Our season report card series continues. Here we will be looking at how Brandon Woodruff performed during the 2021 season.
In 2018 and 2019, Brandon Woodruff had successful seasons as one of the top end starting pitchers in the Brewers rotation. This year, he took a huge step forward and established himself as one of the top pitchers in the league.
As the teams opening day starter for the second year in a row, Woodruff went just four innings in his first outing while allowing three runs. After that, his next 10 starts from April 7th to May 30th were incredible. During that stretch, each outing went at least six innings and his ERA was at a season best 1.27.
A big improvement this year for Woodruff was his ability to effectively and more efficiently pitch to lineups the second and third times through the lineup. This year, improved command and usage of the curveball played a big factor in this. Usage of the curveball went from 6.4% in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021.
By seasons end, he made 30 starts and ended with a 2.56 ERA. In 18 starts, he allowed just one earned run or fewer and he had five starts with double digit strikeout totals. Among qualified pitchers, he ranked third in WHIP (.096), third in batting average against (.200), and 11th in strikeouts (211).
With pitching so well, Woodruff earned Cy Young votes and ended up finishing fifth overall. Of his 21 points, he received two votes for fourth place and 17 votes for fifth place. Teammate Corbin Burnes was the Cy Young award winner.