Despite my pleas for expediency, the Milwaukee Brewers just announced their jersey number updates for 2014 on Wednesday, January 22nd. That’s 66 days away from Opening Day already.
Veteran readers know how this works. As we count down to Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers, I preview a different player on certain days along the way. Those days are determined by the jersey number that the player will be wearing while in big league camp.
The reason for this bonus article is that, as mentioned above, a lot of players were announced after the day on which they would have otherwise had their individual article written and posted.
These won’t be in-depth profiles of these players but I wanted to make sure you knew a little something about them before camp opens and you see their names popping up in box scores.
David P. Goforth was a 7th round draft pick out of the University of Mississippi back in 2011. He’s a full-term college guy and enters 2014 as a 25-year-old who has seen time at four different levels of the minor leagues. He has started more than he has relieved, but that was by design in part so he could develop his pitching arsenal. It was finally at Double-A Huntsville this past season when he began he transition to the bullpen. The Brewers had him targeted for that move anyway, and it should definitely assist him in his possible ascent to the MLB roster.
Goforth’s statistical measurements have shown that the move looks like a wise one. His K/9, HR/9, H/9, WHIP, and more have taken moves in a positive direction as Goforth has performed in shorter outings. Goforth has increased his profile through his production and he’s earned this NRI designation heading to camp in 2014. He won’t break camp with the Brewers, not that anyone is expecting him to, but the experience will be valuable as he could very well start the regular season as Nashville’s closer.
For the purposes of Spring Training, Triple-A phase Rule V Draft Pick Kevin Robert Mattison will be just a “camp body” insofar as he doesn’t have any non-catastrophic injuries chance of making the 25-man roster. That shouldn’t lend itself to your disliking the acquisition of Mattison by Brewers GM Doug Melvin back at the end of the Winter Meetings.
Mattison, 6’1″, 195lbs, is already 28 years old and has a total of five big league plate appearances (all in 2012 for Miami) and last year for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs he only hit .216/.293/.662 but he wasn’t grabbed for his offensive potential anyway. Mattison is a veteran of 606 minor league games over six season, including 563 in centerfield and 21 each in the corner spots. Basically, he’ll be the new Logan Schafer for Nashville in 2014 and someone who could hold his own defensively at the MLB level in a pinch.
Friend of Brewer Nation, outfielder Mitch Haniger has had his share of publicity around these parts. He’s definitely turning heads on the field as well. Signed as a college junior in 2012, Haniger was taken with the 38th overall pick. He signed and hit the field, being assigned directly to the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers but an injury cost him some games in 2012. As a result, Haniger began 2013 again in Wisconsin. After 41 games of very strong offensive production, Haniger made the jump up to Class-A Advanced.
As a Manatee, Haniger’s numbers took an mostly expected dip. After all, the Florida Gulf Coast League is notoriously difficult for hitters. Still, given his numbers to begin the year and his continued gains in development throughout 2013, the Brewers tapped the prospect as their “preferred” designee to the Arizona Fall League. While there, Haniger rebounded as one would expect. He posted .280/.354/.480 in 100 at-bats over 25 games.
Haniger does profile defensively as more of a corner outfielder, so his ability to reach the Majors will likely hinge on how much more his bat advances over the course of the next couple of seasons.
Suffice it to say, the Brewers are confident in the current trend.
Back in big league camp again this year, Michael Olmsted was the last player “cut” in 2013 as the Brewers opted to bring Alfredo Figaro north as the long reliever. The reasons Olmsted was acquired last off-season are chronicled on last year’s post so I won’t rehash them, but his 2013 campaign wasn’t ultimately what either side hoped for.
Olmsted made 49 appearances at Class-AAA Nashville. Across 52.1 innings pitched, he allowed 39 earned runs and posted a 1.796 WHIP. He did strike out 52 hitters and allowed only six home runs but he walked 40 on top of the 54 hits he allowed. All told, his 6.71 ERA got him demoted finally in mid-August. He finished the year at Class-AA Huntsville.
To his credit, his small sample size as a Star was a very strong one. That, with his natural ability and potential, has garnered him an encore appearance on the big league fields.
Olmsted was outrighted off of the 40-man roster this off-season though. Add in the other options and a Rule V pick and making the 25-man roster this spring will prove harder than last year.
Speaking of players on a second consecutive go ’round, Kentrail Latron Davis is back to fill some outfield innings for Ron Roenicke early on in Cactus League play.
