Archive for the ‘ Players ’ Category

Milestone Tracker Refreshed for 2014

Have you been by the Milestone Tracker yet this year?

It’s got a new permanent home URL: http://brewernation.mlblogs.com/brewers-milestone-tracker/ as well as being linked in the frame on the right hand side of the page.

It’ll be easier to update for me than last year’s proved to be and should be updated after every game. (There’s a handy date at the bottom of the post which will let you know when it is updated through.)

So please visit the page often and be aware of when the next run, hit, save, walk and more will mean more than just a +1 in the column.

Brewers To Present Award on Saturday

CARLOS GOMEZ GOLD GLOVE PRESENTATION SET FOR SATURDAY

Gomez to Receive Rawlings Gold Glove Award During Pregame Ceremony
 
Carlos Gomez, the winner of the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award among National League center fielders, will be presented with his Rawlings Gold Glove Award in a pregame ceremony this Saturday at Miller Park.  The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. prior to the Brewers vs. Pirates game.
 
Gomez won the 10th Gold Glove Award in franchise history and became the fifth different Brewer to earn the honor, joining George Scott (first base: 1972-76), Cecil Cooper (first base: 1979-80), Sixto Lezcano (outfield: 1979) and Robin Yount (shortstop: 1982).  The Brewers had gone 30 seasons without a Gold Glove winner, which was the longest streak in the 57-year history of the award.
 
Gomez recorded a career-high 12 assists last season, which trailed only the Mets’ Juan Lagares (14) for the Major League lead among center fielders.  He also made five home run-saving catches and did not commit an error over his last 32 games.
 
Tickets for games at Miller Park can be purchased by visiting the Miller Park Box Office, online at Brewers.com or by calling the Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000 or 1-800-933-7890.

2014 Opening Day Affiliates Rosters

Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!

What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.

Nashville Sounds

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (9)

Outfielders (3)

Huntsville Stars

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)

Manager: Carlos Subero

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (7)

Outfielders (4)

  • Kentrail Davis
  • Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
  • Brock Kjeldgaard
  • D’Vontrey Richardson

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

26 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (8)

Outfielders (3)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

27 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

*Player/Coach

Brewers Player Music – As of Opening Day

2014 AT-BAT WALK-UP MUSIC

Jeff Bianchi – “Tonight” by Jeremy Camp

Ryan Braun – “Still In This” by B.o.B

Khris Davis – “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” by Ice Cube

Marco Estrada – “Bodies” by Drowning Pool

Yovani Gallardo – “My Time” by Fabolous

Matt Garza – “Toss It Up” by Tupac

Scooter Gennett – “Courage To Grow” by Rebelution

Carlos Gomez – “All Me” by Drake

Kyle Lohse ­– “Next Episode” by Dr. Dre

Jonathan Lucroy – “You’re Going Down” by Sick Puppies

Martin Maldonado – “Watch Out for this” by Major Lazer or “Odio (Remix)” by Baby Rasta

Lyle Overbay –“Given to Fly” by Pearl Jam

Wily Peralta – “Ponteme Melia” by Chimbala

Aramis Ramirez – None (at his request)

Logan Schafer – “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison

Jean Segura – “Pa Que Tu Me Saluda” by Don Miguelo or “Dando Coriente” by El Alfa

Rickie Weeks – “Trophies” by Drake

2014 PITCHING ENTRANCE MUSIC

Zach Duke – “Outsiders” by Eric Church

Marco Estrada – “Bodies” by Drowning Pool

Yovani Gallardo – “My Time” by Fabolous

Matt Garza – “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” by Tupac

Jim Henderson – “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Kyle Lohse – “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine

Wily Peralta – “Ponteme Melia” by Chimbala

Francisco Rodriguez – “Sandunqueoso” by Tego Cableron

Will Smith – “Hell Yeah” by Rev Theory

Source: John & Cait Plus…Nine

2014 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster

Here is the breakdown of the Opening Day 25-man roster.

