Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’
Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of our 2013 review & preview series. You can read the rest here.
Since 2006, Milwaukee’s Opening Day lineup has had one constant: Rickie Weeks at second base.
Review of 2012:
Projected by Baseball Info Solutions to carry a slash line of .262/.355/.453 in 2012, Weeks slow start to the season led to a career worst .230/.328/.400 over 157 games, but his season was really a tale of two halves. Coming into the All Star break, the 2011 NL All Star was batting just .199/.314/.343. With few options available for replacement, due to an already decimated infield, Ron Roenicke stuck with Weeks and was rewarded for his patience. Weeks batted .261/.343/.457 during the second half of the season (almost identical to his projected line).
If there is a silver lining to his dismal 2012 campaign, it has to be in regards to his plate discipline. Never know for being particularly patient at the plate, Weeks showed signs of improvement in this area walking 74 times in 677 plate appearances or roughly 1 in every 10 appearances.
Weeks two biggest shortcomings are his defense and his free swinging nature. This is where the unfortunate joke of “You can’t spell Weeks without 2 Es and a K” springs from.
Defensively, Weeks is detrimental to Milwaukee’s middle infield. Errors have plagued Weeks career in the majors, a downfall evident in the fact that Weeks has led the majors in errors by a second baseman 5 times in the past 8 seasons (’05, ’06, ’08, ’11, ’12), and taken 3rd twice (’07 and ’10). In 2009, an injury saw Weeks only appear in 37 games, thus not giving him enough “opportunities” for this dubious distinction.
Additionally, despite his newfound patience shown in the statistics above, Weeks still struck out 169 times in 2012. Based on 677 plate appearances, that’s 1 strikeout in every 4 appearances. Ouch!
Projected 2013 Stat Line (according to Baseball Info Solutions):
147/592 over 152 games, 23 HR, 66 RBI, 74 BB, 164 K, .248/.345/.429
Depth of Position:
So, what happens if Weeks struggles again this year, or goes down with an injury? Now that back up Eric Farris was acquired by the Seattle Mariners in this years Rule Five Draft, it appears that the next in line for the spot would be Scooter Gennett. Ranked 7th in the list of Milwaukee’s top 20 prospects, the undersized Gennett isn’t known for his power, but makes up for it in consistency. A career .300+ hitter in the minors, Gennett makes up for his lack of power with speed on the base paths and should be an adequate replacement should his services be required.
Come on back tomorrow for a review of the shortstop position and the return of a former Brewer to the fold.
Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes.
The number 4 seems to carry with it, a very vexing connotation in Wisconsin sports lore, and as of yesterday, the number has reared it’s ugly head again. With no disrespect to Paul Molitor, who’s number 4 was retired by the Brewers in 1999, the number is best known to carry hurt feelings over a former NFL quarterback named Burt something-or-another. However, as of last night, it has become the “Magic Number” for the St Louis Cardinals.
With Milwaukee’s’ loss to the Cincinnati Reds and St Louis’ win over the hapless Houston Astros, it appears that the clock may be quickly approaching midnight on the Cinderella story that was the Brewers’ post season push. Now, is this to say that all hope is lost for the Crew? Absolutely not. Hell, it’s baseball, and if I’ve learned anything from watching the game over the years it is that just when things seem to be at their bleakest, the baseball gods have a funny way of throwing a 12-6 curveball that reshuffles the status quo.
If the Cardinals win today, again, DO NOT PANIC! They will pick up a win, maybe 2, over a lesser club like Houston. It’s just the way it is. The positive is that while Milwaukee may struggle with the Reds, they finish at home with 3 games each against the Astros and Padres, while St Louis will be at home taking on 2 teams that are contenders, the Nationals and Reds.
The Brewers can pull this out. It may however come down to sweeping these final 8 games to do it. Fans I ask one favor of you, don’t stop Brewlieving!
Shaun Marcum’s future with the Brewers seems likely to come to an end in the next 24-48 hours to the surprise of almost no one (Marcum included). Marcum, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, was officially placed on waivers this week, making this a situation of when, not if, he will be dealt.
