Results tagged ‘ Khris Davis ’
Every year spring blooms eternal and nowhere is this more apparent than in Major League Baseball. Opening Day means a clean slate on which everyone is equal and anything is possible. Just ask your average Brewers fan.
On April 1st, Milwaukee set the stage for their 2013 campaign with an extra innings victory over the Colorado Rockies in the friendly confines of Miller Park. While not the prettiest of wins (with Gallardo showing some signs of a post WBC hangover and incumbent closer John Axford unable to pick up the save), a win was a win was a win.
The lineup was one that Brewers fans had become accustomed to over the last several seasons:
1) RF Norichika Aoki
2) 2B Rickie Weeks
3) LF Ryan Braun
4) 3B Aramis Ramirez
5) C Jonathan Lucroy
6) 1B Alex Gonzalez
7) CF Carlos Gomez
8) SS Jean Segura
9) RHP Yovani Gallardo
The win however, came with a certain sense of discomfort. There was a palpable sense of unease in Milwaukee that afternoon, but no one could quite say why. The Brewers, now 1-0 on the young season had just sent the Opening Day crowd happy, or should have if not for the lingering sense of dread that many, myself included, left the park with that afternoon.
Was it the absence of Corey Hart, the right fielder turned 1st baseman, who had become a regular fixture in Brewers lineup over the years, who was recovering from knee surgery? Was it that Hart’s backup, Mat Gamel, had already fallen victim to the injury bug with a season ending injury to his ACL? Or what about the fact that Gamel’s backup Taylor Green, was also on the DL with hip issues? Maybe it was a lingering sense of doubt from the end of 2012, a season in which Milwaukee was in the hunt for the Wildcard until the final weekend of the season?
It wouldn’t take long for the sense of dread that we all felt to become something much more tangible, the kind of thing that stuck to your ribs and followed you around for months on end.
By April 5th, Ryan Braun was suffering from neck spasms. On April 6th, 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez sprained his knee. April 7th saw Jean Segura leave the game with a bruised left quad and pitcher Chris Narveson sprain his middle finger. By the time that Alex Gonzalez suffered a hand contusion on April 12th, Milwaukee found itself with a 2-7 record on the season and there was no doubt that the time to worry was now.
For the Brewers, the idea that the team had become “snake-bitten” (a sentiment expressed by skipper Ron Roenicke on August 3rd) was quickly becoming the teams reality. From March 20th to July 21st, the team would see 18 different players befall injury, some with just minor maladies, others with injuries that would require extended trips to the DL.
Then there was the afternoon of July 22nd. After sending Segura and Gomez to the All-Star Game, and finally receiving Braun back from an almost month-and-a-half long DL stint, the elephant in the room finally materialized as the team’s worst fears came to be. Ryan Braun, the team’s perennial All-Star and face of the franchise, was being suspended for the remainder of the season for violating the league’s drug policies.
Could things really get any worse? The answer was a resounding yes.
Soon, Opening Day starters Rickie Weeks and Yovanni Gallardo would find themselves added to the list of injuries. For Weeks, this would mean season ending surgery to fix his left hamstring. Gallardo, who also suffered an injury to his left hammy, escaped with a strain and a trip to the DL.
As of this morning (August 17th), the Brewers hold down last place in the NL Central with a record of 53-69. It’s enough that most fair-weather fans packed it in weeks ago letting their attention drift on to the newly dawning NFL season. Their loss. You see, for those of us that continue to stick it out until the bitter end, we are getting a glimpse into the teams potential future, and frankly, the future looks bright.
Since July 22nd, the Brewers have been playing .500 baseball (12-12) and they’ve been doing it with players that your casual fan probably had never heard of prior to this year. Names like Khris Davis, Scooter Gennet and Tyler Thornburg are showing the Milwaukee faithful inspired performances which fly in the face of those pundits who claim that the Brewers have one of the worst farm systems in the MLB. So who are these fresh faces?
Khris Davis – #18 LF
Called up to replace Braun on the active roster, the power hitting Davis wasted no time proving to fans and the front office that his slow start in 2013 (.188/.235/.313 in April) was an anomaly by turning on a pitch and crushing the first of five homers in his return to regular duty. Davis, who now sports a slash line of .278/.344/.630, is living up to the potential that he showed in Appleton in 2010 when he set the Timber Rattlers single season homerun record with 22 bombs.
