Results tagged ‘ Craig Counsell ’

Why I’m Rooting For the American League

Let’s get this out of the way at the top. Thank you, San Francisco Giants! Thank you, NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner. Thank you, Hunter Pence. Thank you, Santiago Casilla. Thank you, Pablo Sandoval. Thank you, Yusmeiro Petit. Thank you (and congrats), Tim Hudson. Thank you even to Buster Posey.

Thank you, Michael Morse for tying that one game.

Thank you, Travis Ishikawa for walking the birds off the field.

I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without the efforts and success of the San Francisco Giants. You can drop the #EvenYear hashtag on social media. You can thank a blossomed ace in Bumgarner. You can shower praise on Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff. It’s all deserved. It’s all warranted. “THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT!”

And as happy as I am today that the senior circuit representative in this year’s Fall Classic plays its home games outside the state of Missouri, my desire for Giant victories ended when that ball left Ishikawa’s bat.

So why am I rooting against them starting tonight? I like the Giants just fine. I like most of their players. Only Angel Pagan really gets my dander up, and he’ll miss this series with injury anyway. So this isn’t about the Giants.

As far as leagues go, I absolutely prefer the National League game to that of its younger brother. The Designated Hitter should be done away with (though I realize it never will be). The strategy and timing of the NL game makes for a beautiful, and sometimes sickening, dance where decisions feel like they loom larger. You can’t always just pitch a guy until he’s done. Maybe you have to lift a pitcher early because of a key offensive spot. Maybe you try to stretch a guy farther because his spot is due up next half inning. Et cetera. There is so much more that goes into it. It’s more interesting and more fun, in my ever so humble opinion.

I’m a stump for the NL way of life. My team plays in the National League, for what that’s worth.

So, again, I ask: Why am I rooting against the Giants?

Well, to be fair it’s about rooting for Kansas City more than it is about rooting against San Francisco.

Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Norichika Aoki. All former Brewers. All good guys who I enjoy watching succeed. But pulling for the Royals is deeper than just that connection. Doug Henry and Dale Sveum. Both former Brewers. Both members of KC’s coaching staff. I like that, and personally like Sveum as a coach, but certainly wouldn’t use that as a reason to cheer for one team over another. Ned? Not even a little bit.

So instead of continuing to tell you why I’m not rooting for them, even though they are fine reasons should you choose to use them, here’s why I am.

I look at the 2014 Kansas City Royals and I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.

It’s not a perfect 1:1 on the field, of course, but the similarities even at that micro level are interesting. It’s more about how they go about their business on the field, the lights out bullpen, trading away young and controllable talent for a shot at the brass ring, the payoff of a long-term plan. You can take it one step farther and compare to 2008 in Milwaukee where the Brewers faltered down the stretch while trying to hold off other teams for the Wild Card. In 2008 there was only the one Wild Card spot available, but the Brewers held off the Mets to win it by just one game. In 2014, Kansas City got the home game by just one game over Oakland (who held off Seattle by just one game).

Kansas City rode years of awfulness to amass a bunch of young talent in their system. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon (drafted the same year as, and ahead of, Ryan Braun, by the way), Wil Myers, the list goes on. In fact, you could almost mark the 2005 draft which got the Brewers the final “homegrown” piece to their playoff runs in Braun as the start of the Royals turnaround. In that way, they’ve been a few years behind the Brewers’ blueprint. Get a bunch of young, talented guys in the system with a goal to hit the Majors at roughly the same time, supplement with free agents, and when the moment is right, make a big trade (or two) at the big league level by sending out minor leaguers to go for it.

Let’s break that down, in case you aren’t agreeing with me.

Milwaukee: Drafted Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun. Traded away Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley (and more)) for CC Sabathia in 2008. Traded away Cain, Escobar, Jake Odorizzi (and more) for Zack Greinke in 2011. Traded Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum in 2011. Supplemented with veterans: 2011 -Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, Takashi Saito. 2008 – Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, Ray Durham, (ironically) Counsell.

Kansas City: Drafted Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Billy Butler, Greg Holland. They scouted international amateurs like Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura. Traded away Zack Greinke to acquire several young pieces. Flipped Odorizzi with Wil Myers to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis. Supplemented with veterans like Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Willingham, and Jason Frasor.

