Milwaukee Brewers: Major decisions on the horizon
The Milwaukee Brewers are .500 through the first 32 games and have been surprisingly competitive. Whether the Brewers are contenders or not down the stretch, they will have major decisions to make.
Thanks to some major offense and some solid pitching the Milwaukee Brewers resemble a team that could make some noise in the wildcard race.
Whether or not they hang in the race through late summer, the Brewers will have some tough calls to make.
Most of the tough decisions are going to revolve around the pitching staff. Sure they have been alright, but there are young guys knocking at the big league door.
Both Brandon Woodruff and Jorge Lopez have been studs this year. Woodruff has dominated AAA, and Lopez has bounced back nicely at AA. Neither of them, especially Lopez have any more to prove at the minor league level. He is ready, and it appears Woodruff is too.
Josh Hader is another story. He has been up and down at AAA and hasn’t necessarily pitched well enough to be brought up. He has the stuff, and it may just be the elevation messing him up.
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The Milwaukee Brewers also have journeyman 30-year old Paolo Espino pitching very well at AAA.
If you’re the Brewers, are you confident about keeping Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, or Matt Garza in the rotation long term?
Sure it’s early on in the year, but Nelson and Peralta have been very average to even a little below average. Garza has pitched well, but who knows how long that will continue. Peralta has a power fastball that could pitch from the bullpen, but Nelson doesn’t have a spot in this future rotation or bullpen.
I’m sure David Stearns and Craig Counsell will let the season play out a bit longer but don’t be surprised if Woodruff, Lopez or even Espino get a call up at some point.
There are also some positional players knocking on the Major League door. Top prospects Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell and Brett Phillips, are all having excellent years at AAA.
All three are primarily outfielders, so it’s difficult to see them getting called up unless there is an injury, as there isn’t much playing time.
Garrett Cooper, an underrated prospect, is also having a great year and could see a promotion. He’s batting north of .340 at AAA and plays outfield plus first and third. Besides him, Ivan De Jesus and Kyle Wren are playing well at AAA and could see MLB time.
It’s plausible to see Cooper called up, as Craig Counsell loves his utility men. Giving a guy like Cooper a chance is more beneficial than keeping Nick Franklin around.
The Brewers are still in a rebuild, and it’s tough to say what David Stearns thinks about competing this season. He’s been quiet about it and stated that they take it day by day.
Whether or not the Brewers are there in August, they NEED to get their minor leaguers some mound time. Jimmy Nelson and Matt Garza are not a part of future plans. Giving Woodruff and especially Lopez a chance is key.
If they get the experience this season, it will be much easier for them to come in and win a rotation spot out of spring training.
There is an argument to be made about starting the minor leaguers MLB service time clocks though. However, if there is a chance for the Brewers young guns to get substantial playing time, they need to take advantage of it.