Results tagged ‘ J.J. Hardy ’
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.
- 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)
- 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.
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):
Allan H. “Bud” Selig
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.
They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Friday, February 21st. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.
As always, I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. There were six Brewers on the list entering 2012. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9. Last year, the Brewers only had three players featured on the list (at the time it was revealed). Yovani Gallardo repeated his position at 72, Aramis Ramirez jumped all the way up to 32, and Braun settled in at 6. Kyle Lohse made last year’s list as well.
My early prediction? The Brewers could have six (6) this year (Braun, Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, Jonathan Lucroy) but I think Garza falls short for sure. (UPDATE: Looks like the Brewers will only have three again. Ramirez and Lohse both fall off the list and Lucroy gets no love either.)
The criteria for the list remains the same:
- Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
- Projected 2014 performance
- Defensive position
Here now are the Top 100-1* Players as listed by MLB Network:
100. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees
99. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds
98. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers
97. Andrelton Simmons – SS – Atlanta Braves
96. Shane Victorino – RF – Boston Red Sox
95. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Detroit Tigers
94. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates
93. Shelby Miller – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
92. Michael Wacha – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
91. Trevor Rosenthal – CL – St. Louis Cardinals
90. Patrick Corbin – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks
89. Clay Buccholz – SP – Boston Red Sox
88. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants
87. Josh Donaldson – 3B – Oakland Athletics
86. Joe Nathan – CL – Detroit Tigers
85. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles
84. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals
83. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox
82. Koji Uehara – CL – Boston Red Sox
81. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies
80. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
79. Pedro Alvarez – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates
78. Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals
77. Carlos Santana – C/3B – Cleveland Indians
76. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
75. Eric Hosmer – 1B – Kansas City Royals
74. Hunter Pence – RF – San Francisco Giants
73. Michael Cuddyer – RF – Colorado Rockies
72. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves
71. Anibal Sanchez – SP – Detroit Tigers
70. Jason Kipnis – 2B – Cleveland Indians
69. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals
68. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants
67. Greg Holland – CL – Kansas City Royals
66. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals
65. Matt Carpenter – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals
64. Brian McCann – C – New York Yankees
63. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles
62. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals
61. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
60. JEAN SEGURA – SS – MILWAUKEE BREWERS
59. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers
58. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals
57. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
56. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals
55. Hisashi Iwakuma – SP – Seattle Mariners
54. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
53. Allen Craig – RF – St. Louis Cardinals
52. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers
51. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – New York Yankees
50. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays
49. Jayson Werth – RF – Washington Nationals
48. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals
47. Carlos Beltran – RF – New York Yankees
46. Prince Fielder – 1B – Texas Rangers
45. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves
44. CARLOS GOMEZ – CF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS
43. Wil Myers – RF – Tampa Bay Rays
42. Shin-Soo Choo – LF – Texas Rangers
41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals
40. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers
39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays
38. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
37. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals
36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds
35. Aroldis Chapman – CL – Cincinnati Reds
34. Joe Mauer – 1B – Minnesota Twins
33. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
32. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
31. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers
30. Chris Davis – 1B – Baltimore Orioles
29. Manny Machado – 3B – Baltimore Orioles
28. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox
27. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox
26. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves
25. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets
24. RYAN BRAUN – RF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS
23. Yasiel Puig – RF – Los Angeles Dodgers
22. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals
21. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles
20. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins
19. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox
18. Jose Fernandez – SP – Miami Marlins
17. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants
16. Hanley Ramirez – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers
15. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays
14. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals
13. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies
12. Max Scherzer – SP – Detroit Tigers
11. Carlos Gonzalez – CF – Colorado Rockies
10. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays
9. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds
7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners
6. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers
5. Robinson Cano – 2B – Seattle Mariners
4. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – Detroit Tigers
2. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Mike Trout – CF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
So that’s the list! Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think. Did your favorite player make the list? Was he too high? Too low?
Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.
This year, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well.
I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.
On Friday, January 10, 2014 the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. (See them below.) On Friday, January 17th both Starting Pitchers and Right Fielders were unveiled. Friday, January 24th brought us Left Fielders and First Basemen. Relief Pitchers and Second Basemen were revealed on Friday, January 31st.
