Milwaukee Brewers All-Decade 25-Man Roster
For my first post here at Bleacher Report, I decided to repost my All-Decade Team from my other blog, hence the picture you see.
This post and the all-decade by the numbers (along with years' worth of other posts) can be found at http://www.thebrewernation.com.
The decade from 2000-2009 included some pretty lean years for the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers did make the playoffs for the first time since 1982 but also lost more than 100 games in the decade as well.
It was up and down to be sure, and the team had plenty of ballplayers put on a Brewer uniform over that span. Here are the members of my all-decade 25-man roster.
SP: Ben Sheets
The co-ace of my staff is also my Pitcher of the Decade. Ben Sheets has the vast majority of pitching marks for the decade: 86 wins, an ERA of 3.72, 1,206 strikeouts, and 18 complete games over 221 starts.
With his tenure being far and away the longest, Sheets earns the spot atop my rotation.
SP: CC Sabathia
Despite only making 17 starts for Milwaukee, CC Sabathia did more than enough during his short stint as a Milwaukee Brewer to warrant a spot on the all-decade team.
I could throw stats at you if you need them, but the bottom line is that Sabathia put the franchise on his broad shoulders and carried it to the playoffs for the first time since 1982. That's good enough for me.
SP: Yovani Gallardo
When I first put this list together, Yovani Gallardo was the only starting pitcher on my roster that was still a Brewer; more on that in a second.
Gallardo has done very well for himself since making his Brewer debut. He has compiled a 22-17 record in 54 appearances.
His 3.58 ERA over 320 IP comes with a solid hit rate (7.73 H/9) and strong strikeout rate (9.14 K/9), along with becoming the first Brewer in several years to strike out 200-plus batters in a season in 2009, which all speak to his ability and the label of "future ace" for the Brewers.
Assuming health and a couple of years of free agency being spent in Milwaukee, there is little doubt that Gallardo will be the head of the class for the 2010s.
SP: Doug Davis
Remember how way back on the last slide I mentioned that Gallardo was the only pitcher still in the team's rotation (speaking to the turnover that Milwaukee experiences)?
Well, I corrected myself then, and here's why: Today, as I type this, Doug Davis has been re-signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent.
While he was here in the past decade, however, Davis was 37-36 with an ERA of 3.92 over 111 games. Not stellar, but more than good enough to be my second lefty.
SP: Jeff D'Amico
Though he wasn't a Brewer for very long, Jeff D'Amico put together some pretty good numbers. In his 33 games he won 14 and lost 11. Some of his supporting numbers include a 3.43 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.71 H/9, and a 2.94 rate of runs per game.
Had D'Amico played longer for Milwaukee, he surely would've put together some higher totals, but the rates and averages speak for themselves.
CL: Trevor Hoffman
When putting together this roster I had my pick of some closers that did some pretty good things in a Brewer uniform.
However, when you have the opportunity to choose Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader, who, despite missing a month with an oblique strain, amassed 37 saves, you take it.
Helping him along on that quest was a 1.83 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 54 innings of work. He re-signed for 2010 with an option for 2011 and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Once again, given the turnover on this roster, it's highly possible Hoffman makes a return appearance on next decade's team, especially once he gets his 600th career save while a Brewer.
SU: Francisco Cordero
What better man to put as the primary setup man for the changeup specialist Hoffman than a flame-throwing pitcher with plenty of closing experience? The perfect option presented itself in the person of Francisco Cordero.
Cordero was rescued off the scrap heap in Texas after losing his closer's job, coming to Milwaukee via trade. In the 94 games he appeared in for Milwaukee, Cordero converted 60 save opportunities while vulturing three wins. His strikeout per nine innings rate was a fantastic 11.60, and his WHIP was a tiny 1.18.
Had he not followed his wallet to Cincinnati to finish up the decade, the Brewers would've had no reason to sign Hoffman, and Cordero would easily be this roster's closer. Funny how things work out sometimes.
LOOGy: Brian Shouse
On a realistic 25-man roster there will be a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. Of the relief pitchers that the Brewers employed in the 2000s, Brian Shouse outshone Ray King and current LOOGy Mitch "Irish" Stetter.