I think I’ve made my point.

Their offensive games differ, to be sure, as the Brewers hit home runs at a great pace in 2011 and the Royals are more about speed and getting hits that raise the ol’ BABIP. But the rotations were similarly solid from top to bottom, but the real crux of what sent me down this comparison exercise are the late inning relievers.

2011 Brewers:

  • Closer: John Axford (1.95 ERA / 2.41 FIP / 46 saves / 1.140 WHIP / 10.5 K/9)
  • Setup man: Francisco Rodriguez (1.86 ERA / 2.23 FIP / 1.138 WHIP / 10.2 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: LaTroy Hawkins / Takashi Saito (Combined: 2.28 ERA / 1.200 WHIP / 6.1 K/9)
    • (the Brewers used two veterans so as to keep them fresh)

2014 Royals:

  • Closer: Greg Holland (1.44 ERA / 1.83 FIP / 46 saves / 0.914 WHIP / 13.0 K/9)
  • Setup man: Wade Davis (1.00 ERA / 1.19 FIP / 0.847 WHIP / 13.6 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA / 2.69 FIP / 1.143 WHIP / 7.6 K/9)

Six inning games are easier to win than nine inning games. Both of these teams had/have that game-shortening bullpen that general managers are yearning to cobble together each and every off-season.

I won’t lie to you though. The former Brewers being on the Royals certainly helps me root for them. In fact, it led to a series of tweets (@BrewerNation) with commentary how the team with the most former Brewers on it was winning every series (and even every game for a while) in the 2014 Postseason.

Market size, payroll relative to MLB’s elite, a fan base desperate for a winner after more than 25 years of missing the playoffs, that their last pennant was won in the 1980’s — these are all comparisons between the two franchises that help me see them in such a similar light.

But when it comes down to it, when all the dust has settled, at the end of the day, when all the clichés have been dropped…

I’m rooting for the 2014 Kansas City Royals because I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers and what might have been.

The comparisons can stop there, though, because this Kansas City team won the two games which that Milwaukee team didn’t. The Royals won their pennant and now have a chance to win another World Series, while the Brewers still seek their first championship.

But if these Royals can get the job done, it offers renewed hope that my team can one day get back and accomplish the same.

And that’s worth rooting for more than anything.

Brewers Wall of Honor Unveiled Today

The Milwaukee Brewers will formally unveil the “Brewers Wall of Honor” at Miller Park today.  The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players that meet a set criteria based on service to the club. A total of 36 former Brewers players will attend today’s ceremony, marking the largest single gathering of Brewers alumni in team history, surpassing the 31 players who came in for the final game at County Stadium in 2000.

A private ceremony for inductees, their families and special guests will take place at 4 p.m. and the wall will be available for viewing to the general public beginning at 6:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony honoring the inductees will take place on the field prior to the game.

The Wall of Honor will be a permanent display outside of Miller Park on a wall on the North side of the ballpark.  Players on the Wall of Honor will each have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their playing career.  The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the plaques on the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.

 Players who meet any of the following criteria while wearing a Brewers uniform will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:

  • 2,000 or more plate appearances
  • 1,000 or more innings pitched
  • 250 appearances as a pitcher
  • Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
  • Manager of a pennant-winning team
  • Individuals recognized with a statue on the Miller Park Plaza
  • Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who have played for the Brewers

Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria and will be recognized on the Brewers Wall during the 2014 season.  In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria.  Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added to the Wall of Honor.

A total of 38 honorees are scheduled to attend the event six honorees will be represented by family members. The complete list of players who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony today is as follows (attendees subject to change, those who will be present for the event are in BOLD, those who will be represented by a family member at the event are in ITALICS and those not able to attend the event are in PLAIN text):

