80-82, 3rd NL Central
All things started out well for the Brewers; they were in first place for a while in the beginning of the season. As time wore on, their pitching fell off and they had to settle for third.
The offense was as good as advertised. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun continued to be elite hitters, leading the team to 182 home runs and 785 runs. They hit .263 as a team, which was 4th in the NL. They also had the 3rd lowest strikeout total for a team in the NL.
The pitching, though, was a different story. They gave up a total of 818 runs for the season, leading to an ERA of 4.84. Any team that gives up more runs than they score will have a losing record. The team had 1104 Ks to 607 BBs, which isn’t horrible.
Gains: Luis Cruz, Doug Davis, Marco Estrada, Carlos Gomez, LaTroy Hawkins, George Kottaras, Randy Wolf, Gregg Zaun
Losses: Jason Bourgeois, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Jesus Colome, Chris Duffy, J.J. Hardy, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper, Felipe Lopez, Seth McClung, Brad Nelson, Corey Patterson, Mike Rivera, David Weathers
Minor League Deals: Jim Edmonds, John Halama, Norris Hopper, Kameron Loe, A.J. Murray, Trent Oeltjen, Scott Schoenweis, Matt Treanor
The area of concern was the rotation. Adding Randy Wolf and Doug Davis is pretty big. Wolf isn’t an ace, but he’s a solid mid-rotation guy. He’s see a slight decline in numbers moving from LA, but he’s proved that he’s healthy and efficient. He also won’t have to carry the rotation with Yovani Gallardo pitching in front of him. Davis is an innings eater, which will help the bullpen. You can expect a mid-4 ERA and 200+ innings.
Carlos Gomez won’t replace Mike Cameron’s production, but he’s got 2 things for the team: he’s under team control and he made it possible to get top prospect Alcides Escobar in the line up. I don’t think Escobar/Gomez will out perform Hardy/Cameron this year, but it’s beneficial for the long haul.
Jim Edmonds is looking like he might make the roster; he’ll be nice as a mentor for Gomez and a solid bench player. There could be worse players for a 4th outfielder.
With the new pitching in place and minimal changes to the line up, they will continue to compete in the Central. Rickie Weeks should be healthy (something that’s said every year), so it’ll limit the at bats of Craig Counsell. Third base should be interesting; Casey McGehee played over his head and Mat Gamel is a better player. Overall, the production should be a wash. Escobar is a good prospect, and the team is really relying on him.
The outfield is still anchored by Braun. They need an improved performance from Corey Hart, whose shown flashes of talent over the last couple of years. If Gomez can bat above the Mendoza line and field like he has in the past, he’ll be worth Hardy’s production.
Overall, I don’t see them better than the Cardinals and right there with the Cubs.
86-76, 2nd NL Central.
Tags: 30 Teams in 30 Days, Baseball, Baseball Preview, Milwaukee Brewers, Prince Fielder