Last offseason, Milwaukee made a couple bold trades to strengthen its pitching rotation by bringing Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum over from the American League.
Both moves paid off as those two studs each had an ERA under 3.85 and helped the Brewers make the postseason on the strength of a 3.63 team ERA.
This offseason, the Brewers did not add or subtract from their rotation as they are expected to have the same starters as they did for most of last season. Grienke, Marcum, Gallardo, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson made all but seven of the Brewers starts last season.
It is tough to argue with the success that Milwaukee got from its starting pitchers last year, although counting on Wolf and Narveson at the back of the rotation for another season could be risky.
That said, Milwaukee's top three pitchers are as good as just about anyone else in the National League.
Grienke missed the start of last season and struggled early with Milwaukee, but was great during the second half of the season to finish with 16 wins and a 3.83 ERA. I expect the wins to go up and the ERA to go down as he gets a healthy start to the season.
The fact he was so much better at home than on the road concerns some, but not me. If you can get spectacular starts in half of his games at home, you take it, and hope he gets a bit better on the road next season.
I'm keeping Grienke in a $300 salary-cap auction league at $54 because I think he will go for more this year since he is healthy at the start of the season and I expect a stud season from him.
Marcum has had an ERA under 3.75 for each of the past three seasons and showed no struggles switching leagues as he won 13 games with a 3.54 ERA. Expect similar numbers this season.
Yovani Gallardo is the mainstay of the staff as he prepares for his fourth season in the Brewers' rotation. He's been very consistent with between 13 and 17 wins with an ERA between 3.52 and 3.84 during the past three seasons. Again, no reason to expect anything less than that this season.
Randy Wolf was a fantasy surprise last year as he stayed healthy and produced practically every fifth day. He had 13 wins and a 3.69 ERA while making 33 starts.
Now 35, Wolf hasn't missed a start in the last four years, but his performance has been up and down. His ERA have been 4.30, 3.23, 4.17, 3.69 during that stretch and I think that trend will continue this season by creeping back over 4.00.
Narveson has been in Milwaukee's rotation for the past two seasons, but hopefully he hasn't been in your fantasy lineup. His ERA of 4.99 in 2010 dropped to 4.45 last year, but I don't see another steep decline, but intead a plateau around 4.50.
Narveson was rocked in the postseason and had hip surgery after the season, so health becomes a question as well headed into spring training.
The only other pitcher to start a game for Milwaukee last year was Marco Estrada, who had a 4.08 ERA in 43 games, including seven starts. Not exactly numbers that warrant a flyer in fantasy leagues.
Written by Steve Mims exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Steve on Twitter @nwsportscards
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