Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #23: Milwaukee Brewers

Greetings all... this is a different Brewers team...


C - Jonathan Lucroy
1B - Mat Gamel
2B - Rickie Weeks
SS - Alex Gonzalez
3B - Aramis Ramirez
LF - Ryan Braun
CF - Nyjer Morgan/Carlos Gomez
RF - Corey Hart

Gone is Prince Fielder, but don't write off this offense just yet. Ryan Braun had the massive steroid controversy in the off-season, but let's not forget that a) he's not suspended, and b) he was the MVP of the National League for a reason. He had a ridiculous .332/.397/.597 slash line with 33 homers and 33 steals in 2011. That's obscene, and there's no reason to suspect much regression. Fielder's bat will certainly be missed, but the signing of Aramis Ramirez should help make up a bit of the difference. Aramis has been a much better player in Wrigley Field than on the road in the past few seasons, but he's still posted a career .842 OPS, and hit 26 homers in 149 games in 2011. There are certainly some question marks, too, however. Corey Hart is an above-average player, but always has injury risk, Nyjer Morgan is a complete psychopath in center field (I'm not overstating that), and they have no idea what they're getting from Mat Gamel at 1st. Rickie Weeks can be penciled in for elite 2nd-base production when he's in the lineup, but he only played 118 games last year, and sadly, that's not far off his normal output in games played.

Starting Rotation

1 - Zack Greinke
2 - Yovani Gallardo
3 - Shaun Marcum
4 - Randy Wolf
5 - Chris Narveson

This is one of the better top trios in the Major Leagues. Greinke had a "down" year in 2011 with an ERA of 3.71, but he posted ridiculous strikeout numbers (10.7 per 9), and his peripherals show that he was egregiously unlucky. I expect an ERA around 3 with 220 K's and #1 starter output. Gallardo struck out a batter per inning and posted an ERA of 3.5 to establish himself fully over an entire season, and I absolutely love Marcum. Wolf is league-average at worst and a decent 4th option, and while Narveson is kind of bad (4.45 ERA), I'm not sure he's anything but average as a 5th guy, and you'll take that.


John Axford and K-Rod form a really nice back-end of the bullpen, and that can't be ignored. I'm not sure I fully believe in Axford, but there's no denying his numbers and he's penciled in. After those two however? Kameron Loe is the closest thing to a guy I trust, and that's scary.


82-80, 3rd in NL Central

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