Siberian Baseball

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Milwaukee Brewers (81-81, .500, 3rd in NL Central)

For the first time in a few years, Milwaukee has reason to be optimistic for the upcoming season. In addition to Bob Uecker, brats and a shiny new ballpark, the Brewers should field a decent ballclub this year. If nothing else, they should give Milwaukee fans hope and that has been in short supply as of late.

Some of us are more optimistic than others this year, but Frank the Tank is on the right track... just for the wrong reasons. Forget Carlos Lee and Ben Sheets (who will likely start the season on the DL). Forget anyone you've heard of before. Instead, focus on the young guys in the infield.

If you are a fan of an NL Central team, you're going to have to start paying attention to this team - I can't keep bailing your inattentive ass out. Around the horn is Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy and Corey Koskie. If I could attach a sound file that played the "white guy walks into a black club record scratch" when you read Koskie's name, I would. But I'm not that smart... or motivated.

Soon, Koskie will be gone and shortly thereafter Milwaukee will get pitching help for Mike Maddux (brother of Greg) to work with. Outside of Baltimore (gothca! Used to be Atlanta) I think Maddux is one of the top pitching coaches in the NL.

Fielder - son of that Fielder - broke into the bigs last year with Weeks and forced the issue with Lyle Overbay. He was shipped to the Blue Jays in the offseason only because Fielder was deemed ready by the club.

Weeks was called up on June 10 and hit .239 with an OBP of .333, 13 homers and 42 RBI in 360 at bats. Not great, but I think most rookies would dive at those numbers for their first pro season. This too, is after he tore the Pacific Coast League a new one, where he proved he can theoretically hit for power consistiently. One of the great saying in baseball comes into play here, "See how he hits with an upper deck on the park."

In the field, Weeks had 21 errors and turned 60 double plays in 95 games in the show. Seems like he's fitting in fine there. On a more unscientific note, he's one of the most watchable second basemen that I've seen in a while - just an exciting guy to watch - we're talking checking the MLB cable package to see when the Brewers are playing fun to watch.

On the other side of second is Hardy, who in 119 games committed 1o errors as a true rookie. To only scrape double digits as a rookie shortstop is pretty amazing or he's slow as hell and never gets close to a ball in the hole. I've seen him, he's not slow as hell.

Solid three starting pitchers in the rotation, then a Simpsons punchline and a few others. Three pitchers are OK. Three will get you over .500 at least. One of the only things standing in the way of a decent season is an offseason pickup - Dale Sveum.

While I have combed the free content at the Baseball Prospectus site, looking at fielding stats, VORP and all sorts of other bits, there is no stat on coaches. Sveum will cost this team between 15 and 20 runs a season - I'm not kidding, this guy is very, very bad at his job. He is possibly the worst third base coach of my lifetime. Bad enough that total strangers asked who he was as I've watched the Red Sox at away ballparks... twice.

Milwaukee Brewers
C: Damien Miller; Moehller
1B: Fielder; Cirillo; Hart
2B: Weeks; Hall; Sorensen; Cirillo
SS: Hardy; Hall; Sorensen
3B: Koskie; Hall; Cirillo; Hart
LF: Lee; Gross; Hart
CF: Clark; Hart
RF: Jenkins; Gross; Hart

SP: Sheets; Doug Davis; Capuano; Ohka; Bush; Helling
CP: Turnbow
RP: Kolb; Wise; Eveland; DeLaRosa; Capellan; Kane Davis; Lehr



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