The Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation comes with more question marks in 2020. They need Brandon Woodruff to be the ace of the staff.
We know that Christian Yelich has become a star for the Milwaukee Brewers and that any discussion about the team begins with him. We also know that Ryan Braun has been there for a long time and is still important to the team. However, there’s a case to be made that in this upcoming shortened MLB season, Brandon Woodruff could be their most important player.
Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, and Gio Gonzalez, who combined to make 94 starts for the Brewers last year, have all departed. Brett Anderson, Eric Lauer, and Josh Lindbloom are in, but the rotation doesn’t appear to be as deep as it was last year. Coming into this season, Woodruff was projected to be the ace of the staff, and they’ll need an ace-like performance from him in order to contend in 2020.
Woodruff, 27, made the All-Star team last year, and in 22 starts he posted a 3.62 ERA. He was having a great first full season as a starter before an injury derailed him in late July, and he only made two regular season starts after that. Adrian Houser will slot into the #2 spot after Woodruff; the Brewers will be asking a lot of these two hurlers, neither one of whom has a full season of starting under their belt yet.
In a 60 game season, each starting pitcher’s performance will be magnified many times from a normal 162 game schedule; instead of making about 32 or 33 starts, most pitchers will make about 12 or 13. It’s going to be important for Woodruff to come out of the gate when the season starts and pick up from his All-Star performance last year, right away.
Despite high turnover this offseason, the Brewers should still score a lot of runs; they have plenty of capable players on offense. In fact, though Yelich is such a critical player, the team proved late last year that they can win without him in the lineup. To have any chance at all of contending, the Brewers will need the starting rotation to step up and give them some quality innings, and that task will begin with Woodruff on the mound.
Despite coming off injury, Woodruff was able to give the Brewers four quality innings in the 2019 NL Wild Card Game against the eventual World Champion Washington Nationals. It’s a good place to start; for the Brewers, let’s hope that Woodruff will build on that and emerge as the ace the team needs this season. With fewer games, Woodruff has a great chance to prove himself.