Catchers and Third Basemen will be revealed on Friday, February 7th, so look for a couple more Brewers to make it.
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”
- Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
- Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
- Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
- Austin Jackson – Detroit Tigers
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
- Dexter Fowler – Houston Astros
- Coco Crisp – Oakland Athletics
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders was Darryl Hamilton. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jones, Kemp, Desmond Jennings (TB), Leonys Martin (TEX)
James: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Michael Bourn (CLE), Jennings, Denard Span (WAS)
Hamilton: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Kemp, Jackson, Crisp, Gonzalez, Bourn
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”
- Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
- Jose Reyes – Toronto Blue Jays
- Hanley Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
- Jean Segura – Milwaukee Brewers
- Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals
- Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
- Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta Braves
- J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles
- Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royal
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops was Bill Ripken. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Reyes, Desmond, Andrus, Peralta, Derek Jeter (NYY), Simmons, Segura, Everth Cabrera (SD)
James: Tulowitzki, Hardy, Reyes, Jed Lowrie (OAK), Simmons, Andrus, Segura, Ramirez, Erick Aybar (LAA), Escobar
Ripken: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Hardy, Simmons, Desmond, Segura, Stephen Drew (FA), Lowrie, Andrus, Reyes
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”
- Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
- Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
- Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
- Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins
- David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
- Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners
- Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
- Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
- Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers was John Smoltz. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Kershaw, Verlander, Lee, Hernandez, Wainwright, Yu Darvish (TEX), Scherzer, Fernandez, Madison Bumgarner (SF), Sale
James: Kershaw, Scherzer, Lee, Wainwright, Verlander, Zack Greinke (LAD), Sale, Jered Weaver (LAA), Hernandez, Darvish
Smoltz: Kershaw, Fernandez, Hernandez, Scherzer, Darvish, Verlander, Jon Lester (BOS), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), Wainwright, Price
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”
- Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
- Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
- Carlos Beltran – New York Yankees
- Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
- Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox
- Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
- Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders was Mark DeRosa. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Braun, Stanton, Puig, Heyward, Werth, Bautista, Craig, Jay Bruce (CIN), Wil Myers (TB), Pence
James: Braun, Bruce, Stanton, Heyward, Pence, Bautista, Victorino, Beltran, Puig, Torii Hunter (DET)
DeRosa: Beltran, Stanton, Bautista, Werth, Craig, Pence, Bruce, Hunter, Puig, Michael Cuddyer (COL)
You read that correctly. Mark DeRosa doesn’t Ryan Braun in his Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now despite Brian Kenny and Bill James both ranking Braun #1 and the Shredder ranking him second. DeRosa says Braun “should be 1″ but since he has to earn back the respect of fans, his teammates, etc. DeRosa “hopes” he comes back and performs and is #1 next year, but he couldn’t discount other guys.
As for the Shredder, Brian Kenny said he was shocked not only that Braun wasn’t first but that Puig was. I’m guessing Braun was dinged by the Shredder for how many games he missed last year. That’ll happen in an algorithm.
