Results tagged ‘ Doug Melvin ’

Video: Melvin and Roenicke From the Winter Meetings

Here is Brewers general manager Doug Melvin on Monday from Baseball’s Winter Meetings…

…and here is field manager Ron Roenicke from Orlando as well.

Audio: Doug Melvin’s Season Ending Press Conference

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In case you missed it, here’s the audio from Doug Melvin’s season ending press conference which just concluded at Miller Park.


Enjoy!

Brewers Announce Coaching Staff to Return, Guerrero Promoted

The Milwaukee Brewers announced that all members of the 2013 Major League coaching staff will return for the 2014 season under fourth-year manager Ron Roenicke.

The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “While this season has not been what we had hoped, I believe the continuity with Ron Roenicke’s coaching staff is important,” said Melvin.

“With the Club having 12 rookies and the arrival of a new group of Brewer farmhands, our coaches have worked hard to blend our young players’ development with our experienced players as we work toward getting back to the postseason.”

Ed Sedar, the longest-tenured coach on the staff, will return for his eighth season overall and fourth as third base coach. Returning for their fourth seasons on the staff are Garth Iorg (fi rst base coach), Rick Kranitz (pitching coach) and Jerry Narron (bench coach).  Johnny Narron (hitting coach) returns for his third season and Lee Tunnell (bullpen coach) returns for his second.     Outfield coach John Shelby returns to the staff but will no longer be in the dugout during games. Shelby will continue to assist hitting coach Johnny Narron.

Triple-A Nashville Sounds manager Mike Guerrero has been added to the Major League staff as a coach. He will assist Garth Iorg with infield instruction and be assigned other responsibilities by manager Ron Roenicke. “Mike Guerrero is being rewarded for the loyalty and hard work that he has provided the Brewers’ minor-league organization for many years,” said Melvin. “With the majority of his baseball career spent with the Brewers, Mike has touched and assisted in the development of a large number of past and present players.”

Guerrero joined the organization in 1996 as manager of the Rookie Dominican League Brewers (1996-2002). He has also served as manager at Rookie Arizona Brewers (2004-05), Class-A West Virginia (2006-07), Class-A Brevard County (2008-09), Double-A Huntsville (2010-11) and Triple-A Nashville (2012-13).  He spent one season (2003) as the hitting coach at Class-A Beloit. As a player, the former minor-league infi elder spent nine seasons with the Milwaukee (1987-92, ‘94-95) and Kansas City (1993) organizations.

Something To Look Forward To: September Call-ups

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Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.

About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)

This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.

Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.

A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)

However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.

For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.

So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.

Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…

Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:

Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli

Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:

Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo

The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.

The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.

With Workouts Officially Underway, Hot Stove Officially Shut Off

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Today at Brewers camp in Phoenix, Arizona, general manager Doug Melvin commented on the state of the roster as it stands today.

“We’re not looking at anybody else,” said Melvin.

Of course, Melvin is like any other GM worth his salt and will always answer the phone. However, when he said that they’re done shopping is important as well. Melvin was asked about the continued dot-connecting between the Brewers and free agent starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. Melvin stated that he hasn’t had any conversations with agent Scott Boras about Lohse but believes that Boras has contacted Brewers principle owner Mark Attanasio directly.

You stay classy, Scott Boras.

Regardless, it appears that Melvin, Ron Roenicke, and the powers the be are content to choose a 25-man roster from those players already under contract with the organization.

So, to the Hot Stove which helps keep us from freezing to death each and every November, December, and January…

*click*

Doug Melvin Issued Statement on Braun, Biogenesis

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Earlier tonight, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin released the following statement:

“Like everyone else, we first learned of this report from the Yahoo! story this evening. At this point, we are not aware of any other details. We understand that Major League Baseball is going through a review process and to that end, we would defer any additional comment to its officials.”

Not much there, but not much should have been expected. The club was not privy to Braun’s defense in his appeal and therefore wouldn’t have been aware that Braun’s legal team used Biogenesis operator Tony Bosch as a consultant in preparing Braun’s case.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers – #71 Johnny Hellweg

BBtJN Logo

With apologies to Dayton Buller who was assigned #72, we took the day off in the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series because while Buller was at Triple-A last year, he’s really not under consideration for the big league roster and not on the 40-man roster.

That being said, we’re back today as we sit 71 days away from Opening Day. Today’s profile subject is the second of the three pieces received when Doug Melvin traded Zack Greinke away last summer. We’ve already profiled Ariel Pena, and now we take a look at…

Johnny Hellweg.