“I’m sure I would have been traded if I was healthy prior to the [July 31 Trade] Deadline,” Marcum said. Had this indeed been the case, Milwaukee could have avoided waivers, and traded Marcum outright, however at that time he was still rehabbing from elbow stiffness which had him sidelined for two months.
One potential suitor could be the Dodgers. Despite recently completing a monster trade with the Red Sox which included the acquisition of starting pitcher Josh Beckett, LA continues to look for another starter due to the recent loss of Chad Billingsley to the disabled list and setbacks to the rehab of Ted Lilly.
The Sporting News reported Wednesday morning that potential options could include recently demoted Ranger Roy Oswalt and the Marlins’ Mark Buehrle. So, why could Marcum potentially land there instead? Well, there’s a couple of reasons.
1) Of the three, Marcum has the lowest ERA (3.19) and WHIP (1.168) this season.
While Buehrle’s stats are somewhat similar (3.62 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP), Oswalt’s numbers thus far this season are disappointing. His 5.94 ERA and WHIP of 1.560 are both career highs, not the sort of numbers you are looking for when trying to fix holes in your starting rotation.
2) He’s healthy and rested.
The biggest complaint about Marcum last season was that he fell apart down the stretch. That should not be the case this year. This season, he has only logged 87.1 innings, less than half of last seasons 200.1, and he should still have gas in the tank once the playoffs begin.
Additionally, after completing 3 minor league rehab starts and 1 major league outing, Marcum is showing no lingering signs of injury.
According to Brewers’ skipper Ron Roenicke, “If something was going to show up, I think we would have seen it by now. I understand that there’s a little bit [of concern there], but you’re not asking Shaun to do this for the next two years. You’re talking about right now. You’re looking at this small window where you have an opportunity to win.”
3) He’s the youngest of the three at just 30 years old.
While this by itself isn’t much of a reason to make the move, I’m sure it will factor into decision making. So there is that, which is nice.
Cream City Cables will be staying on top of this story and will bring you updates as they develop. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (@kevinkimmes, @NPetrashek, and @ryanhenrysmith2) for news and smart ass comments as only we can bring you.
I’ve had some really crappy birthdays over the years. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t all bad, but to set up today’s topic, let’s look at one of the bad ones.
The year before I met my wife, I spent my birthday in an Irish pub, by myself, because none of my friends felt like meeting me out to celebrate. I sat there for hours sucking down Jameson and Guinness waiting for anyone I knew to arrive, but no one ever showed. Did it suck celebrating my birthday alone? Yeah, it did. But, how would it compare to getting fired on your birthday? Not even close.
Enter Randy Wolf.
On Wednesday morning, the Brewers starter received his official release from the club after compiling a record of 3-10 in 24 starts. His 5.69 ERA is a career worst, and his WHIP of 1.574 is the highest since his rookie season in 1999, so the release wasn’t exactly surprising. What was surprising was the timing of his release. You see, today is Randy Wolf’s 36th birthday.
While many folks will tell you the move was overdue (just check out the response to the release on the team’s Facebook page), you have to feel for the guy at least a little bit. Think about it, you wake up and maybe have your favorite breakfast, go online and see who’s wished you birthday greetings, take a shower, and feeling refreshed head into work feeling good. But you’re not there long before you notice something feels off with your co-workers, and no sooner do you begin to try and sort this out than the boss calls you into the office and asks you to close the door. Your stomach drops out.
The next thing you know you’re getting the “We’ve decided to go in another direction speech” and all of your stuff, which was kept in your locker, has been haphazardly thrown in a box. Finally to add insult to injury (and as someone with a degree in management, I will never understand this next move), they wish you success in your “future endeavors”. Way to pad the blow, jackass!
To Randy’s credit, he seemed to roll with the punches pretty well:
“It’s pretty bad, but, you know, the way I look at it is that Day 1 of age 36 starts off on a bad note. It can only go up from here.”
We at Cream City Cables would like to wish Randy Wolf all the best in his future endeavors (sorry, couldn’t resist), and hope he was at least able to take some comfort in the fact that his release came with a sizable severance package. Oh yeah, and happy birthday!