Hank Aaron
Jerry Augustine
Sal Bando
Chris Bosio
Johnny Briggs
Jeromy Burnitz
Mike Caldwell
Bill Castro
Jeff Cirillo
Jim Colborn
Cecil Cooper
Craig Counsell
Chuck Crim
Rob Deer
Cal Eldred
Mike Fetters
Rollie Fingers
Jim Gantner
Moose Haas
Bill Hall
Darryl Hamilton
Teddy Higuera
John Jaha
Geoff Jenkins
Harvey Kuenn
Sixto Lezcano
Pat Listach
Mark Loretta
Davey May
Bob McClure
Paul Molitor
Don Money
Charlie Moore
Jaime Navarro
Dave Nilsson
Ben Oglivie
Dan Plesac
Darrell Porter
Ken Sanders
George Scott
Kevin Seitzer
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
Richie Sexson
Ben Sheets
Ted Simmons
Jim Slaton
B.J. Surhoff
Don Sutton
Gorman Thomas
Bill Travers
Bob Uecker
Jose Valentin
Greg Vaughn
Fernando Viña
Pete Vuckovich
Bill Wegman
Bob Wickman
Robin Yount

Note: John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players that, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement.  Active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.

Brewers On Deck to Feature Over 50 Players, Alumni, Coaches, Broadcasters

BREWERS ON DECK, PRESENTED BY TIME WARNER CABLE, TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI

Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge.  Tickets are not required for the event.  Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular).  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.  Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

Players (28)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Hiram Burgos
  • Khris Davis
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Caleb Gindl
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brooks Hall
  • Sean Halton
  • Donovan Hand
  • Johnny Hellweg
  • Jim Henderson
  • Elian Herrera
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Rogers
  • Logan Schafer
  • Jean Segura
  • Kevin Shackelford
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

Alumni (7)

  • Craig Counsell
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Geoff Jenkins
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Robin Yount

Coaches (10)

  • Ron Roenicke
  • Joe Crawford
  • Mike Guerrero
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Garth Iorg
  • Rick Kranitz
  • Johnny Narron
  • Ed Sedar
  • John Shelby
  • Lee Tunnell

Broadcasters (3)

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Dave Nelson
  • Bob Uecker

— 

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here: http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/win-an-autograph-from-your-favorite-brewers-player-at-brewers-on-deck/

Village of Whitefish Bay to Rename Park in Honor of Craig Counsell

The Village of Whitefish Bay will dedicate a park in honor of Craig Counsell in a ceremony on Saturday at 10 a.m.  The 15-year MLB veteran and current Brewers Special Assistant to the General Manager is a native and current resident of the Milwaukee suburb.

Formally known as “Water Tower Park,” the newly dedicated “Craig Counsell Park” is the home to Whitefish Bay Little League teams.  The park is located at 6330 N. Lydell Avenue in Whitefish Bay.  Counsell along with the Famous Racing Sausages will attend the dedication.

Counsell is a 1988 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School.  He went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame in 1992 and was selected by Colorado in the 11th round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft.  He went on to enjoy a Major League career that began in 1995 with the Rockies and included time with Los Angeles, Arizona, Florida and Milwaukee.

Counsell owns a career .255 batting average in 1,623 career games and scored the game-winning run in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins.  He was also a member of the World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #30

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#30

Lew Krausse (’70)
Moose Haas (’76-’85)
Steve Kiefer (’86-’87)
Terry Francona (’89-’90)
Bob Sebra (’90)
Kevin D. Brown (’90)
Willie Randolph (’91)
Bruce Ruffin (’92)
Matt Mieske (’93-’97)
Bob Hamelin (’98)
Davey Lopes (’00-’02)
Mike Matthews (’02)
Jimmy Osting (’02)
David Manning (’03)
Wes Obermueller (’03)
Rick Helling (’05-’06)
Craig Counsell (’04, ’07-’11)
Tyler Thornburg (’14-Current)

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #3 Cesar Izturis

It’s Tuesday as I type.

It’ll be Friday as I drink liquids and eat a bratwurst…at 10am or so.

Three short days remain until Opening Day. It’s going to be a fun ride this season and I hope you’ll all have ample opportunity to get to Miller Park this year and enjoy that ride.

A man looking to enjoy a full season of Major League Baseball is the subject of today’s profile. He is backup infielder:

Cesar Izturis.

After missing all but 17 games in 2011 and all but 19 games in 2010, Cesar David Izturis is hoping for another season in the sun where he actually gets some time on the field.