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”
- Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
- Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
- Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
- Justin Upton – Atlanta Braves
- Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers
- Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Daniel Nava – Boston Red Sox
- Carlos Quentin – San Diego Padres
- Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Brett Gardner – New York Yankees
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders was Eric Byrnes. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Harper, Choo, Holliday, Marte, Upton, Gordon, Gardner, Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Domonic Brown (PHI), Khris Davis (MIL)
James: Choo, Holliday, Gordon, Gardner, Nava, Harper, Upton, Brown, Cespedes, Hamilton
Byrnes: Holliday, Harper, Upton, Choo, Alfonso Soriano (NYY), Gordon, Marte, Hamilton, Nava, Brown
MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”
- Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
- Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
- Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
- Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
- Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
- Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
- Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
- Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen was Sean Casey. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Mauer, Fielder, Davis, Encarnacion, Brandon Belt (SF), Ad. Gonzalez
James: Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Votto, Davis, Mauer, Freeman, Encarnacion, Ad. Gonzalez, Napoli, Eric Hosmer (KC)
Casey: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Davis, Fielder, Ad. Gonzalez, Mauer, Albert Pujols (LAA), Encarnacion
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”
- Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
- Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
- Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
- Joe Nathan – Detroit Tigers
- Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
- David Robertson – New York Yankees
- Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
- Luis Avilan – Atlanta Braves
- Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers was Dan Plesac. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Kimbrel, Holland, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Trevor Rosenthal (STL), Perkins, Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), Benoit
James: Kimbrel, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Holland, Nathan, Papelbon, Perkins, Rosenthal, Mark Melancon (PIT)
Plesac: Kimbrel, Holland, Chapman, Uehara, Jansen, Nathan, Jim Johnson (OAK), Perkins, Jason Grilli (PIT), Rex Brothers (COL)
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”
- Robinson Cano -Seattle Mariners
- Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
- Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
- Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
- Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Marco Scutaro – San Francisco Giants
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen was Harold Reynolds. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Cano, Pedroia, Kipnis, Utley, Hill, Zobrist, Kendrick, Kinsler, Walker, Omar Infante (KC)
James: Cano, Pedroia, Zobrist, Kipnis, Utley, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Kinsler, Infante, Jose Altuve (HOU), Kendrick
Reynolds: Cano, Pedroia, Phillips, Kipnis, Kendrick, Utley, Kinsler, Scutaro, Infante, Walker
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”
- Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
- David Wright – New York Mets
- Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
- Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
- Josh Donaldson – Oakland Athletics
- Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
- Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
- Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
- Chase Headley – San Diego Padres
- Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen was Mike Lowell. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Wright, Longoria, Beltre, Carpenter, Donaldson, Machado, Zimmerman, Headley, Kyle Seager (SEA), Martin Prado (ARI)
James: Longoria, Beltre, Wright, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Headley, Machado, Prado, Donaldson, Seager
Lowell: Beltre, Longoria, Wright, Machado, Donaldson, Ramirez, Headley, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez (PIT)
Neither Brian Kenny or Bill James included Aramis Ramirez in their personal Top 10.
Best line of the show? Kenny asked James why he put Longoria over Beltre and Wright. James’ response: “Probably fear.” He then admitted that he might be biased by working for the Red Sox.
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”
- Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
- Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
- Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
- Jason Castro – Houston Astros
- Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
- Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies
- Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
- Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers was Dave Valle. Here are their individual Top 10’s.
Kenny: Posey, Molina, Santana, Brian McCann (NYY), Perez, Lucroy, Castro, Ruiz, Russell Martin (PIT), Montero
James: Posey, Molina, Perez, A.J. Pierzynski (BOS), Matt Wieters (BAL), Santana, Rosario, McCann, Lucroy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (MIA)
Valle: Molina, Perez, Posey, Wieters, Ramos, Martin, McCann, A.J. Ellis (LAD), Lucroy, Castro
So there you have it. All 10 positions worth ranking in MLB by the Shredder and the MLB Network personalities.
There are five Brewers among the 100 names listed by The Shredder. They are: Carlos Gomez (CF, 6th), Jean Segura (SS, 5th), Ryan Braun (RF, 2nd), Aramis Ramirez (3B, 7th), and Jonathan Lucroy (C, 6th)
As I did last year, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.
They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Tuesday, February 26th. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.
As before I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. Last year there were six Brewers on the list. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9.
Based on what has been revealed, it would appear a safe bet that Rickie Weeks has fallen off of the list. And how about John Axford? Could he really be in the Top 40 or did he fall off too? I’m guessing he fell off despite his fantastic 2011 season.
Looks like the Brewers will only have three this year.
The criteria for the list remains the same:
- Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
- Projected 2013 performance
- Defensive position
Here now are the Top 100 Players as listed by MLB Network.