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Let’s get the first thing out of the way right away. John David Hellweg is listed at 6’9″ and 210 pounds. He’s incredibly tall and quite lanky as a result. For the sake of comparison, 2012 Brewers Kameron Loe is 6’8″ and Jose Veras is 6’6″ but they are listed at 245 and 240 pounds respectively.

The height is an asset in some ways, but can be a hindrance in replicating one’s delivery. That can lead to inconsistency in release point as a result of altered mechanics. That being said, Hellweg certainly is not lacking in the ability to replicate his velocity. It’s that big fastball that will be Hellweg’s ticket to the big leagues so long as he can control it.

The ultimate decision with Hellweg though is what role he will fill in his career. He was largely ineffective as a relief pitcher at times and much better in the rotation. This is an unusual split but not unheard of. If I had to guess, in Hellweg’s case short outings allow him to dial up the heat even farther and as he possibly overthrows his mechanics breakdown leading to wildness and resultant ineffectiveness. And when he knows he has to maintain his stamina and go longer in games, he might wind up being more disciplined. Now that’s not based on seeing Hellweg pitch in person but it’s something that has proven true before with other pitchers in the past.

What isn’t a guess is that when Hellweg moved from the bullpen to the rotation, his career took major strides forward.

In his first three seasons in the minor leagues following his selection in the 46th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Hellweg started only three games total, all in his first season of pro ball. The results weren’t what you would have hoped for a future star. In other words, ERAs just under 4.00 are just fine when you’re starting at the big league level but when you’re relieving or closing in Rookie ball and Low A, you don’t expect much in the way of a big league career.

But a huge fastball keeps you on the stove top even if you occasionally must move to the back burner.

The native of Ann Arbor, Michigan saw his fortunes turn and his stock begin to rise however once he began to start. In 2011, Hellweg’s first 13 appearances were out of the bullpen. Only five of them were scoreless outings and in three of those he allowed no walks, which is probably more telling. He had only four appearances out of the those first 13 in which he allowed no walks. Once the decision was made to move him to the rotation, he flourished.

He made 15 starts the rest of the way in 2011, and as his stamina increased so too did his innings pitched. Only two of his first seven starts reached 5.0 IP but then six of his final eight did. Hellweg had five scoreless starts and nine more with one or two runs allowed. Oh, and Hellweg did make one more relief appearance along the way. He pitched one-third of an inning and allowed six earned runs on five hits and two walks. It was a full commitment to starting after that.

Now then, as for 2012, Hellweg was a starter for the majority of the season as he pitched for both the Arkansas Travelers (Double-A affiliate of the Angels) and the Huntsville Stars. He made 23 starts in 2012 before the Brewers shifted him to the bullpen to limit his innings somewhat. As a starter Hellweg posted a 3.33 ERA over 129.2 IP. He allowed 111 hits and 69 walks against 98 strikeouts. As a relief pitcher, for the record, Hellweg threw 10.0 regular season innings (2.70 ERA) and 13.0 in the AFL (2.77 ERA). A reminder though was that all of his relief appearances came after a full season of starting and honing his skills in that fashion. That certainly could be a factor in his much better relief numbers in 2012.

I do have to mention that I thought it curious that they then sent him to the Arizona Fall League, albeit as a relief pitcher, where he made an additional nine appearances and threw 13.0 additional innings.The talk was that while Hellweg was going to the AFL as a reliever, he was still viewed as a starting pitcher by the Brewers.

But how committed to that idea are they really? I ask because there was talk from Doug Melvin that Hellweg would be considered for a bullpen role in 2013 with the big league club should he perform well in Spring Training. That might simply be a case of dangling the carrot in front of the horse’s nose, but it seems like an odd declaration to me for a player who clearly has performed better as the first man on the bump. Certainly a situation to watch come February the 12th.

Hellweg

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

Details on Gonzalez’ Contract Incentives

Adam McCalvy just posted a blog where he broke down the incentives available on top of the $2.25 million guaranteed in new Brewers reliever Mike Gonzalez’ contract.

McCalvy explains that there are up to $400,000 in bonuses, that figure according to the Associated Press.

Gonzalez can earn $50,000 if he finishes 25 games, another $75,000 for finishing a total of 30 games, an additional $75,000 if he finishes 35 games, $100,000 if he finishes 40 games and another 100 grand should he finish 50 games in 2013.

These incentives are clearly designed to compensate Gonzalez should he have to close games for any reason.

I make a full post today though to discuss the implications thereof.