Shouse's ERA was 3.18 over 201 games pitched. He kept his WHIP at 1.29 and had a great inherited runner strand rate.
Shouse got out of many a jam while a Brewer, and once his entrance music became "Shout" by Tears for Fears, his entrance into a ballgame was met with a choir of baseball fans that were happy to know that a weak infield groundout was likely on its way.
What's more, Shouse got better each year in Milwaukee, culminating with a 2008 season with a 2.81 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, an ERA+ of 150, and even a pair of saves.
RP: Bob Wickman
Another short-timer, Wickman only appeared in 43 games as a Brewer. During his time in the Cream City, however, Wickman put together a sub-3.00 ERA (2.93), 16 saves, and 44 strikeouts in 46.0 IP. Plenty of talent as a seventh inning man in my 'pen.
RP: Todd Coffey
Todd Coffey has the most electrifying entrance (save Hoffman's, of course) of the decade.
Coffey exits the bullpen door and sprints to the mound, most recently to the old entrance theme music of professional wrestling's Ultimate Warrior. On the video board, the team has even taken to timing his entrance with a "Coffey Time" graphic.
Oh, and he put together some very solid bullpen numbers since coming over from Cincinnati. Not only did Coffey tie a team record with the length of his scoreless start, but his overall numbers include a 2.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 7.12 K/9 rate, and 3.13 K/BB rate. He was a very reliable option out of the bullpen.
RP: Chad Fox
It takes all types to fill out a bullpen. Chad Fox, however, was more than just another arm while with Milwaukee. A 6-2 record, 2.14 ERA, 10.47 K/9, and 1.28 WHIP in 71.1 IP over 68 games—those are fantastic numbers.
Fox is a classic case of "what could've been," but for my 25-man roster, that answer is: one heckuva contributor.
RP: Curt Leskanic
Rounding out my 'pen is Curt Leskanic. While here for 169 games, Leskanic threw 173.1 innings and compiled a 15-9 record with a 3.01 ERA. A dependable player who saved 29 games and finished 73 others, Leskanic makes for a great 12th man.
C: Damian Miller
A Wisconsin native and leader that provided plenty of bat while calling a solid game night after night, Damian Miller played in 273 games for the Brewers during the 2000s and led the team with his grit, determination, and baseball acumen.
He was unfortunately a member of some pretty bad teams, but that was through no fault of his.
Great man to form the main battery with any of this team's pitchers.
C: Henry Blanco
Henry Blanco is like the Energizer Bunny. He is still playing baseball, having recently signed a deal with the New York Mets.
His calling card has long been his defense, and that was true when he was with Milwaukee, as evidenced by his .222 batting average, .303 on-base percentage, and .368 slugging percentage.
What I look for out of my backup catcher, in any team, is great defense and the ability to call a game. That, coincidentally, is right up Blanco's alley.
1B: Prince Fielder
"Heavy is the head that wears the crown," right? Well, forgive me for disagreeing. Prince Fielder is the truly the King of Offense in Milwaukee and is no slouch in the field.
His numbers in just three-plus seasons are eye-popping. He set multiple team records during the 2000s and could very easily set some career numbers if he stays in town long enough.
While we're only guaranteed (barring trade) two seasons of Fielder in this coming decade, the ones that we were fortunate to have witnessed prior leave no doubt that Fielder is the best possible 1B for this team, bar none.
2B: Bill Hall
Before you start (or maybe finish) laughing and dismissing this selection, realize that I'm taking Bill Hall as a second baseman. Hall has always been fine defensively, even when he was patrolling center field at Miller Park.
Hall's overall offensive numbers weren't great, but just as a 2B, Hall hit with a .283/.332/.500 line. Coupled with his superior defense, that's good enough to make this team at 2B given the "competition" for the job, if you can call it that.
3B: Ryan Braun
I could easily take Braun's overall numbers, but this choice is actually based only on his Rookie of the Year season in 2007 in which he only manned the hot corner.
Third base is another position of inexplicably poor play for the Brewers over the last 10 years. When the other options are Jeff Cirillo, Tyler Houston, and Russell Branyan...well, Braun had it easy.
His line of .324/.370/.634 resulted in an OPS over 1.000 and the aforementioned ROTY award regardless of his throwing arm.