For those of you who didn’t stay up to catch last night’s game against the San Diego Padres, prepare to start kicking yourselves, as what you are about to read is the kind of thing no self respecting Brewers fan should have missed:
With this performance, Braun now leads the team in 4 offensive categories:
- Batting Average (.294)
- Runs (16, tied with Hart)
- Homeruns (7)
- RBI (17)
Additionally, the performance carried some additional records with it:
- Braun is the first player, home or visitor, to have a 3 homerun game at Petco Park.
- This was Braun’s first 3 homerun game of his career.
- Braun is the firstplayer with 3 homeruns and a triple since Boston Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn accomplished the feat on June 18, 1975.
- The last major leaguer to have 15 total bases in a game was Dustin Pedroia on June 24, 2010.
- Braun has set anew Brewers franchise record with 15 total bases in a single game. The previous high was 14 by Richie Sexson in 2003.
We at Cream City Cables would like to extend our congratulations to Ryan on this monumental performance, and a great end to the 1st month of the season. And don’t forget you can follow Cream City Cables on Facebook as well as on Twitter (@kevinkimmes, @NPetrashek, and@ryanhenrysmith2) for all the latest Brewers (and Timber Rattler) news and opinions.
By: Ryan Smith
A few weeks back, I wrote an article that compared Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo. In that article, I mentioned that Zack Greinke will be a free agent after the 2012 season and he was currently planning on entering the season without an agent.
Well, now it appears that Greinke has had a change of heart.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported on Monday that Greinke was now planning on hiring an agent to handle contract negotiations for the talented right-hander. Bowden writes:
“On Sunday, Greinke said he’s changed his mind and decided to hire an agent. He is expected to consider several of the top agents in the business including Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, Casey Close formerly of CAA, Adam Katz from Wasserman and Seth Levinson from ACES.”
So what are we to make of this new development with Greinke?
Let me begin by saying that I think this could be a step in the right direction.
I’ve read a few reports and numerous comments about how the Brewers missed their opportunity to get Greinke at a discount. After all, if he would have signed without an agent, there would have been no commission paid out, which would mean Greinke might sign for less. Some people also argued that negotiating one-on-one with Greinke would have given the Brewers a major advantage because, as intelligent as Greinke is, he’s not trained to be an agent.
To those arguments, I’d have to respectfully disagree.
First of all, who can say what Greinke would have demanded if he handled his own negotiations? I’m quite certain Greinke would have been well-prepared for that process, comparing his numbers and achievements with other pitchers who had ventured into free agency. He probably would have used the contracts they signed as a basis for his own potential deal. But why should we assume that he would have accepted a discount since his contract would be commission-free?
On top of that, I viewed Greinke’s lack of an agent as a detriment to the Brewers’ desires to sign him to a long-term deal before he would reach free agency. Basically, without an agent, I just didn’t see it happening once pitchers and catchers reported. At that point, I figured Greinke would be focused on getting ready for 2012, not worrying about 2013 and beyond.
Now, if Greinke signs with one of those previously-mentioned agents, negotiations can continue even while the Brewers’ co-ace gets ready for the regular season.
But why, after so recently stating that he planned to enter free agency sans-agent, do we suddenly find Greinke changing his mind?
I could be completely wrong here (which would not be the first time), but I think this can be viewed as a positive sign for Milwaukee.Greinke has not tried to hide the fact that he has enjoyed his time in Milwaukee. And what’s not to like? He’s playing on a team that seems to genuinely enjoy the game of baseball. He has the reigning MVP putting runs on the board. He is greeted with a rousing ovation every time he takes the mound because this rabid fan base loves him.
The way I see it, maybe Greinke isn’t just paying lip service when he says he wants to stay in Milwaukee. Maybe he really does want to stay here. If that is the case, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle negotiations now that Spring Training has arrived, what would be the most logical thing for him to do?
Hire an agent to take care of that for him.
