Results tagged ‘ Martin Maldonado ’

Milwaukee Brewers 2014 Player Salaries

Here is a listing of the MLB salaries of the 26* men earning MLB-level pay from the Milwaukee Brewers as of Opening Day.

Quick math: The figures below total $101,219,338.00

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Aramis Ramirez $15,137,803

Matt Garza $12,209,424

Rickie Weeks $12,000,000

Yovani Gallardo $11,500,000

Ryan Braun $11,111,111

Kyle Lohse $11,000,000

Carlos Gomez $7,000,000

Marco Estrada $3,325,000

Francisco Rodriguez $3,250,000

Tom Gorzelanny* $3,150,000

Jonathan Lucroy $2,100,000

Mark Reynolds $2,000,000

Lyle Overbay $1,500,000

Zach Duke $850,000

Jean Segura $534,000

Wily Peralta $515,000

Jim Henderson $512,000

Brandon Kintzler $507,000

Logan Schafer $505,000

Tyler Thornburg $505,000

Scooter Gennett $504,000

Khris Davis $503,000

Jeff Bianchi $ 502,000

Martin Maldonado $ 502,000

Will Smith $502,000

Wei-Chung Wang $500,000


*Tom Gorzelanny is on the 15-day Disabled List to begin the season

Source: USA Today

2014 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster

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

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

CATCHERS (2)
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado

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

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

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

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

2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection

Milwaukee Brewers

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

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

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

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

With that, to the list!

Starting Pitchers (5)

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

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

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

Relief Pitchers (7)

(with one more starting on DL)

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

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

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

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

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

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

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

Infielders (7)

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

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

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

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

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

Outfielders (4)

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

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

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

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

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #12 Martin Maldonado

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Some awfully good things in this world come in dozens. A dozen eggs. A 12-pack of your favorite canned beverage. Your standard box of donuts (provided the baker doesn’t get generous).

Today’s entry in the Terrific 12s is how many days remain before we descend on Miller Park for Opening Day!

The man who’ll be wearing #12 (as is the point of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”) on Opening Day is none other than the backup catcher…

Martin Maldonado.

MartinMaldonado

The backstop affectionately known as “Maldy” has been the primary backup for the Milwauke Brewers now for two seasons, although for a good chunk of 2012 he was starting while Jonathan Lucroy was rehabbing from basically a broken hand.

Not known for his offensive prowess, Maldonado’s calling card is his work behind the plate. He’s a very strong receiver, has a cannon for an arm, and is mechanically sound in all facets of catching. He’s maintained a strong caught stealing percentage and his framing is good.

Another benefit that Maldonado has brought is his seeming ability to connect with the pitching staff, particularly the more mentally unique starters. He pairs very well with the combustible Wily Peralta right now, almost taking a “big brother” approach with the young Dominican. He’s worked with the picky Randy Wolf and learned the way he liked to work through games.

Nobody has issues with Maldonado’s in-game prowess at pitch selection and knowledge of how to attack a team’s hitters. One of his idols is fellow Puerto Rican catcher Yadier Molina, and you can see aspects of his game present.

But the bottom line for Maldonado’s value is not in his batting average or RBIs or many other statistics, but rather in many of the advanced metrics that measure the parts of his game where he truly excells.

Maldonado, who is 6’0″ (and dropped over 20 pounds in the off-season through an altered diet) does offer a bit of versatility in being able to play first base in a pinch, but his value is truly in his primary skill set and role.

Whether it’s every fifth day like clockwork, being paired up with a particular pitcher again, or more traditionally subbing in day games after night games, Maldonado will bring a quality work ethic, be well-prepared, and add value in one or more ways.

Not bad for a guy who hit .169 last year in in 183 at-bats across 67 games.

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

My 2013 Brewers Team Awards Ballot

Every year the writers who cover the Milwaukee Brewers all season long get together, so to speak, and cast ballots for five team awards.

