Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Checking In On New Prospects

     Now that the trade deadline has come and gone for 2015 now is a good time to check in on the farm to see how Milwaukee's newly acquired prospects are doing.  Gone are Jonathon Broxton, Gerardo Parra, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Gomez and in return are the following....

Here are the 4 players from the Carlos Gomez trade:

Brett Phillips
The future (left handed hitting) center fielder for Milwaukee checked in to the Brewers' (AA) affiliate down in Biloxi, MS with the Shuckers.  He was the centerpiece to the Carlos Gomez trade and was ranked as the 2nd best prospect acquired in all of baseball before this season's trade deadline.
He is 3 for 13 in 4 games played (.231 BA) with 1 triple and 3 base hits.  Phillips has struck out 4 times.

Domingo Santana
Another outfielder that Milwaukee received was a right fielder that reported to (AAA) Colorado Springs Sky Sox.  Santana is hitting .357 in 3 games (5 for 14) with 1 double and struck out 5 times.
You can read more about Mr. Santana HERE.

Josh Hader
This guy could be the steal of the trade; a sturdy throwing southpaw that already notched a stellar outing in his first start for Biloxi.  This hurler only weighs a whopping 160 lbs and stands 6-3.  Take a look for yourself on how he did in his debut (picture) and read up on him HERE.

Adrian Houser
The final piece to the deal was starting pitcher Adrian Houser who had his first start for Biloxi as well; he went 5 and 2/3's innings and gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits (1 HR) for a no decision, he did notched 6 punch outs which is very decent and issued no walks.

Gerardo Parra deal:

Zach Davies
The RHP has yet to appear for the (AAA) Colorado Springs Sky Sox.  Davies was selected to represent Baltimore O's in the Futures Game last month.  HERE is great story on the "little guy".   He was the Orioles 4th ranked prospect.

Jonathon Broxton deal: 

Maik Collymore 
Milwaukee received this young left fielder and have assigned him to their affiliate in Helena, MT.  He has played in 1 game and went 1 for 4 and a walk (.250 BA).

Aramis Ramirez deal: 

Yhonathon Barrios
Barrios is the closer for Biloxi right now and is already 2 for 2 in saves 3 games and 3 and 1/3 innings of work (2 strike outs & 1BB).

So there you have it.  Those that have played have played pretty well.  Sure, this will be a slow, drawn out process before we see most of these prospect in the bigs....but it will be fun.  Some will surely wash out.

Monday, May 4, 2015

RR Out; Let the Craig Counsell Era Begin

* posted on Monday AM...

   Milwaukee has now won 3 of their last 4 games   4 of their last 5 are starting to show signs of life.  The starting pitchers have turned in 3 quality starts in a row and the Crew now has a mini win streak (yes, it's only 2 games).  Too little too late for Ron Roenicke however, as he was let go yesterday after their win in Chicago.  This did surprise me, I will say, not because of the fact that it finally because of the horrible timing of it all.  Once RR (Ron Roenicke) made it through their off day last Thursday, I think most fans--and probably the players--were thinking that they have one last chance to start getting things right before the team is blown up.  Well, they/we thought wrong.  Doug Melvin was trying to get his replacement manager in place and deal finalized, my guess, through the weekend in order to be covered for the transition.  That transition is looking like it will be Craig Counsell taking over managerial duties starting tonight as Milwaukee welcomes the Dodgers to town for a HUGE 4 game series.  Prior this all occurring, I've been saying that Mark Attanasio will most likely give the Crew the 10 day home stand that starts tonight before they start their fire sell and fire RR.  That came a little early, for the latter.

This isn't a complete surprise though.  Warning flares were shot high in the sky when Mark Attansio flew into town for the Cardinals series April 24th, which they ultimately lost 2 games to 1.  The owner didn't lay blame on the skipper or the GM, Doug Melvin. Instead he threw Mike Fiers under the bus by stating that he was the one that gave up the grand slam home run to the Reds at Miller Park last wasn't Ron or Doug.  Ok, fine, you have a point there.  But then more flares were shot off this past weekend, Saturday to be exact, when USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the Brewers were letting teams know they're ready to start dealing.  That gave me a feeling that RR might also be on his way out....until they won their last 2 games in Chicago and earned their first series win and back-to-back wins of the season. I figured RR would be safe.  But no.  Doug Melvin decides to fire him ONLY AFTER the team decided to show some life.