100. Ryan Howard – 1B – Philadelphia Phillies
99. Sergio Romo – CL – San Francisco Giants
98. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers
97. Elvis Andrus – SS – Texas Rangers
96. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies
95. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers
94. Jacoby Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox
93. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers
92. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals
91. Michael Bourn – CF – Cleveland Indians
90. Aroldis Chapman – P – Cincinnati Reds
89. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
88. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox
87. Mike Moustakas – 3B – Kansas City Royals
86. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays
85. Michael Morse – 1B/LF – Seattle Mariners
84. Allen Craig – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals
83. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers
82. Carlos Beltran – RF – St. Louis Cardinals
81. Carlos Ruiz – C – Philadelphia Phillies
80. Brian McCann – C – Atlanta Braves
79. Miguel Montero – C- Arizona Diamondbacks
78. Curtis Granderson – CF – New York Yankees
77. Jim Johnson – CL – Baltimore Orioles
76. Jason Motte – CL – St. Louis Cardinals
75. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals
74. Chase Headley – 3B – San Diego Padres
73. Adam LaRoche – 1B – Washington Nationals
72. Yovani Gallardo – SP – Milwaukee Brewers
71. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants
70. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals
69. B.J. Upton – CF – Atlanta Braves
68. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals
67. David Freese – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals
66. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles
65. Kyle Lohse – SP – (FREE AGENT)
64. Wade Miley – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks
63. Johnny Cueto – SP – Cincinnati Reds
62. Jonathan Papelbon – CL – Philadelphia Phillies
61. Mariano Rivera – CL – New York Yankees
60. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox
59. Jason Heyward – RF – Atlanta Braves
58. Austin Jackson – CF – Detroit Tigers
57. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
56. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox
55. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals
54. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals
53. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees
52. Starlin Castro – SS – Chicago Cubs
51. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies
50. R.A. Dickey – SP – Toronto Blue Jays
49. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals
48. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles
47. A.J. Pierzynski – C- Texas Rangers
46. Roy Halladay – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
45. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants
44. Pablo Sandoval – 3B – San Francisco Giants
43. Josh Willingham – LF – Minnesota Twins
42. Yoenis Cespedes – LF – Oakland Athletics
41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals
40. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Texas Rangers
39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays
38. Joe Mauer – C – Minnesota Twins
37. Jered Weaver – SP – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds
35. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves
34. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox
33. Paul Konerko – 1B – Chicago White Sox
32. Aramis Ramirez – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers
31. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds
30. Carlos Gonzalez – LF – Colorado Rockies
29. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals
28. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays
27. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves
26. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals
25. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
24. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals
23. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles
22. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets
21. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants
20. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
19. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
18. CC Sabathia – SP – New York Yankees
17. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates
16. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays
15. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins
14. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
13. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers
12. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays
11. Prince Fielder – 1B – Detroit Tigers
10. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
9. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds
8. Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees
7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners
6. Ryan Braun – LF – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Miguel Cabrera – 3B – Detroit Tigers
2. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
1. Mike Trout – LF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Totals by team:
- Philadelphia Phillies – 7
- St. Louis Cardinals – 7
- Washington Nationals – 7
- Detroit Tigers – 6
- Atlanta Braves – 5
- Cincinnati Reds – 5
- New York Yankees – 5
- San Francisco Giants – 5
- Texas Rangers – 5
- Toronto Blue Jays – 5
- Baltimore Orioles – 4
- Boston Red Sox – 4
- Kansas City Royals – 4
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 4
- Los Angeles Dodgers – 4
- Milwaukee Brewers – 3
- Arizona Diamondbacks – 2
- Chicago White Sox – 2
- Colorado Rockies – 2
- Minnesota Twins – 2
- Seattle Mariners – 2
- Tampa Bay Rays – 2
- Cleveland Indians – 1
- New York Mets – 1
- Chicago Cubs – 1
- Oakland Athletics – 1
- Miami Marlins – 1
- Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
- San Diego Padres – 1
- Kyle Lohse – 1
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.
Russ Snyder (’70)
Danny Walton (’71)
Frank Tepedino (’71)
Ron Clark (’72)
Syd O’Brien (’72)
Don Money (’73-’83)
Paul Householder (’85-’86)
Dale Sveum (’86-’91)
Dave Valle (’94)
Danny Perez (’96)
Brian Banks (’96-’98)
Sean Berry (’99-’00)
Tony Fernandez (’01)
Alex Sanchez (’01-’02)
Eric Young (’02-’03)
J.J. Hardy (’05-’09)
Chris Dickerson (’10)
Jeremy Reed (’11)
Felipe Lopez (’11)
Norichika Aoki (’12-’13)
Mark Reynolds (’14-Current)
By: Big Rygg
Plenty to talk about as I roll out a new title here. When I have several things to discuss and I choose to put them in one post instead of several, it’ll be called “Quick Hops” as I hop from topic to topic. Oh, and if you don’t know, hops are an ingredient in beer…and the team is the Brewers…I hope you’re following me.
