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MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 12, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers on Paper

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    For the last five seasons, the Brewers have always had a dangerous lineup, but the pitching hasn't always been there.  They went out and traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.  To go along with Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf, Milwaukee has one of the better rotations in the National League.

    The Brewers made the postseason in 2008 because they went out and got CC Sabathia before the trade deadline. 

    With the unfortunate injury to Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, the Brewers have a great shot of winning the NL Central.  The Reds will be in the mix as well.



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    2011 Cincinnati Reds Preview


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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    • C-  Jonathan Lucroy- 7 
    • 1B- Prince Fielder- 8.5 
    • 2B- Ricky Weeks- 7.25 
    • SS- Yuniesky Betancourt- 7 
    • 3B- Casey McGehee- 7.75


    Jonathan Lucroy (23) 277 AB .253 BA 24 R 4 HR 26 RBI 4 SB 

    • The organization likes the youngster Lucroy, and he’s going to get the chance to develop.  He’s good behind the plate, we’ll see if his bat improves.


    Prince Fielder (26) 578 AB .261 BA 94 R 32 HR 82 RBI 1 SB

    • Fielder comes off the worst year of his career, but Porkchop is now in a contract year.  He’s got extraordinary power to all parts of the field.  He doesn’t have much range in the field.


    Rickie Weeks (28) 651 AB .269 BA 112 R 29 HR 83 RBI 11 SB

    • Weeks signed a four-year extension worth $38.5 million during the offseason.  He has a quick bat through the zone and has good pop for his size.  He’s OK at best in the field.


    Yuniesky Betancourt (29) 556 AB .259 BA 60 R 16 HR 78 RBI 2 SB

    • Betancourt is a flashy gloveman acquired in the Greinke deal.  At the plate he’s aggressive and likes the ball up.


    Casey McGehee (28) 610 AB .285 BA 70 R 23 HR 104 RBI 1 SB

    • McGehee is one of the most underrated hitting third baseman in baseball.  He has a quick strong, and launches fastballs middle-in.  He’s adequate in the field.


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    Bob Levey/Getty Images
    • LF- Ryan Braun- 9 
    • CF- Carlos Gomez-7 
    • RF- Corey Hart- 8


    Ryan Braun (27) 619 AB .304 BA 101 R 25 HR 103 RBI 14 SB

    • Braun’s now hit over .300 in three of his first four years.  If the Brewers can make a run at a postseason berth, don’t be surprised if Braun wins a NL MVP Award by season’s end.  He gets his bat through the zone quickly and stays back on breaking pitches.  He’s a solid defender but not great.


    Carlos Gomez (25) 535 AB .265 BA 84 R 2 HR 38 RBI 52 SB

    • Gomez is outstanding in center field; he displays a great arm and range.  He needs to improve his approach at the plate.  He swings out of his shoes instead of trying to make contact.


    Corey Hart (29) 558 AB .283 BA 91 R 31 HR 102 RBI 18 SB

    • Fielder and Braun get all the praise, but Hart swings a good bat too.  He’s a very streaky player.  He possesses a slight uppercut in his swing, and loves the ball down.  Hart is good in the field and has a strong arm. 

Starting Pitching

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
    • 1. Zack Greinke- 8.25
    • 2. Yovani Gallardo- 7.75
    • 3. Shaun Marcum- 7.25
    • 4. Randy Wolf- 7
    • 5. Chris Narveson- 7


    Zack Greinke (27) 220 IP 10-14 4.17 ERA 1.25 WHIP 181 K

    • Greinke struggled coming off a Cy Young in 2009, but he’s on a contender now.  He’ll miss a couple of starts to begin the season because of a rib injury.  He throws a two- and four-seam fastball.  He changes speeds well with his changeup, curveball and slider. Some people expect Greinke to fail due to his anxiety issues, but Milwaukee isn't New York.  Let's wait and see what he does before anyone gets on his case.  He won the Cy Young two years ago for a reason.


