Tagged: Norichika Aoki

Roster Move: Paternity Leave, Recall

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The Brewers announced earlier this afternoon that starting right fielder Norichika Aoki had left the team in Houston headed for Milwaukee to be with his wife as she is due to give birth to the couple’s second child.

Congratulations to the Aoki family!

Aoki has officially been placed on the “Paternity List”, allowing the Brewers to add a player for three days to fill out the roster.

To that end, Josh Prince was recalled by Milwaukee and is expected to be available off the bench for tonight’s game against the Astros.

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Prince has spent time with the parent club already this season, compiling a .200 AVG in six games off the bench. With Nashville so far this year he is a .243 hitter with 5 HR, 26 RBI, and 8 stolen bases in 46 games.

With a left-handed pitcher scheduled to start tonight for the Astros, Prince us expected to start tonight’s game. It would be his first career start.

A Series of Unfortunate At-Bats

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Milwaukee – (That’s how I start these things, right?)

Tonight at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the NL Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a four-game set.

The third inning was particularly hospitable to the redbirds as they brought 11 men to the plate and scored six times. It was a rough and often unlucky inning for Wily Peralta who broke multiple bats, and was blooped, flared, and papercut to death by the Cards. There were a couple of hard hit balls as well but the majority of safe strokes would qualify for the “Punch & Judy” Hall of Fame. The six runs that the Cardinals scored in the inning would be all they got for the night, which added even more to the feelings of frustration.

After the game, Roenicke talked about the troublesome inning for Peralta.

“You see weird things and it’s not always fair,” said Roenicke. “(Peralta was) okay. It was definitely not as bad as what those numbers look like.”

As for Peralta’s repertoire, Roenicke admitted that, “his offspeed stuff wasn’t as sharp as I think he needs to get it to. He needs to be able to throw a slider for a strike when he needs to and he needs to be able to bounce it when he needs to. His change ups he’s got to mix in more. His sinker is still really good. I thought it was down most of the night.”

Peralta would eventually get out of the third and pitch into the fifth before putting two on in the fifth. Alfredo Figaro entered and only allowed one hit over the next 2.2 innings.

Peralta for his part understood that he made a bunch of good pitches in the third inning getting a couple of broken bats and suffering several weak hits but that it was obviously the difference in the game.

“This inning (was) the difference in the game”, said Peralta. He said it was particularly upsetting to give up so many consecutive hits with two outs.

He credited the bullpen for allowing the offense a chance to win. “The bullpen did a good job and (held) there.”

As for St. Louis, Jake Westbrook did what Jake Westbrook does on the mound and allowed some baserunners, but only three consecutive fourth inning singles from Weeks, Gomez, and Maldonado were able to scratch a run across off of the Cardinal veteran.

Luckily, “veteran” in this case also means “old” and Westbrook was lifted after 6.0 innings pitched for Joe Kelly. All Kelly did was get charged with two runs in 0.2 IP (raising the 8.31 ERA he entered the game with), and force Cardinal manager Mike Matheny to call on Mitchell Boggs. The new right-hander walked two — the first loaded the bases, the second scored the second run off Kelly — without recording an out. Matheny had to go get Trevor Rosenthal then who struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.

Tom Gorzelanny continued the quality work out of the bullpen this evening with a quick and clean 8th inning.

Rosenthal stayed in for the 8th inning. He got the scuffling Alex Gonzalez to pop out in foul territory to Yadier Molina, but then Blake Lalli scalded one what had to be a good 25 feet between a bewildered Molina and Rosenthal. Norichika Aoki reached on an error with one down, but resident hero Jean Segura could not come through on this night as he struck out swinging, chasing a high fastball.

That brought Ryan Braun to the plate as the new tying run, and he singled up the middle to plate Lalli and put Aoki on third. The legend of Yuni B 2013 took a hit though as he struck out swinging to end the inning. Still, that made the score 6-4 in favor of the Cardinals heading to the 9th.

The 9th saw Burke Badenhop get Carlos Beltran to bounce back to him, strike out Matt Holliday, and break the bat of Allen Craig on a soft liner to Segura.

The last of the ninth, and the game, belonged to Edward Mujica and the Cardinals though. Weeks attempted to cut the lead in half but his deep drive to RF was hit about 30 feet too far left. Gomez singled and eventually would steal second. After Maldonado struck out looking, Gonzalez came through with an RBI single to CF.

That allowed Ron Roenicke to send up Jonathan Lucroy to pinch-hit. Unfortunately, Lucroy would strike out to end the game with the Brewers falling a run short.

After the game, Josh Prince was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds where he will get a chance to play every day. He admitted that at least a part of him was excited to play regularly again.

“That’s what I love to do is play the game. But there’s no better place to play than (the big leagues).”

Prince will work defensively at multiple positions in preparation for his eventual return.

The move opens up a spot on the roster for the returning Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez will rejoin the team officially on Friday and be active for that evening’s game.

It’s April 23rd. (So? Vote Brewers!)