Davis is 5’9″ tall and weighs 200 pounds, but just continues to swing the bat as he’s moved up the organizational ladder. He hits left-handed and enters 2014 as a 25-year-old fringe prospect.
After beginning the 2013 season in the Huntsville Stars’ outfield, Davis hit well enough (.266/.372/.405 over 88 games) to get promoted to Class-AAA Nashville on July 11th. You may recognize that day as the one where Khris Davis was promoted to the big leagues for the balance of last year. That left an open spot in Nashville’s outfield and Kentrail Davis got the call.
With Nashville, Kentrail post a slash line of .270/.353/.367 and his rates took a hit as he began to adjust to the increased level of competition.
The outlook for 2014 is starting in Nashville and being available should the need arise. He’ll obviously continue to develop his game as well, but he could be the next Caleb Gindl in terms of waiting for his shot with Milwaukee.
Look, here’s the deal with non-roster invites for catchers. Early on in camp, every team needs a lot of catchers. There is a plethora of pitchers throwing and they need guys to receive those throws. However, unlike some, Cameron Garfield is not simply “organizational catcher guy” coming to big league camp for a couple of weeks.
On the contrary, Garfield (6’1″, 195lb) is just 22 years old and appears poised to take a big developmental step after staying mostly healthy in 2013. He played in 109 games, all for Class-A Advanced Brevard County. As noted above under the Mitch Haniger mini-profile, the GCL is awful to hitters and Garfield’s posted .250/.280/.379 should improve a bit as he gains more experience and possibly moves up a level.
Garfield has long been a higher profile prospect. That will happen when you’re a second round draft pick. He’s a name to know eventually though as he still projects for a major league career down the road.
Speaking of catchers, Adam Robert Weisenburger also is above the line of “just another receiver”. Weisenburger was listed as the Brewers’ best defensive catcher in the system entering 2013. If he is to reach the majors one day, it’ll be as a defensive-minded backup, but for a 34th round draft pick, that’s not a bad place to end up.
As for camp, he’ll share time with Garfield, Robinzon Diaz, and Matt Pagnozzi. Unlike last year, however, Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado won’t be leaving camp for the World Baseball Classic so he may end up seeing less game time in the end.
Dustin Scott Molleken is a 6’4″, 230 lb right-handed pitcher. He’s 29 years old and spent parts of the last two seasons pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League before returning stateside to finish last year with the Nashville Sounds.
Nashville got 14.1 innings and a 3.14 ERA out of Molleken in 10 games, even picking up a Save along the way.
This is the first chance that the big league staff will have to look at him, so while he won’t make the team out of Spring Training he certainly has plenty of incentive to perform well.
Finally, to the man who should have received a full write-up on January 23 before my time was consumed with all things Matt Garza this morning and getting all of these mini-previews written up this evening, around my other real life commitments.
Eugenio (eh-u-HEN-ee-oh) Velez was signed to a minor league deal by the Brewers in late July of last year after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Velez is now 31 years old and comes to big league camp by way of an official invite as part of his new contract with Milwaukee.
Velez had hit .270/.372/.437 for the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto’s AAA affiliate) before his release, but he got to Nashville and was red hot. He posted a .377/.437/.523 and scored 23 runs in just 38 games. He stole bases at a 75% clip for Nashville, which was a slight drop from his 80.8% rate in Buffalo.
Still, after being touted as simple “organizational depth” when signed last year, Velez certainly did enough to earn himself the camp invite this year. He’s not exactly a player oozing with potential anymore, but in a pinch he could fill a void as a backup utility man.
And “utility” is certainly applicable. Listed as an outfielder on Milwaukee’s depth chart, Velez has seen time defensively at every position except for catcher and first base during his 11 minor league seasons. Velez has 520 games in the infield (with 336 of those at second base) and 311 games in the outfield (of which 117 are in centerfield).
Again, barring a slew of injuries, he won’t break camp with Milwaukee but as a potential short-term fill in during the 2014 regular season, he could have value.
You can follow many of the players profiled in this article on Twitter.
- David Goforth: @DavidGoforth7
- Kevin Mattison: @stachemaster4
- Mitch Haniger: @M_Hanny19
- Michael Olmsted: @mikeolmsted52
- Cameron Garfield: @CAMgGARFIELD
- Adam Weisenburger: @aweisenburger
So there you have it. We’re caught up to current with #66 Robinzon Diaz on tap by himself for Friday, January 24th.
Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.
About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)
This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.
Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.
A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)
However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.
For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.
So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.
Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…
Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:
Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli
Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:
Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo
The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.
The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.
Henderson, who is nine-for-nine in Save opportunities this season, was pitching in Friday night’s game when he strained his right hamstring on a pitch. The play resulted in the second out of the top of the ninth inning but with the Brewers clinging to a one-run lead and seeing their first victory of the season when they scored three or fewer runs, Henderson could not physically continue.
Manager Ron Roenicke called on the recently added Francisco Rodriguez to face Neil Walker in an attempt to get the final out. Rodriguez induced a ground ball to the second baseman and the Brewers won the day. For Rodriguez it was his first Save of the year and the 295th of his MLB career.
After Friday’s game, Henderson spoke to the media and felt that he might be ready to go after a few days of rest but Roenicke countered by saying that Henderson would see the doc and they’d make their decision based on roster considerations as well as health. In other words, the Brewers couldn’t afford to carry another down pitcher if Henderson was going to miss even a handful of games.
The doctor made his diagnosis and recommendation on Saturday afternoon. With no time to get a replacement to town, and with a decision still to be made on who that would be anyway, the Brewers waited until Saturday night to DL their current closer.
So who comes up from the minor leagues for Sunday’s afternoon affair? Well, that all depends.
Do the Brewers just call up their choice for Tuesday’s starting pitcher? Do they summon a reliever for two days and exchange him for that same starter after Monday’s game? Or will Alfredo Figaro start on Tuesday so a relief pitcher can come up and just stay through until later in the week?
It’d be easier to know what they are going to do if we knew who was coming, but they’re probably deciding on what before they pick who.
If they go get a starter, I’d still expect it to be Tyler Thornburg despite his early season struggles with Triple-A Nashville. Thornburg would be the least affected by the situation, methinks. Furthermore, his next turn is scheduled for Monday so he’d be on close-to-regular rest.
If they choose to summon a bullpen arm, some names I’d watch for are Jesus Sanchez and Michael Olmsted. Sanchez has solid numbers so far for Nashville which works in his favor. Olmsted was the darling of Spring Training and one of the final cuts from camp.
That announcement will come prior to Sunday’s game though so keep it tuned to your favorite fan blogger (or me, if they’re unavailable) for all the details in the morning.
74 days away, to be precise, is where we find ourselves today and we’ll therefore be profiling the gentleman who will don the same number on his back during Spring Training.
That player is 25-year-old, right-hander…
This is one of the early articles in the countdown which I have been most looking forward to writing. Not only because I projected on December 31st that Olmsted would make the bullpen out of Spring Training, but because I’m excited about his capabilities on the mound and what I’ve read about how many people are shocked that he was even available as a minor league free agent.
Olmsted (6’6″, 245 lb) was originally drafted in the 9th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets. He played two seasons of minor league ball for them before his life took a series of major turns…down a couple of different and challenging roads.
First, during the fall instructional league as a Mets farmhand, Olmsted blew out his elbow and required Tommy John surgery to repair it. That’s not altogether uncommon anymore, but still requires roughly a year or rehabilitation which Olmsted did during the 2009 season. After reporting to extended Spring Training the next year, he was released in what he has called a “very discouraging” move. Olmsted went home and began what he thought was a post-playing career as an assistant pitching coach.
Olmsted would throw in that role as necessary and to stay in shape and one time a Japanese scout saw him and signed him to a minor league deal for the Softbank Hawks. Not the most ideal of situations, but he was being paid to play ball again.
Then tragedy struck.
Olmsted’s mother, who already was stricken with cancer, had lapsed into a coma and doctors weren’t optimistic on her prognosis. Olmsted left his team and flew home (ultimately requesting his release from his contract which was granted), to be with his mother. The doctors brought her out of the coma and they spent the final 23 days of her life together. He resumed his work as a pitching coach again and thought his career was over.
The next spring, however, there were tryouts for an independent league and Olmsted gave it a shot. A scout for the Boston Red Sox was in attendance and offered Olmsted a minor-league deal. It’s been paying off since.
However, the time came after the 2012 season that the Red Sox would have to either add Olmsted to their 40-man roster or he could become a free agent. They didn’t, he did, and the Brewers leaped at the chance to sign him.