Scooter Gennett – #2 2B
Originally brought up earlier in the season as part of a platoon with the struggling Rickie Weeks, Scooter found himself in the role of human yo-yo, being bounced back and forth between the majors and minors as needed. When Weeks’ season ended on August 8th, the role of everyday second baseman transferred to Gennett who has taken to the role admirably. In his 29 at bats in August, Scooter carries a slash line of .448/.484/.862 proving that he can hit for both power and average.
Tyler Thornburg – #63 P
Originally utilized this season as a member of Milwaukee’s renovated bullpen, Thornburg grabbed opportunity by the horns when he was given the chance to start in late July. Since July 30th, Tyler has only allowed 1 earned run in 19 innings pitched. He currently carries a 1-0 record with a 1.76 ERA on the season.
It’s also worth noting that so far in August, Milwaukee’s pitching staff carries a team ERA of 2.51, good for 3rd amongst all MLB teams.
So, despite all of the doom and gloom that has surrounded this season, it’s reassuring to see that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. A light being shone brightly by several talented young Brewers.
Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com and an MLB Fan Cave Top 52 Finalist. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes and read about some his latest adventures in the pages of the September issues of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sportscard Monthly.
By Nathan Petrashek
There are about to be a whole lot of roster moves, a reflection of just how crippled the Brewers have been for the first month of the season. Some of them have happened already, some of them will happen tomorrow, some of them will happen during the month of May. Here’s the latest on the Brewers fallen:
Jeff Bianchi activated; Khris Davis optioned: IF Jeff Bianchi was placed on the DL this spring with left hip bursitis, which sounds pretty epic but is really just inflammation that can cause joint stiffness. His unavailability led in part to the Brewers to pick up Yuniesky Betancourt, who’s knocking the stuffing out of the ball, so I guess we should all be thankful for that. In any case, Bianchi is back now, which means the Brewers currently have four – count ‘em, four! – shortstop types on the active roster. OF Khris Davis, who has received just a handful of plate attempts, was sent down to AAA Nashville. Bianchi hit .188/.230/.348 with the Brewers last season, although he sports a minor league career triple slash of .286/.340/.411.
Aramis Ramirez activated; Josh Prince optioned: Ramirez was down for a month after sliding awkwardly into second base. Despite missing nearly all of April, the team will bring him right back into the fold, though he will probably see plenty of time off early on. Josh Prince is being sent down to Nashville in a corresponding move.
Chris Narveson: Narveson has been playing catch as he rehabs a sprained finger on his pitching hand. He’s slated to return in Mid-May.
Mark Rogers: Rogers, officially placed on the DL with “right shoulder instability,” but unofficially with loss of velocity, command, and everything else that makes a pitcher go, started a rehab assignment on April 23. The Brewers will need to decide whether to activate him to the major league club or cut ties with him by May 23; he’s not likely to clear waivers. For what it’s worth, Rogers has not pitched well since beginning his rehab stint; he’s walked 6 over 3.2 innings against just 1 strikeout, and has allowed at least 1 run in 2 of his 3 appearances.
Corey Hart: Hart had right knee surgery in January. He just rejoined the team and is currently throwing, doing water aerobics, and exercising to strengthen his quads. Hart, on the 60-day DL, is eligible for reinstatement on May 30, but it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll make that goal.
Taylor Green: Green started the season on the DL with a hip injury. He elected to have season-ending surgery in late April.
Mat Gamel: Gamel had season-ending knee surgery on March 8.
By Nathan Petrashek
OF Khris Davis is making all kinds of noise with his bat in Brewers’ camp this year. After a 2-for-3 day, Davis is now slashing .300/.333/.650 this spring. That slugging percentage might seem ridiculous, but his power is real. As he moved up through three levels of the minors last year, Davis slugged .604 with a ratio of about 17 at-bats per home run. Today, Davis crushed a two-run tater to left, his second of the spring.
Unfortunately, Davis isn’t making any noise at all with his glove. Entering the lineup as DH, he didn’t even need to bring it to the park today. For an outfielder, Davis doesn’t have a good arm, and Ron Roneicke has all but said he won’t play Davis in right field. Unfortunately, a premium defensive position like center field isn’t a good option either. That leaves left field, where Davis is blocked by Ryan Braun. You see the dilemma.
At first blush, the injuries to Corey Hart and Mat Gamel seemed like a great opportunity for Davis. Sure, he’d have to learn first base, but it isn’t like he’d have to become a pitcher or backstop. It’s definitely do-able. Corey Hart did it just last year.