THE 2013 “VOTE BREWERS!” CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY

Online Brewers.com Fan Balloting Begins Tomorrow, Miller Park Firestone Balloting Begins April 29; Participating Entrants will have Opportunity to Win Incredible Prizes 

MILWAUKEE – Brewers fans have the well-earned reputation for filling the ballot boxes with All-Star votes for Milwaukee Brewers players year in and year out. With at least one Brewers player elected to start in five of the last six All-Star Games since 2007, Milwaukee fans demonstrated that it doesn’t take the largest market to be heard as they voted for their favorite Brewers in almost unheard of numbers.

And while it may still be April, it’s time to ramp up and Vote Brewers!  This season, eight Milwaukee Brewers players are featured on the ballot for the 84th Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be held on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City.  Brewers fans will again have the opportunity to show their overwhelming fan support by helping decide which players will be named to the Midsummer Classic through the 2013 MLB In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program and the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot.

Brewers players on this year’s All-Star ballot include C Jonathan Lucroy, 1B Corey Hart, 2B Rickie Weeks, 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Jean Segura, OF Ryan Braun, OF Carlos Gomez and OF Norichika Aoki. 

Beginning Wednesday, fans are able to vote online at brewers.com and beginning Monday, April 29, fans will be able to vote through in-park balloting at Miller Park.

At brewers.com, all fans voting 21 or more times for their favorite Brewers will be entered into a drawing to win Ryan Braun’s Miller Park Suite for a night, complete with tickets, food and a personal visit from the 2011 National League MVP.  There is a maximum of 25 votes per email address.  More information and rules may be found at brewers.com.  Additionally, fans voting online will be eligible to purchase Field Outfield and Club Outfield seats for select Brewers games at a savings of up to 50% (details available after voting at Brewers.com).

Those visiting Miller Park are encouraged to vote early and often via paper ballot at the All-Star Polling District, set up during Brewers home games along the first base concourse. In-park balloting at Miller Park begins on Monday, April 29 and continues through Friday, June 21, comprising 25 home dates.  The Vote Brewers! campaign will feature event staff decked out at home games in promotional t-shirts, and signage along the Miller Park fascia and behind the plate. In addition, media partners FS Wisconsin and Newsradio 620 WTMJ will be promoting the initiative on broadcasts, and the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages will help distribute voting information around the city. There will also be voting parties staged during the balloting period.

With every 10 ballots turned in to the All-Star Polling District, fans will receive one raffle ticket that will enter them in a drawing for the opportunity to win a collector’s item daily, ranging from game-used memorabilia to player autographs. A drawing will be held during every home game through June 21 and the winning ticket will be announced during the game.  Rules will be available at the Polling District.

Ryan Braun narrowly missed being elected a starter for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game after finishing fourth in voting among National League outfielders to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers by just over 100,000 votes.  Braun was later named a starter to replace the injured Kemp.

In 2011, Braun led National League outfielders in voting for the fourth straight season and led all NL players in voting for the first time (5,928,004).  He is the only Brewers player to ever be elected to start in four consecutive All-Star Games (did not play in 2011 due to injury).  Rickie Weeks was selected to his first All-Star Game as the NL’s starting second baseman and Prince Fielder started and made his third All-Star appearance in 2011.  In 2010, Braun and Corey Hart started for the Brewers (Hart was named as a starter after an injury to Atlanta’s Jason Heyward).

In 2009, Braun and Fielder joined Trevor Hoffman as All-Stars.  In addition to Braun in 2008, Hart was named that year to the National League All-Star team via the Monster All-Star Final Vote.  In 2007, Fielder received the second-most votes in the National League en route to his first career All-Star team, becoming the first Brewers player to be voted to the All-Star Game since Paul Molitor was selected at third base in 1988.  A complete list of All-Stars in franchise history can be found on page 277 of the 2013 Brewers media guide.

The 2013 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7 on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS.  Both the National League and American League teams will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers.

Fans can vote for the Major League All-Stars online at brewers.com through Thursday, July 4 at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Brewers Announce Opening Day Roster

Milwaukee Brewers

Following today’s final exhibition game (a victory over the Chicago White Sox), the Milwaukee Brewers announced their 25-man roster for Opening Day.

Here is the breakdown by position.

Pitchers (13)

  • John Axford
  • Burke Badenhop
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Alfredo Figaro
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Michael Gonzalez
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Jim Henderson
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Chris Narveson
  • Wily Peralta

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

Infielders (5)

  • Alex Gonzalez
  • Yuniesky Betancourt
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura
  • Rickie Weeks

Outfielders (5)

  • Norichika Aoki
  • Ryan Braun
  • Khris Davis
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Logan Schafer

The Brewers will also be carrying four (4) players on the big league 15-day disabled list to begin the season (Jeff Bianchi, Taylor Green, Corey Hart, Mark Rogers) and one (1) on the 60-day DL (Mat Gamel).

Special congratulations go out to Alfredo Figaro, Mike Fiers, Jim Henderson, Jean Segura, Khris Davis, Wily Peralta, Martin Maldonado, and Logan Schafer who are all making their first Opening Day MLB roster!