Look, I’m not saying this is a sign that Greinke is definitely read to commit long-term to the Brewers. It’s just not that simple when you’re talking about a guy who is going to be making somewhere between $80-100 million over the next stage of his career. I’ve mentioned that Greinke might be one of the smartest players in Major League Baseball, so maybe he just realized that it wasn’t in his best interests to go into this season without representation.
Still, I can’t help but look at this in a glass-half-full sort of way. Greinke doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who acts impulsively. In fact, he seems more like the kind of guy who would look at any decision from every possible angle before he acts. I think Greinke looked at his options, weighed the pros and cons of hiring an agent, and thought long and hard about what was best for him.
Once Spring Training started, I would have guessed that an agent-free Zack Greinke might be packing his bags next season.
Now? Well, let’s just say I think this is a step in the right direction for the Brew Crew. Even though he may not hire an agent until the end of the season anyway, at least he’s looking long-term and won’t be rushed through the process. He’ll have someone looking out for his best interests, and you can be sure 2012 will be a year that Milwaukee uses to promote the future of the franchise and Greinke’s beneficial role in that future.
And that means that we might be able to have the Greinke/Gallardo discussion for many years to come.
Cheers to that.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always viewed the launch of the Topps Baseball set as one of the earliest signs of spring. Prior to spring training, or even the groundhog seeing (or not seeing) his shadow, the set marks the first sign of hope that another season is on its way despite it’s release in the middle of winter’s icy cold grip.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve made collecting the entire 660 card set a yearly tradition. This year, I thought I would use the blog to share my love for these cardboard keepsakes and to specifically focus on what Brewers fans can expect to find in the first half (Series I is composed of cards 1-330) of this years set .
We’re Number 1, We’re Number 1!
For the second consecutive year, Brewers slugger and 2011 NL MVP, Ryan Braun finds himself on the first card of the set. While this honor is a great one (former Brewers 1st baseman Prince Fielder had graced this spot in 2010 with a photo of his infamous September 2009 walkoff celebration), this year is “doubly” special for Braun.
Why you ask? Well, this year Topps decided to change up their “chase” variants (short printed versions of some cards with alternate photos and lower print runs) which for the last several years had been reserved for the retired greats of seasons past. This year, the focus is on celebrations and off field hijinks, leading to Braun’s card having 2 separate versions. Shown above, is the standard version of Braun’s card depicting him doing what he does best, knocking the crap out of the ball. His alternate card (pictured to the left), features Braun doing his signature “boxing” home run celebration with Fielder.
For those looking for the short print, your best chance is to check with your local hobby shop or eBay as the estimated average of finding a short printed card (of which there are 22) is only 2 per hobby case.
So, Who Else Made The Cut?
Below is a list of the other players who can be found in the main set donning a Brewers uniform. For convenience sake, I’ve broken this down into 2 groups: those currently with the team and those no longer with the team.
Currently With The Team:
# 29 Active NL Wins Leaders (Wolf)
# 66 Nyjer Morgan
#143 George Kottaras
#146 Carlos Gomez
#181 2011 NL Batting Average Leaders (Braun)
#210 Zack Greinke
#262 Shaun Marcum
#272 2011 NLDS Brewers Game 5 (Morgan)
#294 John Axford
No Longer With The Team:
# 57 Yuniesky Betancourt
# 77 2011 NL Home Run Leaders (Fielder)
#136 Casey McGehee
#224 2011 NL Runs Batted In Leaders (Fielder)
#327 Mark Kotsay
Of all of the cards listed above, the two that I love the most are the Nyjer Morgan cards. First, his standard card (#66) is the same photo of him, Braun, and Fielder that graced the cover of the August 29, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated (shown on the left). Due to the national exposure that this photo got, this has become one of those instant classics and was a real surprise to me when I pulled it out of a pack.