SS: Jose Hernandez
One of the more questioned selections as I presented it to my friends (and posted the list on my other blog...http://www.thebrewernation.com), Jose Hernandez provided a bunch of offense even if he did strike out at an incredible rate.
His defense was adequate, and his offensive rates were not only pretty good, but overall they were the best of the SS options of this decade.
1B/3B: Russell Branyan
In every roster there are bench players. With that in mind, I balanced my bench out and made sure that I had all my positions covered with capable players.
Russell "The Muscle" Branyan handles my corner infield positions and can even back up in the outfield corners if he needs to. He hits left-handed and absolutely tears the cover off of the ball.
A classic "country-strong" slugger, some of Branyan's moonshots in Miller Park still haven't landed. He's the perfect late-game pinch-hitting option when you have one last chance to tie up the ball game with a dinger.
His overall offensive numbers support his addition to the team over other capable CI players like Mark Loretta.
2B/3B/SS: Craig Counsell
While his offense wasn't always great with Milwaukee, Craig Counsell is perfect for my All-Decade 25-Man Roster. He can back up 2B, 3B, and SS, is left-handed at the plate, has solid pinch-hitting numbers, and is more than willing and able to play lengthy stretches in the starting lineup should a starter go down with injury.
Always seeming to come through in the clutch, Whitefish Bay's own "The Craigger" has a secure place on this ball club.
LF: Carlos Lee
If Ryan Braun is at 3B, there can be only one choice for this team's left fielder. That would be "El Caballo" Carlos Lee.
Coming from the White Sox via trade, Lee tore up baseball after baseball over his 264-game stint in the Brew City. .273/.333/.511 gets the job done. Unfortunately it also draws a $100M+ contract from the Astros, which led to Lee's unfortunate departure from Milwaukee.
Amongst the players that we got back in that deal was All-Decade setup man Francisco Cordero, so Lee provided value on the field and after he left. Can't ask for much more than that.
CF: Scott Podsednik
In case you forgot who went to Chicago for Carlos Lee, the All-Decade center fielder was jettisoned along with Luis Vizcaino. In any event, before he brought El Caballo to town, Scott Podsednik was busy raking and running: 1,198 ABs, .276/.344/.401, 113 SB, 185 R, 331 H...all in only 308 games with Milwaukee.
Scott Podsednik was our last true leadoff hitter and still one of the best in team history. Those wheels helped him play solid, gap-to-gap defense as well.
RF: Geoff Jenkins
Hitter of the Decade. Geoff Jenkins played left field for the Brewers until the Carlos Lee trade and then moved over to right. Nobody ran on his rocket arm, and for a few years, nobody pitched to him.
He was the mainstay in the Brewer lineup for the 2000s and holds nearly every hitting mark for the decade. He even got a World Series ring in 2008 (albeit with the Phillies).
Geoff Jenkins was, for a long time, the best player on a bunch of bad teams. He deserves this spot and the accolade of Hitter of the Decade.
OF: Corey Hart
My backup outfielders both have versatility in that they can play all three OF positions. Corey Hart has plenty of speed and, when healthy and laying off the low and away pitches, is capable of putting together 20/20 seasons like he did back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.
An infielder by trade on his way through the minors, the switch to OF was more a must than a want. The Brewers got a decent return on that investment in the 2000s and are hoping for even more as Hart continues through his arbitration years into the new decade.
OF: Gabe Kapler
Being pulled off the free agent scrap heap is one thing. Being signed to a minor league deal and then playing your way up to the majors is another.
Taking time off from playing in order to coach and then being persuaded back into the majors on a flier and putting up the kind of numbers Gabe "Boom Boom" Kapler did in his one season as a Brewer? That kind of performance gets you on an All-Decade team.
.301/.340/.498 with eight HR and 38 RBI in only 229 ABs. Yup...all day and twice on Sunday.
Manager: Ned Yost
Love him or hate him, Ned Yost brought the Brewers through some God-awful times during the past decade. He may not have been rewarded with the playoff appearance that officially is credited to Dale Sveum's regime, but Yost most definitely got them to the hump even if he couldn't quite get them over it.