Expectations are high for the Milwaukee Brewers entering the 2011 MLB Season. In fact, baseball pundits, analysts and bloggers across the Internet are picking the team as the preseason favorites to win the National League Central.
That may come as a surprise to some, considering the team's 77-85 record and 3rd place finish in the division in 2010, but a new manager, Ron Roenicke, and an aggressive offseason by Doug Melvin have the Milwaukee Brewers primed for a playoff run.
By acquiring Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke via trade, Melvin and the Brewers addressed the pitching woes that had plagued the team in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
The problem? Team ERA. The staff finished with a 4.58 ERA in 2010, good for 14th in NL and a consecutive sub .500 season.
Offense, on the other hand, wasn't a problem for the Milwaukee Brewers last season. The team ranked 4th overall in the NL in R (750), 2nd in HR (182) and 3rd in AVG (.262). With Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks all returning to Miller Park in 2011, hitting should once again be a strength for the squad.
Five players finished with 20 or more HR in 2010. All of those players are returning for the 2011 MLB Season. Combine that with the aggressive approach to base running Roenicke will bring from Anaheim and the Brewers should feature a rare mix of power and speed few teams currently possess.
When the Milwaukee Brewers take the field Opening Day on March 31st against the Cincinnati Reds, their lineup should be able put up a lot of runs.