Sunday, March 25, 2012

Milwaukee Brewers Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

Our next post takes us to Milwaukee where we will see if the controversy of Ryan Braun has a lasting effect on the team.  The National League MVP is going hear a  lot of boos from the fans, and he needs to stay on track for this team to be successful.

Infield:  Jonathan Lucroy at catcher, Mat Gamel at first base, Rickie Weeks at second base, Alex Gonzalez at shortstop, and Aramis Ramirez at third base.

Lucroy is a good hitter, especially against left handers.  He hit .291 and hit half of his home runs against lefties.  He needs to get better against right handers so he can improve on his .265 average, and I think he will this year.  Lucroy will be one of the better offensive catchers in the National League this year.  Mat Gamel has the unenviable task of replacing Prince Fielder.  He has had good numbers in the minors and I think he will be good first baseman.  Just don't try and be Prince Fielder.  Rickie Weeks has shown flashes of brilliance in his time in the majors, but he also has shown flashes of frustration.  He needs to be consistent and it would start with walking more.  He only took 50 walks last year.  Alex Gonzalez has somehow been a starting shortstop for 12 years, despite the fact that he has a career .247 average.  He is a good locker room guy and he plays good defense.  He is on his sixth team however, so five other teams realize that there are better options.  Ramirez is making his tour through the National League Central and hes next stop is here in Milwaukee. He hit over .300 last year and hit 26 home runs.  He has the third most 25 home run seasons in baseball history for a third baseman.  He will be an all-star this year for Milwaukee.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Aramis Ramirez will have the best season.  Another 25 home run season which will be his tenth.  Another year of hitting .290.  Another year of being the most underrated third baseman in baseball.

Outfield:  Ryan Braun in left field, Nyjer Morgan in center field, and Corey Hart in right field.

Ryan Braun had a very tumultuous off season to say the least.  He tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and got a 50 game suspension.  His suspension was then overturned because of a technicality.  The season starting is the best thing going for him.  He needs to forget about that and the season the best way to do it is to actually play baseball.  Nyjer Morgan is known more for his nickname "Tony Plush" and his tweeting then he is for actually playing baseball.  He needs to focus on baseball because when he does he actually is a good player.  He hit over .300 last year so he can hit.  He also is a pretty good defensive outfielder which is good because Ryan Braun is a butcher out there.  Corey Hart hit over 25 doubles and 25 home runs last year and batted .285.  He isn't healthy right now, and I expect a regression from those numbers.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Ryan Braun will have the best season of these three.  Like I said earlier he just needs to forget about everything that happened in the off season and focus 100% on baseball.  If he does that he will have another 40 home run season and be in the Most Valuable Player race again.

Starting Pitching:  Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson.

Zack Greinke went 16-6 last year and had a good ERA.  He also struck out over 200 hitters and did win Cy Young just two years ago.  He is a legitimate #1 starter and that is not very common in this league.  Gallardo actually won more games, had a lower ERA, and had more strikeouts in 2011.  Overall he was the better pitcher.  Gallardo had his breakout campaign last eyar and is poised to take the step to super stardom this year.  I think he gets there this year.  Shaun Marcum gives this team a very good top of the rotation.  Marcum only averaged 87 miles per hour with his fastball last year but he changes speeds very well and has good location with all of his pitches.  With Randy Wolf you know exactly what you will get.  210-215 innings, between 10-15 wins, and about 140 strike outs.  Not terrible numbers for a #4 starter, but he will not be wowing anyone either.  Narveson is a 30 year old #5 starter who the Brewers will be looking to replace with someone younger and more talented.  I think they will this year.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Most people would answer Greinke but I am going to say Gallardo.  He will win 20 games this year for the first time in his career and strike out 220 hitters.  I think he will be one of the favorites for the Cy Young this year.

Bullpen: John Axford, Fransisco Rodriguez, Manny Parra, and Kameron Loe.

Last season John Axford saved 46 games and had an ERA under 2.  He also only made $442,000 last year making him one of the better bargains in baseball.  While he was making pretty much the league minimum, one of the people setting him up was making over 12 million dollars.  Francisco Rodriguez is not as good as he was a few years ago, his velocity is down and his slider doesn't have the same sharp bite to it.  He is still a good reliever, but he is not worth 12 million dollars.  Manny Parra is another one of those guys that only has a job because he is left handed.  In over 100 career appearances he has an ERA over 5, and yet he still has a job.  Why?  Because he is left handed!!  Kameron Loe appeared in 72 games last year and only walked 16 hitters.  He pitches around the zone and gets guys to make contact.  He will have his off days because he pitches to contact, but for the most part this strike throwing machine will be very effective in the 7th and 8th innings.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Axford will continue to be a huge part of this bullpen.  I don't think his ERA will stay under 2 this year, but I do think he gets to 40 saves again and will be the best option in this bullpen.

Record: 89-73, second in the National League Central

Next up:  Minnesota Twins

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