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Milwaukee Brewers: 2014 Season Preview

14 Mar

Standing O Sports is previewing all 30 Major League teams seasons, division by division, team by team. Up next in the National League Central is the Milwaukee Brewers.

What Happened Last Season:

The 2013 Milwaukee Brewers got off to a hot start with a 14-11 month of April. Then the month of May happened. The Brewers went 6-22 and just like that, fell out of contention. Milwaukee had an up and down June, and then on July 23rd, thunder struck when Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season due to his involvement with Biogenisis.

After the Braun saga, Milwaukee was essentially irrelevant the rest of the way, but still managed to win a somewhat respectable 74 games.

Offseason Headlines:

  • Signed Matt Garza to a 4-year $50 million dollar contract
  • Signed Fransico Rodriguez to a one-year $3.25 million dollar contract
  • Signed former Yankees Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds to one-year deals
  • Lost Corey Hart to the Mariners
  • Lost Yuniesky Betancourt who’s now playing in Japan

Take: You can’t fault the Brewers for trying I guess.  If healthy, Matt Garza  will slide in as a more than capable number 2 in the rotation behind Yovani Gallardo and adds much-needed depth.  Every other move Doug Melvin made isn’t very noteworthy.  Lyle Overbay has little to no upside, Mark Reynolds has power, but is a low average occasional home-run guy, and the team is hoping Francisco Rodriguez can return to his “K-Rod” form.  Rodriguez though, just hurt himself when he stepped on a cactus while bear-foot.   Now that’s not something you hear everyday.  His injury is bad enough to the point where Rodriguez can’t even pitch at the moment.  Sign of things to come?

Projected Lineup

Jean Segura (SS)
Scooter Gennett (2B)
Ryan Braun (RF)
Aramis Ramirez (3B)
Jonathan Lucroy (C)
Carlos Gomez (CF)
Mark Reynolds (1B)
Khris Davis (LF)

Jean Segura looks poised to move from the number 2 hole, to the leadoff spot in the Brewers lineup.  The 23-year-old can absolutely fly and was 2nd in the National League with 44 stolen bases last season.  Segura however, isn’t your prototypical leadoff hitter due to his aggressiveness in the batters box and his low on-base percentage.  Scooter Gennett took over for Rickie Weeks at 2nd base last season and shined.  Gennett hit .354 with 5-home-runs and 25 runs scored in the 43 games he started.  He’s only 23-years-old, and Gennett is off to a slow start in spring training.  Ryan Braun is back with the team for 2014, and other than Alex Rodriguez, there may not be a more hated person in the sport.  Expect Braun to be booed heavily.  We’ll see how much perseverance he has because when he enters a stadium, it’s not going to be pretty.  At age 35, Aramis Ramirez is slowing down, but Milwaukee is still expecting him to provide protection for Braun in the lineup.  Jonathan Lucroy had the best year of his career in 2013, and appears to be on the ascent.  After Lucroy is Carlos Gomez who was the only player in the majors to hit 20 home-runs, and steal 40 bases.  Watching Gomez, one would probably think he could be one of the best players in the game.  He just hasn’t taken that next crucial step.  Mark Reynolds is slated to be the starting first baseman, and when he gets cold, he freezes.  Khris Davis rounds out the lineup, and he will either walk, strikeout, or hit a home-run.

Take: Segura, Braun, Lucroy, and Gomez are all really solid guys to have in your lineup.  It’s the other players though who have to rise their level of play.

Projected Pitching Rotation

Yovani Gallardo
Matt Garza
Kyle Lohse
Marco Estrada
Wily Peralta

Gallardo has only gotten worse the past few years.  His fastball velocity is getting lower and lower, and his ERA is getting higher and higher.  Matt Garza struggled after getting traded to the Rangers last season, but when right, is a very good, not great, starting pitcher.  Kyle Lohse is now 35, but a solid number 3.  At the end, Marco Estrada is a fly-ball pitcher which doesn’t suit well for Miller Park, and Wily Peralta is a number 5 starter as best in the Major Leagues.

X-Factor: Yovani Gallardo

Looking at Gallardo’s numbers, his win totals and ERA have steadily declined since he won a career high 17 games in 2011.  It got so bad Gallardo’s ERA climbed over 4 for the first time in his career.  If the Brewers are going to be somewhat serious in 2014, Gallardo has to re-established himself as a true ace.

Season Outlook

Milwaukee has some nice pieces, but the NL Central is just way too competitive.  The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are all much better, so there’s little reason to believe that 2014 will be a special one.

Prediction

Frankel: 68-94 (Last in NL Central)
Mike: Last in NL Central

 
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Posted by on 03/14/2014 in MLB

 

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