PITCHERS (12)
59 Zach Duke* – LHP
41 Marco Estrada – RHP
49 Yovani Gallardo – RHP
22 Matt Garza – RHP
29 Jim Henderson – RHP
53 Brandon Kintzler – RHP
26 Kyle Lohse – RHP
38 Wily Peralta – RHP
57 Francisco Rodriguez – RHP
13 Will Smith – LHP
30 Tyler Thornburg – RHP
51 Wei-Chung Wang – LHP

CATCHERS (2)
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado

INFIELDERS (7)
14 Jeff Bianchi
2 Scooter Gennett
24 Lyle Overbay
16 Aramis Ramirez
7 Mark Reynolds
9 Jean Segura
23 Rickie Weeks

OUTFIELDERS (4)
8 Ryan Braun
18 Khris Davis
27 Carlos Gomez
1 Logan Schafer

DISABLED LIST (1)
32 Tom Gorzelanny LHP (left shoulder)

STAFF
10 Ron Roenicke – Manager
33 Mike Guerrero – Coach
35 Garth Iorg – 1B Coach
39 Rick Kranitz – Pitching Coach
36 Jerry Narron – Bench Coach
37 Johnny Narron – Hitting Coach
6 Ed Sedar – 3B Coach
31 John Shelby – Outfield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #7 Mark Reynolds

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Welcome back to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” for Monday, March 24, 2014! If you haven’t already done the match, March 31st is just one week away! Seven days. That’s all. We’ve almost made it.

Okay, I’ll try to remain calm and get through the end of this series.

Today, on our countdown to Opening Day, we stop to take a look at the newly named primary starting first baseman…

Mark Reynolds.

MarkReynolds

In the last couple of days, this post has taken on a whole different tone. No longer do I have to assure you that Mark Andrew Reynolds will be making the 25-man roster and that he was only signed to a minor-league contract because they didn’t want to have to make any of those 40-man roster based decisions right away.

I suppose I do still need to assure you that Reynolds will be starting on Opening Day. And I can certainly mention that the plan is such that he’ll be getting the vast majority of the starts at first base this season for the Brewers.

I can tell you that at 6’2″ tall, Reynolds makes for an adequately sized first baseman defensively, and that he’s played enough innings there over (500.0 in 2013 alone and over 2000 innings in his seven-year MLB career) that he’s more than comfortable at this point. This is no “work in progress” nor is it a “he’s never played there before” like nearly every option the Brewers tried in 2013. Is Reynolds a defensive whiz? Of course not. But what else Reynolds is not is Juan Francisco, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Opening Day starter Alex Gonzalez, or otherwise. He’ll be fine.

Where Reynolds will earn — and hopefully exceed — the value of his contract is at the plate. Reynolds has a ton of power and enough patience that manifest together in a very 3TO-like set of results.

Reynolds is going to strikeout. All players do, though some are more prolific than others. Reynolds takes it to the next level though. He’s led all of MLB on more than one occasion and holds the single-season record for strikeouts in a season (ironically coming in the same season he finished 20th in league MVP voting) as well as three of the top 6 single-season strikeout totals in MLB history. He’s cut down on his strikeouts in each of the last two years (29.6% & 30.6% respectively versus a 32.3% career mark), but that hurts the narrative so many people won’t bother to recognize it.

Reynolds is going to walk. All players do, but Reynolds’ 11.6% career walk percentage is more than four points north of league average. To illustrate: In his worst season of batting average (.198 in 2010), Reynolds also posted his highest single-season walks total (83) en route to a .320 OBP. In fact, Reynolds career K/BB ratio isn’t actually terrible out of whack with the league either (2.78 to 2.20) and he was actually below league average (2.18) as recently as 2012.

Reynolds is going to hit home runs. A career HR% nearly twice the league rate (5.1% to 2.6%), a career AB/HR more than twice as frequent as league average (16.9 against 34.6), and a HR/fly ball rate more than 10 points higher than the league. The power is real, it’s always been there for him, and it’ll continue. The key for Reynolds is contact. Will he hit the ball enough to let the rest of his skills affect the outcomes of said batted ball?

The Brewers are willing to give him an opportunity to figure it out. He’ll also have up to 81 games in Miller Park to impact the bottom line, which certainly isn’t going to hurt his efforts.

There will be some windy conditions around home plate when Reynolds steps into the box, but make sure you keep your eye on the ball to know whether that powerful cut sent the ball into the stratosphere…or missed it completely.

Chances are? There’ll be a whole lot of fun along the way, especially for the bleacher dwellers.