Anyway, let’s get to it!
Non-Tender Choices Add Intrigue to Spring Training
The Milwaukee Brewers chose not to tender contracts to injured relief pitcher Mark DiFelice, pitcher Seth McClung and catcher Mike Rivera. This makes the three men free agents, able to sign a contract with any team. Feel free to skip the next two paragraphs if you understand the arbitration system and what the meaning of the non-tender is.
The system that is in place in Major League Baseball allows for a team to “control” a player for six seasons of service time (in the majority of cases). During the first three years of team control (again, in most cases) the team has 100% control over what they pay a player provided that the salary is at least as much as the league-mandated minimum. Typically teams negotiate salaries with players on a year-to-year basis anyway in an effort to involve the player in their money-dealings, but the team has the final say if they and the player cannot reach an accord. If that happens, then the team “renews” the player’s contract at whatever number they deem fair. This can upset players greatly if they feel they outperformed a certain level of pay with their level of play. Prince Fielder is the Brewers’ most recent example of that situation when, after becoming the youngest player in the history of the league to slug 50 home runs in a single season, he felt he was deserving of much more than the contract that he was offered. The two sides couldn’t reach an agreement, so the team renewed Fielder’s contract at a rate that was in line with their team’s pay scale for non-arbitration eligible players.
Being eligible for arbitration is what leads to the non-tendering of contracts if it’s going to happen. When a player becomes eligible for arbitration, salary is no longer completely up to the team. There are a lot of details that I could bore you with, but the basics are that the team and player negotiate to reach a salary for the upcoming year. If the two sides cannot agree on a number by a certain, pre-determined date then they exchange figures. These figures are those that they will submit to a salary arbiter before the season begins. Arbitration hearings are scheduled over a few days in the spring. The team and player can continue to negotiate up to the beginning of the hearing to reach an agreement. If they do, great. The player signs the contract and plays under its terms. If they don’t, a three-member arbitration panel hears the case and chooses one of the figures the sides submitted several weeks prior. (To note: During Doug Melvin’s tenure as General Manager of the Brewers, no player has gone to a hearing.)
Now, the reason that arbitration eligibility can lead to a non-tender is because the contracts a player gets go up in value significantly during arbitration. The jump in salary in the first year of eligibility is often a multi-million dollar one. What’s more, is that arbitration salaries are often influenced simply by service time itself more so than performance. For example, former Brewer J.J. Hardy made around $4MM in 2009. His 2009 season was terrible. It was terrible statistically and it was terrible peripherally. Hardy is not worthy of even the same salary let alone an increase in salary. However, with the system that’s in place, it is an unbelievable rarity that a player’s salary goes lower.
To summarize this entire Hop, allow me to say this: While Mark DiFelice was non-tendered under the rare case where he wasn’t arbitration eligible (he had shoulder surgery which will most likely cost him his entire 2010 season), the increases in salary that McClung and Rivera (who is eligible for arbitration for the first time) stand to receive are more than the Brewers want to pay for those positions for next year. McClung might have been a combination of high-salary/low-performance with the adding of LaTroy Hawkins and needed a spot on the 40-man roster for him, but most likely they could’ve kept McClung anyway with the injury to DiFelice. As for Mike Rivera, the Brewers are finally able to move on from the career backup. Rivera has been a servicable backup backstop during his time with this franchise however he has never been the future at the catcher position. The Brewers knew this when Damian Miller retired and they brought in Jason Kendall for the last two years with Rivera backing him up. Finally, however, the Brewers feel that they have talent at the position in the minor leagues such that they can promote from within and, with a season or two of tutelage at the Major League level, have a home-grown starting catcher for the first time since Mike Matheny.
This should make for a fun battle to watch during Spring Training. The Brewers have two catchers that might be ready to make the jump. Angel Salome has been the most talked about catching prospect in the system for a couple of years now, especially when he put up such gaudy offensive numbers as part of that stacked AA Huntsville club from two seasons ago that included Alcides Escobar, Mat Gamel, Matt LaPorta and others. He was the starting catcher for AAA Nashville last year. The catching prospect that has gotten the most talk lately, howevere, has been Jonathan Lucroy who was the starting catcher for Huntsville in 2009. The consensus seems to be that Lucroy might be more ready for the big leagues now with his better plate discipline and what not, but that Salome’s ceiling might still be higher. The Brewers did also claim George Kottaras on waivers early in the off-season as well, so if both youngsters are unable to show anything in spring training that wins them the job, Kottaras might end up being the defacto big league backup while the kids get some more seasoning down on the farm.