The other card to feature Morgan is the 2011 NLDS Brewers Game 5 card (#272). Here we find Morgan in full “Beast Mode” as he celebrates his walk off single that sent the Crew to the NLCS for the first time in franchise history. I love this photo choice so much simply due to the fact that it just sums up the energy and the enthusiasm of the 2011 campaign so perfectly. It’s Brewers baseball, in the post season, and “T-Plush” is supplying the charge. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Digging for Gold: The Inserts
Topps decided to go with a gold motif for this years inserts. This means everything from gold ring toppers, pins, coins and just plain old gold foil can be found in abundance in these subsets. Let’s look at which Brewers, and Brewers alum can be found here.
**Note – I have not included former Brewers below if the card they appear on shows them in another team’s uniform (sorry Minnesota Twins Paul Molitor), with the exception of cards featuring players on the Milwaukee Braves.**
Golden moments is a 50 card set composed of cards celebrating historic moments in MLB history which were accomplished by not only those that have come before, but from today’s stars as well. Here we find two cards of interest: GM-10 which celebrates Prince Fielders “Wake Up, Walk Off” from this past season, as well as GM-15 which celebrates Ryan Braun’s passing of Robin Yount for the longest consecutive game on base streak in franchise history. An autographed version, relic version, an auto/relic variant, as well as a “24k gold infused” version numbered out of 5 pieces are also available for the Braun card.
Additionally, the following players each have relic cards in this subset:
GMR-CH Corey Hart
GMR-CM Casey McGehee
GMR-JA John Axford
GMR-JLU Jonathan Lucroy
GMR-PF Prince Fielder
GMR-PM Paul Molitor
GMR-SM Shaun Marcum
GMR-YG Yovani Gallardo
This 75 card set celebrates the career highlights of 15 legends of the game (5 cards each). Brewers fans, or more specifically Milwaukee baseball fans, may be interested in checking out cards GG51-55 which feature none other than “Hammerin” Hank Aaron as a Milwaukee Brave. As with the Braun card found in Golden Moments, the Hank Aaron cards found in this set also have autographed (numbered out of 10), relic (numbered out of 10), and auto/relic parallels (numbered out of just 5). Additionally, there is a Gold Coin variation which has a production number based on the player’s jersey number (in this case 44) and contains an actual gold coin with the players likeness on it.
These 25 dual-player cards statistically compare a hero of yesteryear to a modern day player. As with the main set, this subset again finds Ryan Braun in the lead-off spot teamed up with none other than “The Ignitor”, Paul Molitor. A dual autographed parallel of this card also exists.
1987 Topps Minis
Topps classic wood grain design from their 1987 set gets the mini treatment in celebration of the sets 25th anniversary. Braun (TM-1) again leads off this 50 card subset and is joined by Brewers ace Zack Greinke (TM-35).
You want something no one else has? How about the actual letters off of this past years All-Star warmup jerseys? That is what Topps is offering in this subset where each piece is numbered 1/1. Fielder (shown at left), Weeks, and Braun all appear here meaning that Brewers Nation will need to figure out how to sort out the 17 total pieces available between these three players.
Topps Silk Collection
100 of the base sets cards were also printed as mini version on gold silk and numbered out of only 50 pieces each. Included in this subset are Ryan Braun (SC-1), Zack Greinke (SC-47), Shaun Marcum (SC-62), and John Axford (SC-81).
Base Set Paralells
Each of the 330 card in the base set features two different parallels: Platinum and Wood. The platinum cards are numbered out of 61 pieces in honor of this being Topps 61st set. These are identical to the base cards with the exception that they sport a platinum colored border. Like the platinum parallels, the wood parallels are also identical to their base cards except that these cards are a tribute to the 1962 set and are all numbered 1/1.
So there you have it, a thorough look at the Brewers cards in this years set so far. I’ll be back with a look at Series II after it is released in June. In the mean time, if you have any questions regarding this set, or card collecting in general feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @kevinkimmes. Happy collecting!
By Kevin Kimmes
The offseason always brings its fair share of speculation. Sometimes this is caused by offseason moves that create an air of hope, potentially transforming an also ran into a contender. Then there’s the agony when a top producer packs up their locker with no hope of returning dealing a crushing blow to their former team and the fans that had cheered them on for years. And of course, there is even the ever optimistic mantra of the Cubs fan who says “Maybe next year”.
