Milwaukee Brewers: Starting Pitching Secrets to Winning a Division

Scott RohdeContributor IFebruary 11, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers, National League Central Champs!

Think it sounds crazy?

Not so fast.

The Brewers may have lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, but the starting pitching isn't as bad as you might think.

They may not have a 20-game winner in the group, or a complete-game shut-out thrown this year, but they may not have to.

They have a collection of talented young arms to go along with a few seasoned veterans.

The Brew Crew has a pretty potent offense and arguably a better bullpen.

Remember, they lost several games in the late innings because their bullpen and closer couldn't seal the deal.

With a slight improvement in saves and holds, they could easily see a few more wins for the starters.

The projected starters are Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan, and Dave Bush. The final rotation spot could go to Seth McClung, a recently-signed Braden Looper, a recovering Chris Capuano, or potential fill-in starter Carlos Villanueva. These guys give the Brewers a good, if not great, rotation.

The Breakdown

Gallardo is a projected front-line starter.

He got derailed by a fluke injury, but has the talent and stuff to be very good this year, and better in the near future.

Project 12-15 wins.

Parra ran out of gas a little in the second half, but still managed to win 10.

A years worth of experience and his 1.54 WHIP will improve and wins will come.

Project 12-15 wins.

Suppan is getting long in the tooth but has come a long way with what he has. He's also a good mentor for the young guys.

A 1.54 WHIP won't change much but solid.

Project 10-12 wins.

Bush really seemed to turn the corner last year.

A 1.14 WHIP is excellent and will be hard to duplicate, but confidence is hard to measure. 

Project 12-15 wins.

McClung, too, opened some eyes.

I think he found himself and his control, and is probably the sleeper in this group.

He could have a great year as a starter ,but may find his real value in long relief.

His 1.41 WHIP is going to improve wherever he ends up.

Looper is a nice pick up.

He can step right in and give quality innings. He knows the NL Central and is proven.

Project 12-15 wins.

Capuano's career WHIP of 1.36 is good, and if he can come back from this second Tommy John surgery and be himself, they have a spot starter or middle reliever.

Villanueva is very talented and will be most productive coming out of the pen this year, but could fill in well if needed. 

This is a team with no big name aces, but a lot of guys with the talent and heart to pitch very successfully this year.