To me, it would seem to indicate that should injury befall John Axford, Brewers GM Doug Melvin would be expecting field manager Ron Roenicke to turn to Gonzalez to close games. He is the most experienced secondary option in the bullpen to be sure (he has 56 career Saves) but at this point in his career he is also cover-your-eyes awful against right-handed hitting. Obviously in the closer’s role, you face plenty of hitters from both sides. One would think that having Gonzalez close wouldn’t be the best choice long-term choice.

Hopefully that isn’t a bridge we ever come to though.

If The Season Started Tomorrow…

It’s the final day of 2012.

This was a year which saw the Milwaukee Brewers attempt (unsuccessfully) to defend a division championship for the first time since 1983. It was the first time that the Brewers featured their very own defending league Most Valuable Player since 1990. They entered the season with an intact rotation which used the fewest different arms (6) to make all 162 starts. Arguably the league’s most fearsome bullpen back-end was returning as well with only a couple of key veterans taking jobs elsewhere. And sure, Prince Fielder followed the money to Detroit but this was going to be Mat Gamel’s breakout year and Aramis Ramirez would pick up most of the slack…at least once May rolled around, he would.

Alas, we all know how things turned out in 2012 so I shan’t recap the trials, tribulations, trade, and triumphs that resulted in 83 victories a year after winning a franchise-record 96 games.

No, for this column we look forward. We look forward to 2013. We look forward to P&C. We look much too far forward to Opening Day with this set of projections.

If the season started tomorrow, the following things would be true:

  • I’d be extremely happy that I wouldn’t have to still be counting down to Opening Day (91 days as of this writing).
  • I’d be extremely cold while tailgating outside of Miller Park for a few hours on my wife’s birthday.
  • I’d have failed miserably in posting my season preview “Brewers By the Jersey Numbers” articles.

But really, I’m posting today to take a look at how the current roster stacks up and what I think a 25-man roster would look like when the games started counting.

dougmelvinI gotta tell you all that I would normally not make this projection for quite some time but with Doug Melvin’s declaration that they were “coming to the end” of acquiring free agents (or however he exactly worded it), chances are the majority of options at the team’s disposal today are going to be the same options they are presented with in 43 days when Pitchers and Catchers officially report.

Of course, and it should go without needing to be said, a ton can change between now and then anyway despite appearances. Somebody could be traded. Somebody could be signed as a veteran backup where currently only inexperience resides. Somebody could injure themselves in a pickup basketball game. Et cetera. But if we accounted for every “if” that we could, nobody would ever project anything. That’s simply not much fun.

Assuming everyone is through rehab successfully, here is how my 25-man roster would look if the season started tomorrow. (Players listed alphabetically within their position group.)

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Chris Narveson*
  • Mark Rogers

Gallardo

I know what you’re thinking. “Free Wily Peralta!” I agree that he’s likely one of the best five options available to fill a spot in the rotation but based on the necessary evil of depth maintenance and with respect to the rules on minor league options, this just feels like the rotation that will head north from Arizona. Gallardo is a lock. Estrada was mentioned more than once this off-season as having an advantage in the competition. (He also isn’t hurt by the fact that his manager really likes his pitching.) Fiers did more than enough throughout most the season to be given a shot from the get. After adding two left-handed relievers to the bullpen, sticking Narveson in there doesn’t make sense anymore (if it ever did). Rogers is out of options and I really want to see him get a shot to contribute as a starting pitcher. He won’t make it through waivers to Nashville. Peralta has options remaining and that’s what this should come down to. Don’t doubt for a minute though that if Fiers struggles for a few starts early and it appears that the end of 2012 was due to being “figured out” more so than simply fatigue, he’ll be optioned down to Nashville in favor of the young Dominican.

Tyler Thornburg will get a look this spring but I feel like they don’t want to mess with him as a reliever this year at all. They’ll give him a full season starting in Triple-A. Hopefully with the regular and steady work he was used to, he’ll be able to avoid the arm fatigue that slowed his development in 2012. Hiram Burgos, just added to the 40-man roster, should also pitch in games in big league camp to start the spring, but after skyrocketing through the system this year, he’ll be in Nashville’s rotation when camp breaks.

Relief Pitchers (7)

  • John Axford (Closer)
  • Burke Badenhop
  • Mike Gonzalez*
  • Tom Gorzelanny*
  • Jim Henderson
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Michael Olmsted

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One open spot for competition. Many feel that the aforementioned Peralta should be in the rotation and that either Narveson or Rogers will become the default long reliever as a effect. For me, the final spot in the ‘pen will come down to one of the recent high-ceiling additions which Melvin and his staff have picked up this off-season. If I had my druthers, Michael Olmsted gets first crack at it. Spring Training performance might dictate that he isn’t ready for the jump over Triple-A, and this might be specifically adjusted in March, but based on minor league numbers, projectability, and stuff, Olmsted appears to be at the top of the influx of opportunity-seekers. Olmsted is already on the 40-man roster too, something that would come into play should someone like a Jairo Asencio continue to impress.

