Hope everyone has a happy holiday. No posting on Christmas day. Myworld will take a break to enjoy the holiday.
Overall Assessment: The Brewers won the Division last year but fell short of playing in the World Series. With the departure of Prince Fielder and the impending suspension of Ryan Braun not a lot was expected from them in 2012. They posted for a Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki and once they won the bid they had no idea what they got. They invited him to Milwaukee for a tryout and if he made the team they would negotiate a contract. He was only supposed to be a fourth outfielder and an emergency replacement should Braun wind up on the 50 game suspension block, but he ended up a starter, even after the Braun suspension was overturned. The Brewers pulled up the tent in 2012, traded Zack Greinke for prospects then started winning, staying in the wild card hunt until the final week. Can they compete in 2013? Not a lot was expected from them in 2012 and they did not lose a lot from that team.
Hot Stove Season: The Brewers have not made a lot of moves to improve themselves, but by the same token they have not lost a Prince Fielder type player this year. They signed a few free agents, but the only one who appears to have the ability to make an immediate impact to the major league team in 2013 is Tom Gorzelanny. He will be lefthanded fodder out of the pen. They also made a minor trade, acquiring another reliever Brooke Badenhop (who should have been an infielder) for prospect Raul Mondesi, Jr., the son of the father with the same name. He will be righthanded fodder out of the pen. That’s all for now. Getting depth for the outfield would seem to be on the agenda and a starting pitcher to fit in the middle of a thin rotation.
Strength: Ryan Braun did not win the MVP in 2012 but many would argue he had better numbers than his 2011 MVP year. He’s a run producer. Jonathan Lucroy had a nice break out season. He just needs to avoid his wife’s luggage throwing attempts, which landed him on the disabled list with a different break. They have a couple power bats at the corner infield spots in Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart. Rickie Weeks has the potential to be one of the better offensive second baseman in the league, but when he is not hurt his bat becomes soft and when he hits his season is cut short by injury.
Weakness: Norichika Aoki doesn’t really have the power bat for right field. After Yovani Gallardo the starting pitching is unproven and a lot of vanilla. Vanilla does not get you into the playoffs. The bullpen appears to be relying on John Axford to close again. Last year he had nine blown saves. The arms to get to the closer also appear uninspiring. They seem to lack a true setup man to get to the closer. Jean Segura is unproven at short. He did hit well toward the end of the season and in the Winter League he won the batting title in the Dominican Republic. He has the speed to steal 50 or more bases but he has yet to produce those results in the major leagues. They do lack depth so an injury to one of their starters will seriously lesson the production of the offense.
Top Position Prospect: Most of their better prospects are pitchers. The best position prospect is probably Scooter Gennett. He has the perfect name for a leadoff hitter and when he is ready the Brewers will bid Ricke Weeks goodbye. If they are out of it by the trade deadline don’t be surprised to see Rickie traded and Scooter getting the starting job at second base. He hit .293 and only stole 11 bases but his OBA was .330. He needs to get on base more if he wants to succeed as a leadoff hitter and pile up those stolen base totals.
Top Pitching Prospect: Lots of choices. Wily Peralta was the number one but until last year he struggled when the door was open for his major league opportunity. The youngsters knocking on the door include Tyler Thornburg, Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann. You can even add in Johnny Hellweg to the equation, who was acquired in the Zack Greinke trade. You can almost choose any of those pitchers, but myworld will go with Peralta, since he did so well in a five start performance last year. He’s proven to disappoint.
Watch out for: Logan Schaffer is a .300 hitter waiting to happen. The Brewers are short on outfield depth and Schaffer can play all three positions. Look for him to make an Aoki like contribution in 2013.
Rookie of the Year Prospect: Wily Peralta. If they end up moving Hart back to right field Hunter Morris has a power bat that could draw some attention.
Projected on Paper Finish: Pitching is just not strong enough to make a run in 2013 and the Reds and Cardinals look stacked. Even the Pirates could pass them. At least they will finish ahead of the Cubs and in fourth place in the NC Central.