    Yovani Gallardo (25) 185 IP 14-7 3.84 ERA 1.37 WHIP 200 K

    • Gallardo has a great curveball and slider.  He’s a strikeout pitcher who’s not going to get you 200 plus innings during the season.  He’s very underrated.


    Shaun Marcum (29) 195 IP 13-8 3.64 ERA 1.15 WHIP 165 K

    • Marcum has a herky-jerky delivery.  He doesn’t throw hard, but he locates well.  He also throws a slider, cutter and changeup.


    Randy Wolf (34) 216 IP 13-12 4.17 ERA 1.39 WHIP 142 K

    • The crafty veteran Wolf is a fiery competitor.  He throws a tailing fastball in the high 80’s, and he’ll drop down against lefties.  His looping curveball has some good tilt, and he’ll mix in a changeup as well.


    Chris Narveson (29) 168 IP 12-9 4.99 ERA 1.38 WHIP 137 K

    • If Narveson can keep the home runs down, he could have a good year as a No. 5.  We’ll see if he can get that ERA down.


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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
    • RP- Kameron Loe- 7
    • RP- Manny Parra- 7
    • RP- Latroy Hawkins- 7
    • SU- Takashi Saito- 7.25
    • CP- John Axford- 7.25


    Latroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe, Manny Parra

    • Parra will try to make the transition  from starter to reliever.  Hawkins dealt with shoulder stiffness until getting shoulder surgery in August.


    Takashi Saito (41) 54 IP 2-3 2.83 ERA 1.07 WHIP 69 K

    •  Saito is a veteran reliever who’s now on his fourth team in as many years.  He’s had a sub three  ERA in each of the last five years.


    John Axford (28) 58 IP 8-2 24 SV 2.48 ERA 1.19 WHIP 76 K

    • Brewers fans quickly forgot about Hoffman and his accolades.  Axford had a very solid year as the closer.  He throws hard, but he’s dealt with control issues his entire career.  He’s got the look of a closer, so we’ll see if he can repeat last year’s performance.

Sizing Up the Brewers "On Paper"

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
    • C-  Jonathan Lucroy- 7 
    • 1B- Prince Fielder- 8.5 
    • 2B- Ricky Weeks- 7.25 
    • SS- Yuniesky Betancourt- 7 
    • 3B- Casey McGhee- 7.75 
    • LF- Ryan Braun- 9 
    • CF- Carlos Gomez-7 
    • RF- Corey Hart- 8 


    Projected Lineup

      1. Ricky Weeks- 7.25
      2. Corey Hart- 8
      3. Ryan Braun- 9
      4. Prince Fielder- 8.5
      5. Casey McGhee- 7.75
      6. Yuniesky Betancourt- 7
      7. Carlos Gomez- 7
      8. Jonathan Lucroy- 7

    Projected Starting Rotation

    • 1. Zack Greinke- 8.25
    • 2. Yovani Gallardo- 7.75
    • 3. Shaun Marcum- 7.25
    • 4. Randy Wolf- 7
    • 5. Chris Narveson- 7


    Projected Bullpen

    • RP- Kameron Loe- 7
    • RP- Latroy Hawkins- 7
    • RP- Manny Parra- 7
    • SU- Takashi Saito- 7.25
    • CP- John Axford- 7.25


    Bench- Chris Dickerson, Mark Kotsay, Mat Gamel, Wil Nieves, Luis Cruz- 7

    Manager- Ron Roenicke 7


    INF- 37.5

    OF- 24

    SP- 37.25

    RP- 7

    CP- 14.5

    MISC- 14

    Hitting- 61.5

    Pitching- 58.75

    TOTAL- 134.25


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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This feels like an all or nothing year for the Brewers as Prince Fielder may walk at the end of the season.

    Milwaukee is solid in all areas, and I think the signing of Saito for the bullpen was important for late game situations.

    With a solid lineup, pitching staff and bullpen, I think Milwaukee has a great shot of winning the Central.

    Prediction- 91-71 1st NL Central

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