Make no mistake about it, this team could still turn things around.  The Cardinals are running away with the NL Central, but let's keep in mind that there are still 2 wild card spots up for grabs.  Both the Pirates, Reds, and especially the Cubs aren't proving too much that they're locks to get them.  Milwaukee will need to dig deep and play .500 ball for most of the season and then hope for a 20 win month this summer in order to start digging out of the hole they're in.  Will it happen?  Probably not...but we do know that they are capable of win streaks by looking at what they did last April & May.

One thing is certain, they can't start their fire sale until they get their trade pieces turned around.  Kyle Lohse is starting to correct things and he's just too good of a pitcher to not turn things around.  Likewise for Matt Garza and his slow start.  Aramis Ramirez had a hell of a game yesterday in Chicago that should hopefully start to show signs of life for him; he went 1 for 3 with the go-ahead home run and the a 2-run single that would eventually win the Brewers the game.  He also hit a home run last week against the Reds.  This veteran third baseman is a huge trading piece.  Sure the buying team would only get a 1/2 season rental from the Brewers, but he is a part of the select few that provides power at the hot corner.

The biggest wild card is Carlos Gomez and the 2 (more) years of team control that come with him.  He's a fan favorite in Milwaukee and the new face of the franchise (along with Lucroy).  But he lacks plate and base running discipline and probably won't mesh well with what will sure to be a far more stern Craig Counsell as the skipper. Milwaukee would be wise to trade him for some high level, major league ready prospects.

I still think Milwaukee will have the rest of this week to show that they have corrected themselves, and now possibly maybe an added week to see how the team responds to Craig Counsell.  So expect to see deals to start being made as soon as this weekend and as late as next week Wednesday (May 13th) once they end their 10 game home stand (Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Brewers After 8 Games

   Well there isn't too much we can be excited about at this point.  I would argue the only things we can feel good about is one solid start by Jimmy Nelson and the play of Jean Segura (offensively) and Adam Lind. The latter of course is the new addition from this off-season that is hitting a whopping .345, 1 HR, 5 RBI thus far.  Segura meanwhile, who has struggled mightily on defense, is continuing his torrid September of last season into his 2015 campaign by hitting .333 with 3 RBI and a dinger. Outside of those two players, the Brewers offense has been terrible.  Right now the Crew's top hitters are hitting .261 or lower.

  Not listed on this beautiful collage I made in my arts and crafts room is Aramis Ramirez, who is hitting .194 and Khris Davis with .259.  Sure, Braun and Davis aren't awful right now, but lets point out the fact that only 1 one of those pictured above (Gomez) have one home run.  On the flip side of that Gomez does have 4 doubles already (tied for club lead with Lind), but it should also be noted that Lucroy has no extra base hits.  Keep that in mind, considering his impressive season last year when had 53 doubles and was one of the league leaders. 

  Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Ed Sedar (coach) was on the Bill Michael's Show on Tuesday saying this low level of hitting will not continue for much longer.  All signs point to them snapping out of this funk because 3 of the 4 pictured here are perennial solid hitters.  What is alarming is the high rate of strike outs that Scooter Gennett already has on the season (9).  He's almost striking out every other at-bat.  We could chalk this up to him being stashed at the bottom of the line up, which is a huge mental challenge considering he was hitting at the top of the order last season.  That's a tough pill to swallow for someone that is young and still learning the game at the Big League level. 

  With Ron Roenicke's butt on the burner I would not hesitate to think that he would flip Hector Gomez (.429, 3 doubles) at 2B while Scooter figures things out.  In fact, I could see this happening by the end of April if things continue this way.  Because let's face it, this season could snow ball out of control if they don't get a handle on things before the middle of May; April brought the Crew 22 divisional games while May has them facing Major League's toughest division....the AL Central.  In May the Crew has to play the White Sox & Tigers as well as the Dodgers, Braves, and Giants.  Milwaukee's offense has to snap out of this horrible start before the end of the weekend when they return home from their first road trip (Pittsburgh is next this weekend).  