Bottom line though is that Reynolds will not be worse than the combined efforts of the 2013 amalgam of Brewer “first basemen”. Quite the opposite in fact. He’ll be better.

Enjoy the power and try not to worry too much about the strikeouts. After all, they only count as one.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profiles to this point:

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #8 Ryan Braun

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We’re eight days from Opening Day. There’s not much point in a fun open here. Let’s get into it.

Ryan Braun.

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There’s also not much point in recapping the on-field results of 2013 season that were first blunted by injury and then truncated by suspension. It was a bad year on the field, and a worse year off it.

There have been many words typed on keyboards over the past 29 months, give or take, about Ryan Braun. Let’s not sugarcoat things. He’s been called everything from a cockroach to a douche bag to worse.

He gave an exclusive interview to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, ironically the first person I saw a tweet from in 2011 that indicated news was about to break that would shake baseball. That news ended up being that the recently named NL MVP had failed a test by way of elevated testosterone.

What followed was a lengthy cycle of denial, finger-pointing, “no comments”, and eventual admission. What you learn in Nightengale’s exclusive (which can and should be read by clicking here) is that part of Braun’s vehement denial stemmed from believing what he was taking was “perfectly legal.” So maybe he didn’t think that he was taking anything would pop positive on a test because it hadn’t in the three months (and only three months) prior in which he was taking it. Certainly not a crazy theory.

Some people want their “answers” and many more refuse to forgive because of some kind of holier than thou mystique applied to professional athletes and other popular public figures who are built up in our minds and then torn to shreds when they do something we deem unsavory.

Charles Barkley said it best when he reminded the world that he isn’t a role model. Not because some people didn’t view him that way but because he’s a human being with flaws like the rest of us. As a father, I want my kids to appreciate excellence and aptitude and the thrill of competition but at the end of the day it’s not about the individuals so much so as it is about the construct in which they perform their individual feats of accomplishment. No one player is going to be able to bring down the machine, nor should they be able to. The sport carries on and the thrill and exhiliration that can be garnered from the same carry on with it.

Ryan Braun broke the rules and was a bit of a dick in a press conference which he regrets. Off the field, he’s apologized to Dino Laurenzi who has, in turn, forgiven him. He’s made statements expressing his regret and feelings of remorse. He’s acknowledged that he lied. He’s acknowledged that he did things he knows now that he shouldn’t have done. Maybe that makes him a bad guy. I’m not going to cast my stone despite the fact that I would hardly be contributing the first.

But on the field? On the field he’s served his league-governed punishment. He’s forfeited the statistics he would have posted in the 65 games lost to suspension. His legacy is tarnished. But he’s also got an opportunity to do what, so far, few other “big” names involved in performance-enhancing drugs have had a chance to. He’s got time to write more chapters to his story.  Ryan Braun will be playing right field, hitting third, and introduced to the home crowd at Miller Park in just over a week. No doubt there will be some boos mixed in, but they will almost certainly be drowned out by the cheers of support, and yes, adulation.

He needn’t be discarded in the wasteland of the anabolic steroid users. He can rehabilitate his image. That of course starts with staying clean in the bathroom. And it might not matter to those who still harbor ill will for Braun. There are those who will never be able to forgive what their once and dishonored hero did to them. Because that’s really what’s at the core of so much of this. People feel wronged, lied to, fooled. People don’t like to feel that way. They want to be made to feel whole again and they don’t see a way for that to happen in this instance so it’s best to shut out the source instead of dealing with the feelings.

But I’m not here to wax philosophic, so I’ll leave this topic with this thought.

Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry, Barry Bonds — as examples — are all men who broke the moral rules of baseball, rules down to the core the game.

Last time I checked, there’s a new season starting in eight days.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profiles to this point:

Brewers Announcement Clarifies First Base Situation

ReynoldsOverbay

On the heels of yesterday’s revelation that Juan Francisco’s locker at Maryvale Baseball Park was empty, the Brewers announced this morning that Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay have been informed that they have made the 25-man roster.

Both men were signed to minor-league deals (with invitations to Major League camp) in the off-season and given the opportunity to compete for what was basically an open position in first base.

