Tagged: Kyle Lohse

2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection

Milwaukee Brewers

We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.

Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.

I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?

With that, to the list!

Starting Pitchers (5)

  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Marco Estrada
  • Matt Garza
  • Wily Peralta

I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.

The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.

Relief Pitchers (7)

(with one more starting on DL)

  • Jim Henderson
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Will Smith*
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Wei-Chung Wang*
  • Rob Wooten
  • Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
  • Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)

Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.

For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.

Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.

As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.

Infielders (7)

  • Mark Reynolds
  • Rickie Weeks
  • Jean Segura
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
  • Scooter Gennett**
  • Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)

Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.

Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.

The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.

For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.

Outfielders (4)

  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Ryan Braun
  • Logan Schafer**

Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.

* - Throws left-handed
** - Bats left-handed
---

So there you have it.

I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #26 Kyle Lohse

BBtJN Logo

We’re rounding a crucial turn in the marathon off-season. We’re inside of four weeks until Opening Day, Cactus League games are underway, people are making crazy predictions based off of a handful of appearances…

Yup, Spring Training is like few other things in sports. However, a year ago at this time, jersey number 26 wasn’t being worn on the big league fields of Maryvale Baseball Park.

The man who would wear it in the regular season didn’t show up until the week before camp broke, though that wasn’t all his fault as he wasn’t signed until then either. He would go on to become a fast leader in the home clubhouse and have a solid first season in Milwaukee.

Of course, I’m talking about…

Kyle Lohse.

KyleLohse

As starting pitchers go, Kyle Matthew Lohse was a bit of a late bloomer. He makes no bones about that fact and is quite forthcoming in his career resuscitation with Dave Duncan in St. Louis. These last three seasons have been pretty good ones for the 35-year-old Northern California native and 13-year MLB veteran.

Lohse got paid off of his 2012 season when, despite the reduced emphasis on such things, he posted 16 Wins against just three Losses with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts. That came with career bests in innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, home run rate, walk rate, and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

So why did it take so long for him to be signed?

Lohse was a 34-year-old free agent seeking three-year contract. And against the prices this off-season, his average annual value request seem even more reasonable today than it did a year ago. So it wasn’t his asking price.

Kyle Lohse carried with him two problems as a free agent. First, there was the question of how real this late-career renaissance really was. More on that in a minute. The second issue was that when the Cardinals decided not to retain Lohse, they extended him a qualifying offer under the brand new free agency system. That meant that any team signing Lohse would forfeit a draft pick and, in the Brewers case that ended up being a first-round choice. The Brewers surrendered the 17th overall pick in 2013 First-Year Player draft, so the cost to acquire their best pitcher last year cost them more than just money.

As for whether Lohse could succeed outside of the spacious Busch Stadium, he answered that well in 2013. And while he fell off from his career year in 2012, which is called such because it happens once, he still put up the following line despite a moribund month of May while dealing with a pair of injuries:

11-10, 3.35 ERA, 32 starts, 198.2 IP, 196 H, 78 R (74 ER), 26 HR, 36 BB, 125 K, 1.168 WHIP, 117 ERA+

Lohse matched his career best walk rate (1.6), so his control was still present, but he did give up 10 and seven more home runs than the two respective years prior.

So was the signing worth it for Milwaukee?

You can’t truly ever assess what was lost in the draft pick, and the team suffered collectively through that May and ended up with just 74 wins. Well, Lohse is still on the team for this 2014 run and didn’t cost another draft pick. But more than that, Lohse was routinely named by his new teammates as a leader who was willing to share what he had learned over a long career and downs and ups.

For a team that ended up relying on a calvacade of young players who were inexperienced at the big league level and for a team that dealt with many major injuries and a couple of off-the-diamond problems as well, Lohse’s steadying guidance was extremely valuable. The team will be better for it in the long run.

Post another solid season on a team and with a bit more luck, his leadership and performance could be worth far more than one extra draft pick ever could be.

2014 is a year full of potential for the Milwaukee Brewers. Lohse will be at the forefront of it all as the Brewers look to make some noise in a tough NL Central.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

Brewers On Deck to Feature Over 50 Players, Alumni, Coaches, Broadcasters

BREWERS ON DECK, PRESENTED BY TIME WARNER CABLE, TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI

Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge.  Tickets are not required for the event.  Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular).  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.  Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

Players (28)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Hiram Burgos
  • Khris Davis
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Caleb Gindl
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brooks Hall
  • Sean Halton
  • Donovan Hand
  • Johnny Hellweg
  • Jim Henderson
  • Elian Herrera
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Rogers
  • Logan Schafer
  • Jean Segura
  • Kevin Shackelford
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

Alumni (7)

  • Craig Counsell
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Geoff Jenkins
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Robin Yount

Coaches (10)

  • Ron Roenicke
  • Joe Crawford
  • Mike Guerrero
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Garth Iorg
  • Rick Kranitz
  • Johnny Narron
  • Ed Sedar
  • John Shelby
  • Lee Tunnell

Broadcasters (3)

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Dave Nelson
  • Bob Uecker

— 

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here: http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/win-an-autograph-from-your-favorite-brewers-player-at-brewers-on-deck/

Brewer Nation Podcast – Off-Season Primer

Recorded on location last night, here is the latest Brewer Nation podcast.

Check the tags for some of the players mentioned during this hour-long clip.

Brewers 14 in ’14 All-Fan Giveaway Schedule

All bobbleheads and t-shirts of the 14 all-fan giveaways for the 2014 regular season have been announced. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 27th – Carlos Gomez bobblehead commemorating his Gold Glove Award

image


Sunday, May 11th – Kyle Lohse bobblehead

image


Friday, June 13th – T-SHIRT

image


Sunday, June 15th – Vintage Brewer bobblehead

image


Friday, June 27th – T-SHIRT

image


Sunday, June 29th – Scooter Gennett (UPDATED!)

mb-14-all-fan-reveal-bobble-gennett


Friday, July 11th – T-SHIRT

image


Friday, July 25th – T-SHIRT

image


Sunday, July 27th – Fans Choice bobblehead – WINNER ANNOUNCED 2/10/2014: Jim Hendersonimage


Friday, August 8th – T-SHIRT

image


Sunday, August 10th – Chorizo bobblehead – in a Cerveceros jersey (first Chorizo since ’07)

image


Friday, August 22nd – T-SHIRT

image


Sunday, August 24th – Jean Segura bobblehead

image


Sunday, September 14th – Robin Yount in a 1974 uniform

image