Lastly, the Wily Peralta was bad last night, but Pitching Coach Rick Kranitz was even worse.  Willis threw only 70-some odd pitches last night and the Cardinals just tore his ass a new one.  They were jumping at his pitches and most of their hitters only had 3 pitches to them before jumping on the ball.  That has to stop.  How the Brewers didn't make adjustments is beyond me.  

Brewers lost 4-2 to the Cardinals in the second game of the series.  Carlos Gomez is out of the line up for the rubber match today due to leaving the game in the 9th inning with a hamstring injury.  When it rains it pours, Milwaukee. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Prelude to Opening Day

 There has been a lot of news coming out of Maryvale this past week leading up to Opening Day on Monday.  The 25 man roster has now been set and the starters have been coined; there was not any surprises for the positional players that were tabbed to start.  The only real (somewhat) surprise was Carlos Gomez batting first in the order and Jean Segura hitting 8th.  The bull pen really didn't have any shockers either, with the release and then re-signing of Chris Perez and Rob Wooten being sent to (AAA) Sky Sox to get some work, the Brewers decided on suiting up 8 relievers for regular season play.  Some where were caught off guard with Ron Roenicke assigning both Matt Clark and Jason Rogers to Colorado Springs, which may have been a head scratcher due to their success (especially the former) in Spring Training, considering the uncertainty behind Adam Lind's reoccurring back issues.  Lastly, Elian Herrera was optioned to the Sky Sox while Luis Jiminez (infielder), Hector Gomez (infielder) and Logan Schafer (OF) are heading north to Milwaukee.  All in all, there were no late trades that added to the active roster nor was there any last minute signings, like in 2013 when Kyle Lohse signed in late March.  Everything is set....including that back end of the rotation.

  First things first is First Base.  We all know the questions behind Adam Lind and if he can stay on the field long enough to earn his keep.  With that being said, Brian Anderson was with Chuck & Wickett (WSSP) morning show and he had some reassuring things to say about Lind.  For one, it's his thinking as well as his brothers, who is a scout for the Rangers, that Adam Lind will annihilate the ball in Miller Park.  He is destined for a big offensive year in the hitter friendly park and be able to provide that needed power at 1B.  With regards to his back, BA reminded me of something.....that the Brewers have one of the best medical staffs in Major League Baseball and they are known to take great care of ailments and nagging injuries that spur up.  It was nice to hear him back this up with a great example of Trevor Hoffman and when he came to finish his career in Milwaukee for 2 seasons.  That was one of the main reasons he signed with Milwaukee and he still praises them today as one of the best staffs in baseball.  This team of advance medical specialists should (hopefully) be able to set forth a season plan in accordance with Roenicke with regards to days off/rest and subbing him out late in games for defensive match-ups and the like.

   One other reassuring topic that was discussed by Brian Anderson was that Milwaukee will have two solid back up options in Jonathon Lucroy and Gerardo Parra, who just started playing some 1B and has looked way better than expected.  In fact, it is sounding like Parra will find himself playing a lot at the hot corner.  If Khris Davis continues to mature and fine tune his defense, there is simply no room for Parra to play.  Roenicke said 2 weeks ago that it's a given that Parra will be playing a considerable amount.  Which is good, any fair minded fellow would want a 2 x Gold Glover out on the field.  So, when all is said and done with Cactus League ball, I'm feeling far better with Lind moving forward, or, at least the back up plan if he falls.

  Opposite of that is the back end of the rotation.  I am extremely scared about what is going to happen when Mike Fiers and Jimmy Nelson are going to be relied upon to carry the team.  Yes yes, Mike Fiers had his 2 flash in the pan 10 game spans where he was lights out.  That's nice and all, but let us all be real here, can he be consistent and relied upon?  Likewise with Jimmy Nelson and his below average starts that he had last year.  Yes, Nelson is young and did add a third pitch to his arsenal, but the chatter down in Arizona is that he has been spending too much time perfecting that third pitch and not paying much attention to the command of all of his pitches.  This is all chatter I have been hearing from Adam McCalvy and Tim Allen on Wisconsin sports radio.  I am one scared son of a bitch regarding Fiers and Nelson, simply because we don't have that back up plan of Marco Estrada coming in (and giving mad home runs).

