C70: Is there more behind Yovani Gallardo than meets the eye?
BB: Yes and no. If Mike Fiers, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta can pitch like they did in the latter part of 2012, the rotation will be good. Marco Estrada is really more of a #3 or #4 starter at best, but the Brewers flatly refused to spend money this winter when they didn’t feel it was in the best interests of the club. They also have lefty and former Cardinal Chris Narveson (returning from injury) as well as the previously mentioned Alfredo Figaro and others for rotation depth. I think the Crew’s rotation is full of no-names behind Gallardo, but if they pitch well, it will be a solid group. If one or more of those guys seriously struggle or get hurt, the team will be in a tight spot. The bottom line is the team didn’t feel the market offered what they wanted at a reasonable price, and they have several guys (Narveson, Rogers) who are out of options and they didn’t want to give a starting job to a mediocre veteran based simply on a contract and lose potentially more valuable starters for nothing.
DU: It’s easy to forget the Brewers’ starting rotation had the highest strikeout rate in the majors last season, and that wasn’t simply due to Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Four returning starters struck out more than a batter per inning in 2012: Mark Rogers, Marco Estrada, Yovani Gallardo, and Mike Fiers. That doesn’t even include top prospect Wily Peralta, who struck out 8.78 batters per nine innings in Triple-A before getting a late-season call-up and posting a 2.48 ERA.
The Brewers have sneaky talent in the back-end of their starting rotation. It’s just volatile talent. The organization really doesn’t know what to expect from the rotation as a whole. Can Mike Fiers be the pitcher he was for the first couple months of his rookie campaign before running out of gas in September? Can Mark Rogers throw enough strikes to take advantage of his plus-repertoire? Can Marco Estrada repeat his stellar 2012 season? Can Wily Peralta shrug off the command troubles and be the starter he was during his 29 big-league innings last year?
There are just so many question marks. It’s truly a boom-or-bust rotation for the Brewers. As the team showed in August and September last season, the team can win as currently constructed. It will score a ton of runs and has the ability to pitch well enough to be above .500. It’s just important to recognize that the other end of the spectrum exists as well — in which Peralta had a 4.66 ERA in Triple-A, Rogers walked almost five batters per nine innings in Triple-A, Fiers imploded in September, and Estrada struggled to pitch deep into games.
It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the Brewers’ rotation. Many outcomes are possible.
Check out all of my answers here, as well as the answers provided by Nick Michalski of The Brewers Bar.