N.L. Central Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers
The Brew Crew seemed destined to win a World Series or at least get to one. Do they have the fire power this year to make it happen?
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Freddy Peralta figures out how to get batters out and how not to walk the guy who comes up right after the guy he struck out. Last year he struck out 14 per nine innings but also walked four per nine innings.
A good guy to have as a fifth starter is Adrian Houser. He’s not overpowering, so he needs to pitch to contact. Part of his troubles in the past have been in the number of walks allowed. If you’re going to pitch like Greg Maddux you have to hit your spots. Left-hander Brett Anderson is basically Houser’s mirror image but Houser has better strikeout stuff. Corbin Burnes was used as a reliever early in his career with mixed results. But he was phenomenal last year (2.11 ERA) as a starter. He could be just as good as Peralta.
Brandon Woodruff is in the middle of the rotation, has an ERA right around 3.50 and strikes out more than one per inning. That’s a pretty decent rotation if things go according to Hoyle. Closing games out, you have Josh Hader who won’t allow a hit for a month before imploding and giving up three home runs in two days. Hopefully he gets that streak out-of-the-way early.
The weakness of the staff looks like it’s going to be the bullpen. Brent Suter and Brad Boxberger are solid. Eric Lauer gives up a run every two innings. It could be worse. He could be Angel Perdomo who’s giving up runs at twice that rate. He was fine in the minors but he’s either missing the strike zone or not missing bats. I wonder if he is tipping his pitches. Devin Williams shouldn’t be affected by the new three batter minimum rule. He has averaged an inning per appearance in his career and has an ERA right around two even.
The problem doesn’t seem to be the pitching. It’s the hitting. You have All-Star Christian Yelich in right and then… Lorenzo Cain? Cain is not getting any younger (35) and he hardly played at all last year (five games). Assuming he stays healthy he should be at least decent and provides above average defense along with Jackie Bradley Jr., whose offense numbers had been declining annually until last year. I wonder if Milwaukee will get Candy Maldonado’d with the signing. Dodger fans, you know what I’m talking about.
It’s going to be a struggle.