As some examples of why the Brewers were happy to have him, and why many people were surprised at his availability, Olmsted made 13 appearances at Double-A last year. In 13 games, facing 76 batters, Olmsted gave up no earned runs, striking out 28 batters in 19.0 IP. His K/9 rate has been over 13 each of the last two years. He’s given up one home run over the past two years (90.2 IP), and kept his WHIP under 1.00 overall and at each stop along the way.
As for the opponents’ combined slash line? How does .167/.237/.220 grab you? Olmsted has only allowed 11 extra-base hits in 352 plate appearances over these last two seasons in Boston’s system. Sure, those numbers are coming at Low-A, High-A, and Double-A, but it’s certainly better than if he was allowing better numbers at those levels.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: “With which pitches does Olmsted go about retiring these hitters to such a effective end?”
(Side bar: If you asked yourself that exact question, you should look in the mirror. Am I standing over your shoulder?)
Olmsted features a big fastball that gets to 97 MPH. He also spins a low-to-mid 80s slider which he spots pretty well on both sides of the plate, according to reports. There’s also mention of a curveball which clocks in the mid-70s though it sounds like he primarily features the first two pitches.
Overall, Olmsted’s situation sounds a lot like how John Axford was found by the Brewers. Big arm, out of ball, last chance tryout, rediscovery. If Olmsted winds up contributing at the big league level, which certainly seems like a good possibility to happen, this could go down as a fantastic pick up by Doug Melvin’s staff when it’s all said and done.
So despite the high number of 74, place a keen eye on Olmsted this spring. With both John Axford and Jim Henderson (at least) leaving camp for a bit of World Baseball Classic play, there will be a bunch of innings available for someone like Olmsted to prove himself.
You can follow Michael Olmsted on Twitter: @mikeolmsted52
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
Thirty-two current Milwaukee Brewers players from the 40-man roster plus a host of alumni, Minor League prospects, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place Sunday, January 27 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Delta Center. The event is presented by Time Warner Cable.
Brewers On Deck is the annual Fan Fest that bridges the gap between winter and Spring Training. Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include the following (all subject to change):
- John Axford (@JohnAxford)
- Burke Badenhop
- Jeff Bianchi
- Ryan Braun
- Nick Bucci (@nickbooch)
- Hiram Burgos (@Burgos196)
- Khris Davis
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers (@Fiers64)
- Yovani Gallardo
- Mat Gamel
- Scooter Gennett (@Scooterg11)
- Caleb Gindl
- Carlos Gomez (@C_Gomez27)
- Michael Gonzalez
- Tom Gorzelanny (@TGorz)
- Taylor Green
- Corey Hart
- Johnny Hellweg
- Jim Henderson (@JimHenderson29)
- Brandon Kintzler
- Jonathan Lucroy (@JLucroy20)
- Martin Maldonano (@Machete1224)
- Chris Narveson (@sleep_trick)
- Michael Olmsted
- Wily Peralta
- Josh Prince (@JoshPrince17)
- Mark Rogers
- Logan Schafer (@LoganS22)
- Josh Stinson (@JStinny19)
- Tyler Thornburg (@TylerThornburg)
- Rickie Weeks
- Ron Roenicke
- Joe Crawford
- Marcus Hanel (@Markoos55)
- Garth Iorg
- Rick Kranitz
- Jerry Narron
- Johnny Narron
- Ed Sedar
- John Shelby
- Lee Tunnell
- Clint Coulter (@ccoulter12)
- Kentrail Davis
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Hunter Morris (@HunterMorris15)
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Victor Roache (@_Heavy28Hitter_)
- Matt Erickson (Mgr.)
- Jerry Augustine (@jaugie46)
- Jim Gantner
- Larry Hisle
- Gorman Thomas
- Bob Uecker
Tickets for Brewers On Deck are currently on sale. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children ages 14 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers Ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at Brewers.com/ondeck. On the day of the event, only cash will be accepted for purchases made at the door. Tickets the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under.
Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. Autographs and photos from Brewers players and coaches, interactive games in the Kids Area, Q&A sessions and game shows with coaches, players and staff, vendor booths with baseball memorabilia, the Brewers Community Foundation Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.
The same system for autographs will be used for Brewers On Deck that was used last year. Recipients of any “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced at a later date) will be chosen through a random selection process. Numbered coupons to be entered into the random selection process will be available the day of the event only and will be distributed beginning at 8 a.m. at the Delta Center. Coupon distribution will be available up to an hour before each designated autograph session. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted later this month.
