Another Milwaukee Brewers season on the horizon and with that, I will put together to my predictions for the 25 man patchwork lineup from Doug Melvin.
Starters in Bold
Catcher: Lucroy, Maldonado
Firstbase: Reynolds. Overbay
Thirdbase: Ramirez, Bianchi
Outfield: Khris Davis, Gomez, Braun, Schafer, Gindel
- Starting Pitcher
Another season is in the books for the Milwaukee Brewers and while the season was far from perfect for what fans were expected, this blogger knew it was coming. With that being said I have completed a season ending grade list.
- Jonathan Lucroy (B+) – Once of the most consistent players over the entire season minus a slow start. Made the transition to playing first base on a as needed basis. The only thing holding this grade back from a “A” was some base running blunders that occurred throughout the year along with the slow start to the year.
- Juan Francisco (F) -Too slow, Too Fat, Too many K’s. His new name should be Juan Fran-wiffo
- Rickie Weeks (D) – Once again Rickie has another slow start with a season ending injury, I almost think that is Weeks gameplan at the start of the season. He is too slow and too fat, he got away from the way he got in the major leagues, with his speed.
- Jean Segura (A) – Jean had his breakout season at the plate and in the field, a well deserved top grade.
- Aramis Ramirez (C-) – Ramirez has outlived his welcome in Milwaukee, a very streaky season for when he was healthy. He is too slow and on the DL too much to be of much use for the Brewers anymore. Time to move on.
- Ryan Braun (C) – Based solely on his play, Braun would get a “A”, but given the events of the season, I have downgraded him to a “C”. It will be long road back for Braun, and some people will never forgive him even if he cures cancer, provides world peace and finds Jimmy Hoffa.
- Carlos Gomez (B+) – An above average season for Gomez who signed a contract extension before the season. Did recently start to cool off at the end of the season and is plagued by the injury bug.
- Norichika Aoki (B-) – The faults that did not show themselves during last season seemed to manifest themselves during this season. Seemed to not be able to slap the ball as well, plus Aoki seem to have troubles covering right field from time to time. Overall though, he did have an average year and used his speed efficiently.
- Yuniesky Betancourt (D+) – Making another trip though the Brew city did not prove any better for Yuni-B. To slow, too inconsistent.
- Logan Schafer (C-) – Too young and inconsistent. Most likely will be no better than a defensive replacement.
- Jeff Bianchi (C-) – Not enough speed, not enough power to be an every day starter. Only a utility or every fifth day starter.
- Scooter Gennett (C+) – A breath of fresh air from the play of Rickie Weeks given the defensive play that he provided this season, but it was a tough year for Scooter. His power is below average, he has trouble with lefties and drawing walks. He was able to hit righties over .300, so there is hope. He should compete for a starting job next season, but could be beat out.
- Martin Maldonado (D) – When working with pitchers from the minors, he seemed better, but struggled at the plate for most of the season. He is replaceable.
- Caleb Gindl (C) – Capable backup player, will have to see how he develops
- Khris Davis (C+) – After a slow start, Davis has been able to turn it one with the bat. Does continue to struggle from time to time in the outfield.
- Sean Halton (C) – Started the season slow, but near the end of the season started to play more consistent.
- Kyle Lohse (B) – Overall an average year for Lohse coming over from St. Louis, did have his moments without Dave Duncan to oversee him. St. Louis appeared to know what he was doing when letting him go just like with Suppan and Looper.
- Wily Peralta (C+) – Wildly inconsistent throughout the year, when he was on, he was on. Threw a complete game shutout on July 9th.
- Yovani Gallardo (C) – Most people would think I’m crazy for giving the grade I have to Yo, but given that he has now pitched about 5 1/2 years in the major leagues (1/2 of 2007, missing most of 2008) that he would learn how to pitch the complete game. He has too many pitches too soon in the game. Many times he has 25+ pitches in the first inning, but does not give up any runs. So he is only able to go 5-6 innings. With stuff that Yo has, he should be able to 7+ innings consistently. Gallardo does not always have to go for the K. Gallardo did once again present a threat at the plate this year.
- Marco Estrada (C-) – Another year of solid 5 inning starts. After that, disaster. Did fill in in the starter role again this year, but injuries once again plagued hit. Better fits a long reliever role.
- Jim Henderson (B) – Solid in most of his appearances, does not rely solely on the fastball.
- Brandon Kintzler (B) – An acceptable bounce back year lowering his ERA to career lows with a good strikeout to walk ratio, could be a good 8th inning man next year.
- Burke Badenhop (C) – Was not worth the money we paid this year, but given what we gave up, the deal was average. Might be worth a look next year if the price is right.
