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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MLB 2013 Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

Wild on Sports
MLB 2013 Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers
By Wild on Sports Baseball Analyst Aaron Dorman

Milwaukee Brewers
2012 Record:
83-79
The Brewers suffered a comedown from an all-in 2012 bid, and although they had a surprising late run, it was too little, too late. 

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: none
NOTABLE LOSSES: Shawn Marcum, ½ a season of Corey Hart (injuries)

Keys to success: Will they have enough pitching? The Brewers are counting on their younger prospects in the high minors to contribute significantly. Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers are more about results than stuff…how long can they keep it going? Only Yovani Gallardo remains as a starter with a consistent track record of success. What are they going to do about filling the hole at first base left by Corey Hart’s injury?

Prospect Watch
Prospect Key 
TBD= Work in Progress
X= Posses the Tool
XX= Excels at Tool
 
Mark Rogers, RHP (rookie watch):
Velocity
Second Stuff
Command
Control
Strikeouts
Health
x
x
TBD
 
x
 
Rogers was a first round draft pick eight years ago…and somehow is still one inning short of losing his rookie eligibility. He’s looked good in the brief time he’s had with the Brewers, going 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA and 52 K in 49 IP. Unfortunately, he’s had lots of trouble staying healthy and effective in his career. Last year in AAA he went 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA and a 49/74 BB/K ratio in 95 IP. He’s always had control problems, which means despite his big league success he’s probably going to end up being a reliever, and he could be a good one since he throws very hard.
Wily Peralta, RHP (rookie watch):
Velocity
Second Stuff
Command
Control
Strikeouts
Health
x
x
 
 
x
 
Peralta is another pitching prospect who finished his season with a nice run in Milwaukee after struggling in AAA. In six starts, he went 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 11/23 BB/K ratio in 29 IP. However, with AAA-Nashville, he went 7-11 with a 4.66 ERA and while his 143 K in 147 IP is nice, his 78 BB total is way too high. Peralta has mostly had success in the minors, and ended 2012 on a strong note. He still has a good mix of pitches, which still gives him a chance to be a dominant starter. However, his lack of command/control to date means there is a wide range of plausible outcomes for his career, from star to AAAA washout.
Hunter Morris, 1B (rookie watch):
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
xx
 
TBD
 
 
 
The injury to Corey Hart speeds up Morris’ timetable in a big way. Initially expected to prove himself at AAA-Nashville, the big slugger has a good chance this spring to finish as Milwaukee’s opening day first baseman. Morris has big power; he hit .303/.357/.563 with 28 HR 113 RBI in 136 games for AA-Huntsville. That was by far his best season yet. He’s very aggressive and even if he has enough bat speed for the majors, he probably won’t hit for average. Morris only walked 40 times last year but that was nearly double his 2011 rate so he is learning and it is very possible he will adjust to the majors enough to play every day.
Tyler Thornburg, RHP (rookie watch):
Velocity
Second Stuff
Command
Control
Strikeouts
Health
TBD
x
x
TBD
x
x
Thornburg has moved very quickly through the minors, and pitched in eight games with Milwaukee at the end of the year, going 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 22 K in 20 IP. The red flag in his debut was 8 HR allowed; he will have to do better and/or improve his fly-ball rate. Thornburg has a solid but unspectacular fastball that could play up in relief. He mixes his pitches and did well enough in the minors to earn a chance at starting. Last year between AA-AAA he went 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA and a strong 37/113 BB/K ratio in 112 IP. His control improved last year after a wilder-but-dominant 2011 (2.57 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 10.5 K/9). Whether Milwaukee needs a mid-rotation starter or a late-inning reliever will determine his role for most of this year. 


2012 Top Draft Pick: Clint Coulter, C 

Sleeper MLB Contributor: Counter OF KHRIS DAVIS’ age and health concerns against the fact that he hit .380 with power in limited time in AA last year. 

2013 Outlook and Projection: The Brewers always knew they would probably not be as good as they were in 2011, but 2012 was still a disappointment. Ironically, it was not the loss of Prince Fielder that caused them to slip down to .500. In fact, GM Doug Melvin made a brilliant move by signing Aramis Ramirez to a more cost-effective deal than Fielder’s. Ramirez in fact may have been MORE valuable last year when you consider position differences. It was the pitching, especially the bullpen, which eroded their success. The Brewers relievers had the worst ERA in the league at 4.66, after pitching to a 3.32 mark in 2011. John Axford and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez were terrible at the end of games. Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers were surprisingly competent but that was not enough to offset losing 20-odd starts from Greinke (trade) and Marcum (injury). Milwaukee had some payroll flexibility this winter but they made the dangerous gamble that enough of their young pitchers are ready to step up behind Yovani Gallardo, who himself is not quite an ace. Their one major pitching acquisition, Tom Gorzelanny, is a nice swingman/long reliever, but he’s been spotty in the recent past when starting. With expected attrition, the Brewers might be lucky to get a reliable starter from among Thornburg, Peralta, and Rogers, but all three have talent so you never know. Left-hander Chris Narveson will be back but he was never anything special. Milwaukee still has a strong, balanced offense, mixing in speed and power around the diamond. They don’t have much depth, a fact already exposed by Corey Hart’s injury. Because of the rotation’s general lack of experience, Milwaukee could either see the bottom fall out this year, or could sustain hopes at making the playoffs. They have enough minor league depth for a trade or two but don’t quite have the pieces for an elite player.
POSSIBLE CONTENDERS

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