Yesterday, the Brewers traded for Zack Greinke, picking up one of the best pitchers in the major leagues.Greinke’s addition comes two weeks after the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays. Those two players have made the Brewers a better team, but is it enough push the 77-85 Brewers into playoff contention?
In 2010, the Brewers rotation was one of the worst in baseball. As a group, Brewers starting pitchers were next-to-last in the National League with a 4.65 ERA. Their 7.7 Wins Above Replacement (via Fangraphs.com) were better than only the Pirates. And Pittsburgh lost 105 games.
Greinke and Marcum will likely join Yovani Gallardo, Chris Narveson and Randy Wolf, who return from the 2010 team. Let’s take a look at how this group performed this past season…
If the Brewers had this group as their rotation in 2010, they would have been more than a half-run better in ERA (4.14). That still would have only been good enough for 11th in the NL. However, their FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) suggests this group pitched better than that ERA indicates. A 3.79 FIP would have ranked third in the NL.
But more importantly, this group combined for 15.7 WAR last season. That would have tied the Phillies for the third best total in the NL (Colorado led with 18.9, followed by St. Louis at 15.9). And it would have been eight wins more than Brewers starting pitchers were worth in 2010.
So without making any other moves, the Brewers are already eight wins better in 2011. That would translate to a record of 85-77. That is still six games shy of the 2010 NL Wild Card, but it should be enough to make the Brewers contenders in 2011.
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