Tag Archives: Milwaukee Brewers

Season Preview: Playoffs and Awards


With less than a week until opening day, here’s my predictions for the playoffs and the major awards as well. I already gave my division winners in each division preview post, but here’s a recap:

NL: San Francisco, Milwaukee, Philadelphia
AL: Texas, Minnesota, Boston

My two wild card predictions are Atlanta and Tampa Bay. As a result, here’s my playoff matchups:

Atlanta vs. San Francisco
Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota
Texas vs. Boston

I think that San Francisco and Philadelphia will both just have too much pitching not to advance in these matchups, and will face each other in the NL Championship. On the other side, I think that Tampa and Boston will be the top two teams overall in the league, and will advance to the AL Championship

Tampa Bay vs. Boston
San Francisco vs. Philadelphia

In the AL Championship, I think that the Boston lineup will be just too much for Tampa, despite potential flaws in the Boston pitching staff. In the National League, the addition of a 4th ace by the Phillies may be too much for the Giants, but it will definitely be a series that is built around pitching.

Boston vs. Philadelphia

In what appears likely to be the top offensive team facing off against one of the best pitching staffs in recent memory, I think that Philadelphia would likely defeat Boston. Off the top of my head guess makes me think it will take 6 games.

Awards Predictions

Here’s my picks for the major awards:

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt
AL Cy Young Award: Jon Lester
NL Cy Young Award: Roy Halladay
AL Most Valuable Player: Evan Longoria
NL Most Valuable Player: Ryan Braun
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon
NL Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke

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Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh –  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? NL Central Edition


Only two divisions left to look at for the Faces of the Franchise, but there’s some definite notable ones here .

  • Cubs – At the moment, the player who is most known for being a Cub has to be Carlos Zambrano. Whether or not that is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but the team seems like it is more associated with him than some of the more famous position players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Continue reading

Trade Review – Zack Greinke to the Brewers


After all of the posturing that was coming out about what the Royals were looking for in return for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, it appears that a trade came together pretty quickly. Jim Breen over at Bernie’s Crew broke the story last evening, and the trade that appears to have been finalized was Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 M going to the Brewers in exchange for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, SP Jake Odorizzi, and SP Jeremy Jeffress.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have really improved their starting pitching with both the acquisition of Shaun Marcum and now Zack Greinke. Their rotation now consists of Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson most likely, which could well be the top starting rotation in the NL Central, and probably 3rd in the NL behind the Phillies and the Giants.

Continue reading

Trade Review: Shaun Marcum to the Brewers


The Winter Meetings hadn’t even officially kicked off and there had already been two trades, one gigantic one, and another which is a pretty decent sized one as well. I already wrote up the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but another one that came together pretty quickly on Sunday evening was the Brewers’ acquisition of Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie.

Continue reading

Season Preview in Review – National League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I previously looked at each of the divisions in the American League and the NL East, and I move now to the NL Central.

Chicago Cubs

Predicted Record: 87-75
Actual Record: 75-87

I had thought that the Cubs would find a way to put it together this season, and find a way to win what definitely appeared to be a weak division. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and the team really spun out of control throughout the season. The bright spots for the team really seemed to be the emergence of rookie shortstop Starlin Castro and the performance that manager Mike Quade was able to coax out of the team. Hopefully they will be able to make a quick recovery in 2011. Continue reading

Team Preview – Milwaukee Brewers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gregg Zaun SP 1 Yovani Gallardo
1B Prince Fielder SP 2 Randy Wolf
2B Rickie Weeks SP 3 Doug Davis
3B Casey McGehee SP 4 Jeff Suppan
SS Alcides Escobar SP 5 Dave Bush
LF Ryan Braun Bullpen
CF Carlos Gomez CL Trevor Hoffman
RF Corey Hart RP LaTroy Hawkins
Bench RP Todd Coffey
IF Craig Counsell RP Mitch Stetter
OF Jim Edmonds RP Manny Parra

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Randy Wolf Free Agency SS J.J. Hardy Trade (MIN)
CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIN) CF Mike Cameron Free Agency
SP Doug Davis Free Agency C Jason Kendall Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brett Lawrie (2B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Mat Gamel (3B)