The awards are under the following five categories:

  • Team MVP (not limited to just hitters)
  • Best Pitcher (in any role)
  • Best Newcomer (someone not on the team last year)
  • Unsung Hero (given to someone who didn’t necessarily get a lot of credit for the job that they did)
  • Good Guy (a true “media” award because this is for someone who is good in the community, clubhouse, etc but also was very helpful and gracious with the media)

In each of the past two years I have taken part in a Brewers blogger balloting in which several of us who actively and consistently write about the Brewers voted for the same awards. I’m still not sure what it says about me, but my top choices in each category have matched the winners of the same as voted on by those voting media members.

We’re likely doing the same again this year, but as it was revealed that the official award winners will be announced tomorrow I figured I’d get my ballot posted here in advance. I also like the chance to explain my selections.

(Sidebar: I continue to hope that BBWAA members will do likewise one day on their personal league MVP and Hall of Fame ballots.)

The balloting is such that we choose three men for each award with more points being assigned for higher ballot position.

Team MVP: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura

Jonathan LucroyI’m aware of two things right off the bat with my selection. I’ll disagree with many of the voters who will look at the season Carlos Gomez had and consider him to be the “best” player where that equates to “value.” I also know that my definition of value isn’t strictly based on best statistical performance and that clashes with many. My relatively succinct explanation though is that the edge that pushed Lucroy past Gomez for the top spot in this category was more than just his offensive contributions. Lucroy posted a .280/.340/.455, 114 OPS+ season with career highs in many of the “counting” statistics (H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB BB) due in part to career highs in both games played and plate appearances. But it’s why Lucroy totaled 147 games played and bested his high in plate appearances by 112 that led to my pick for MVP. Lucroy caught four out of every five days, sometimes more, and later in the season got a crash course in playing first base in an attempt to keep his consistently good bat in the lineup. Numbers are nice, and Gomez got the better of Lucroy in many of them, but probably not as many as you think.

In what was an extremely close decision in my mind, I had to give Carlos Gomez a second place finish here. He and Lucroy played in the same number of games and Gomez’s WAR and defensive runs saved and other factors definitely made his case, but Gomez wasn’t a runaway winner by any means and I think Lucroy’s steady presence kept a lot of things on that necessary even keel. Gomez absolutely had his best season in the Majors in 2013 and with a different set of circumstances he maybe wins this award. The numbers speak for themselves though Gomez had a monster first half but then slumped in July and significantly moreso in August. He rebounded in September, and Lucroy’s massive increase in playing time finally caught up to the catcher in September, it seemed, but Lucroy was much more consistent over the long haul the season.

Finally, while pitchers do qualify for this award, I had to recognize the production, surprise, and efforts of Jean Segura with an MVP ballot spot. “Seggy” opened eyes with his powerful first half (really, two-thirds) in which he hit 12 home runs (11 before the All-Star break) and slugged .487 before the break. Despite his youthful exuberence and energy, fatigue eventually set in for Segura who limped to the finish line — literally with a bum hamstring — that saw his batting average dip below .300 and his league stolen base lead disappear in the final series of the season in New York. The Brewers have barred Segura from playing in Winter Ball this off-season so hopefully he can stay fresher longer in 2014. If he does and is able to be more of what we as fans were treated to in April and May, he could very well win this award next year when you consider his defense abilities as well.

Best Pitcher: Kyle Lohse, Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler

KyleLohseComing in late in camp, not really facing the level of competition that he needed to ramp up properly for the season, and dealing with injuries throughout the hellacious month of May, Kyle Lohse still takes this crown going away. Peralta had his growing pains. Gallardo struggled throughout the season until late in the year. Estrada missed a ton of time. The fifth starter was all over the place. All that said, Lohse didn’t just win for me by default. He posted a very good season in spite of his awful May (.987 OPS against).

Second place goes to Jim Henderson. He was extremely good in 9th inning Save situations after being thrust into the role after John Axford’s early struggles and again taking over after Francisco Rodriguez was traded to Baltimore. In total Henderson amassed 28 Saves, an ERA+ of 146, and a K/9 ratio of 11.3. It was a promising first full-season performance for the veteran of 10 minor league seasons.