Any way it ends up, it ought to be a fun ride. Stay tuned.
The Craigger Set to Stay Put, Announcement to Come Monday?
Monday is shaping up to be a big day for Doug Melvin’s staff. The reports from Indianapolis at the Winter Meetings this past Monday through Thursday were that free-agent pitcher Randy Wolf would be announced to the media as the Brewers’ latest acquisition this coming Monday after passing his required physical examination.
The Brewers, though, just might have two names to announce on Monday. While free-agent signee LaTroy Hawkins was rumored to be announced this coming Tuesday, veteran infielder and team leader Craig Counsell has reportedly agreed to stay in Milwaukee for what might be the balance of his career.
I couldn’t be happier about this move. Even if Counsell doesn’t duplicate his offensive production from 2009, his ability to play three infield positions very well defensively is a huge asset to this team. With inexperienced (at the major league level) starters at SS and 3B in Escobar and Casey McGehee respectively along with Rickie Weeks one bat waggle away from season-ending surgery, having Counsell to spell all three positions is as invaluable for 2010 as having him has proven to be over the past couple of years as well.
Welcome back, Craigger! The Brewer Nation is glad you never left.
Rumor Burner Stays Warm on Hot Stove
Doug Melvin has made no bones about his desire to add two starting pitchers during this off-season. Signing Randy Wolf to a free agent contract gives him one. Where the second one comes from has been a matter of some opinion.
There are still plenty of free agents on the market to be sure. Given the Brewers’ projected payroll, some of them are out of the team’s price range. However, there are several that can be had for a reasonable rate that have great chances to put up better numbers than most members of the Crew’s 2009 starting rotation. In this realm, names like Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer, Wisconsin-native Jarrod Washburn and the recently non-tendered Chien-Mien Wang to name a few.
Pulling off a trade is another possibility that is open to Melvin et al. The Brewers still have a handful of trade chips that they can deal to interested teams to get a starting pitcher in return. It’s all about making something work for all teams involved. The biggest rumor that has been floating around since the Winter Meetings is a trade involving the New York Mets which would send Corey Hart to the Big Apple in exchange for John Maine. This makes sense for a couple of different reasons for both teams, but the biggest thing for Milwaukee’s point of view is that it gets us another starting pitcher. It also relieves us of Corey Hart and his waning value. He performed poorly last year but has had recent success and could still have plenty of upside. Maine has worked with new Brewer pitching coach Rick Peterson before when Peterson was in the same role with the Mets. The pairing led to Maine’s best season as a pro so it’s reasonable that it could produce positive results should the two be reunited in Milwaukee.
The Brewers are rumored to be preparing for this possible trade by readying offers to a handful of right fielders. They haven’t offered contracts to any of them yet, of course, because Corey Hart is still on the roster and would start in right field is no move is made. However, I have been told that guys such as Austin Kearns, Xavier Nady and recent 2009 Brewer Frank Catalanotto (who has one of the best batter walkup tunes EVER!). It’ll be interesting to see if the Brewers need to make an offer to one of these players or to another outfielder altogether. Even if they keep Hart, they carried five outfielders for the majority of 2009 and they currently only have four on the 25-man roster in Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Jody Gerut and Hart.
Whether a trade or signing is next on the horizon for this team remains to be seen, but the Hot Stove League shouldn’t cool down for Milwaukee for a bit yet.
Just an FYI here to finish things up, the next Brewer Nation podcast with yours truly and Cary Kostka should be recorded at some point this month, schedules permitting. We’ll definitely keep you posted though here at the blog so come back often and thanks for your continued (or brand new) readership!
By: Big Rygg
The Hot Stove season in baseball can be a very exciting time. It’s the first real baseball-heavy stretch of time in the sports media since the end of the World Series and, chance are, the first time you’ve really heard much about your team since the end of the regular season.
