that does not mean the experience they have is not valuable. Each one of these players was a huge reason why Milwaukee was able to get back into the hunt for a Wild Card berth last year.
Fiers, Rogers and Peralta gained plenty of experience in the little time they spent in the majors last season. They saw firsthand what it is like for a team to battle in September and they know what it will take to go the extra mile. I am sure there will be a few jitters when they make their first start of the season, but it should not take long for them to calm down and settle into a groove.
Estrada is another player who learned quite a bit from his time in the starting rotation in 2012. The 29-year-old started 23 of the 29 games he appeared in, which is 16 more starts then he has ever made in a single season in his career. Since Estrada is expected to be the No. 2 in the rotation, it is important that he pitch with confidence and use his knowledge of the game to help the other starters.
It will certainly be tough to win the National League Central division but the Brewers believe they can get the job done. With one of the league’s top offenses, a stable bullpen and a starting rotation busting at the seams to prove themselves, I believe the Brewers should be right in the thick of it in late September.