This offseason, Milwaukee’s fans have had to deal with both of the first two scenarios as the additions of Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez to the infield should reap immediate benefits, while the loss of Prince Fielder’s bat in the lineup creates some issues in the run production department.
Today, I will look at each position and speculate on who will be there on opening day and consider what Bill James is predicting they will do from an offensive stand point. Additionally, I will try to project an opening day batting order for the season opener against the Cardinals on April 6th at Miller Park.
**All stats provided courtesy of Fangraphs**
The Starting Pitchers:
This season sees the return of all 5 starters from Milwaukee’s 2011 NL Central Champion squad (Gallardo, Marcum, Greinke, Wolf, and Narveson). Below are projections for each of the starters for 2012 :
Based on these projections, Gallardo should be the opening day starter. His projected 9.53 strikeouts per 9 innings coupled with an ERA of 3.46 give him a slight advantage over Greinke (8.33/9, 3.52) and Marcum (7.3/9, 3.52). Additionally, both stats are improvements over Gallardo’s 2011 number (8.99/9, 3.52) meaning that the best may be still to come from Milwaukee’s ace.
Also returning from the 2011 squad is catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Based on the numbers (136 projected games, the same as last year) it appears that speculation is leaning on Lucroy being the everyday catcher with the exception of days when Randy Wolf is pitching. Last season, Wolf used backup catcher George Kottaras as his personal battery mate, giving Lucroy a break every few days.
In regards to offensive output, the projection leans on Lucroy having a very similar season to last year (.264/.328/.393 compared to last seasons .265/.313/.391). Additionally, he is projected for 12 homeruns, 53 runs, and 64 RBIs which is a slight improvement over last seasons 12 homeruns, 45 runs, and 59 RBIs.
At 1st Base:
As much as I’d like to tell you that by some divine miracle an 11th hour deal was made to keep Prince Fielder in Milwaukee, we all know by this point that this will not be the case. Instead, the Brewers will be looking to 3rd base convert Mat Gamel to fill the hole at 1st. As Adam McCalvy reported last week, Gamel is working hard this offseason to be ready for spring training and to assume a spot in the starting lineup on opening day, something that Gamel has missed out on the past three years due to Spring Training injuries.
While it would be unrealistic to expect Gamel (who has a .222 batting average in 194 plate appearances over 4 seasons) to bring in the same kind of power hitting production that Fielder had, he should improve his career stats in an everyday role. While Bill James only has him projected for 118 games (potentially factoring in his history of injuries), Gamel should hit around .282/.342/.476 with 19 home runs this season.
At 2nd Base:
As a returning All-Star, Rickie Weeks will be looking to build on his injury shortened 2011 campaign by again manning the bag at 2nd. Weeks, who hit for 20 home runs last season will again be called on to hit the long ball in order to help ease the offensive depletion caused by Fielders departure.
According to James, Weeks should have another All-Star worthy performance this year as he is projected for .262/.355/.453 with 22 homeruns, 62 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases in 136 games.
At 3rd Base:
Welcome to Milwaukee Aramis Ramirez! After an extremely disappointing 2011 by regular 3rd baseman Casey McGehee, the prospect of what Ramirez brings to the table, both as both a defender and as a batter, are exciting to say the least. In 149 games last season for the Chicago Cubs, Ramirez hit .306/.361/.510 while crushing 26 hits for homeruns, numbers that the Brewers hope he repeats for them in 2012.
Ramirez represents the best chance that the Brewers have for closing the run production gap created by Fielder’s departure as he is projected to hit for .285/.350/.500 with 26 homeruns and 94 RBIs in 140 games.
As I have reported previously, the addition of Alex Gonzalez at short, while providing an upgrade defensively, leaves the Brewers in roughly the same spot offensively at short.
Gonzalez is projected to hit .237/.278/.381 with 14 homeruns and 60 RBIs in 145 games.
With the official signing of Norichika Aoki, the Brewers seem to have taken the first step into the realm of possibility that they may be without reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun for the first 50 games of the season. The signing makes for some interesting scenarios in the outfield as Milwaukee will be able to choose amongst several righty and lefty hitters to fill out these three spots.
