This is my first blog and I am fairly new to Blogging. But I think I do a fairly good job at it and make it fun and involve lots of stats and what not. Either way here is my 2012 Brewers preview.
What is up with all the predictions on the Brewers this year? I mean 3rd in the division, is that really how far the Brewers have fallen off in one off-season after a 96 win NLCS record breaking Beast-Mode Season? I look at this team and see a better team than last years looking at another 90+ win season, ill give you ten reasons why.
1. A-Ram, Gamel, A-Gonz will combine or beat Prince, McGehee, and Yunis 2011.
The first thing people are going to look at is the big void in the 4 spot. No Prince means they cant be nearly as good in 2012, right? No, not right. The Brewers this year replaced Prince with Aramis Ramirez. Is he Prince Fielder? No, but last year he drove in 93 RBI’s in a bad Cubs lineup. Put Braun, Weeks, And Morgan and he should be looking at a LOT more RBI’s this year. Also, Aramis said right away that he HATED the Wrigley Field cold. At Miller Park the roofs closed for those cold games and its a hitter friendly park so look for his numbers to improve this year to around 95-105 RBI’s and 25-30 HR. That does not replace Prince completely but if you put those numbers and combine them with Gamels and Alex Gonzalez stats it should beat out Prince, McGehees, and Yuni’s 2011 season.
2. Ax And K-Rod are both back and its for the WHOLE year.
Last year Doug Melvin made a surprise move to improve the bullpen in the middle of the season when he traded for K-Rod the single season saves record holder and they got him for a 5 foot 6 pitcher who had a 21.60 ERA for Milwaukee. Yeah that’s Danny Herrera if your wondering. The combo was lights out and when the Brewers had the lead after 7 innings they NEVER lost after acquiring K-Rod. Nevertheless the combo is back for 2012 after Krod surprisingly accepted arbitration. They should be the best 8-9 combo in baseball and it is going to help out tremendously.
3. Greinke gets a full spring.
Last year Greinke got injured playing in a pick-up game of Basketball, yeah.. That cost him the whole 2011 spring and it proved to be costly as he struggled in the first half of 2011. He fixed it though in his last 16 starts he had a 2.61 ERA. He finished with a 3.83 ERA and an undefeated record at home. A full spring should prove beneficial. “He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. He knows it,” Ryan Braun said. “We all know it, too. He expects to dominate. I really think he’s going to have a great year, like, another Cy Young year. A full year of Zack being healthy is going to be tremendous for our team.”
4. The infield defense has improved.
The Brewers infield was one of the worst defensively in all of Baseball and it was costly. They had 4 errors in a crucial game 5 in the NLCS last year and it led to the eventual defeat in game 6 with a 3 error game. This year the Brewers made a change. New to the infield is Alex Gonzalez, Mat Gamel, And Aramis Ramirez. While Gamel and Aramis are not great at there defense it should serve as an upgrade to Prince and McGehee. The big upgrade comes at short as we finally have a versatile top of the line defensive shortstop. He is not known for his bat but this spring he hit 5 Home-Runs and led the team with 16 RBI’s. He is old at 35 but hopefully he can put up some good stats in the hitting columns this year and translate his spring success to the regular season. Either way he is a HUGE upgrade at Short over Yuni B.
5. Ron Roenicke is no longer a rookie manager.
The Brewers have a lot of there players coming back and finally a solid MLB manager. No more Yost or Macha but Ron Roenicke. Hes coming off a first year 96 win season and now he has a year of experience on this team. It should prove to be beneficial and now he knows this team. Most people forget about the Brewers slow start in 2011. Without that they could have had more then 100 wins and there slow start is mostly because of no Hart, Greinke, Lucroy, and Roenicke still in his first year. This year could be huge for the Brewers and Roenicke is going to be a big part.
6. All 5 pitchers back and Lucroy is catching them all besides Wolf.
All 5 Starting Pitchers last year had 10+ wins and we have 2 aces at the front. Gallardo has another year of seasoning and this could be the year for him. Big sabermetric stats guys have also said Greinke got very unlucky last year and should be putting up cy young numbers this year. He is the predicted NL Cy Young on ESPN.com. Lucroy is back with a 5 year extension at the Catcher position and with another year of experience should be solid. He has been great this spring finishing with a .473 batting average. So look for him to not only help out the pitchers with another year behind the plate but to improve in his hitting. He had a .285 batting average last year going into September but it went down to a .260 by the end of the year after a bad slump.
