An MRI of Freddy PeraltaBrewers’ aching right shoulder revealed back shoulder strain, and the right-hander is expected to miss ‘significant’ time, Brewers manager says Craig Counsell announced to reporters on Monday (Twitter link, with video, via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). The Brewers expect Peralta to be able to return this season, but a specific timeline is still unclear. Surgery shouldn’t be necessary, Counsell added. left handed Aaron Ashby is expected to enter Milwaukee’s rotation in his place, joining Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Eric Lauer and Adrian Houser.
As deep and talented as Milwaukee’s pitching staff is, there’s no denying the loss of Peralta is a major one for the Brew Crew. The right-hander hasn’t been himself this year, as evidenced by a pedestrian ERA of 4.42 and a diminished (albeit still excellent) strikeout rate of 30.3% in his first 38 2/3 frames. That’s solid production for a fourth or fifth starter, but a far cry from Peralta’s dominating 2021 campaign, when he posted a 2.81 ERA and 33.6% strikeout rate on 144 frames 1/ 3.
The group of Burnes, Woodruff and Peralta seemed like arguably the best rotational trio of any team in the league, but it didn’t go that way this year. Burnes was dominant, following his Cy Young victory in 2021 with a brilliant 2.26 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. But Peralta and Woodruff have struggled to match last year’s outstanding results. Rather, it was Lauer who sped things up considerably, while through his first seven corners the underrated Houser remarkably perfectly replicated last year’s 3.22 ERA.
Ashby will now step into that mix and hopes to solidify his place in Milwaukee’s rotation for the foreseeable future. A former fourth-round pick, Ashby has generally been considered the Brewers’ top pitching prospect in recent seasons and, so far in 2022, has been eyeing the role. He splits his time between the rotation and the bullpen, earning a 3.49 ERA with a strong 27.6% strikeout rate and 64.8% rushing rate. Ashby’s drive was uneven as advertised (13.8% walk rate), but he minimizes hard contacts and gets tons of chases off the plate (35.5%). He’s yet to pitch more than four innings in an outing this season, so that will say how well Ashby is doing when working deeper into games and maybe knocking down a formation for third. time.