Inbox: Who will open ’17 in Brewers’ rotation?

Just curious what your thoughts are on who the starting five pitchers will be next year for the Brewers. — @mreuter74

Last season, nine pitchers started a game for Milwaukee, six of whom made at least 19 starts. So it is wise not to get too hung up on the top five. That said, my depth chart on goes Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, Chase Anderson, Matt Garza and Tommy Milone, and I’m reasonably confident in the first four.

Guerra and Davies were Milwaukee’s best two starters, so they look like locks, assuming they are still Brewers on Opening Day. It’s too soon to give up on Nelson, even if his development has taken longer than many fans would like. Ditto Peralta, despite his tough start last season. The Brewers liked him enough to give him the ball on Opening Day, and his August and September performance put Peralta back in the picture.

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After that, it gets difficult. I put Anderson ahead of Garza because Anderson is 29, has four more years of club control, and was very effective last season once Craig Counsell and Derek Johnson found the right place to pull Anderson in favor of relief. But Garza will earn $12.5 million in the final year of his contract, and given his effectiveness late last season, I’m sure Brewers officials will discuss the merits of starting him earlier in the season in an effort to use him as trade bait come July.

As for Milone, we’ll see. His one-year, $1.25 million contract is non-guaranteed, and he could wind up in the bullpen if he doesn’t crack the season-opening rotation. Former first-round Draft pick Taylor Jungmann will try to pitch his way back to the rotation. Prospects Josh Hader, Jorge Lopez and Brandon Woodruff figure to start the season at the …

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