Fans can receive one coupon per event admission ticket and can use that coupon to enter the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players. There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding coupons that are chosen must pay $25 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature. There will be 250 winners for each of the PREMIER autograph sessions.
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. 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 regarding the lottery process, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.
All 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.
It’s the final day of 2012.
This was a year which saw the Milwaukee Brewers attempt (unsuccessfully) to defend a division championship for the first time since 1983. It was the first time that the Brewers featured their very own defending league Most Valuable Player since 1990. They entered the season with an intact rotation which used the fewest different arms (6) to make all 162 starts. Arguably the league’s most fearsome bullpen back-end was returning as well with only a couple of key veterans taking jobs elsewhere. And sure, Prince Fielder followed the money to Detroit but this was going to be Mat Gamel’s breakout year and Aramis Ramirez would pick up most of the slack…at least once May rolled around, he would.
Alas, we all know how things turned out in 2012 so I shan’t recap the trials, tribulations, trade, and triumphs that resulted in 83 victories a year after winning a franchise-record 96 games.
No, for this column we look forward. We look forward to 2013. We look forward to P&C. We look much too far forward to Opening Day with this set of projections.
If the season started tomorrow, the following things would be true:
- I’d be extremely happy that I wouldn’t have to still be counting down to Opening Day (91 days as of this writing).
- I’d be extremely cold while tailgating outside of Miller Park for a few hours on my wife’s birthday.
- I’d have failed miserably in posting my season preview “Brewers By the Jersey Numbers” articles.
But really, I’m posting today to take a look at how the current roster stacks up and what I think a 25-man roster would look like when the games started counting.
I gotta tell you all that I would normally not make this projection for quite some time but with Doug Melvin’s declaration that they were “coming to the end” of acquiring free agents (or however he exactly worded it), chances are the majority of options at the team’s disposal today are going to be the same options they are presented with in 43 days when Pitchers and Catchers officially report.
Of course, and it should go without needing to be said, a ton can change between now and then anyway despite appearances. Somebody could be traded. Somebody could be signed as a veteran backup where currently only inexperience resides. Somebody could injure themselves in a pickup basketball game. Et cetera. But if we accounted for every “if” that we could, nobody would ever project anything. That’s simply not much fun.
Assuming everyone is through rehab successfully, here is how my 25-man roster would look if the season started tomorrow. (Players listed alphabetically within their position group.)
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Marco Estrada
- Mike Fiers
- Yovani Gallardo
- Chris Narveson*
- Mark Rogers
I know what you’re thinking. “Free Wily Peralta!” I agree that he’s likely one of the best five options available to fill a spot in the rotation but based on the necessary evil of depth maintenance and with respect to the rules on minor league options, this just feels like the rotation that will head north from Arizona. Gallardo is a lock. Estrada was mentioned more than once this off-season as having an advantage in the competition. (He also isn’t hurt by the fact that his manager really likes his pitching.) Fiers did more than enough throughout most the season to be given a shot from the get. After adding two left-handed relievers to the bullpen, sticking Narveson in there doesn’t make sense anymore (if it ever did). Rogers is out of options and I really want to see him get a shot to contribute as a starting pitcher. He won’t make it through waivers to Nashville. Peralta has options remaining and that’s what this should come down to. Don’t doubt for a minute though that if Fiers struggles for a few starts early and it appears that the end of 2012 was due to being “figured out” more so than simply fatigue, he’ll be optioned down to Nashville in favor of the young Dominican.
Tyler Thornburg will get a look this spring but I feel like they don’t want to mess with him as a reliever this year at all. They’ll give him a full season starting in Triple-A. Hopefully with the regular and steady work he was used to, he’ll be able to avoid the arm fatigue that slowed his development in 2012. Hiram Burgos, just added to the 40-man roster, should also pitch in games in big league camp to start the spring, but after skyrocketing through the system this year, he’ll be in Nashville’s rotation when camp breaks.
Relief Pitchers (7)
- John Axford (Closer)
- Burke Badenhop
- Mike Gonzalez*
- Tom Gorzelanny*
- Jim Henderson
- Brandon Kintzler
- Michael Olmsted
One open spot for competition. Many feel that the aforementioned Peralta should be in the rotation and that either Narveson or Rogers will become the default long reliever as a effect. For me, the final spot in the ‘pen will come down to one of the recent high-ceiling additions which Melvin and his staff have picked up this off-season. If I had my druthers, Michael Olmsted gets first crack at it. Spring Training performance might dictate that he isn’t ready for the jump over Triple-A, and this might be specifically adjusted in March, but based on minor league numbers, projectability, and stuff, Olmsted appears to be at the top of the influx of opportunity-seekers. Olmsted is already on the 40-man roster too, something that would come into play should someone like a Jairo Asencio continue to impress.