Brandon Kintzler did a remarkable job for the roles he was used in. He was consistently effective and only had a handful of very bad appearances. He also appeared in the second-most games for the team behind only Michael Gonzalez who was sometimes brought in to face just one batter. Kintzler is definitely deserving of this spot and if you find yourself questioning that or not having realized it from the beginning, then that just feeds the fire as to why Kintzler pulled a second-place finish in another award for me.

Best Newcomer: Kyle Lohse, Scooter Gennett, Khris Davis

KyleLohseVsCubsKyle Lohse was a stabilizing force in the rotation most of the season and was the best true newcomer on the roster.  This was an easy selection much like Aramis Ramirez was last year.

Scooter Gennett gets second place because despite his relatively limited playing time he exceeded expectations on multiple levels and put in jeopardy the starting job of an injured veteran. Gennett demonstrated an enormous platoon split, so he’s certainly got plenty of room for improvement at the plate, but he still did enough in 2013 to warrant a significant look in Spring Training next year along with a second place finish for this award in my opinion.

Khris Davis was an obvious choice for this spot for me. He almost took the second place vote but Gennett did more for me. Davis struggled after initially making the 25-man roster out of spring training but certainly held his own once he came back up for the balance of the season after Braun’s suspension. Davis has even pressed the issue of getting his bat into the lineup that Doug Melvin admitted that they’ve had internal discussions about moving Ryan Braun to right field since Davis is a left-field-only defensive player. That could cause a domino effect that could include trading a productive and popular player in the incumbent right fielder, Nori Aoki.

Unsung Hero: Martin Maldonado, Brandon Kintzler, Kyle Lohse

MaldonadoPeraltaAs I stated last year when I gave Maldy the first place spot in this category, his receiving, throwing, and handling of the pitching staff were very good despite playing far less in 2013 than in 2012. And while he got a bit more acclaim this year, his impact on the developing Wily Peralta deserves the recognition that this award sheds at least some light on.

Second place goes to Brandon Kintzler in a somewhat subjective vote. Kintzler was often used as a fireman early in the season, a role in which he flourished. That success got him “promoted” to set-up man some time after the job came open in July. Kintzler had a very strong rate of stranded inherited runners for much of the year and bridged a gap that Ron Roenicke didn’t always know how he was going to fill. Kintzler recorded more than three outs on a number of occasions and was truly a bullpen utility man at times. Kintzler certainly isn’t unsung in the coaches’ room though, and he’ll be in the mix for the late innings of games from the jump in 2014.

Kyle Lohse was going to get second place here for his veteran leadership and helping the young pitchers on staff remain calm and steady, but that aspect of what he brought to the team got a decent amount of publicity late in the year. It definitely warrants inclusion on the list for me, but no longer that second place finish.

Good Guy: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jim Henderson

JonathanLucroyChapmanWalkoffIn the mold of why John Axford won this award in 2012, Jonathan Lucroy was as stand up a guy as there was in the locker room this year. It didn’t matter if it was a great win or a tough loss, if no other hitter wanted to talk to the media, Lucroy gave his time. He would break down pitchers’ stuff and tell you what he saw from his vantage. He would speak candidly about topics that other teammates avoided like Ryan Braun, struggles in the field and at the plate, losing streaks…you name it and he would give the media the quotes they needed. The other factors for this award speak to community involvement (Lucroy was the team’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee) and how they are in the clubhouse (Lucroy definitely emerged as a team leader this season, when it desperately needed one).

The other player who was available the most and would definitely tell you his opinion on any number of topics was Carlos Gomez. He had a flare in his description and provided many memorable quotes during the year. He was appropriately subdued when the situation called for it and was bouncing around and bringing energy when needed.

Another personal choice is Jim Henderson. Henderson was eager to speak when approached and didn’t just spit up cliches and the same thing over and over. He was thoughtful and well-spoken along with being willing and available.

So those are my choices. Let me hear yours either on social media or, preferably, in the comments.