  The bull pen looks just fine and should be just fine, in my eyes.  I was thinking Tyler Thornburg would start out in AAA-Sky Sox in order to work on stretching him out for when he's needed as a fill in starter.  But Thorburg should still be able to work on eventually becoming a starter due him being one of the two long relievers in the pen.  K-Rod will be the closer with Jonathon Broxton and Jeremy Jeffress as the set up men.  One would think that Will Smith will not be relied upon and over used as much, like he was in 2014.  If used properly and there aren't too many injuries in that pen--he is destined for a killer season.

  Some are a little upset that Carlos Gomez is going to lead off for the Crew.  Yes he tends to hack a lot and swing for the fences, which we have all seen him do.  However, Ron Roenicke was on the Bill Michaels Show earlier this week and he had some very interesting points to make about Gomez.  One sure fire thing is that Gomez is very disruptive.  Upon hearing him say that I thought to myself that was very rude and not manager-like for him to say such a thing.  But alas, he was simply talking about Gomez at the plate in the lead off spot.  You see, Gomez is like a 7 year old with ADD. You just don't know what the hell he's going to do in that batters box.  One thing that will be going through that opposing pitchers mind will be, "This son of a bitch is going to swing at the first pitch I throw".  Which is exactly what we want him to think.  RR said that he's hoping to see a lot of 1-0 counts that will eventually lead to hitters count for Gomez.  Hopefully Gomez is able show some patience at the plate and wait for ideal pitches in certain situations, which should come with him maturing (he's 29 years old).

   Another thing RR noted was that Gomez is always a threat on the bases and will have the pitcher guessing and worried what this crazy man from the Dominican is up to.  Will he steal?  Is he trying to distract me?  What the hell is this guy doing?  Well, again, it's all little (and often times meaningless) mind games, but in the grand scheme of things--let's hope RR is right and Gomez is disruptive in the lead off spot.  I do like the bottom of the order because you still have some pop down there with Scooter Gennett (7th) and Segura (8th).  Nothing that is power bomb type stuff, but enough potential offense down there that really rounds out this order.  On the surface, there IS NOT ONE SINGLE WEAK SPOT in this line up.  Not one.  In fact, I would go on to argue that this line up is one of the best in baseball, or the potential to be one of the best.  There is just too many headaches in that line up.  As it stands, the only slight question mark is Khris Davis (who has proven to be effective) and the aging Aramis Ramirez hitting clean up.

   All in all, I'm one excited grown ass man.  This team has the ingredients to be a wild card come the end of September.  All eyes are on their individual responsibility of being smart on the bases and at the plate.  That's the one thing that bit us in the ass last season (and the first half of spring training this year).  Here's to a promising season.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 Predictions

It's that time of year again where I provide my predictions for the up coming season.  So far, my predictions have been featured in such publications as Vegas High Roller, Sporting News, and Playgirl.  These picks are as good as currency because if waged upon, is destined to bring you a solid return.  So gamble away!

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. *Blue Jays
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Rays

1. Tigers
2. *Royals
3. White Sox
4. Indians
5. Twins

1. Mariners
2. A's
3. Angels
4. Rangers
5. Astros

1. Nationals
2. Mets
3. Braves
4. Marlins
5. Phillies

1. Cardinals
2. *Pirates
3. *Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Reds

1. Dodgers
2. Padres
3. Giants
4. DBacks
5. Rockies

AL Wild Card Teams:  Toronto & Kansas City
NL Wild Card Teams: Pittsburgh & Milwaukee

Nationals win the World Series over Blue Jays

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Training Updates


     As you can see from my previous posts, I hold no real talents in writing.  My grammar is often times suspect and my structuring is pathetically weak.  Hopefully you're smart enough to realize that I'm not claiming to be a legit writer; in fact I'm the farthest thing from it.  My purpose is to simply think out loud by writing my scattered thoughts on this here computer.  I have no co-workers at my office, so in essence--you are all my co-workers and this computer monitor or the phone screen you're looking at is the water cooler.