Last year’s swingman Josh Stinson has an option remaining so he’ll head to the minors. Likewise Miguel De Los Santos. One other note, as of this posting the Mike Gonzalez deal still hadn’t been made official. When it is, someone must come off the 40-man roster. I think that will be Fautino De Los Santos. So, if he’s even still with the organization, he’ll be tucked away in the minors to begin the year.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
Need there be a lengthy explanation? How’s this: no other catchers on the 40-man; these two played very well all year (when healthy); next best options coming to camp are Blake Lalli and Dayton Buller. Next!
- Jeff Bianchi
- Mat Gamel**
- Corey Hart
- Donnie Murphy
- Aramis Ramirez
- Jean Segura
- Rickie Weeks
A “traditional” roster usually consists of six infielders and five outfielders. I’ve split this roster differently for a couple of reasons though. First, Mat Gamel and Jeff Bianchi are both out of minor league options. Bianchi performed okay last year in his first big league action, but really what the Brewers will be holding onto is depth at shortstop. Sure, they wouldn’t have to add Donnie Murphy to the 40-man roster at all and could just stash him in the minors to begin the year but he is the superior defender to Bianchi and can more capably cover defensively at the hot corner. Furthermore, the team has made no secret of the designs to have Gamel play in the corner outfield spots this spring along with Corey Hart’s obvious ability to fill in should an emergency arise.
Taylor Green will once again be the victim of circumstance, but he is more valuable to the organization playing everyday anyway even if that’s at Nashville. He can stay ready at the plate and be called upon if an injury creates a need.
- Norichika Aoki**
- Ryan Braun
- Carlos Gomez
- Logan Schafer**
To elaborate a bit on my point from above, Logan Schafer can play all three defensive outfield positions very well. He can take over for any of the regulars when they need a day off and can be utilized in double-switches late in games. It’d be the same way that the Brewers played the majority of 2012 defensively once Hart moved to first base. Assuming that day’s starting outfield was Braun-Gomez-Aoki, Nyjer Morgan was the only “true” outfielder remaining on the roster. Schafer can do more than Morgan could defensively and still brings at least as much at the plate from the same left side.
For the record, if the Brewers did decide to carry five outfielders, I’d guess that Murphy would begin the season in the minors for depth and the extra outfielder would be Caleb Gindl. This seven IFs and four OFs configuration can work, though, with the proper personnel. The Brewers would have that group in 2013 should they choose to go that route. I would.
Opening Day Lineup
- Rickie Weeks
- Norichika Aoki
- Ryan Braun
- Aramis Ramirez
- Corey Hart
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Carlos Gomez
- Jean Segura
- Yovani Gallardo
On Opening Day I foresee manager Ron Roenicke looking to do a couple of things with his lineup. I think he’d like to have Weeks back up near the top and despite how Aoki performed so well while leading off in 2012 I think he’ll play the same card he did once he moved Weeks down the lineup last year to justify the order I have listed. You may recall that on days when Carlos Gomez started in center, Aoki batted second because Aoki handled the bat better to move the leadoff hitter over should he reach base. When Morgan started in center Roenicke felt that Aoki’s patience resulted in a better chance to get on base for the rest of the lineup. As we know, despite typically low batting averages, Weeks gets on base. His .350 career OBP is 99 points higher than his career batting average and only .005 lower than what Aoki did in his rookie season. What’s more, despite the struggles Weeks had for a majority of 2012, he still managed to walk 74 times (and reached based 13 more times after being hit by a pitch).
That being the situation near the top, I think it affords Roenicke the opportunity to begin with Gomez further down the order where he won’t hurt the Brewers early on in the season should he regress from last year’s breakout. If Gomez proves that 2012 is the baseline going forward then Roenicke will have a good problem with which to deal.
Segura is still young, still growing into his skills and performed well enough in the oft-dreaded “spot before the pitcher” that he could flourish there to begin the year. His winter league numbers are also encouraging regardless of the competition level. If he can develop more patience, he’ll be contributing plenty out of the 8th spot all season.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed
So that’s how I see things shaking out if the season started tomorrow.