A Series of Unfortunate At-Bats

Peralta_05022013

Milwaukee – (That’s how I start these things, right?)

Tonight at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the NL Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a four-game set.

The third inning was particularly hospitable to the redbirds as they brought 11 men to the plate and scored six times. It was a rough and often unlucky inning for Wily Peralta who broke multiple bats, and was blooped, flared, and papercut to death by the Cards. There were a couple of hard hit balls as well but the majority of safe strokes would qualify for the “Punch & Judy” Hall of Fame. The six runs that the Cardinals scored in the inning would be all they got for the night, which added even more to the feelings of frustration.

After the game, Roenicke talked about the troublesome inning for Peralta.

“You see weird things and it’s not always fair,” said Roenicke. “(Peralta was) okay. It was definitely not as bad as what those numbers look like.”

As for Peralta’s repertoire, Roenicke admitted that, “his offspeed stuff wasn’t as sharp as I think he needs to get it to. He needs to be able to throw a slider for a strike when he needs to and he needs to be able to bounce it when he needs to. His change ups he’s got to mix in more. His sinker is still really good. I thought it was down most of the night.”

Peralta would eventually get out of the third and pitch into the fifth before putting two on in the fifth. Alfredo Figaro entered and only allowed one hit over the next 2.2 innings.

Peralta for his part understood that he made a bunch of good pitches in the third inning getting a couple of broken bats and suffering several weak hits but that it was obviously the difference in the game.

“This inning (was) the difference in the game”, said Peralta. He said it was particularly upsetting to give up so many consecutive hits with two outs.

He credited the bullpen for allowing the offense a chance to win. “The bullpen did a good job and (held) there.”

As for St. Louis, Jake Westbrook did what Jake Westbrook does on the mound and allowed some baserunners, but only three consecutive fourth inning singles from Weeks, Gomez, and Maldonado were able to scratch a run across off of the Cardinal veteran.

Luckily, “veteran” in this case also means “old” and Westbrook was lifted after 6.0 innings pitched for Joe Kelly. All Kelly did was get charged with two runs in 0.2 IP (raising the 8.31 ERA he entered the game with), and force Cardinal manager Mike Matheny to call on Mitchell Boggs. The new right-hander walked two — the first loaded the bases, the second scored the second run off Kelly — without recording an out. Matheny had to go get Trevor Rosenthal then who struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.

Tom Gorzelanny continued the quality work out of the bullpen this evening with a quick and clean 8th inning.

Rosenthal stayed in for the 8th inning. He got the scuffling Alex Gonzalez to pop out in foul territory to Yadier Molina, but then Blake Lalli scalded one what had to be a good 25 feet between a bewildered Molina and Rosenthal. Norichika Aoki reached on an error with one down, but resident hero Jean Segura could not come through on this night as he struck out swinging, chasing a high fastball.

That brought Ryan Braun to the plate as the new tying run, and he singled up the middle to plate Lalli and put Aoki on third. The legend of Yuni B 2013 took a hit though as he struck out swinging to end the inning. Still, that made the score 6-4 in favor of the Cardinals heading to the 9th.

The 9th saw Burke Badenhop get Carlos Beltran to bounce back to him, strike out Matt Holliday, and break the bat of Allen Craig on a soft liner to Segura.

The last of the ninth, and the game, belonged to Edward Mujica and the Cardinals though. Weeks attempted to cut the lead in half but his deep drive to RF was hit about 30 feet too far left. Gomez singled and eventually would steal second. After Maldonado struck out looking, Gonzalez came through with an RBI single to CF.

That allowed Ron Roenicke to send up Jonathan Lucroy to pinch-hit. Unfortunately, Lucroy would strike out to end the game with the Brewers falling a run short.

After the game, Josh Prince was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds where he will get a chance to play every day. He admitted that at least a part of him was excited to play regularly again.

“That’s what I love to do is play the game. But there’s no better place to play than (the big leagues).”

Prince will work defensively at multiple positions in preparation for his eventual return.