Assuming that Braun is suspended (historically the odds are not in his favor), I would not be surprised to see Aoki in his spot in left field come opening day. In Japan, Aoki is a career .329 hitter with 84 home runs, 385 RBIs and 164 stolen bases in 985 games over 8 seasons.
Center field will again be the home to the platoon of Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan. Having a righty/lefty platoon definitely gives Milwaukee versatility in center field allowing them to not only play to whomever has the hottest bat at the time, but to also play for advantage when it comes to pitching matchups. While Gomez is the better pure fielder at the position, Morgan brings speed and charisma.
While it is hard to say at this juncture who will win the opening day start (a lot will be determined in spring training), I’m going to go with my gut feeling and place Morgan in my line up due to the intangibles that he brings to the team and his ability to whip the crowd into a frenzy to start off the year. Morgan is projected to hit .288/.345/.362 with 2 homeruns, 36 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 130 games, while Gomez is projected to hit .242/.297/.375 with 5 homeruns, 24 RBIs and 16 stolen Bases.
Despite some speculation (including talk from Brewers GM Doug Melvin) about Corey Hart being used at first base, it seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that right field will continue to be his primary position. Hart is projected to hit .274/.338/.488 with 25 homeruns and 80 RBIs.
The Opening Day Lineup
Based on the information above, here is what I believe the Brewers may field on April 6th. Keep in mind that injuries and play during spring training could play a role in drastically changing this:
1) Corey Hart RF
2) Nyjer Morgan CF
3) Norichika Aoki LF
4) Aramis Ramirez 3B
5) Rickie Weeks 2B
6) Mat Gamel 1B
7) Alex Gonzalez SS
8) Jonathan Lucroy C
9) Yovani Gallardo P
So, there you have it the potential opening day lineup and starters by position. Go Crew!
After a disappointing 2011 season, many assumed that, at 41, Craig Counsell would head happily off into retirement. Not the case, reports Jon Morosi. Morosi apparently spoke with Counsell’s agent, Barry Meister, who informed him that Counsell intends to play in 2012.
Of course, that may just be agent speak, indicating Counsell will gauge the market before making a decision on retirement. That market may be slow-developing. Counsell’s age works against him, as does his declining bat. In 187 plate appearances in 2011, Counsell managed only a .178 average, though his .280 on base percentage was considerably better. Still, Counsell is a versatile player, capable of manning second, short, third and, as we learned this season, left field.
It isn’t clear right now whether the Brewers will be interested in bringing Counsell back. Doug Melvin recently said he would sit down and talk to Counsell at some point in the future. But the team’s first priority, as far as infield depth, should be Jerry Hairston, Jr., who is only 35 and was an absolute revelation in the postseason.
*UPDATE* Doug Melvin will not ask Counsell to return to the team in a playing capacity, but it is possible that Counsell would join the front office in some capacity if he can’t find playing time.
The Oakland Athletics are in pretty rough shape right now, and really want to get into some new digs. So its not really that surprising that they’d trade their entire roster, with one exception: Jemile Weeks.
Jemile is the younger brother of Brewers’ 2B Rickie Weeks. Unlike his older brother, Jemile doesn’t have much pop, but what he lacks in power he makes up for in contact. Jemile was a mid-season call up for the A’s and slashed .303/.340/.421, respectable numbers for what many have pegged as a prototypical number two hitter. Like his older brother, Weeks has had some injury concerns, but can really turn it on when healthy. He has above-average speed, but has some work to do on his fielding. All-in-all, I think Jemile will return a great value as Oakland’s first-round pick in 2008.
I bring this up only because Jemile could have been a Milwaukee Brewer. Jemile was originally drafted by the Brewers in 2005, but was one of the few Jack Zduriencik picks who did not sign. Rumor is that the Brewers offer topped out about around $850K, while the family was looking for about $1M. Jemile ultimately decided to take advantage of a scholarship to the University of Miami, and was the 12th pick overall in the ’08 draft.