NL Central Division: Youngsters that cracked their teams' starting rotation
St. Louis has turned it into an art form, producing quality starters from their farm system, while Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Chicago are trying to follow suit. Here's a look at the homegrown pitchers within the Central division that are now in the big leagues.
Giving young, homegrown starting pitchers an opportunity to crack the starting rotation has not really been Milwaukee's forte. At least not in GM Doug Melvin's tenure. Since he took over the job back in 2002, the Brewers have sent only a handful of starting pitchers to the mound that they have drafted and brought up through the ranks of their minor league system.
Ben Sheets, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Para and Chris Narveson(drafted by St. Louis) have all had relative success at the major league level. It took a decade for the Brewers to develop that group of starting pitchers, mainly relying on signing and over paying veteran free agents to fill out their rotations from year-to-year. Apart from their NLCS run in 2011 in which Melvin traded prospects for starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Now, the Brewers have two youngsters in their starting rotation in Wily Peralta and rookie Hiram Burgos. Mike Fiers started out the year in the rotation before being sent down due to a rough start to the season.
In spring training, Peralta, Fiers and 2004 first round draft pick Mark Rogers all competed for a spot in the starting rotation.
The trend we are starting to see out of the Brewers that we haven't seen in years has been used by other teams in the division. Cincinnati and St. Louis, most notably, have been very good at drafting, developing and churning out talented and successful starting pitchers over the years.
Here's a look at the young starting pitchers within the division, that were drafted by their team and now are starting for their club in 2013.
Chicago Cubs - Jeff Zamardzija (9 GS, 56.2 IP, 2W - 5L, 3.49 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Cincinnati Reds - Mike Leake (8 GS, 48.1 IP, 3W - 2L, 3.72 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) and Tony Cingrani (5 GS, 28.0 IP, 2W - 0L, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)
Milwaukee Brewers - Wily Peralta (8 GS, 45.0 IP, 3W - 3L, 5.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) and Hiram Burgos (4 GS, 21.0 IP, 1W - 1L, 6.86 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Pittsburgh Pirates - Jeff Locke (8 GS, 45.2 IP, 3W - 1L, 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) and James McDonald (6 GS, 29.2 IP, 2W - 2L, 5.76 ERA, 1.65 WHIP)
St. Louis Cardinals - Lance Lynn (8 GS, 50.0 IP, 6W - 1L, 2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and Shelby Miller (8 GS, 51.1 IP, 5W - 2L, 1.40 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)
Notes: The Brewers have a collection of promising young starters on the cusp of development and breaking through to the majors. These players are one of the more talented groups that Milwaukee has brought through their minor league system in quite some time.
Here's what they've done in the minors so far this season:
Tyler Thornburg - RHP Nashville (AAA): 0-4, 5.59 ERA
Taylor Jungmann - RHP Huntsville (AA): 3-4, 5.35 ERA
Johnny Hellweg - RHP Nashville (AAA): 1-4, 4.41 ERA
Jed Bradley - LHP Brevard County (A+): 3-1, 3.69 ERA
Jimmy Nelson - RHP Huntsville (AA): 4-2, 2.36 ERA
Drew Gagnon - RHP Brevard County (A+): 3-3, 5.45 ERA
Ariel Pena - RHP Huntsville (AA): 2-3, 3.47 ERA