The move opens up a spot on the roster for the returning Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez will rejoin the team officially on Friday and be active for that evening’s game.

Brewers Announce Opening Day Roster

Milwaukee Brewers

Following today’s final exhibition game (a victory over the Chicago White Sox), the Milwaukee Brewers announced their 25-man roster for Opening Day.

Here is the breakdown by position.

Pitchers (13)

  • John Axford
  • Burke Badenhop
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Alfredo Figaro
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Michael Gonzalez
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Jim Henderson
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Chris Narveson
  • Wily Peralta

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

Infielders (5)

  • Alex Gonzalez
  • Yuniesky Betancourt
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura
  • Rickie Weeks

Outfielders (5)

  • Norichika Aoki
  • Ryan Braun
  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Logan Schafer

The Brewers will also be carrying four (4) players on the big league 15-day disabled list to begin the season (Jeff Bianchi, Taylor Green, Corey Hart, Mark Rogers) and one (1) on the 60-day DL (Mat Gamel).

Special congratulations go out to Alfredo Figaro, Mike Fiers, Jim Henderson, Jean Segura, Khris Davis, Wily Peralta, Martin Maldonado, and Logan Schafer who are all making their first Opening Day MLB roster!

Brewers Almost Down to 25

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers made a handful of additional roster moves in anticipation of paring the list down to 25 men to start the regular season on Monday, April 1st.

Here are the moves:

  • Donnie Murphy exercised an “out” in his contract after learning he would not be making the 25-man roster and was released.
  • Jeff Bianchi was officially placed on the 15-day DL today with left hip bursitis. Bianchi also dealt with a groin injury this spring which caused him to miss the World Baseball Classic. He was to play for Team Italy. Bianchi’s placement is retroactive to 3/22 (the earliest date you can backdate an injury to this year).
  • Corey Hart was officially placed on the 15-day DL today as well, also retroactive to 3/22. Given the original estimate of recovery, the Brewers could have freed up a 40-man roster spot by having Hart start the season on the 60-day DL, but opted to go with the 15-day DL instead which probably means that they are optimistic of a return to the big league lineup prior to May 21st (which is 60 days after March 22nd).

The Brewers have only three more roster decisions to announce, but that won’t come until the team is back in Milwaukee this weekend for exhibition games against the Chicago White Sox.

Still to be decided are:

  • Will the Brewers will begin the season with 13 pitchers? If so, it’s likely that an extra starter will be kept while Kyle Lohse ramps up.
  • Who wins the final two spots in the bullpen? Brandon Kintzler is a lock in my opinion, but technically I suppose there are two spots for him, Alfredo Figaro, and Donovan Hand.
  • Who wins the final bench spot (unless there are two)? With Yuniesky Betancourt, Logan Schafer, and Martin Maldonado locked in, if the team carries only 12 hitters that leaves one spot for either (in my opinion) Blake Lalli or Khris Davis. If the team only carries 12 pitchers, I think they both make it.

To hear who I think will make the team and win those battles, check out the latest podcast which should be posted tonight at some point.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers – #12 Martin Maldonado

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So we’re down to a dozen days. Only 12 more to go until the Brewers and Rockies square off at Miller Park with Yovani Gallardo and Jhoulys Chacin starting for their respective clubs.

Behind the dish that day for the Brewers will be Jonathan Lucroy, but we already profiled him eight days ago. Today we’re going to look at Lucroy’s colleague, whose World Baseball Classic team advance to the championship game which was just played on Tuesday night in San Francisco. He wore number 24 with Team Puerto Rico and wears number 12 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is…

Maldonado

Martin Maldonado.

Martin Maldonado is a native of Puerto Rico, having  been born in Naguabo in 1986. He was drafted back in 2004 out of high school by the Anaheim Angels in the 27th round of the First-Year Player Draft. The Brewers acquired Maldonado as a free agent in January of 2007 after the Angels released him.

He joined the Brewers farm system and began the 2007 season with the Class-A West Virginia Power. He played for two affiliates in 2008, three of them in 2009, three again in 2010, two in 2011 and just one (Class-AAA Nashville) in 2012 before getting recalled.