2011 began okay for now 32-year-old native of Venezuela, but he was placed on the disabled list on May 18th with an ulnar nerve injury. He returned in early August, but three days later was banged for the rest of the season with a groin strain.

He signed his free agent contract with Milwaukee on December 2, 2011 and was an immediate consideration for the backup utility infielder spot vacated when Jerry Hairston, Jr. signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Craig Counsell retired.

Izturis can perform capably on defense at 2B, 3B and SS, and when he was told he would be added to the 25-man roster at the end of the Spring Training it came as no real surprise. That’s because despite his defensive struggles this spring, he’s the only legitimate MLB-caliber player who could backup at shortstop that the Brewers had in camp. He’s also a switch-hitter which adds value. He can pinch hit for anybody and then double-switch into a number of positions.

Managers appreciate that kind of flexibility.

Now, having said all of that, Izturis isn’t exactly a good player anymore.

Recent track record shows a trend of injury and ineffectiveness. He’d have to overcome a bit of that history in order to stick in a normal situation, but in Milwaukee he’ll get more of a chance then he otherwise might. But if his glove doesn’t come around, he’ll be jettisoned when the team can find a more capable option.

Then again, players who can man shortstop, that come cheap, and can switch-hit aren’t exactly your standard unemployment line fodder. They tend to have jobs.

As far as 2012 is concerned though, it’ll be a success if Izturis can stay healthy, and convert outs into outs when he’s asked to give starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez a breather. He’ll need to contribute in a pinch-hitting role on occasion as well, but he’s on the team primarily because he is physically able to play shortstop. Don’t sell that point short in your mind.

The biggest concern?

If anything, it’s that the elbow nerve issue last year comes on an elbow which underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2005. It’s a minor concern really, but he missed almost three months with that injury and Father Time catches up to all athletes eventually. He hasn’t shown any issues with it so far this spring, but as far as I can tell he didn’t have any issues last spring either.

Just something to keep our collective eyes on.

Again, though, if Izturis can answer the bell and provide the services he is on the team to provide, nobody will be able to complain with much authority throughout the year.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #29 Edwin Maysonet

It feels like I’ve only written one of these articles in over a week.

That’s probably because I have only written one article (#33 Eric Farris) in the past eight days. That’s because a significant chunk of the 30’s are consumed by coaches, plus one number is unavailable (thanks for the memories, Mr. Fingers!).

All that said, let’s get right into today’s profile:

Edwin Maysonet.

There has been no bigger point of contention among Brewers fan over the past few seasons than that of how the shortstop on the team is performing.

Last year the position was manned by stalwart and lightning rod Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt brought relatively ineffective play, a penchant for making the routine seem incredibly difficult at times, but also a knack for coming through when you least expected it.

Yuni B. was shipped out following the 2011 season and Alex Gonzalez (who will be profiled on March 26th) was brought in to be the starter. Despite his inconsistency, the one thing Betancourt could be counted on for was answering the bell.

He started 146 games at shortstop for the Brewers in 2011. Alex Gonzalez won’t be doing that and therefore a capable backup is needed this year more than it was last year.

The thing is, the capable backup options on the 25-man roster all dried up this offseason as well as Jerry Hairston, Jr. followed his wallet to Los Angeles and Craig Counsell retired from the game altogether.

For Maysonet, opportunity is knocking loudly and clearly.

This is not just some organizational guy who continues to play at Triple-A simply because he’s been there for a while and nobody better has come along. Maysonet, 30, has seen big league time with the Houston Astros in parts of two seasons. He has started 17 games at the Major League level.

So how did he come to the Brewers anyway?

After the Astros made him a 19th round draft pick in 2003, Maysonet made his debut just over five years later on September 7, 2008. The Astros designated him for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot in September of 2010. The Brewers, being perilously thin in the upper levels of the minors as the shortstop position scooped Maysonet up on a minor-league free agent contract which was signed in mid-December of that same year.

The Brewers have used Maysonet primarily in the shortstop role, though he is capable is playing second and even third if necessary.

He’s got the arm strength and range to play short (despite a team-high 23 errors last year), but in order to beat out fellow non-roster invitee (though 11-year MLB veteran) Cesar Izturis for the job he’ll have to contribute something offensively.

