Roughly 11 percent of the Major League Baseball regular season has been played so it's prudent not to turn small sample sizes into big, sweeping conclusions. And yet it's tough not to notice that the best starting rotation does not reside in Los Angeles or San Diego or Cleveland or any other place one might expect. Instead, that honor belongs to the Milwaukee Brewers' quintet, who have combined for a 1.99 ERA thus far en route to early supremacy in the National League Central.
Leading the way is Corbin Burnes, who is 2-0 with a 0.37 ERA and a historically great start in the walks-strikeout department. He's fanned 40 without issuing a free pass, the best ratio to start a season outside of Kenley Jansen, who does his work out of the bullpen.
Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta each have sub-2.25 ERAs and sub-1.00 WHIPs. Opposing hitters against this trio are floundering in the low .100s. Brett Anderson has been above average and fifth starter Adrian Houser has been serviceable.
This rotation may lack the star power of other more expensive units. But there's a lot to like. Burnes may emerge as the best pitcher in baseball this year. Both he and Woodruff have postseason experience and both performed admirably in those October pressure-cookers. Peralta, like the others, appears on the cusp of really breaking out.
All of this is to say that Milwaukee may have quietly assembled a rotation capable of competing for a World Series this year. With so much emphasis on power pitching in the postseason, it's worth noting that the Brewers' rotation is third in baseball in strikeouts, behind San Diego and Los Angeles.
There's more than five months' worth of ball to play. There's no need to overreact. Still, there's good reason to believe this isn't fool's gold. And that this group will continue to give an offense-in-progress opportunities to do just enough to win with regularity.
Something to keep an eye on, calmly and rationally.