     Is there really anything to write about during the second week of Spring Training any ways?  Not really. The line up is being messed with to see what combinations work while the rotation is still 7 to 10 days out from being set for Opening Day.

     As for that batting order it will be interesting to see where they put the Braun - Ramirez combo now that they have Adam Lind.  I would imagine that this combo punch would remain batting 3 and 4 with Lind in the 5 hole against RHP's.  However, against LHP's is where  Roenicke could get a little creative....if Lind is out of the line up (rest or injured), they could rotate Gerardo Parra in there at the 5 spot--especially if he is playing 1B.  I realize that batting orders generally like to be the same on a daily basis in order to keep it routine and to play smart baseball in different scenarios/match ups, but what about another idea of bumping Braun - Ramirez down to 4 and 5 against LHP and having Parra hit in the 3 hole?  The top two would remain the same with (what appears to be) Carlos Gomez and Scooter Gennett, although the latter has been getting some consideration at the lead-off spot.  Yes, there is always a chance that Jean Segura could hit lead off, but judging by his production last season (aside from September), that is something that should not be considered quite yet.
     I guess my point is that Milwaukee has a number of different options in designing their line up--as most teams generally do....right?  My argument is that Milwaukee, in 2015, will have more tools and options than they have ever had since their 2011 NLCS run.  Aside from the good idea of adding a veteran pinch hitter/utility man, they have a complete 1 through 9 (excluding the pitcher of course) that should be highly effective barring any injuries.
     Of course, the words 'barring any injuries' is key here.  With Lind most likely making 2 or more trips to the DL this season and probably having to sit out the final game in a series that are day games, this does put some strain on everything.  Sure, they have Parra who can and probably will get some time at 1B as well as Lucroy--in order to give him rest.  Obviously, putting Martin Maldonado in the line up in the 8th spot isn't a bad thing either if Lucroy is resting or playing 1B.  Especially since Maldy off to a hot start in Cactus League play where he is now hitting .500 with a 1.000 SLG.

     Yes, it's Spring ball stats--but it's far better than the alternative (ah-hem, Ryan Braun who is 0 for 7).  Look, I'm not reading into these Cactus stats at all, I'm simply stating a fact that Maldonado is looking good so far in 2015 and this will be another big advantage for the Crew again in 2015.  By having Lucroy play 1B against LHP's and Maldonado calling pitches it will also allow Parra to keep his 2 x Gold Glove in the outfield where he can (possibly) platoon with Khris Davis until the latter proves he's up to the task--offensively.  Ron Roenicke has said he does not consider Parra a 4th Outfielder, which is well and all--but if Davis struggles at the plate, RR will not hesitate to have Parra as their full time starter.  Sure, it will slow Davis' progress and growth, but last time I checked Milwaukee hasn't been to the playoffs in 4 years.  The time to win is now, while they still can...

So, here is my idea of how the line up will look:

1.Gomez (8)
2. Gennett (4)
3. Braun (9)
4. Ramirez (5)
5. Lind (3)
6. Lucroy (2)
7. Davis (7)
8. Segura (6)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Brewers on Television and in the News

     The Brewers released their 2015 TV schedule for the regular season.  Of their 162 games the Crew will be televised all but 12 games.  Now if only we all lived in Milwaukee and could watch those non-televised games on Milwaukee's Telemundo (or at least that's how I watched them when I lived there last decade).  The Crew faces division rival Chicago Cubs 19 times and the Cardinals 17 times; as for inter-league play they will face the AL Central this year.  Oddly enough they play one 1-game series in Cleveland and a 2-game series hosting the Indians.

     Milwaukee kicks off their 2015 television schedule kicks off today at 2:00pm (CT) against the Angels of Anaheim, or whatever they go by now.  Kyle Lohse takes to the mound versus southpaw Hector Santiago.  