In 2011 for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Maysonet hit .290/.347/.386, with 111 hits in 383 at-bats. The thing holding Maysonet back though is that his batting average is what’s commonly referred to as an “empty” one. He did have 29 extra-base hits, but only three home runs. He also doesn’t run as evidenced by his two stolen bases in three attempts. As for the run production stats, he only scored 57 and only drove in 39.

In this series of profiles I am focusing on the men that have a chance to make the roster and provide a legitimate contribution either from the 40-man roster or, in this case, as a non-roster invitee. Backup shortstop is the most open competition in camp and therefore anybody in big league camp that can play the position  warrants consideration.

All that being said, and while I’m not saying that Izturis is necessarily the answer either, there is a reason that Yuniesky Betancourt was the starter all year and that when they needed a backup middle infielder in July and for the balance of the season in 2011 it wasn’t Maysonet’s number was not called.

Could he change the minds of those in charge and warrant himself a spot on the 25-man roster? Sure. That’s why he’s there. He’ll even earn some points when not playing is Izturis’ poor defense continues much longer. But the problem facing Maysonet is simply an overall lack of impact ability.

Bottom line: He’s a nice piece at Triple-A and in a short-term pinch he probably could man the post for a handful of games, but I honestly feel like it would take a major event for him to beat out yet another mercenary.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #52 Cody Scarpetta

Three of the last four days in our player preview countdown to Opening Day have been lost to Brewers coaches. Yesterday’s culprit was bullpen coach Stan Kyles who wears #53 when in uniform.

Today however, and for the next seven days following today, a player wears the number in question. That would make it eight straight for “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, a stretch which shall not be broken this year and which is only duplicated once, but this stretch includes a non-roster invitee to Spring Training who I’m still debating on whether to profile. Unless I hear an outcry of want, that player, Juan Perez who was assigned #46 when the Brewers acquired him, probably won’t be previewed.

I won’t be holding my breath while waiting for his fan base to cry out in support, but I still haven’t officially made up my mind. After all, I strive to preview players on the 40-man roster and/or those who could contribute to the 25-man roster at some point in 2012. The only thing working in Perez’ favor is his handedness.

But enough about those other members of the Brewers organization; as it is 52 days until Opening Day, we are here today to discuss the player who wears 52:

Cody Scarpetta.

Working as a starting pitcher for each of 23 appearances in 2011 as a member of the Double-A Huntsville Stars, Cody Michael Payne Scarpetta posted a season linescore of 8-5, 3.85 ERA, 100 H, 61 R (50 ER), 8 HR, 61 BB, 98 K, 1.38 WHIP over 117.0 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .234 batting average.

Scarpetta’s play in the first half of the minor league season earned him a reward of sorts. With a bit of an overworked bullpen just before the Major League All-Star Game break, Milwaukee officially optioned Mat Gamel back to the minor leagues on July 10, 2011 and called up Scarpetta for a game that same night against the Cincinnati Reds.

With the game tightly contested the entire way (eventually won by the Brewers with a bottom of the ninth walk-off from Craig Counsell), Scarpetta didn’t enter the game and therefore has no official Major League career to speak of yet. The fact remains that Scarpetta was in uniform for the game and no doubt learned plenty from his 24-hour tour of Milwaukee.

The level of performance that earned him that one-day callup would not carry over to the 2011 Arizona Fall League where, in five appearances (four starts) as a member of the Peoria Javelinas, Scarpetta lost three games and allowed 16 earned runs on 13 walks and 14 hits, two of which were home runs, in just 7.1 innings pitched. That was bad for an ERA of 19.64 and a WHIP of 3.68!

Small sample size or not, and regardless of the fact that the AFL is littered with on-the-cusp talent, it’s clear that Scarpetta simply didn’t have much of anything to offer in Arizona. The future remains bright enough for Scarpetta, though, and he likely could contribute out of the bullpen if needed in 2012.

For a look at how he got to this point, let’s go back and review Scarpetta’s early years as a professional.

Scarpetta was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Guilford High School and forewent a commitment to Creighton University to sign with the Brewers organization. In an odd circumstance, Scarpetta (who is still only 23 years old today) had his original deal voided because of an injury and when the team resigned him it was forced to add him to the 40-man roster at the end of the same year (2008) or risk losing him to the Rule V Draft.

