With the Milwaukee Brewers' pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in less than a week, the most compelling position battle will be for the fifth spot in the Brewers starting rotation. Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, and Mike Fiers are already penciled in the Brewers pitching rotation, with highly regarded pitching prospect Wily Peralta expected to be the number four starter. This leaves Mark Rogers and Chris Narveson left to battle for the number five spot. Both of these pitchers have many things to like about them, with only a few things that could hurt their chances at winning the fifth spot in the Brewers rotation.
First, Chris Narveson has more experience than Mark Rogers at pitching in the majors. He has not been overly impressive in his career with a 4.67 ERA in 394 2/3 innings. He does struggle with his command at times, but even with his struggles, he has a respectable strikeouts per nine innings ratio of 7.4 in his career. Narveson is also coming off of a season where he only made two starts due to shoulder injury to his pitching arm, and when he did pitch, he struggled mightily having a 7.00 ERA in nine innings. Chris Narveson isn't a bad option for the Brewers as their number five starter because of his experience, but he is coming off of an injury that could hurt his chances of winning the fifth spot in the rotation.
Mark Rogers, once the highly touted pitching prospect who the Brewers drafted fifth overall out of high school in 2004, is finally trying to become a fixture in the Brewers starting rotation this spring training. Mark Rogers has had a taste of the major leagues in 2010 and 2012 when the Brewers called him up in September, but due to multiple injures over his career, he hasn't developed into the ace the Brewers always envisioned him being. In his limited time in the major leagues, Rogers has shown glimpses of being an excellent pitcher, with a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings. He has also shown great control with only walking 17 batters, while striking out 52 batters in those 49 innings. Mark Rogers definitely has more potential and talent than Narveson, but his lack of experience could cost Rogers a spot in the starting rotation.
One of these pitchers will make the starting rotation while the other pitcher will either be sent to the bullpen, or will be pitching for a different team on Opening Day because both of these players are out of minor league options. Mark Rogers will be the number five starter for the Brewers because he is overall a better pitcher with more potential than Narveson, and the Brewers can not afford to let a talented arm like Rogers sit in the bullpen or on another team.