Now 26, Maldonado finally got recalled and received a legitimate big league opportunity in the same way that many players do: by way of injury. Lucroy was injured in an off-field accident and when Maldonado was recalled, George Kottaras had just injured him hamstring in a game. Kottaras caught one more game as Maldonado was arriving but then missed several to rest his leg. Maldonado basically assumed the starting role in Lucroy’s absence and would only relinquish it once the incumbent was healthy enough to play.

Never known for his bat, Maldonado’s calling card as a minor-leaguer was his receiving, throwing, and ability to handle a pitching staff. Those were all of the attributes which led to the Brewers carrying Maldonado on their 40-man roster. His career minor league batting slash stats are .236/.313/.333 over parts of nine seasons. What’s more, in 2012 before being summoned, Maldonado was hitting just .198/.270/.347 through 138 plate appearances across 35 games. That being said, Maldonado did appear to break through in 2011 on offense (.287/.373/.436 combined with .321/.410/.537 at Nashville) and seemingly every member of Nashville’s starting lineup got off to slow starts at the plate in 2012.

None of those numbers at the plate are indicative of any of his work behind it though. Maldonado has a cannon for an arm, routinely throwing frozen ropes around the diamond as he’s is catching would-be base-stealers in the act. Maldonado’s career caught stealing percentage in the minors is 42%. He was even over 52% at two stops along the way and was caught at least 40% in six of his nine MiLB campaigns. The three misses were his first two professional years and 2012 (where he was still at 33%) before his call up. He calls a quality game, knows his pitchers and works well with them.

With the Brewers last year, Maldonado hit .266/.321/.408 with nine doubles, eight home runs, and 30 RBI in 233 AB. He also posted a 32% caught stealing percentage. Some of that down tick was due to Brewers pitchers, and some was due to superior baserunning at the MLB level. Still, his throws all season were accurate.

So far in 2013, Maldonado has only 13 plate appearances with the Brewers. He recorded one hit and struck out five times before joining up with Team Puerto Rico where he has played sparingly after beginning the tournament 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts and just two walks. He started at first base a couple of times with Puerto Rico and once at catcher behind Yadier Molina.

Now that the World Baseball Classic has ended, Maldonado returns to camp as the entrenched number two catcher, though Blake Lalli — who started and played the most while both Maldonado and Lucroy were away — has turned many heads and is under consideration for a bench spot. You just know Ron Roenicke would love to have a third guy on his main roster who can catch (as well as play some first base) to allow him to tinker late and pinch-hit whoever isn’t starting earlier in games then he otherwise might feel comfortable doing.

For Maldonado individually though, getting off to a slow start at the plate won’t spell doom for him. Hopefully he comes back from San Francisco, gets some actual work at the plate to find his timing and produces from the jump in the regular season. Again, though, having Lucroy as the starting catcher provides more consistent offense from the position even if Maldonado takes a little while to find it again with his bat.

Regardless, a tandem featuring Lucroy and Maldonado will be a strength for the Brewers in 2013…now that they’ll finally both be back in camp anyway.

Maldonado makes his pitchers comfortable, and that makes for a happy manager, pitching coach, and fan base.

You can follow Martin Maldonado on Twitter: @Machete1224

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

World Baseball Classic Moves Forward, Six More Brewers Return to Camp

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The Brewers had 12 total participants on six teams in this year’s World Baseball Classic, down from the projected 15 on eight teams just before the tournament started.

As the second half of the tournament moves into its double-elimination second round, three teams containing players from the Brewers organization have now been eliminated. As a result, the seven players on those three teams will be returning to Brewers camp, if they haven’t already.

Mike Walker, who rejoined the Brewers earlier this week, led Team Australia in hitting, going 5-for-11 (.455), but didn’t score nor did he drive a run in. Australia had a thin lineup overall and was simply outmatched by the strong teams in their Pool. Australia’s early departure actually allowed Walker to report to Brewers minor league camp right on time and with a worthwhile experience in tow.