What that also means is that Scarpetta’s minor league options began having to be used up immediately to keep him in the system beginning with the 2009 season. Normally a player has three options but with the unique circumstances of Scarpetta’s situation, the league granted a fourth minor league option to the Brewers on Scarpetta therefore allowing them to stash him in the minors for one more year before doing so would require exposing him to waivers first.

As you can surmise, 2012 will be an important year in Scarpetta’s development as his final minor league option will be used.

Scarpetta will be working on a fastball that’s already been described as “very good” and sits in the low 90s, a plus curveball that was described as “the best in the system” by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season and a changeup which, while improved, is still developing. He’ll need all three of those pitches to profile well if he’s to get a legitimate shot at joining a Brewers rotation that could, technically, have four openings in 2013. As it stands today, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum will both be free agents at the end of 2012, Randy Wolf could become of a free agent if the Brewers decline their 2013 option and Chris Narveson becomes arbitration-eligible prior to the 2013 season which could always lead to a non-tender if Narveson doesn’t perform well enough this year.

Preparing for that final step, Scarpetta will take the next step in 2012 by most likely beginning the year in the rotation for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. If he doesn’t start in Triple-A, he’ll likely be one of the first looks for an early-season promotion thereto.

To be successful at the highest minor league level, Scarpetta will have to overcome the command and delivery issues that have some baseball people saying that his best (or possibly only) path to the majors is a complete dedication to the bullpen. It’s been said that Scarpetta has “enough stuff” to start, but you have to be able to control that stuff to be successful at starting.

Listed at 6’3” and 244 pounds, Scarpetta has good size and a build that should hold up well throughout a season regardless as to his eventual role. Naturally everyone in Milwaukee hopes Scarpetta can be an effective contributor in the rotation, but again it remains to be seen if he’s got those kinds of chops.

With pitchers and catchers set to officially report to Spring Training in just five days, and all the uncertainty beginning in 2013 both individually and with the big league pitching staff, the most important season so far in Cody Scarpetta’s career is about to get underway.

What he does with it could make all the difference.

Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Comes Into Focus…For Now

By: Big Rygg 

After a flurry of moves today the 25-man roster heading north with the parent club has become as clear as it’s been all spring. Justin James and Mike McClendon were optioned to the minor leagues and once GM Doug Melvin traded minor leaguer Cutter Dykstra for OF Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Boggs was placed on waivers.