Here is the Brewers spring training TV schedule (most games are on MLB Network):
  • Mar. 5 Thursday at L.A. Angels - 2 p.m.
  • Mar. 6 Friday at L.A. Dodgers - 2 pm
  • Mar. 7 Saturday Texas - 2 p.m.
  • Mar. 10 Tuesday  Cincinnati - 3 p.m.
  • Mar. 14 Saturday Chicago Cubs - 3 p.m.
  • Mar. 15 Sunday Oakland - 3 p.m.
  • Mar. 17 Tuesday at San Diego - 3pm
  • Mar. 19 Thursday San Francisco - 3 pm
  • Mar. 25 Wednesday Oakland - 3 p.m.
  • Mar. 28 Saturday Cleveland - 3 p.m
  • .Mar. 31 Tuesday Cincinnati - 3 p.m.
  • Apr. 4 Saturday Cleveland - 2 p.m.
     MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days"on the Brewers aired last night, and I forgot to video tape it on my VHS.  Which stinks because in years past the station would title the show "30 Club/30 Days" on the channel guide so one could set it up to record.  Now the past 2 or 3 years they have listed under Baseball Tonight which is their daily show.  So you can't plan ahead to record the Brewers special because all you see when you check out their show guide is "Baseball Tonight" and not "30 Days/30 Clubs: Brewers".  Get what I am saying?  It's not easy to schedule your recording of the program, which is first world struggles at its finest.  My guess is that the Brewers were picked to finished 3rd again with only Plesac probably feeling good about them.  But we'll see....

     It was nice to read about Jim Henderson pitching yesterday for the first time since May 2nd of last year.  Henderson walked 1 and struck out 2 batter.  I am still very unsure of where he will fit in with this pen, but it isn't a bad problem to have two back-up options to close out games heading into the regular season.   

     Because you all just love having this brought up on a weekly basis, Biogenesis main man Tony Bosch was handed a 4 year prison term last month for his services provided to major league players.  Despite him signing to the feds about his drug dealing, the money continued to flow to him through different avenues and means, if you get my drift.  To show what a slime bucket he was: 

"Bosch wasn't exactly staying in Motel 6 as he snitched on his ex-clients. In fact, last year he signed leases for one apartment on exclusive Fisher Island, while his girlfriend rented a $700,000 downtown condo."
"....The leases are the latest proof that Bosch took money that Major League Baseball had agreed to provide for his legal team and security detail and, instead, spent it on a luxury lifestyle, says the attorney who introduced the new docs."

You can read the details HERE by the Miami New Times story that was released yesterday.  It's a very good read and you will snicker at just how dirty Mr. Bosch was.  

     In our weekly special "Man, do I miss that guy" here is a cool little piece on Prince Fielder.  I hope he rebounds this year for the Rangers.  Yea yea, it sucked to see him leave but if you did not see that coming at the time, you need to slap yourself.  Hopefully his neck injury is behind and he is ready to have a huge year.  I would also never count out him returning to Milwaukee near the end of his career. 
Gallardo on rejoining his old teammate: 
“He seems like the same guy from what I remember in Milwaukee,” said right-hander Yovani Gallardo, a Brewers teammate of Fielder from 2007 to 2011. “He’s always worked hard, and I think that’s why he’s had a good career."

Read more here:

On a side note, I'm still wondering to myself why the hell Doug Melvin traded Gallardo and not get another pitcher in return or in a trade?  It seems to me they are almost too high on Jimmy Nelson, but we shall see.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Training Week 2

We are now into Week 2 of Spring Training; here is some news from the past week....

The Brewers have a 2 x Gold Glover in Gerrado Parra as their fourth outfielder, which is something most (if not all) teams in the the NL Central or even the NL can say.  It is obvious that Melvin will utilize him in appealing match ups and of course when injuries creep up.  Most importantly, this will hold a fire under Khris Davis' ass to get him going.  His arm out LF is a huge liability, but hopefully his stats will continue to improve off a decent 2014 season.

Taylor Jungmann is penciled in at the 6th pitcher in the starting rotation.

Brewers announced today (3/3) that they have outright Brooks Hall (RHP) to Colorado Springs.