Next up to be eliminated with Brewers implications was Team Mexico. They were officially eliminated Saturday night once Team USA defeated Team Italy in Pool play. That set up the winner of Sunday’s Team USA vs Team Canada game joining Team Italy in Florida for the start of Pool 2. Returning to the Brewers already today were starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. They each made one start in the World Baseball Classic.

Gallardo defeated the powerful Americans in his start, despite being limited to just 49 pitches per request of the Milwaukee Brewers. Yo was sharp and stymied the USA bats throughout his 3.1 official innings pitched. Gallardo called the experience of defeating Team USA something he’ll always remember. After there being some doubt about whether he would even pitch in the Classic — after developing some tightness in his groin before joining Team Mexico — that he was able to perform well must feel good.

In quotes to Jose Romero of MLB.com, when Gallardo was asked about the atmosphere and intensity of the WBC he had this to say: “That’s the way baseball should be. The fans locked into the game just as much as the players, rooting for their country. There were a lot of fans of Mexico from all over the place who might have come in for it, and we wanted to have a good game. Show them what they came for.”

Also to Romero, Marco Estrada commented on his WBC experience which was less fortuitous than that of his rotation-mate. Said Estrada, “It was awesome. I got to meet a lot of guys, a lot of people I never knew before. There’s a lot of good players on our team, and just getting a chance to meet some of those guys … I only played with them for a week, but you become friends with a lot of them. That’s the one thing I’m going to take from this, that I got to meet a lot of nice people.”

As for the relatively early hook? “The thing about the Classic is that you get one opportunity to show what you’ve got, and like in my case, it didn’t go so well. So that was it for me,” Estrada said. “The first thing, honestly I felt pretty good. I thought I was locating well. Wasn’t getting a couple of calls and then I started elevating. I think I started trying way too hard and that’s when I got knocked around. Once I got out of that first inning, I settled in and it was fine after that. But it was too late by that time.”

For his part, Roenicke is understandably happy to get his pitchers back to Maryvale. He was talking about getting Gallardo and Estrada back in line for their eventual turns in the Brewers rotation once the regular season begins.

Finally then, we come to the losing team in Sunday afternoon’s Pool D tilt, Team Canada.

The Canadians had the highest number of Brewers players involved (shocking, I know) as four players were participating on their behalf. Pitchers Jim Henderson and John Axford both saw action today, with Henderson bearing the brunt of the late USA rally to assume the lead.

All told, the numbers may end up being forgettable for Henderson and even Axford, but the chance to represent your country simply cannot be quantified in numbers alone.

Someone who will be pleased with the opportunity to represent country along with pretty good results on the field is Brewers infielder Taylor Green who ended up starting at third base in all three games for Canada after Brett Lawrie was injured. Green ended up at .286 after an 0-for-5 final game, but he hit very well in the two other games, going 4-for-9 between the two. It was a rough finish, sure, with the goose egg at the dish and a couple of defensive miscues (neither of which were really his fault), but overall the experience should be viewed positively. Now Green returns to camp in a battle to win the starting first baseman’s job entering the 2013 regular season.

As for Rene Tosoni, he never got an official at-bat, though his one plate appearance was certainly memorable as it was his being plunked by Mexico that incited the brawl which will be replayed for years to come.

So for the Brewers now back at Maryvale Baseball Park, the experience was a good one despite a lack of overall team success. Kudos to them for participating, for wanting to participate. Kudos to the Brewers organization for understanding what it means to represent country and countrymen and allowing them all the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding the tournament.

There will be five Brewers players whose teams play in the second round. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are with Team USA of course. Martin Maldonado and Hiram Burgos will move on with Team Puerto Rico. And with Team Netherlands, infielder Hainley Statia has only gotten two ABs coming into today, but his team has enjoyed some success advancing into the second round and having an opportunity to advance again to the Semifinal Round in San Francisco if they can beat Team Cuba, something they’ve already done once in this year’s tournament.

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