2009 Review

The Brewers finished the 2009 season with an 80-82 record, good for 3rd place in the division. The team had some excellent performances on offense, led by 1B Prince Fielder (.299, 46 HR, 141 RBI), LF Ryan Braun (.320, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 20 SB), and rookie IF Casey McGehee (.301, 16 HR,  66 RBI). Unfortunately, the rest of the offense was rather middling, and only scored 785 runs last year. The pitching staff, now missing the excellent half-season of free-agent departee C.C. Sabathia, was led by Yovani Gallardo (13-12, 3.73 ERA). Unfortunately, the rest of the staff pitched extremely inconsistently, with replacement level performances from Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Dave Bush.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Brewers officially ushered in the Major league career of SS prospect Alcides Escobar early in the offseason with the trade of SS J.J. Hardy to the Twins. They were able to replace free agents C Jason Kendall and SP Braden Looper with C Gregg Zaun and SP Doug Davis, respectively. The Hardy trade also brought their replacement for CF Mike Cameron, another free agent departee. Their main free agent signing this offseason has to be SP Randy Wolf. Wolf will help to bring stability to the rotation, and allow Davis, Jeff Suppan, and Dave Bush to slot in closer to their proper positions in the rotation. The offense is led by elite 1B Prince Fielder and LF Ryan Braun, and should be helped by the return of 2B Rickie Weeks and RF Corey Hart from injuries. This team has done well to build around its solid core of top players, and has also tried to find some veteran presence with Trevor Hoffman and OF Jim Edmonds.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Ryan Braun and 1B Prince Fielder are both 1st round talents regardless of format. After that, SP Yovani Gallardo is really the only player who’s ownable in all formats. For some deeper leagues, I would recommend SS Alcides Escobar (for SB potential), and SP Randy Wolf as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Brewers are improved over last season, but I think that they’re going to need a little luck if they were to pass either Chicago or St. Louis. As of right now, their offense and pitching are both not quite up to the standard of a division leader. But they’re getting closer.

83-79, 3rd in the NL Central

Free Agency Review – Relief Pitchers


Today I’m finishing up my series of reviews of this offseason’s free agent class, talking about the relief pitchers of the class.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Left Handed Relievers
Name Old New Years Total $
Mike Gonzalez ATL BAL 2 $12 M
Billy Wagner BOS ATL 1 $7 M
John Grabow CHC CHC 2 $7.5 M
Darren Oliver LAA TEX 1 $3.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

This group of lefty relievers did well, as both Gonzalez and Wagner received high dollar contracts that I, for one, did not really see them getting out of the teams that they did. Gonzalez seems like he was a good signing for the Orioles, as he can help to stabilize the bullpen for the very young rotation they have. Wagner was a bit of an unusual signing, as he was a type-A free agent. The Braves could have kept either Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano without having to give up the draft picks, but felt that Wagner was a better fit instead. That said, there is a certain swagger that Wagner can bring to the club that I don’t think either Gonzalez or Soriano would provide.

Right Handed Relievers
Name Old New Years Total $
Jose Valverde HOU DET 2 $14 M
Fernando Rodney DET LAA 2 $11 M
Rafael Soriano ATL ATL/TAM 1 $7.25 M
Kevin Gregg CHC TOR 1 $2.75 M
Takashi Saito BOS ATL 1 $3.2 M
J.J. Putz NYM CHW 1 $3 M
Octavio Dotel CHW PIT 1 $3.5 M
Rafael Betancourt COL COL 2 $7.55 M
Matt Capps PIT WAS 1 $3.5 M
Kelvim Escobar LAA NYM 1 $1.25 M
LaTroy Hawkins HOU MIL 2 $7.5 M
Brandon Lyon DET HOU 3 $15 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Kiko Calero (FLA)

Lots of closers in this group. The Rodney signing was interesting to me, as it signals either one of two things: Rodney isn’t that concerned about being a closer, as he could probably have gotten a job as one with a number of teams, and 2)the Angels have very little faith as Brian Fuentes as the closer. Either way, definitely something to be watched. Washington, Houston, Detroit, and possibly Pittsburgh all got closers off of the free agent pool this year. The other interesting trend was the musical chairs game played by some of the teams, with Valverde and Lyon essentially trading spots, and deciding that the player they don’t know is going to be better than the player they do.

This weekend’s posts: Fantasy Previews of 1B and 2B

Free Agency Review – Starting Pitchers


As expected, the free agent class of starting pitchers was pretty deep this offseason, although there were very few solid options.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

LH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Randy Wolf LAD MIL 3 $29.75 M
Andy Pettitte NYY NYY 1 $11.75 M
Erik Bedard SEA SEA 1 $1.5 M
Aroldis Chapman CIN 6 $30.25 M
Doug Davis ARI MIL 1 $5.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Jarrod Washburn (DET)


Of all the lefties, Randy Wolf probably did the best in terms of capitalizing on a good season. Milwaukee got a very good veteran starting pitcher for a reasonable price. Bedard signed an incentive-laden deal which could be worth up to $8.5 M total, and if he earns them all, the Mariners will be extremely happy with the results as well. The most unusual signing in my opinion was the Chapman signing. The Reds, not known for spending a lot of money necessarily, sign a pitcher who will be under contract for 6 seasons, and be paying him for as much as 10 perhaps, and will hopefully not be starting his career in the Major leagues.