Last year’s swingman Josh Stinson has an option remaining so he’ll head to the minors. Likewise Miguel De Los Santos. One other note, as of this posting the Mike Gonzalez deal still hadn’t been made official. When it is, someone must come off the 40-man roster. I think that will be Fautino De Los Santos. So, if he’s even still with the organization, he’ll be tucked away in the minors to begin the year.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

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Need there be a lengthy explanation? How’s this: no other catchers on the 40-man; these two played very well all year (when healthy); next best options coming to camp are Blake Lalli and Dayton Buller. Next!

Infielders (7)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Mat Gamel**
  • Corey Hart
  • Donnie Murphy
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura
  • Rickie Weeks

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A “traditional” roster usually consists of six infielders and five outfielders. I’ve split this roster differently for a couple of reasons though. First, Mat Gamel and Jeff Bianchi are both out of minor league options. Bianchi performed okay last year in his first big league action, but really what the Brewers will be holding onto is depth at shortstop. Sure, they wouldn’t have to add Donnie Murphy to the 40-man roster at all and could just stash him in the minors to begin the year but he is the superior defender to Bianchi and can more capably cover defensively at the hot corner. Furthermore, the team has made no secret of the designs to have Gamel play in the corner outfield spots this spring along with Corey Hart’s obvious ability to fill in should an emergency arise.

Taylor Green will once again be the victim of circumstance, but he is more valuable to the organization playing everyday anyway even if that’s at Nashville. He can stay ready at the plate and be called upon if an injury creates a need.

Outfielders (4)

  • Norichika Aoki**
  • Ryan Braun
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Logan Schafer**

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To elaborate a bit on my point from above, Logan Schafer can play all three defensive outfield positions very well. He can take over for any of the regulars when they need a day off and can be utilized in double-switches late in games. It’d be the same way that the Brewers played the majority of 2012 defensively once Hart moved to first base. Assuming that day’s starting outfield was Braun-Gomez-Aoki, Nyjer Morgan was the only “true” outfielder remaining on the roster. Schafer can do more than Morgan could defensively and still brings at least as much at the plate from the same left side.

For the record, if the Brewers did decide to carry five outfielders, I’d guess that Murphy would begin the season in the minors for depth and the extra outfielder would be Caleb Gindl. This seven IFs and four OFs configuration can work, though, with the proper personnel. The Brewers would have that group in 2013 should they choose to go that route. I would.

Opening Day Lineup

  1. Rickie Weeks
  2. Norichika Aoki
  3. Ryan Braun
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Corey Hart
  6. Jonathan Lucroy
  7. Carlos Gomez
  8. Jean Segura
  9. Yovani Gallardo

On Opening Day I foresee manager Ron Roenicke looking to do a couple of things with his lineup. I think he’d like to have Weeks back up near the top and despite how Aoki performed so well while leading off in 2012 I think he’ll play the same card he did once he moved Weeks down the lineup last year to justify the order I have listed. You may recall that on days when Carlos Gomez started in center, Aoki batted second because Aoki handled the bat better to move the leadoff hitter over should he reach base. When Morgan started in center Roenicke felt that Aoki’s patience resulted in a better chance to get on base for the rest of the lineup. As we know, despite typically low batting averages, Weeks gets on base. His .350 career OBP is 99 points higher than his career batting average and only .005 lower than what Aoki did in his rookie season. What’s more, despite the struggles Weeks had for a majority of 2012, he still managed to walk 74 times (and reached based 13 more times after being hit by a pitch).

That being the situation near the top, I think it affords Roenicke the opportunity to begin with Gomez further down the order where he won’t hurt the Brewers early on in the season should he regress from last year’s breakout. If Gomez proves that 2012 is the baseline going forward then Roenicke will have a good problem with which to deal.

Segura is still young, still growing into his skills and performed well enough in the oft-dreaded “spot before the pitcher” that he could flourish there to begin the year. His winter league numbers are also encouraging regardless of the competition level. If he can develop more patience, he’ll be contributing plenty out of the 8th spot all season.

* - Throws left-handed
** - Bats left-handed

So that’s how I see things shaking out if the season started tomorrow.

And you?

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