- John Axford (F) – I understand that Axford is no longer a Brewer, but I had to give him his grade. Does not throw anything but a fastball and that pitch can give him trouble at times. Has the tendency to overthrow the fastball which causes trouble. Please use the following guide to evaluate Axford on any given day. Pitch MPH <= 94 – Doing Good; <=96 At the limit; <= 97 All over the place; >= 98 Do not have your drink on the ledge behind the plate. Unfortunately he was at 97+.
- Mike Gonzalez (F) – I don’t know who is more to blame, Melvin for signing Gonzalez or Gonzalez not declining the offer stating he really can not pitch. Melvin of all people should know that you just don’t sign a lefty for the sake of signing the lefty. We won a division back in 2011 without a single lefty in the bullpen. Gonzalez lack any kind of control or ability to work the corners of the plate. Let this guy go and be someone else’s problem.
- Tom Gorzelanny (C) – I was always nervous with this signing. One good season generally should not be a reason to sign a guy especially given the past seasons and how he done against the Brewers. Gorzelanny was a good long reliever, but an awful starter. The Brewers should only keep him if they plan to use him as a long reliever.
- Donovan Hand (C-) – A roller coaster first season for Hand. While he shows the ability to get batters out, he is no starter, or at least right now not a starter. Should work at the middle relief.
- Tyler Thornburg (C) – I consider this a bounce back season for Thornburg. Seemed to be able to get batters out and string together good starts. My concern is that this was done against teams that were already out of playoff contention so the focus might not have been all there this year, but might have lit him up at the start of the year.
- Johnny Hellweg (D) – Wild, Wild, Wild. That is the book on this guy. Can not go more that 5 innings and goes through these painful stretches where he can not get anybody incurring large pitch counts.
- Rob Wooten (C-) – Did get use through some tough games when the Brewers were not playing their best. Does posses the ability to be a 8th inning or closer in the future, but the 7/8th is most likely his role.
- Jimmy Nelson (D+) – Only played in a couple of games this year for the Brewers, but I’m concerned with the pitches to the backstop along with the high pitch counts, but he is only 24 years old.
- Chris Narveson (I) – Another season cut short by the injury bug. One might ask if his time might be done in Milwaukee given that he will be 32 years old when he comes back and he can only give you 6 innings max a start.
In this post I would like to highlight a few minor league players in the Brewers system I will be watching for the upcoming 2013 minor league season. This is just my opinion and is not based on any other thing than my thoughts:
- Hiram Burgos: This guy has rapidly progressed through the Brewers farm system to the point, with a good season in AAA, could be pitching with the big club. The key with Hiram will be consistency. Can he string together a series of starts that prove he is ready for the Major Leagues?
- Hunter Morris: When the Brewers drafted Morris, they sent him directly to the Timber Rattlers. I’m honored to have see him play in person and knew that they had somebody special. The only concern at the time was Prince Fielder was playing first base, but guess what no Prince. It will be interesting how he plays this year and if he gets a shot at the major leagues.
- Drew Gagnon: This pitcher seems to be the player that nobody is talking about, or I’m just not looking in the right places. I have also seen this guy pitch in person and I was impressed. He has a low 90’s fastball with a good breaking slider. Success in Low A Appleton did translate to High A Brevard County. Where he ends up this year is all up to him.
- Scooter Gennett: When first looking at this guy, I thought he was small, but fast for a second baseman, but this guy has progress well.
- Jason Rogers: This guy has great power, good doubles power. The only issue I see with Rogers is his tendency to swing wildly.
- Johnny Hellweg: A pickup in the Greinke deal, this guy needs to be able to put together consistent starts to move up the Brewers system. A good Arizona Fall League season for Hellweg has put him on the right track.
- Khris Davis: I saw him play a couple of years ago in Appleton and he had good power. Since then, he has developed nicely playing in AAA at the end of the season.
- Taylor Jungmann: This pitcher started out on fire last year, but cooled off as the season progressed. To progress, Jungmann needs to show more consistency as he gave up more than 1 hit per inning pitched.
- Josh Prince: This is the wild card in the bunch I’m watching. This guy had a good AFL season, but with an up and down batting average, 2013 should show if Josh is the real deal.
- Lance Roenicke: This guy started in Helena and got off to a red hot start. Then he was transferred to Appleton and also got off to a good start before cooling off at the end to a near frost. 2013 for Roenicke will show if he has the ability to bounce back and progressive up the farm sys
I have extremely grateful for the MILB.TV to be able to watch the majority of these players. It is well worth the price.