RH Starting Pitchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Rich Harden CHC TEX 1 $7.5 M
John Lackey LAA BOS 5 $82.5 M
Brad Penny SF STL 1 $7.5 M
Joel Pineiro STL LAA 2 $16 M
Justin Duchscherer OAK OAK 1 $2 M
Ben Sheets OAK 1 $10 M
Jon Garland LAD SD 1 $5.3 M
Colby Lewis JPN TEX 2 $5 M
Jason Marquis COL WAS 2 $15 M
Vicente Padilla LAD LAD 1 $5.025 M
Carl Pavano MIN MIN 1 $7 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Braden Looper (MIL), Todd Wellemeyer (STL), John Smoltz (STL), Pedro Martinez (PHI)

Lackey was the big name on the market this offseason, and got the big contract that went along with it. I was a bit surprised at the time about this since I didn’t really think that the Red Sox were in the market for a starting pitcher. However, it looks now like he will be the replacement for Josh Beckett should he leave via free agency after 2010. The Angels did well to replace Lackey with Pineiro. Pineiro, while not the same quality pitcher as Lackey, will provide more stability to the rotation being led now by Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir. Free agency was also littered with high-risk, high-reward types like Harden, Sheets, and Duchscherer. The most interesting signing for a right hander to me is the Rangers’ signing of Colby Lewis. Lewis is returning from 2 seasons in Japan where he was very dominant, and should be interesting to watch this season.

Tomorrow: Free agency review of relief pitchers

Free Agency Review – OF/DH


Continuing on with my review of the 2010 free agent class, today’s positions are the outfielders and designated hitters.

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Corner Outfielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Jason Bay BOS NYM 4 $66 M
Matt Holliday STL STL 7 $120 M
Xavier Nady NYY CHC 1 $3.3 M
Randy Winn SF NYY 1 $1.1 M
Marlon Byrd TEX CHC 3 $15 M
Bobby Abreu LAA LAA 2 $19 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Johnny Damon (NYY), Jermaine Dye (CHW)

What an unusual offseason. Holliday gets $120 M from the Cardinals, despite appearing to have no other offers even remotely as large or as long. Bay takes about $6 M more than the Red Sox offered, and goes to a park which I have to imagine is not going to be as good for him as a hitter as Fenway was. And then there is the case of Johnny Damon. As of this writing, Damon is STILL unsigned. He was looking for a very large contract, with 3-4 years in length and a large quantity of money. After the season he had last year, he appears to have been well within his rights to ask for it, too. Unfortunately, no one’s willing to pay it. Which makes the contract that Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels look that much better.

Center Fielders
Name Old New Years Total $
Rick Ankiel STL KC 1 $3.25 M
Scott Podsednik CHW KCR 1 $1.75 M
Coco Crisp KCR OAK 1 $5.25 M
Mike Cameron MIL BOS 2 $15.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Center fielders did alright this offseason, with Mike Cameron receiving the best contract overall. He’s going to be playing LF for the Red Sox most likely, although they’d probably be better served moving Jacoby Ellsbury instead. Crisp was added to the A’s outfield in spite of the logjam that was there when the offseason started, and the move makes a lot more sense now that they were able to move a couple of their excess outfielders. Both Podsednik and Ankiel aren’t going to play CF for the Royals, but I could see them splitting their time out there, and potentially in RF in place of Jose Guillen as well.

Designated Hitters
Name Old New Years Total $
Jim Thome LAD MIN 1 $1.5 M
Vladimir Guerrero LAA TEX 1 $5 M
Hideki Matsui NYY LAA 1 $6.5 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: None

Not surprisingly, there were not a lot of designated hitters available, and jobs for them either. Matsui did well to take Guerrero’s old job, and get a nice salary for 2010. I really like the signing for the Angels, as Matsui is the definition of a professional hitter. Should fit in well with the rest of the lineup and the roster. Guerrero could very well have an excellent season in Texas, although I think Texas probably would have been better served using that money for other spots on the roster besides a player who cannot play the field any longer. Thome’s signing was under the radar, and also fits really well with his new team. He brings a professionalism and veteran leadership to the Twins that they don’t have a lot of at the moment.

Tomorrow’s free agency review: Starting Pitchers