Here is an interesting piece on the awarding bid for Cuban sensation Yoan Moncada (19 years old) that Boston made that will pay him $31.5M.  Milwaukee allegedly made the first or one of the earliest bids at $10M.   The Red Sox will also pay a 100% tax on that figure because it exceeded their "allotted pool".  Big flipping deal when your pay roll is that of Boston's.  This is why small market teams can't compete with larger market teams.  It is an uneven playing field.  Veteran pitcher Drew Smyly of the Rays makes a great point:

Week 1 of Spring Training is officially in the books.  Milwaukee will finally start their games on Wednesday against UW-Milwaukee (5-3) at the Maryvale complex in Arizona; Mike Fiers is scheduled to take to the mound for the Crew.  This is the first time that the Brewers will take on UW-Milwaukee and only the second time every playing a college team (1983 against Arizona State).  Keep in mind that it's not entirely impossible for a college team to beat a Major League team.

DontrelleWillis seems to be a very smart signing by Doug Melvin in more ways than one.  Not only is he competing for a jam packed bull pen spot on the roster, but he is also a veteran leader that is taking to helping the younger players.  It is a pretty interesting concept to have 3 left handed pitchers in the pen (including Willis) heading into 2015.

In our "Where Are They Now" news....
Hey, Corey Hart hurt himself in a hut tub.  Is it minor?  Yes, but it certainly feeds into his trend considering his knee injury with the Brewers and the fact that he only played 42% of the season last year.   We here at Team Wisconsin certainly don't wish harm upon anyone.  But we are more and more happy with the idea Milwaukee not signing him last off season.
Casey McGehee & Nori Aoki are finding settling with their new club, the Giants.  Both are expected to contribute quite a bit with significant playing time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

K-Rod Sign?

***Update (11:03am)***
K-Rod signed a $13M deal with Milwaukee for 2 years plus a club option for 2017 season.
**Update (9:26am)**
K-Rod has signed a 2 year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers (with a club option for the 2nd year).  **

Plenty of chatter out on the interwebs this morning of Francisco Rodriguez signing with a team.  Rumor also has it that it wasn't with the Marlins or Blue Jays.  All signs point to him coming to an agreement with Milwaukee, in my mind.  Seriously, was there any doubt in your mind?  Milwaukee needs one more arm in that pen competing for the closer role.  You are nuts if you think Broxton is the answer.  Could he be? Perhaps, but if K-Rod did sign with the Crew he will be given the closing role.  Broxton and Henderson can then be solid back-up options.  Again, this is all rumor talk (which is fun, right?) but a K-Rod signing would also mean that Jonathon Papelbon has one less team that is willing to trade for his services.  I would also venture to say that Milwaukee will not be adding another starting pitcher, unless he is plucked off of waivers--which is what Melvin will probably end up doing.  We can all agree that K-Rod loves to give up the long ball, which was 14 last season, but he was still effective and he did save Milwaukee's season (or at least the first 150 games) with his 44 Saves, which was good for 5th best in MLB.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Commence Spring Training!

Well, after last season's disasterous finish I have decided that it would be best for me to fire up this old blog again.  After all, this blog was started in 2008 and was the reason behind Milwaukee's first post season appearance since 1982!  I need to be able to blow off some steam and vent my frustrations during the season....and what better way to do that?  Please keep in mind that I type like crap in the morning (which is when I generally post) and I often times make spelling mistakes.  But that's ok though, because this is a damn blog on the Brewers.  Who the hell is going to read it?   

     This season is all about redemption for the 2015 Brewers.  Ron Roenicke wants to forget all about their last 2 months of play in 2014 and move forward while others like Kyle Lohse want to use it as motivation.  I am of the school of thought that we should feed off that pitiful last 2 months of play and be pissed moving forward.  Let it feed you.

Here are some of my thoughts heading into Spring Training....

