The RFB March Madness Brewers Vote Returns! Last year we had over 3000 votes and we’re hoping for even more this year.
In order to get more people interested and voting, we are turning the vote into a contest! The person who predicts the final four Brewers will win a RFB Shirt of their choice!
Here are the rules:
1) Email email@example.com by Noon Central time on Saturday, February 28th with your name, address, and picks for which Brewers will be the top 4 for a chance to win.
2) Also include who you believe will win the whole thing and how many votes will be cast in the final as tiebreakers.
3) Vote! (only one vote per computer per poll will count…meaning it would be hard to SPAM vote for Hernan Irribarren 5000 times)
4) The person(s) who sends in the correct guess for the final four Brewers and wins the tiebreakers will get their choice of RFB t-shirt from our remaining stock for free! (We won’t even charge for shipping as long as you live in the continental US) Be aware that not all shirts and sizes may be available, but most will be.
The winner will be announced on Rightfieldbleachers.com one day after the final vote has been taken down. I’m sure I’m supposed to add that no purchase is necessary or something like that.
Here’s this year’s bracket:
As you can see, the bracket is divided into two sides: Pitchers on one side and Position Players on the other.
Here’s some very brief and basic information on each player.
1) Ryan Braun - Last year’s fan vote winner, Ryan Braun has quickly made his way from hot prospect to hottest player in Milwaukee. The 2007 NL Rookie of the Year had another great year in 2008 hitting .285, with 37 home runs and 106 RBI.
Ryan also made a clean move to the outfield, committing no errors all year. Ryan also had two titanic home runs at the end of the season to help catapult the Brewers into the playoffs.
2) Prince Fielder - Big Prince seems happier with his contract and with life, so everyone is hoping he goes back to his 2007 numbers. Even though Prince didn’t have as good of a year in 2008, he still put up some great numbers hitting 34 home runs and knocking in 102.
Prince is a big leader in this clubhouse and a big name on this team.
3) J.J Hardy - J.J. continues to prove his doubters wrong and had a very strong 2008. J.J. hit a career high .283 last year and hit over 20 home runs for the second straight year.
Not bad from a defensive shortstop. J.J maybe known for his boyish smiles by the ladies, but by now, everyone is respecting his talent on the field.
4) Corey Hart - Corey lit the world on fire in the first half of 2008, but his mouth and second half slump hurt him and the team. Still, you can’t be mad at a 20/20 guy that has a fierce gun. Corey is hoping for a hot start to take everyone’s mind off of last years ending.
5) Mike Cameron - Cam missed out on the first 25 games of the season and never looked completely comfortable at the plate because of it until August of 2008. That’s when Mike Cameron hit .360 and helped the Brewers to a 20-7 record in August.
Cameron is also a defensive leader and one has to ask if his tutelage helped young outfielders Corey Hart and Ryan Braun.
6) Bill Hall - Will his offseason lasik surgery really be the cure for Billy? Many fans are hoping so, because William has had trouble with his hitting ever since his breakout year in 2006. Last year was hopefully rock bottom.
As the starting third baseman at the beginning of the year, he hit .225 and knocked in only 55 runners. Bill was platooned with Russell Branyan and Craig Cousell. Bill is starting off 2009 with an injury and one has to wonder if 2006 was an aberration.
7) Rickie Weeks - Rickie still has a lot of people who believe that he will reach his offensive potential. The problem is, after 2 tough years that number is down to about 50 people. Even though there are many that are down on Rickie, you have to be impressed at his ability to get home when he is on base.
Rickie has also become far less of a defensive liability. With almost no one counting on him, maybe 2009 is Rickie’s year.
8) Jason Kendall - Milwaukee’s man of steel started 2008 off like a mad man, but slowed down offensively. That is the only thing he slowed down at, though. Jason has always hustled his @$$ off and was one of the best in the league throwing out runners trying to steal.
9) Craig Counsell - I know I give this Milwaukee-area native a lot of guff, but Craig can play almost any infield position and since Hall and Weeks have been struggling, there isn’t much drop off in OBP.
Also, Counsell has a World Series ring, and that has to count for something, right? Last year, Craig hit .226, which is up from the year before when he hit .220.
10) Tony Gwynn - TGJ had a big chance at the beginning of last year with Mike Cameron out to stay a major leaguer. Problem was that Gabe Kapler outperformed Tony at almost every level. Tony will have to prove himself this year right away, especially since he’s out of options. Last year, Tony only had 43 at bats and hit .190.
11) Mat Gamel - Out of all the prospects, Mat Gamel has the best shot at being a starter in the big leagues first. Gamel’s hitting in the AA was supurb, but like Ryan Braun before him, Mat has to work on his defensive skills at third base.
Matt was also a September call-up.
12) Alcides Escobar - Another top prospect, Alcides has so many people talking about him, the Brewers might consider moving their already young infield around. Alcides hit .328 in AA last year and was a September call-up.
13) Brad Nelson - Brad Nelson is a mini-legend at RFB for being permanently blocked by Prince Fielder. Nelson, however, had an amazing season last year for AAA Nashville and he seemed to find his patience at the plate.
Brad was a September call-up and was given more at-bats than both Gamel and Escobar.
14) Mike Rivera - It seemed like once a month he would play, but when Mike Rivera was given a chance, he would deliver. Mike hit .306 off the bench, called a great game behind the plate, and had fans pleading with Ned Yost to let him play more.