Francisco put in a lot of time at first for Milwaukee in 2013, a season which saw a historically poor combined statistical performance. He was learning first base on the fly last year which showed in his lackluster defense. He also struck out at an alarming rate, which caused the Brewers to suggest a change to his batting mechanics, something that was showing improvement over winter ball and so far this spring.

For his part, Francisco hit well this spring — .346/.500/.731 with 8 BB, 9 K in 26 AB, displaying his known power and increased patience albeit while still striking out. There wasn’t much else that he could have done make the roster. It was his track record over parts of five seasons in the big leagues that truly worked against him in the end.

Overbay, 37, hit very poorly this spring — .114/.279/.114 with 8 BB, 15 K in 35 AB — but his bat wasn’t why he was signed in the first place. Long regarded as an above average defender at first base, Overbay gives the Brewers a level of certainty that they at  no time had in 2013. Even more than Reynolds who is a natural third baseman but who has played his fair share of first over the last few seasons, Overbay is a true first baseman who can still pick it. His 6’2″ frame adds to his ability to stretch for balls and he’s maintained much of his defensive value.

For the record, Overbay did hit okay against just right-handed pitching in 2013. But he absolutely shouldn’t ever start against a left-handed pitcher. Manager Ron Roenicke should be monitoring the opposing probable starters when determining appropriate days to move Reynolds off of first either to spell Aramis Ramirez at third or just to give Reynolds himself a day off.

As for Francisco’s future? Nothing was announced officially by the team but he won’t be with the team. Whether the specific language is DFA so they have the chance to trade him or simple release waivers, there is the three day window in which other teams have a chance to claim the high-potential, low-results slugger.

Reynolds will be the primary starting first baseman, with Overbay providing relief. Reynolds doesn’t own much of a career platoon split at all. I’ll get more into that tomorrow though as it’ll be Reynolds’ turn in “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” then.

For now, congratulations to Reynolds and Overbay. Let’s hope it’s the right combination for success on the field.

Let’s also hope that losing Francisco doesn’t come back to haunt Milwaukee.

UPDATE: Click for the original JSOnline article for the following quotes from Ron Roenicke regarding the decision. The JSOnline blog post was written by Todd Rosiak.

“We’re going with two guys that their track record is what we’re looking at,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “We feel we have better defense that way. I’ve been frustrated a little bit with the way we’re playing our defense, as has Doug (Melvin).

“We really feel like we’re going to pitch well this season. And because of that, we feel like we need to play good defense. When they talk about your defense being strong up the middle, we think we should be.

“I know how important it is at first base, to make plays there and pick up your pitching staff. That’s kind of what we’ve done. Reynolds is the versatile guy that Francisco was with first and third, and they’re kind of the same guy as power numbers and strikeouts.”

“Spring training is to get in shape. Spring training is not to see who you think should be on the team. If you did that, there would be some weird stuff happening every year,” he said. “Any of these guys, the veterans, could walk in and hit .200. Does that mean you don’t keep them on the team?

“Spring training is not on numbers. It isn’t. That’s the misleading thing that people don’t understand. The people that I look up to in this game always say, ‘Do not be misled by spring training,’ and it’s the truth.

“There is that occasion when you have two guys coming in and you’re not familiar with them and then you may make a decision on spring training.”

“Juan, he has improved. We all saw it,” Roenicke said. “Is some of it because he was coming out of winter ball? I don’t want to downplay what Juan did here because Juan did everything he could to help himself make this team. But the skill set, we feel, of the other two really fits better with what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #9 Jean Segura

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SINGLE DIGITS!!!!!

We’re nine days away from Opening Day, and just five from the Brewers breaking camp and coming north for a pair of exhibition games against the Kansas City Royals.

I’m so excited to have typed all that just now.

Since we’re nine days away from Opening Day, and this is “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, let’s get to the point and start looking at…

Jean Segura.

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Jean Carlos Enrique Segura is the starting shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers, a job which earned him a trip to Flushing, New York last year for the All-Star Game at CitiField. It really was a tale of two halves for Segura though in 2013.

Following a strong debut in late 2012 after coming over as the lead chip in the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Segura continued his great play at the plate and in the field as 2013 got underway. He struggled every now and then with his hands as he’s still working to develop the necessary softness to be elite, but he more than made up for it with spectacular plays and quality turns in the batter’s box.

