Peterson Raising the Bar for Brewers Pitching

As soon as Rick Peterson agreed to come to Milwaukee, Brewers fans heaped expectations on the pitching coach to vastly improve a staff that was among the worst in all of baseball last year. Despite the additions of Randy Wolf, Doug Davis and LaTroy Hawkins, transforming the Brewers pitching staff into an above average group still seems to be a very tall task given how poorly they performed last season.

Peterson doesn’t appear to be interested in tempering the expectations of Brewers fans, however.

“When you take a ball club that won 80 games last year and had one of the worst starting pitching statistical numbers in all of baseball, you realize that it is time to make some changes at that particular time, and ultimately that’s going to make a huge difference,” Peterson said in an interview with 1250 WSSP.

He added that fans should be confident in this team going into the 2010 season.

“I think this is a really exciting time for Milwaukee because with the kind of fanbase that they have with the team that was on the field last year and the run production in the middle of that lineup with Prince and Braun, you’re talking about the potential of a really special team,” Peterson said. “If the pitching can come together and match what the players on the field did last year, this could be some exciting times for Milwaukee Brewers fans.”

There’s a part of me that’s wary of buying into the Peterson factor. We’re officially past the “Hot Stove” season and into the period of boundless optimism that preludes each baseball season. Nearly every story we read, every interview we hear and every bit of news that comes across the computer screen over the next two plus months will be positive. Some veteran will be in the best shape of his life. Another guy will have made an adjustment at the plate and be on the verge of his best season ever. One of the pitchers will add a pitch that will suddenly make him dominant. We’ll overanalyze every Spring Training pitch and at bat. And we’ll fall in love with the Brad Nelsons and Gary Glovers of the world. As a Brewers fan, I’ve bought into a lot of false hope over the years and it usually wears off well before the calendar turns from April to May.

That said, I can’t help but get excited whenever I listen to this guy talk pitching. He is fully immersed in the art of pitching — the advanced statistical analysis, breaking down deliveries, forming detailed individual strategies tailored to each pitcher’s strengths and weaknesses, developing confidence and mental toughness in the pitchers… He says exactly what I want my team’s pitching coach to say and his past results back him up. He seems to be the mentor young pitchers like Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra need and the foundation veterans like Wolf, Davis and Hawkins can thrive with.

The additions Doug Melvin brought in this offseason will no doubt help the Brewers improve their pitching staff in 2010, but if Peterson delivers on the expectations the fans and organization are placing on his shoulders, he could be the most important offseason addition.

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10 Responses to “Peterson Raising the Bar for Brewers Pitching”

  1. D'Amico's one good year Says:

    My brain is so polluted from years of Bad Brewers Baseball ™, that, even though I know better, when I saw “Peterson” in the headline my brain though Kyle Peterson. And then I cried.

  2. brewerfever78 Says:

    So very true. Remember Bill Hall’s lasik surgery last winter?

    But I am excited for the season too. The starting pitching can’t be any worse.

  3. Johnny Says:

    I think the pitching staff will be vastly improved. Wolf won’t be as good a last year, but I could see Bush and Parra stepping it up.

  4. Scottage Sacknuts Says:

    I feel that the two additions to the rotation (and Peterson) should equal 10 more wins in 2010 (90-72). The bullpen is solid and shoud be conserved through out the second half thanks to the 400+ innings that DD and Wolfster bring to the table. They should be more aggressive on the bases (even w/ Macha as manager) and be able to position themselves better when Braun & Fielder come to the plate.

    Oh hell, what do I know…..

  5. Jared Says:

    I think Bush and Parra would improve on last year’s numbers with me coaching them this season. They just had down years where everything seemed to go wrong (injury for Bush, youth for Parra). So, they should bounce back. We definitely haven’t seen the best of Yo yet either. And if Wolf and Davis perform as well as they have over the last handful of seasons or close to it, that’ll be an improvement on what the Brewers had.

    That’s all before even taking Peterson into account.

    Obviously, you never know what’s going to happen with injuries, but I think the Brewers should at least have a middle-of-the-pack starting rotation this year. And they have the upside of a top-10 rotation. They lack a lockdown ace, but their good depth helps make up for it and Gallardo has the potential to fill that role as early as this season.

  6. Jared Says:

    Oh yeah, I’m trying to convince myself that Melvin and Macha will push Suppan out of the rotation, which is obviously the right move with the options that are available to them. If a healthy Bush or Parra are in the pen or cut in favor of Suppan, I might have a meltdown. Don’t make the bad contract worse.

  7. Jon K Says:

    I have the belief that the pitching coach can be a bit overrated. Mike Maddux was a genius because he had CC Sabathia and got a huge payday from Texas and Bill Castro was a turd because he was left with garbage after CC and Sheets were gone (notice that Maddux was quick to leave town after 2008). Bottom line, if you have crap on your team, you will get crap results. Now, with that being said, I like Peterson’s approach. Maybe he will prove me wrong.

  8. brewerfever78 Says:

    Give Maddux some credit. The Rangers ranked in the top half in the AL in pitching last year after he took over. That’s the team that scored 17 runs in a game in 2008 and lost. But Castro did get a raw deal though.

    I am very optimistic about the season. The starting pitching can only improve. We have some more options with the speed of Escobar and Gomez. The difference between 75-80 wins and 90+ wins is this…Can Braun, Fielder, and Hoffman maintain their incredible 2009 seasons? And will Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks contribute this year?

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