The Fantasy Potential In The Brewers Rotation

These Brewers starters are worth considering for fantasy managers.

The Milwaukee Brewers, alone atop the National League Central standings for the moment, or at least as of the beginning of play on Tuesday, are finding success in a decidedly different way this season.

Or, to put it more specifically, they’re winning games without an elite rotation.

Milwaukee finished no worse than 12th in fWAR among rotations in each of the last three years, peaking in 2021 with a group of starters that finished just 0.3 points off the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation for a share of the lead league.

This year, though, it’s been a decidedly different story.

A staggering 21 teams entered Tuesday with a better rotation fWAR than Milwaukee’s collective 4.2 metric. And while the Brewers are finding success, at least so far, with their current group of starters, it probably hasn’t been as successful of a season for fantasy managers looking to rely on Milwaukee’s rotation.

Most notably, Brandon Woodruff and Aaron Ashby have missed significant time due to injury, while Freddy Peralta has been inconsistent so far.


Brandon Woodruff


Trading for injured players in fantasy is hardly an exact science, particularly when trading for injured pitchers. And, in some cases, it’s not exactly a recommended strategy.

Really, it’s the type of maneuver that is best suited to fantasy teams with either a significant cushion at the top of the regular season standings, a deep roster, or both.

However, regardless of where a fantasy team is in the standings, or how a team’s roster is constructed, it can pay off handsomely to make such a gamble. And that could be exactly the case with Brandon Woodruff.

Woodruff was limited to two starts this season prior to landing on the injured list due to a shoulder strain, scattering seven hits, three walks, and an earned run in 11.1 innings while adding 12 strikeouts.

The right-hander is in the midst of throwing bullpens. Per a tweet from MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy on Tuesday, Woodruff “mixed in offspeed during a successful 25-pitch bullpen this afternoon. He still has a series of bullpens ahead and his timeline is TBD, based on how many rehab starts he makes. He will stay in Milwaukee during the All-Star break to continue his throwing program.”

This is not exactly the same as trading for someone like Carlos Rodón right now, as Rodon is at the point of making rehab starts in the minors and is a bit closer to getting back to the Majors.

Still, the upside is almost too notable to turn down here.

From the start of the 2019 season through the end of the 2022 season, the right-hander routinely logged an ERA and FIP both below 3.30. The only time either his ERA or FIP didn’t fall under the 3.30 mark was in 2019 when his ERA checked in at 3.62. He also regularly logged decidedly above-average strikeout numbers. His strikeout rate ranked in the 81st percentile or better in each of the four seasons.

All told, the veteran was one of just six qualified starters to finish in the top 15 in the league in FIP, strikeouts per nine innings and pitcher wins during that span.  The other five? Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Shane Bieber, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Elsewhere, Woodruff also looked very much like himself earlier this season. Of course, that was before landing on the injured list, and in a rather small sample size, but it’s encouraging.

Brandon Woodruff Since 2020*

*All data via FanGraphs

If you’re the type of fantasy manager who likes to take big swings and big risks, trading for Woodruff is probably the right move for you. Of course, it is a gamble, and not one without pitfalls, but the reward could be significant.


Julio Teheran


Arguably the biggest surprise of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation this season has been the success of Julio Teheran.

The veteran has made six starts for the National League Central club this year, logging 35.1 innings in the process. As has been the case with him in years past, his strikeout numbers aren’t all that high. Teheran has just 23 strikeouts so far as of the beginning of play on Tuesday.

However, he’s been excellent in limiting walks and hard contact, two of the key reasons why he’s sporting a 1.53 ERA and a 3.92 FIP so far this season.

With a strong sinker and cutter pairing, Teheran has not only been able to avoid plenty of barrels but he’s also been able to fill up the strike zone to a degree as well. The right-hander’s overall 50.6% zone rate is on track to be his highest since a 50.9% metric during the 2019 campaign.

Julio Teheran’s Sinker In 2023
Julio Teheran’s Cutter In 2023

Somewhat unsurprisingly, due to the pairing, Teheran ranks in the 72nd percentile or better in each of the following categories: xBA (.223 72nd percentile), barrel rate (6.1%, 75th), xwOBA (.286, 78th), xSLG (.354, 76th), walk rate (6.1, 81st), and hard-hit rate (33.7%, 81st).

All told, the veteran starter’s ability to induce contact and avoid barrelsall the while posting lower strikeout metricsmake him a pitcher who is probably a better real-life starting option than a fantasy starting option.

Still, his ability to keep runs off the board makes him an intriguing streaming candidate moving forward, especially in the right matchups, and particularly for fantasy managers either in deeper leagues or with a team built around pitchers with high-strikeout numbers.


Freddy Peralta


While Teheran has arguably been the biggest surprise in the Milwaukee rotation, Freddy Peralta might be the biggest disappointment so far.

It hasn’t been an ideal season for the 27-year-old, who owns a 4.65 ERA in 15 starts spanning 81.1 innings, adding strikeouts while surrendering 33 walks and 14 home runs. Elsewhere, his FIP (4.68) isn’t all that far removed from his ERA.

All in all, not an ideal season so far, though we’ve seen glimpses of Peralta finding success at times. Enough glimpses that there’s potential for some sort of rebound.

First and foremost, Peralta has allowed three runs or fewer while striking out at least seven batters and throwing a minimum of five innings in six of his 15 starts so far.

Overall, the right-hander is still posting reasonably solid underlying metrics across the board.

Freddy Peralta In The Last Two Seasons

For reference, Peralta logged a 3.58 ERA and a 3.06 FIP in 78 innings last season, to go along with 86 strikeouts and 27 walks allowed.

And that’s all without mentioning the starter’s Stuff+ metrics this season. The right-hander is sporting 107 Stuff+ to go along with a 100 Location+ and a 104 Pitching+, according to FanGraphs. Those metrics aren’t terribly far off from the numbers Peralta posted in 2021 when he logged a 2.81 ERA, 3.12 FIP, and 195 strikeouts in 144.1 innings. That season, the right-hander logged a 110 Stuff+, a 98 Location+, and a 104 Pitching+, per FanGraphs.

Really, his only issue has been home runs and barrels.

Peralta has surrendered 14 home runs on the season and is sporting a 9.4% barrel rateup from 3.5% last yearthat would be the second-highest of his career.

And while those aren’t concerns to simply write off, it is worth noting that 11 of the 14 home runs Peralta has allowed, along with 16 of the 21 barrels he’s surrendered, came in an eight-start stretch from May 2 through June 6

And while he’s struggled with the home run ball at times, 11 of the 14 home runs the starter has allowed this year came in an eight-start stretch from May 2 through June 6. What’s more, Peralta’s xHR number for the season is a bit lower than his season-long total for home runs allowed, sitting at a 12.2 metric.

All told he’s given up only five barrels in his other seven starts, including just one in his last two outings.

It’s entirely possible that Peralta reverts back to allowing more runs and barrels after a strong couple of starts, but if the eight-start stretch from May through early June continues to fade into the background, the 28-year-old could have some intriguing bounce-back potential.

Of course, it might be unreasonable to expect him to suddenly revert back to the pitcher who posted a 2.81 ERA in 144.1 innings in 2021, but given how much he’s struggled, it’s possible another manager in your league might be willing to part with Peralta for a much less impactful fantasy player.

If that’s the case, now might be the time to start working out a trade.



Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

2 responses to “The Fantasy Potential In The Brewers Rotation”

  1. Corbin's Mother says:

    Uh, Corbin Burnes isn’t fantasy relevant?

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