     Milwaukee's pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Sunday with everyone relatively healthy. Johnny Hellweg may be slowed a bit in Maryvale due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery last season, but he has reported for duty--which is a good sign.  Tyler Thornburg is back as well and he said on the Hot Stove show on WSSP (Milwaukee) that he is ready to go; his elbow injury is behind him and is excited about the season (2/25/15).  That is good and welcomed news because he will most likely be a very important piece to the team.  Milwaukee will likely have Thornburg stretched out during Spring Training.  Tyler will be the long reliever out of the pen as well as possibly a starting pitcher option if the injury bug hits or Mike Fiers 2012 & 2014 seasons were flashes in the pan.  To me, Thornburg is a vital piece to the Brewers' season in 2015.  He was highly effective last year when he did play by going 29 and 2/3's innings recording a 3.81 ERA while giving up only 1 home run along with 28 strike outs.  This helps qualm some of the worries around camp having few back up options in their rotation should one or two flounder.

The rotation should be as follows:
1. Kyle Lohse
2. Matt Garza
3. Wily Peralta
4. Mike Fiers
5. Jimmy Nelson

     Now I could go on and on about how the Brewers traded Yovani Gallardo last month and failed to land another SP in his place.  I, along with a number of other delusional fans thought Doug Melvin stood a chance of trading for Jordan Zimmerman or signing James Shields.  Well, that neither here nor there; Milwaukee will most likely be set heading towards Opening Day with this rotation.  Some other back up options are Will Smith and Taylor Jungmann.  The latter of two would of course mean that Milwaukee's season would be shot if called upon.

     The bull pen is going to be very strong in my mind, despite not having announced their closer.  As it stands Jonathon Broxton and Jim Henderson will compete for the coveted spot while we monitor the headlines over the coming days/weeks to see if K-Rod is brought back.  Milwaukee will have Will Smith and Neil Cotts as their LHP and  Jeremy Jeffress along with whomever loses out on the closer role as the set-up.

     Offensively, the Brewers will be most vulnerable at the hot corners.  With the 37 year old Aramis Ramirez being injury prone and newly acquired Adam Lind's bum back along with his inability to hit lefties will leave the Brewers scrambling (most likely) early in the season.  Milwaukee has no proven solutions at 3B if/when Ramirez gets injured.  This is a huge question mark that will need to be addressed. Jean Segura is one that we all know about with his struggles off and on the field in 2014.  Keep in mind that he was the only production the Crew got in that horrific last 30 games of the 2014 season. Defensively, he's one of the top short stops in the league.  Milwaukee will live and die by Ryan Braun this season after a piss poor 2014 campaign.  The good news is that his surgical procedure(s) done on his bothersome thumb this off season is reportedly a success; he will not be limited in Spring Traning (yea right....).  This is all very positive though, as he was already taking swings in the middle of October only days after the procedure was done. If he can hit .290 with 30 HR's with 100 RBI the Brewers will be on the right track, especially if Adam Lind can deliver with his power.

     Another troublesome question will be the who is the 5th out fielder?  Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra will be going head to head to get the starting nod.  As it stands, I would anticipate Davis getting the start considering Parra can play all 3 positions in the out field.  Davis hit 22 HR's last season but only hit .244 at the plate; his arm strength is borderline laughable but he is fairly decent defensively.  Meanwhile, Parra is a two-time Golden Glove fielder that hit .268 since being traded from Arizona in July.  Not quite the production Melvin had hoped for when acquiring him, but he's a veteran player now in 2015 that can anchor that defense.  He can provide rest to Braun and platoon with Davis if need be.

As for the batting order....

1. Carlos Gomez
2. Scooter Gannett
3. Ryan Braun
4. Aramis Ramirez
5. Adam Lind
6. Jonathon Lucroy
7. Khris Davis
8. Jean Segura
9. SP

     That's a crazy-good line up and will stack up well against any other line up in Major League Baseball. My projected line up will most likely be off...but no matter which way you look at it, it's a strong....POTENT offense (but with little depth).

     Of course I will be taking a much more in depth look at the club during the coming weeks.  But on the surface this team has the ingredients to be real threat in the NL Central.  They will once again be flying in under the radar due to the preseason picks placing them behind St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and even Chicago.  One thing that is for certain, the NL Central will be the best division in baseball.