The big event during the off-season in baseball are the four days collectively known as the Winter Meetings. The Winter Meetings are a gathering of all of Major League Baseball’s General Managers (amongst other MLB officials). A ton of agents and even usually a handful of players make the trip as well. It is a chance for everybody to meet face to face and, thusly, to get a LOT accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. Groundwork is laid, dialogue is begun, negotiations get underway and, when all the stars align, players get signed to contracts.
In 2008 the Milwaukee Brewers were a part of the big storyline of the Winter Meetings, that of course being the CC Sabathia sweepstakes (congratulations to CC for winning a World Series Championship, by the way). That didn’t work out in Milwaukee’s favor, but it certainly was fun to have all the national media focused on the Brewers for a couple of days.
Last year, Doug Melvin was focused pretty much solely on Sabathia during the Winter Meetings and didn’t really accomplish anything. This year, however, Melvin is casting a much wider net into the free agent waters, specifically into the Sea of Starting Pitching. It has been said that the Brewers are basically looking into every available free agent pitcher. Having signed two arms already (the rehabbing Chris Capuano along with John Halama), the Brewers have gotten started fairly quickly this year. The Winter Meetings don’t even start until this coming Monday, for what it’s worth.
But, two pitchers that are questionable at best if one were to rely on them to start 20 games in 2010 (and for Capuano that games-started number could be one) is not enough for this team. Fortunately, Melvin, assitant GM Gord Ash and the rest of the front office realize this fact.
And, since pitching isn’t the only need for this organization, the Brewers have been active in areas other than pitching too. The Brewers made a trade in acquiring a new center fielder, Carlos Gomez, from the Minnesota Twins for SS J.J. Hardy. They signed a 16-year-old (pending age verification) shortstop, a young OF prospect who had a taste of the big leagues last year in Trent Oeltjen and a new starting (more on that later) catcher in the tastefully-named Gregg Zaun.
Allow me to focus on the new backstop in Milwaukee for a bit. There has been much discussion amongst fans already as to what exactly the Brewers are gaining by signing Zaun as opposed to simply retaining the services of two-year starter Jason Kendall instead.
First and foremost to this off-season’s agenda of acquiring as much starting pitching help as possible, this move saves the Brewers money. Kendall earned $5 million last year. With so many servicable options available on the upcoming market, Melvin made the decision that the team couldn’t afford to pay $5 million for a catcher again. There was never a report on whether Kendall flat out told Melvin to take a hike or whether he would’ve considered resigning at a reduced rate. Kendall was said to have greatly enjoyed his time as a Brewer, so it’s nice to think that he would’ve at least considered it.
To focus on what actually happened, though, is to realized that Gregg Zaun was approached by as many as six teams in this first week of free agency. He has said that the Brewers separated themselves pretty quickly from the pack. It helped that Milwaukee could offer a chance to be the primary starter. nearly-40-year-old catchers (or ballplayers of any position at that age) seldom hear those words. Now, Manager Ken Macha has seemed to be a no nonsense guy in his first year. That would seem to indicate that if Zaun isn’t performing at an acceptable level, then he would lose a start or two per week as whomever the backup winds up being will gain that playing time. Zaun is veteran enough in this league to know that performance is what hangs onto a job.
Should Zaun falter and his backup be called on…well, I don’t know what to tell you at this point because there is no certainty who that backup will be. Rumors flew (and continue to fly) since the end of the season about giving highly-touted prospect Jonathan Lucroy a shot to make the leap from AA to the big leagues. Then again, had prospect Angel Salome not missed so much combined time in 2009 due to injuries, might it be his name that would’ve been getting ballihooed about? There’s also the realization that Mike Rivera has been a decent backup the last few seasons as well at the big league level, thereby making him the devil they know, so to speak. Backup catcher is a much more important decision this year because Gregg Zaun will not be starting 130+ games.
Enough sidebarring. What else is the team gaining with Gregg Zaun behind the dish? How about more power, a higher batting average and, since Zaun is a switch-hitter, a second left-handed bat against right-handed pitchers. A little more balance can make a big difference.
As for the things Kendall excelled at (blocking the plate, blocking up pitches in the dirt, calling a game), Zaun is good at all of those things too. Let me put it this way, without going to find defensive statistical numbers… When you’re 38 years old and still playing in the big leagues, it’s usually not because of your stick anymore, especially behind the dish. Why do you think Henry Blanco is still playing? A cannon arm is among the top reasons why.
