Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Brewer Breakdown - Starting Pitching

Owner Mark Antanasio opened his thick wallet and dolled out major cash for former Cardinal Jeff Suppan. Soup bolsters a Brewer rotation which is easily the strongest they’ve had in at least a decade. Gone are the days of Matt Kinney, Rueben Quevedo (pictured), Allen Levralt, and Jeff Juden.

2006 Stats:
Ben Sheets: 6-7, 3.82, 106 IP
Jeff Suppan: 12-7, 4.12, 190 IP
Chris Capuano: 11-12, 4.03, 221 IP
Dave Bush: 12-11, 4.41, 210 IP
Claudio Vargas: 12-10, 4.83, 167 IP

The Good: 1-4, it’s about as deep a rotation as there is in the NL. Suppan was a very good addition. He never gets hurt (knock on wood), has playoff experience, you can pencil him in for 190 innings and has a great track record at Miller Park. Cappy made the All-Star team last year. Bush came from Toronto in the Overbay trade and pitched better than most expected. His 12 wins lead the Brewers while logging an solid 210 innings. As for Vargas, the good thing is we have Carlos Villanueva to fill in. But this whole party starts with Sheets. He’s a bona fide ace with Cy Young potential. …

The Bad:…if he can stay healthy. It’s always something with this guy: back, ear, shoulder…nothing major, which makes it even more annoying. I just can’t count on this guy for a full season. Cappy was terrible after the break. I like the Suppan signing, but did they overspend? St. Louis is a pretty shrewd organization. Reports had them only offering him a max of $20 million (the Crew gave him double that amount). Do they know something we don’t? Will Bush repeat his breakout year? Vargas sucks, here’s the proof. The sooner Villanueva replaces him, the better.

2007 Predictions:
Ben Sheets: 9-6, 3.19, 130 IP
Jeff Suppan: 11-10, 4.32, 198 IP
Chris Capuano: 14-11, 4.13, 217 IP
Dave Bush: 10-13, 4.31, 201 IP
Claudio Vargas: 2-6, 5.21, 78 IP
Carlos Villanueva: 7-5, 3.72, 135 IP

Grade: B. If you guaranteed me Sheets will pitch 190+ innings and Villanueva is the 5th starter, I’d bump it up a bit.

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