Friday, March 8, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Milwaukee Brewers

2012 Record: 83-79 (3rd in the NL Central) 

Key Additions:
Burke Badenhop (Trade w/ TB)
Tom Gorzelanny (2 years, $5.7MM) 
Mike Gonzalez (1 year, $2.25MM) 
Bobby Crosby (Minor League Deal)

Key Subtractions: 
Shaun Marcum (1 year, $4MM w/ NYM) 
Francisco Rodriguez (Still in FA)
Jose Veras (1 year, $2MM w/HOU) 
Kameron Loe (Minor League Contract w/ SEA) 
Manny Parra (1 year, $1MM w/ CIN) 
Raul Mondesi Jr. (Trade w/ TB) 

Which new guy will help the most? 
The Brewers didn't do much this offseason, and ultimately, combining the losses of Greinke and Marcum, they got a whole lot worse. With that being said, the moves that they made to bolster the bullpen are quite respectable. Look for Mike Gonzalez to be a factor in the 'pen. Gonzalez didn't pitch all that much in 2012, but when he was out there, he was quite dominant, posting a 2.98 FIP, and a 9.84 K/9. Gonzalez won't be a star, but the combination of him, Gorzelanny, and Badenhop should replace the likes of K-Rod, Veras, Loe and Parra quite nicely. 

Spring Training Battles

 Who will play first base until Corey Hart returns from injury? Hunter Morris, Taylor Green, or Alex Gonzalez

Morris, who put up incredible stats last year in AA, appears to be the favourite for the job right now. Personally, I don't think the Brewers should give him the job right out of camp. The Brew-Crew don't look like they are going to make the playoffs this year, and Morris hasn't had a single at bat in AAA. Why rush him? With Segura playing shortstop, the Brewers don't really have a spot for Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez is no liability as a fill in at first. If not, you have a MLB ready, young player in Taylor Green, who many say could have a breakout season in 2013. 

Questions heading into the season

After Gallardo, how will the rest of the rotation hold up? 

The projected rotation for the Brewers includes Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Mike Fiers, and Wily Peralta. One thing that those 4 have in common is that they are unproven commodities. Also, each of them display a great amount of potential (with the exception of Narveson). Estrada is viewed by many as someone who can provide great production as a 2-3 starter. Fiers was brilliant in a small sample size in 2012, but many scouts say that his stuff isn't good enough to hold up for 2013. Overall, I would say that this rotation isn't going to cut it. Way too many uncertainties for me to put any trust in them right now.

How will Ryan Braun respond to even more steroid speculation? 

Braun, one of the game's best players, tested positive for elevated testosterone levels last year. This year, his name showed up in biogenesis records, next to names like Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera. Just like last year, Braun doesn't appear to be phased by any of this, and stands by his word. Expect more brilliant play out of him in 2013, as he will once again prove his legitimacy as one of the greats in baseball.

Prospect who should have the biggest impact in 2013

Jean Segura, the centrepiece of the Greinke trade with LAA, has the shortstop job this year, and many are expecting big things. He doesn't hit for power, but has the ability to steal 35 bases, and doesn't have issues with getting on base. Although he is slated to start the season in the 9 hole, you could see him taking the leadoff spot away from Nori Aoki by midseason.

Projected Roster (Via

Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup (Click HERE to see last 7 lineups)
1 RF Norichika Aoki*
2 2B Rickie Weeks
LF Ryan Braun
4 3B Aramis Ramirez
5 C Jonathan Lucroy
CF Carlos Gomez
1B Hunter Morris* BA#4  
SS Jean Segura    

Projected Bench 
C Martin Maldonado 
IF Jeff Bianchi
IF Alex Gonzalez
IF/OF Taylor Green
OF Logan Schafer 

Projected Starting Rotation 
1 RHP Yovani Gallardo
RHP Marco Estrada
RHP Michael Fiers  
LHP Chris Narveson 
5 RHP Wily Peralta BA#1 BP#1

Projected Bullpen 
CL RHP John Axford
SU RHP Jim Henderson
SU RHP Brandon Kintzler 
MID LHP Mike Gonzalez
MID RHP Burke Badenhop
MID LHP Tom Gorzelanny
LR RHP Mark Rogers

Projected Disabled List
Position Players
1B Mat Gamel+  TORN ACL - out for the season  
1B Corey Hart +  KNEE SURGERY ON 1/25/13 - out four months  

Projected Record: 80-82

While the lineup is potent, this rotation will fail to bring the Brewers over the .500 mark. The loss of Zack Greinke (5.1WAR) will prove to hurt much more than they thought it would. While this year doesn't look great, don't look for the Brewers to be selling all of their players just yet. They could be major players next offseason, with all of the pitching talent in the 2014 free agent class. 

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