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.

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