So when you add it all up, is there really any debate as to whether or not the Brewers made the right call? Of course there is. That’s the beauty of baseball and of all sports. Until the games are played on the field/court/rink/etc, you never know. But at least in baseball, statistical analysis provides a pretty darn good idea.
Despite all of this, though, the team needs more help. Formally offering a contract to Craig Counsell is a good start (depending on the value of said contract), but it’s hardly enough. The Winter Meetings begin in Indianapolis, Indiana in three days. With Doug Melvin and company being able to spread their focus around in 2009, let’s all hope that more irons in the fire yield better results in the long run.
By: Big Rygg
For anyone that has seen the iconic, timeless, awesome movie that is Major League, you know that the Indians defeated the Yankees in a dramatic one-game playoff in order to advance to the post-season.
What they don’t tell you officially until Major League II is that the Erie Warriors lose in the ALCS to the Chicago White Sox, the team’s antagonist in the second film.
Well, the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Cleveland Indians in the stadium formerly known as Jacobs Field. And while the team won’t be taking a 757 back to Milwaukee (they’re headed to Detroit tonight), they put on quite a hitting display during a series which featured a Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn bobblehead giveaway, Bob Uecker throwing out a first pitch and even a Bob Uecker autographed jersey prize to a “follow-the-ball” video board game.
The totals for the Brewers in the three games? 30 runs on 40 hits!! (And that we gave up 25 runs on 34 hits? Who cares? We won all three games!!)
Individual totals for the hitters (in alphabetical order by player’s last name):
Ryan Braun 6/13, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Mike Cameron 2/14, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Frank Catalanotto DNP
Craig Counsell 4/9, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 0 K
Prince Fielder 6/11, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K
Mat Gamel 3/14, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Jody Gerut 0/2
Bill Hall 1/10, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
J.J. Hardy 5/12, 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB
Corey Hart 6/14, 2 2B,1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Jason Kendall 3/8, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Casey McGehee 3/9, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Mike Rivera 1/4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Take a moment to really let that soak in.
I’d write more now about the series, but I started this last night after the game and am finishing it today after work because I fell asleep while writing it. Suffice it to say, it was an amazing three days for the offense.
Let’s hope that’s the part of our game we bring with us from Cieveland to Detroit.
By: Big Rygg
Mat Gamel is on his way to Milwaukee to join the 25-man roster. Brad Nelson, who has struggled mightily this season as a pinch-hitter and spot starter, was outrighted to AAA Nashville. In order to get to Nashville, Nelson will have to clear waivers and also accept the assignment. I’m sure he would like to stay with this team if he’s given the option, so really the clearing of waivers is really the sticky part of this.
Gamel, as Cary and I pointed out a couple of days ago on the Brewer Nation podcast, has been absolutely tearing the cover off of the ball for the majority of the season at Nashville. We also pointed out that his last 10 games through Monday hadn’t been overly impressive (he was hitting .250 with only one HR in that span), but his defense was much improved over the last 17 games in which he only had one error.
This move was made for a couple of reasons, in my opinion. First, Nelson has been so bad off the bench and we need a better left-handed hitter to use late in games. Second, there is an interleague series in Minnesota coming up on this next road trip, and we’ll need a DH for it. This was also pointed out on the podcast two full days ago.
More specifically as to why Nelson was picked as opposed to Chris Duffy is that Duffy can play all three OF spots defensively. Nelson cannot play CF effectively. Casey McGehee was safe because he’s our only right-handed option on the bench that isn’t labeled “C” for Catcher. Craig Counsell isn’t going anywhere, don’t kind yourself.
So, Mat Gamel will be given an opportunity to shine. Let’s see how well he handles it. Bill Hall seems to be getting a few extra days off against RHPs, but part of that could simply be that Counsell was forcing his way into the lineup with his great play. We’ll have to wait and see if Gamel gets a start or two in the field during this time up with the team.
Then again? There’s speculation that when J.J. Hardy was pulled from the game for what the team called a “headache” and then labeled “dizziness”, that perhaps Hardy was traded as well. I don’t buy that because bringing up Gamel as a roster replacement if you trade Hardy doesn’t make as much sense as calling up a new starting SS whom would best be named Alcides Escobar.
Then again…Bill Hall can play short, can’t he?
I’m not sayin’…I’m just sayin’.