Apparently that won’t be happening, though. From various reports, it sounds like Davis had tried first base a few times earlier in his pro career and it didn’t go well. I’ve also heard the Brewers had him doing a little work there earlier in camp and came away unimpressed.
That doesn’t change the fact that, for the first month or two, the Brewers are going to need someone to play first base. It doesn’t look like they’ll be signing anyone, so it’s strictly internal candidates at this point. And with the kind of pop Khris Davis has, he should be the leading candidate. But he’s not. And I find that really puzzling. Is Davis’s glove going to be a bigger liability than, say, Alex Gonzalez’s bat? Or Taylor Green’s, for that matter? I have a hard time believing so.
Davis is 25 and entering his prime. Unless he changes positions, he’s simply not going to get a shot with Ryan Braun in the way. Sink or swim, it’s time to see what the kid can do.
By Nathan Petrashek
Position review and previews start this week, and coming into spring training I thought first base would be pretty easy to write. Not so fast.
Right knee surgery will cost Corey Hart a month plus, and yesterday the Brewers announced that Hart’s likely replacement, Mat Gamel, would miss all of 2013.
Someone’s going to have to man first base, though. So without further ado, here are a few potential replacements.
A career .285/.339/.483 hitter, Lee has plenty of first base experience and is currently a free agent. Lee’s age (36) has really started to catch up to him the last few years; at this point, he’s probably ideally suited for a bench spot, which is where he would find himself when Corey Hart returns. According to Doug Melvin, though, Lee is still looking for a full-time gig, even if that will be hard to come by as spring training games begin. If Lee was a little more realistic about where he is in his career, he would be my preference. Lee’s power would play pretty well on what projects to be a fairly weak-hitting bench.
Morris tore it up in the Brewers’ AA system last year, belting out a .303/.357/.563 triple slash line. That earned him a Minor League Player of the Year award, but it will probably take more than that to earn him a berth as the team’s starting first baseman. There are plenty of defensive concerns, and Morris didn’t showcase nearly as much offensive talent in 2010 and 2011. Doug Melvin was careful to note that Morris would cost someone a 40-man roster spot, and he would surely like to delay the start of Morris’s service time. Toss in the uncertainty surrounding Morris’s capabilities, and the fact that he hasn’t played a single game above AA, and he’s unlikely to win the job unless his case is undeniable.
The Brewers’ 7th-round pick in 2009 has really come into his own. An outfielder by trade, fellow BrewCrewBall.com writer Noah Jarosh suggested Davis might be a good fit at first base. The numbers certainly play, as Davis has carved up the minors with a triple slash line of .294/.400/.513. Davis has a keen eye at the plate (career 10.2% walk rate that could climb) and plus power (.211 career ISO). He might be an unconventional choice, but he may be the best in-house option the Brewers have right now.
3B/IF Taylor Green has had a few opportunities in the major leagues, but hasn’t done much (read: anything) with them. We have to be careful there, though, because he’s garnered only about 150 plate attempts in his 2 years coming off the bench. Green has several solid minor league seasons under his belt, and perhaps all he needs is consistent playing time to show his solid hit tools.
This is apparently Ron Roenicke’s brainchild. A shortstop for his entire 14-year career, Gonzalez has precisely zero experience at first base. Gonzalez is such a good defensive shortstop that it’s easy to overlook his offensive shortcomings, but those will be glaring at a corner infield spot: very little pop, and on-base skills that leave a lot to be desired. There are better options.
A former first-round pick and AL Rookie of the Year, Crosby hasn’t played baseball since 2010. His triple slash line over 8 seasons wasn’t pretty (.236/.304./.372), and neither were the injury bug and mental struggles that dogged him throughout his career. But Crosby’s pedigree has garnered him another shot at the bigs, and it’s anyone’s guess where that will go. Crosby is on a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Carp, a recent DFA by the Seattle Mariners, is the longest of long shots to even find his way on the Brewers, let alone wind up the team’s Opening Day first baseman. There are quite a few suitors looking to swing a trade for the 26-year-old, including several AL teams that would have waiver priority over the Brewers, as Kyle Lobner notes. Carp would be a decent fill-in, but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers aren’t all that interested right now.
Let’s keep in perspective that Gamel’s replacement will be filling in for just a month or two before Corey Hart returns, so despite the post title, this isn’t a crash and burn scenario for the Brewers. The best case scenario for the team is to find someone who will have value coming off the bench for the remainder of the season.