Segura earned his All-Star appearance on the field through hustle, determination, a little bit of grit, and that magical quality known as “want.” All of those things combined to give him a “first half” of .325/.363/.487, 121 hits, 11 doubles, 8 triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBI, 27 stolen bases. It had people dancing in the stands and singing the praises of Doug Melvin yet again.

Hidden in those solid overall numbers was the steady, if gradual, decline in his numbers. Granted, nobody maintains a .400 BAbip like Segura had in April leading to a .367 batting average, but that’s not the only thing that worked against him.

In April, May, and June, Segura hit .367, .345, and .277 respectively. He rebounded a bit in July, hitting .281, but his slugging (just .354 in July) began avoiding him like it owed him money.

Here are the month-by-month splits for Segura:

  • April: .367/.418/.567, 33 H, 3 2B, 3 2B, 3 HR , 9 RBI, 7 SB, 7 BB, 12 K
  • May: .345/.373/.538, 41 H, 4 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 8 SB, 4 BB, 17 K
  • June: .277/.296/.429, 31 H, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 9 SB, 2 BB, 13 K
  • July: .281/.327/.354, 27 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 SB, 5 BB, 16 K
  • Aug: .252/.271/.313, 29 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 7 SB, 3 BB, 19 K
  • Sep: .214/.267/.286, 12 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 6 SB, 4 BB, 7 K

The BAbip breakdown by month: .400, .367, .292, .325, .302, .245.

As you can see, Segura never stoppped running, though he did get caught more often in the last three months of the season.

What you can’t see in those numbers though, is how Segura’s batted balls behaved differently as the season wore on. For that, we call on FanGraphs.com and their tracking of Line Drive Percentage and Ground Ball Percentage.

  • April: 20.8% LD%, 49.4% GB%
  • May: 20.8% LD%, 59.4% GB%
  • June: 18.8%, 61.5%
  • July: 12.7%, 67.1%
  • Aug: 16.3%, 59.8%
  • Sep: 18.4%, 51.0%

As Segura began to hit more grounders and fewer liners, it caught up to his numbers. He beat out a good number of infield hits in 2013, but that’s not a sustainable method of success.

Two things there. First, the league definitely made some adjustments against the hot “rookie”, but it was widely thought that Segura simply wore down after basically playing baseball non-stop for well over a year by the time 2013 would come to a close.

To combat that, the Brewers decided to prevent Segura from playing in Winter Ball as he has been accustomed. They want him fresh for the entire regular season. That time off has contributed to a bit of a slow start in Cactus League play, but Segura was turning it on lately.

However, as of press time, Segura hadn’t played in a few days and wasn’t likely to play in the field again until Tuesday, March 25 as he rests a balky shoulder. He’s got no problems swinging the bat, so he’s been getting work on the minor league side, but shortstops are known to have to throw on occasion so the Brewers want to make sure he’s healthy in nine days.

Assuming no setbacks, Segura appears ticketed for the second spot in the batting order once the season begins. He enjoyed a good amount of success there in 2013 and should benefit from the return of Ryan Braun to the three-hole. That said, it could cost Segura some stolen base opportunities as they won’t always want to be running into outs in front of the best hitters.

Segura’s game is contact at the plate, quality baserunning, and range/arm in the field. He ended last season still with questions about his hands, but that’s a fixable skill. If he can realize his potential a little more consistently, it could be another All-Star season for the 5’10″ Dominican.

And if the Brewers are going to compete in 2014, they’ll need the production from Segura. There’s simply no real alternative.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” profiles to this point:

2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection

Milwaukee Brewers

We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.

Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.

I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?

With that, to the list!

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Marco Estrada
  • Matt Garza
  • Wily Peralta

I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.

The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.

Relief Pitchers (7)

(with one more starting on DL)

  • Jim Henderson
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Will Smith*
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Wei-Chung Wang*
  • Rob Wooten
  • Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
  • Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)

Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.

For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.

Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.

As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.

Infielders (7)

  • Mark Reynolds
  • Rickie Weeks
  • Jean Segura
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
  • Scooter Gennett**
  • Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)

Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.

Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.

The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.

For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera make the club over a fifth true outfielder.

Outfielders (4)

  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Ryan Braun
  • Logan Schafer**

Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.

* - Throws left-handed
** - Bats left-handed
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So there you have it.

I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.

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