teamhuddle.jpg

When those moves were completed, there were 27 players officially left in Major League camp though two of them (Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart) are expected to be officially placed on the DL shortly.
As for the current 25-man roster, it’ll break down like this:
Four (4) Starting Pitchers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Shaun Marcum
  • Randy Wolf
  • Chris Narveson
Eight (8) Relief Pitchers
  • John Axford
  • Takashi Saito
  • Kameron Loe
  • Sean Green
  • Zach Braddock
  • Mitch Stetter
  • Sergio Mitre
  • Brandon Kintzler
Two (2) Catchers
  • George Kottaras
  • Wil Nieves
Six (6) Infielders
  • 1B – Prince Fielder
  • 2B – Rickie Weeks
  • SS – Yuniesky Betancourt
  • 3B – Casey McGehee
  • Bench – Craig Counsell
  • Bench – Erick Almonte
Five (5) Outfielders
  • LF – Ryan Braun
  • CF – Carlos Gomez
  • RF – Mark Kotsay
  • Bench – Jeremy Reed
  • Bench – Nyjer Morgan
Now, obviously things will change throughout April quite a bit. Five expected roster members will be starting the season on the 15-day Disabled List. These are pitchers Zack Greinke, Manny Parra and LaTroy Hawkins, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and right-fielder Corey Hart.
All of the DL placements will be retroactive to March 22nd (the earliest date allowed by league rule) which means that the men on it to start the year will be eligible to come back to the active roster as of April 6th. Not everyone will be ready by then, but two or more might be.
When Lucroy returns, one of the other catchers will be removed from the roster. Kottaras and Nieves are both out of options and, in reality, Lucroy’s injury is simply delaying the inevitable for one of them. With Martin Maldonado and Mike Rivera set to share the catching duties at Triple-A Nashville, one has to wonder whether the person Lucroy pushes out will even choose to remain with the organization should he clear waivers.
Hart’s situation is much the same though it seems much more clear who loses their job when he returns. Spring Training non-roster invitee Jeremy Reed made the club based on his performance over these past few weeks, but with the Brewers having recently traded for the younger, more talented, team-controlled (contract-wise) Nyjer Morgan, it appears fairly obvious that, barring injury, Reed will be the odd man out when Hart is deemed ready to go.
As for the pitchers, it’s a bit more muddled. The team is only taking four starters north because they don’t need a fifth one until April 6th. That being said, unless they choose to have recently acquired swingman Sergio Mitre make that first spot start, someone will have to be sent out to make room for the fifth starter. If someone is sent out, it’ll likely be Brandon Kintzler because not only does he have options remaining but they aren’t going to keep eight relief pitchers all year anyway.
If they choose to go with Mitre on the 6th of April, Kintzler will survive a while longer. A fifth starter isn’t need again after that until the 16th.
So if we go down the diverging paths another step, we get to the two relief pitchers, Hawkins and Parra. If Mitre makes the spot start, Kintzler will be optioned down as soon as Hawkins is ready to come back. When Parra is deemed healthy he’ll replace one of the other left-handed pitchers in the bullpen, either Braddock or Stetter. Who is sent down to Nashville due to his return will probably rely a great deal on performance over these first couple of weeks.
Of course the elephant in the room is the eventual return of Zack Greinke. When he is ready to contribute the bullpen shrinks back to seven members. No ifs ands or buts about that. If he’s somehow the first pitcher to return, Kintzler again goes. If he’s second behind Parra it could be Mitre who goes because they’d have their long-man back. If Hawkins is on the roster too it could be an interesting decision to say the least.
But for now the 25-man roster is very clear…for at least a week or so anyway.

All- Decade Roster

By: Big Rygg

Here is my 25-man roster (complete with starters, batting order, rotation and bullpen assignments). We will be recording a podcast in the semi-near future to no doubt dissect this (and surely Cary will disagree with a few choices).

This roster was constructed with an eye on best players at positions, but also with an eye on making what could be a legitimate 25-man roster with capable bench players and not all closers in the bullpen, etc.

First will be the roster listed alphabetically by position with starters marked with an asterisk.

SP (5) – Jeff D’Amico, Doug Davis, Yovani Gallardo, CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets
RP (7) – Todd Coffey, Francisco Cordero, Chad Fox, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Leskanic, Brian Shouse, Bob Wickman
C (2) – Henry Blanco, Damian Miller*
INF (6) – Ryan Braun*, Russell Branyan, Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder*, Bill Hall*, Jose Hernandez*
OF (5) – Corey Hart, Geoff Jenkins*, Gabe Kapler, Carlos Lee*, Scott Podsednik*

My rotation shakes out as follows:

1 – Ben Sheets (as a nod to his longevity with the team)
2 – CC Sabathia (he was that dominant in his short stint)
3 – Yovani Gallardo (future ace would make an amazing #3 on this team)
4 – Doug Davis (long tenure, LHP, consistent numbers)
5 – Jeff D’Amico (very solid statistics despite only 33 starts with the Brewers)

The bullpen stacks up like this:

Closer – Trevor Hoffman (yes, only one season but an amazing season as closer)
Set up – Francisco Cordero (flame-thrower, closing experience in the 8th inning)
LOOGy – Brian Shouse (of top three including Mitch Stetter and Ray King, Shouse was best and most consistent)
Others in the bullpen would share back-up 8th inning and the short work

And for my batting order…

CF – Scott Podsednik
SS – Jose Hernandez
3B – Ryan Braun
1B – Prince Fielder
LF – Carlos Lee
RF – Geoff Jenkins
2B – Bill Hall
C – Damian Miller
PITCHER

I am more than happy to explain my selections for this roster and I will…on the podcast. Be sure to download it when you see the post telling you that it’s there.

Happy New Year. Happy New Decade.

How about a couple or several division championships this decade?

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