Nine Innings/Questions on the Brewers
- Updated: May 28, 2016
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This is a continuation of our series of articles where I ask fellow bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) 9 innings worth of questions about their team. The goal is to do this for as many teams as possible (all 30 would be ideal) a few times a season. This one is a pre-All Star edition, then a post-All Star edition, another down the stretch (towards the end of the season) and then either a playoffs edition or off season edition or both!
So, without further ado …
- How are the Cub’s offseason acquisitions working out so far? Any concerns?
Most have done as expected so far. Until his recent near no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs, starting pitcher Chase Anderson hadn’t been as consistent as hoped. Chris Carter’s all-or-nothing approach at the plate was a bit of a concern going into the season. He started out strong, drawing more walks and striking out less, but seems to have regressed as of late.
[graphiq id=”5nQ3QfqWJcp” title=”Chase Anderson” width=”600″ height=”503″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/5nQ3QfqWJcp” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/18307/Chase-Anderson” link_text=”Chase Anderson | PointAfter” ]
- Who has been the most disappointing player so far this season? Will they improve as the season goes on?
This is an easy one. Starter Wily Peralta has been knocked around all season. He’s just two years removed from a 17-11 season where he threw nearly 200 innings, so the expectation was that he’d step up and become the staff ace. Manager Craig Counsell plans to stick with him for the time being in the rotation rather than send him down or demote him to the bullpen. As I type this (editor’s note: about a week ago) he’s 2-4 with a 7.30 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP. Hard to say if he will improve as he didn’t have a great 2015 season, but it was shortened due to injury.
- Who has been the most surprising player so far this season? Can they sustain this pace?
If you asked me two weeks ago I would have gone with Chris Carter. Still hoping for him to rebound of course. Right now I’d say closer Jeremy Jeffress because first off, he was supposed to be sharing the role with lefty Will Smith, but then Smith got injured. But secondly, the guy has been lights out with 11 saves in 11 chances and a 2.12 ERA. He generally gives up a hit an inning but always works around it. I’d love to see Jeffress sustain the perfect saves pace, but no matter what, this is a great opportunity for him to latch onto the closer role and keep it.
- What top prospects might we see before the All Star break (What type of player are they: 5 tool player, speedster, defensive, power hitter, etc.)? What will be their impact on the team?
This is a tough one because the philosophy from Counsell and GM David Stearns has been to be more concerned about player development in 2016, and less about where the team winds up in the standings. The most anticipated prospect in the Milwaukee system is No. 1 Orlando Arcia, who is currently with the Triple A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Arcia is a top notch defender at short that has elevated his offensive game in the last couple seasons – he’s hitting .299 right now and is more of a get on base guy than a power hitter. I don’t know if we’ll see him before the break, but I like what reliever Damien Magnifico is doing for the Sky Sox – he has eight saves and a 2.00 ERA in 15 games. Like Jeffress, he gives up about a hit an inning but usually gets around it. The big question is who would come up to replace catcher Jonathan Lucroy if he gets traded before the break. No. 10 prospect Jacob Nottingham is hitting .227 at Double A Biloxi, so he’s a bit away yet. While not in the top prospects list, Manny Pina has been hitting well for the Sky Sox. He has the highest batting average of anyone with 75 or more at bats, and might be the Brewers best in-house option until Nottingham is hopefully ready.
- What top prospects are currently being blocked by current players on the big club? Will this make them trade bait, will they switch positions or will the vet eventually be traded?
None really. Most prospects other than Arcia are a couple years away from being with the team full time. Jonathan Villar is at short right now, but I wouldn’t say he’s blocking Arcia. He’s just keeping the spot covered until Arcia arrives. One scenario could involve getting Arcia up before the trading deadline and then moving Villar to another team.
- What is the team lacking that either wasn’t addressed in the offseason or the offseason acquisition isn’t cutting it?
Most spots were addressed as Stearns made a lot of moves after taking over the reins from Doug Melvin. Fans would love to see a permanent solution at third base, but we may have to wait a bit. Aaron Hill came over with Chase Anderson from Arizona and has had his moments at the plate, but isn’t the 2012-13 version of Aaron Hill. The trade of Carlos Gomez left a vacancy in center field, which was technically addressed – if you count rotating guys in and out of the spot to see if one sticks. Case in point was Keon Broxton who went 0-16 before being sent down to the Sky Sox. So we’re most likely waiting on some prospects to step up and fill the hole in center.
- Are they better or worse off now than they were at the end of last season?
Despite having inconsistent starting pitching and losing a key bullpen guy like Smith to injury, I’d still say they are better off. Flipping a lot of the team may prove to be a good thing in the long run. Stearns and Counsell have said all along that this isn’t the team that will contend again, but there are plenty of players on the roster that could be part of it. As everyone has seen before with a projected under .500 team, guys are hungry and stepping up to make a case to be here for the long haul. Grabbing free agent reliever Blaine Boyer right before the end of spring training was a great move to solidify the bullpen.
- What is your predicted outcome for the team this season? Why?
I see a few games of improvement over last season to a 71-91 record. It’s hard to predict in a development year, especially with question marks like Peralta’s pitching and if Lucroy (or even Ryan Braun) gets traded. The tendency is to directly compare this year’s team with last year’s model, but so many players have been flipped out that it isn’t apples to apples.
- What players need to go (traded, released, etc.) & why?
Outfielder Ramon Flores and infielder Yadiel Rivera could probably benefit from more time at Triple A, but both will most likely stick around for a bit to get some big league experience. I’m a Lucroy fan and would love to see him in a Brewers uniform for a long time, but also realize that’s probably unrealistic and the team should trade him mid-season barring injury or slump.
Chris Zantow’s bio: In my “real life” I write corporate training and resources materials. I’m married with no kids, but we are parents to a lop-eared rabbit named Emma. Outside of work I have been writing a historical book about the early days of the Milwaukee Brewers. I have spent the last couple years doing research and have conducted interviews with players, coaches, and stadium workers. My blog is here: https://chriszantowauthor.wordpress.com/