15) Mike Lamb - We hardly knew ye last year, but Mike Lamb might have to be the Brewers starting third baseman. Lamb is a career .277 hitter and although he struggled in the Humpty Dome last year, he hit .289 in Houston in 2007.
16) Hernan Irribarren - Hernan was given this spot ahead of Salome because he actually played in 2008. That said, he got a total of two hits in 12 games. I don’t see Hernan beating out Braun in a fan vote anyway.
1) Yovanni Gallardo - If not for a freak accident with human tofu train Prince Fielder, Yovani could have had a breakout 2008. Now, with not one full year under his belt, Brewers fans are expecting Yo to be the club’s ace.
To his credit, Yo has never looked anything but confident and was stellar in the postseason. He is up to the task.
2) Manny Parra - Like Corey Hart, Manny had an amazing start to 2008. His innings did get a little high for a first year starter, and he tailed off mightily at the end of the year.
Even with his drop, you have to be impressed with his first year numbers: 29 starts, a 10-8 record with the second most strikeouts on the team. He enters 2009 with the knowledge of what it takes to make it through the season.
3) Trevor Hoffman - All-Time Saves Leader Trevor Hoffman is bringing Hells Bells to Milwaukee and his arrival has gotten a lot of people talking. Many of us are waiting to see how he does in Miller Park versus Petco Park, but even in a year in which he “struggled”, Trevor accumulated more saves than any one Brewers pitcher last year.
4) Dave Bush - If Manny Parra had a great start and rough ending, Dave Bush was his polar opposite. Bush started 2008 off so poorly, he had to platoon with Seth McClung. Cooler heads won out and Bush was 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA in the amazing August of '08. Let’s also not forget that Bush was the lone Brewers winner in the postseason.
5) Carlos Villanueva - Carlos is a super reliever. He will be absolutely stellar for three innings and that’s why I believe he needs to stay in the pen. There’s nothing wrong in having a great long reliever, and Carlos is just that.
The numbers tell most of the story: As a reliever in 2008, Villa has a 2.12 ERA, struck out 62 in only 59 innings, and had an opponent BA of only .220.
6) Seth McClung - Seth McClung helped the Brewers in 2008 in any way he could. He started, he relieved, he was a long reliever. No matter where he was, he was nothing but solid. Seth will look to be solid again in 2009 and will be the first one the Brewers turn to in case of injury.
Oh, and we all bet big Seth can party like a true Milwaukeean.
7) Eric Gagne - Gagne returns to Milwaukee costing a whole lot less and being relied on a whole lot less as well. Last year, Gagne posted a 5.44 ERA and had 10 saves.
He did, however, start getting it together in September and closed the year only walking three batters while striking out 10 and having an ERA of 3.09. He also did a nice thing and purchased 5000 tickets for fans which were taken in only 20 minutes.
8) Jeff Suppan - Jeff started over 30 games for two years in a row now for Milwaukee, but when he hasn’t proven to be a big game pitcher. Jeff is a solid starter, going .500 in both his years as a Brewer, and has done a lot in the community.
9) Braden Looper - Also a former Cardinal, Braden Looper was picked up late this offseason, but for only $4.5 million Braden was an excellent reliever in Florida and was a strong starter in St. Louis.
Even though his numbers last year may look like Suppan, Looper is much more of a groundball pitcher and his fastball is normally in the 90s.
10) Mitch Stetter - Mitch Stetter was a very nice surprise in 2008 and fills the lefty-specialist void vacated by Brian Shouse. Mitch is still quite young and needs to work on throwing strikes more consistently, but was able to hold opponents to only a .160 BA.
11) David Riske - David had his worst year last year since 2002. What happened in 2003? He had quite possibly his best year…will history repeat itself?
12) Chris Capuano - Don’t call it a comeback…yet. Chris is a loooooooong time removed from his All-Star 06 status. Missing out on the entire 2008 campaign due to Tommy John surgery No. 2 and still getting paid over $3 mill, Cappie was non tendered, then signed to a minor league deal with the Brewers.
He’s trying to make a comeback and Brewer fans haven’t forgotten his deceptive pickoff move…have they?
13) Todd Coffey - Todd went from Cincinatti’s next big reliever in 2006 to Milwaukee’s 2008 waiver wire claim. His tenure in Milwaukee started off strong; he didn’t give up a run in 7.2 relief innings with the Crew. I believe Coffey will be an excellent arm in the bullpen.
14) Jorge Julio - Jorge Julio is another former closer who can’t seem to put together a complete year. He does have a fastball that can almost touch 100, but has about a 2:1 Strikout to walk ratio and has ended up on a different team than he started with for the last three years.
15) Mark DiFelice - In only 15 games, Mark DiFelice posted a very nice 2.84 ERA for the Crew last year and never once blew a save. Even though the Brewers have brought in a lot of veteran arms, DiFelice will probably be back to help in 2009.
16) Tim Dillard - Brought up around the same time as DiFelice, Dillard surprised most fans with his mid 90’s fastball and the fact that he didn’t give up one run in his first six appearances.
In fact, Dillard only had one bad outing that caused his ERA to rise, and that was when he gave up 4 runs in .2 innings against Toronto. He only gave up three runs in all of his other appearances.
There you have it, get your contest entries in to firstname.lastname@example.org and come back for the first series of voting starting on Saturday, Feb. 28.