7. The Crew is a solid all around team, no bad spots.
This quote from Greinke explains it all.
“I think our team’s a pretty good, all-around team,” said Greinke, the straight-shooting starter. “We don’t have the best pitching staff in baseball, the best bullpen in baseball. We don’t have the best anything, but we’re solid at everything.
“Our defense is solid; better than last year, I think. Our offense is solid; maybe about the same as last year. We’ll see. Everything is slightly above average, across the board, and that’s our strength, I think. Nothing’s going to carry us, I think.”
8. We have options….
The Brewers have options. You probably ask, what the hell does that mean? Well, it means the Brewers are flexible this year. If Gamel struggles Hart moves to first and Aoki to right. If Aoki is struggling it could be Schafer who could step up in right field or Gomez. Or lets just say A Ram cant stay healthy as his history says. That means Green could play third. If Alex Gonzalez goes down for a few games we have gold glover Ceaser Izturis ready to play. What if a Brewers starter gets injured? Well we have Marco Estrada who filled in great last year for Greinke or Willy Peralta our #1 prospect ready to do work in the major leagues. The Brewers have depth and its going to be nice when it comes to injuries whether its long or short term injuries.
9. Are seventh inning guy is solid.
We know our 8-9 combo is the best in baseball but Jose Veras the newly acquired 7th inning man to replace Hawkins and Saito is a move that should be being talked about more. He is going to be a game changer. He is a right-hander acquired from the Pirates for McGehee. He comes off a career year 3.80 ERA, career-high 79 appearances, 27 holds and looks to build upon it.
10. Gamel is going to turn some heads.
Look for Gamel to be VERY solid this year. He came to camp in shape 20 pounds less and knowing the job was his to lose. He took advantage of it and led the team with 6 Home Runs in spring. “It’s time for him to be a major-league player instead of a great Triple-A player,” manager Ron Roenicke said. That quote explains Gamel exactly. Last year he hit .310 with 24 HR and 96 RBI in AAA. But in 171 AB’s for the Crew he has hit just .222 in some short stints, not very good. But its tough when you have Fielder behind you. There have been some late bloomers recently in the Majors. People point to Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, or the game 6 World Series Hero David Freese. Can Gamel be the next on that list? Josh Hamilton had a mentor who helped turn his career around named Johnny Narron. That guy happens to be the one to replace the new Cubs manager Dale Sveum as our hitting coach. He could be a big help in Gamels turnaround. Braun likes Gamels approach too. “He looks better,” Braun said. “He dresses better.” “He cleaned it up, man,” Braun said. “He shaved. He’s dressing nice. He just looks a little more professional. He stepped his fashion game up a little bit. He looks like he cares.” “I think he’s just confident,” Braun said. “He knows he’s going to get an opportunity. He knows he’s going to have some slack. In the past, I think he’s come up and thought if he didn’t go 10-for-20, he wasn’t going to get to stay up. Knowing he’s finally going to get the opportunity to play every day, he’s more confident than ever. You can see him go about his business more serious and professional than he has in the past.”I think he’s excited about the opportunity, and we’re excited to see him get the opportunity. In a lot of other organizations, he would have had an opportunity a long time ago to be in the big leagues and stay.”
Randy Wolf also said some things about Gamel.
“I really think he’s going to surprise some people,” said left-hander Randy Wolf, who watched Gamel make a pair of slick defensive players in Thursday’s win over the Indians. Gamel also homered in that game. “He looks really determined this spring,” Wolf said. “I never judge anything on performance [in Spring Training]. I just look at their attitude and how they’re preparing for the season, and he looks like he’s getting ready to really contribute this year. I think it was hard for him in years past to know he’s got Prince in front of him.”
Those are my 10 reasons that I think they can be better this year. Will they? We will definitely see but I think they can be while flying under the radar.
“We’ll fly under the radar at 9,999 feet. We’ll go undercover and do what we’re supposed to do. We have a solid unit.”