Latest Brewer Nation Podcast Available for Download!

Recorded last night over dinner and during a fantasy baseball draft, my podcast partner Cary Kostka and I get you ready for Opening Day!

We discuss the 25-man roster projection, lineup for Opening Day, rotation, Kyle Lohse, Yuniesky Betancourt and more!

Click here to download the podcast: Brewer Nation Podcast – 2013 Opening Day Preparedness

Preview of Brewer Nation T-Shirts...

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers – #7 Norichika Aoki

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It’s just one week away.

It’s getting kind of late here on a Monday, but I need to get this article written about today’s subject so that I can move on to dissecting the Kyle Lohse deal.

aokiAnyway, let’s get to it as we take a closer look at…

Norichika Aoki.

An absolute divergence from the norm in a couple of different ways, Nori Aoki came to the Milwaukee Brewers before the 2012 season by way of the MLB posting system. Not only had the Brewers never won the posting on a Japanese player, they don’t even scout the country for talent. That was the biggest shocker of the entire situation because the resume that Aoki carried with him across the Pacific Ocean.

In case you need a reminder, Aoki was a former NPB batting champion, seven-time All-Star, six-time Golden Glove Award winner, and seven-time member of the Best Nine which is like the equivalent of an All-Pro team.

And yet, the Brewers won the bidding at just $2.5 million. Why? That’s the other reminder. After a switch to a new baseball prior to the 2011 season, Aoki’s offensive numbers suffered as he stubbornly refused to adjust initially.

After a Major League Baseball debut at .288/.355/.433, 150 H, 81 R, 51 extra-base hits, 30 stolen bases against eight failures, all while only striking out 55 times in 520 AB over 151 games…

I think Aoki has adjusted quite nicely.

His play in the field was a bit of a question as well when he first arrived. He played centerfield in Japan, but could he handle a that position in MLB? If not, could his arm play in right field? Would he just be a bench player who, given the structure of the 25-man roster entering 2012, began the year as the fifth outfielder? From a personal standpoint, could he adjust to the different training style in MLB?

The answers to those questions would be forced upon the Brewers, especially after Mat Gamel went down with a knee injury and they began the experiment of Corey Hart playing first base. Aoki’s arm proved accurate and strong enough to play in right field where his range was an issue. At the plate, Aoki contributed at the top of the lineup and really helped fill a void during the first half of the year with Rickie Weeks scuffling so hard.

Aoki was far more key a player in 2012 than Doug Melvin probably thought he would be when they innocently tossed that $2.5 million in the hat for the opportunity to negotiate with the NPB star.

Heading in 2013, Aoki is set to lead off Ron Roenicke’s batting order on Opening Day (in just seven days!) along with most other days as well. He’ll be the every day right fielder heading into the season for the first time, but his play at the plate will be a significant factor in how well the Brewers follow up their collectively excellent 2012 offensive season.

Working Aoki’s favor is that he handles left-handed pitching as well as he does. He posted a .270 batting average in 185 at-bats (against a .299 vs RHP). As should be expected, he was superior against righties, but that he isn’t a platoon candidate is a huge deal to stability and consistency atop a lineup that had precious little of that to speak of in 2012.

Aoki flashes excellence, exudes a humility that has become synonymous for the most part with Japanese professionals, and is both a fun and exciting player to watch on the diamond.

The Brewers have Aoki’s services for a couple of seasons yet, if they choose to exercise an affordable team option for 2014. If 2012 was any indication, he’ll be an integral part of the team’s success while he’s in town.

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

If The Season Started Tomorrow…

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.

dougmelvinI 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

Gallardo

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

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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.

Catchers (2)

  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Martin Maldonado

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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!

Infielders (7)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Mat Gamel**
  • Corey Hart
  • Donnie Murphy
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura
  • Rickie Weeks

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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.

Outfielders (4)

  • Norichika Aoki**
  • Ryan Braun
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Logan Schafer**

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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

  1. Rickie Weeks
  2. Norichika Aoki
  3. Ryan Braun
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Corey Hart
  6. Jonathan Lucroy
  7. Carlos Gomez
  8. Jean Segura
  9. 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.

And you?

Official Press Release: Ten All-Fan Bobblehead Dates Scheduled at Miller Park in 2013

The Milwaukee Brewers will include 10 All-Fan Bobblehead Dates on the promotional schedule during the 2013 season. All bobblehead dates are scheduled on Sundays and the collectibles will include current and former players.

APRIL

The first bobblehead, presented by Robert Haack Diamonds, will feature leadoff batter Norichika Aoki on the first Sunday of the season – April 7 against the Diamondbacks. Aoki led all National League rookies in stolen bases (30) and tied for the NL rookie lead in hits (150) and outfield assists (8) while ranking among the leaders in numerous statistical categories. (BN note: Aoki finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting.)

The second bobblehead is scheduled for April 21 against the Cubs when former first baseman George Scott—presented by Toyota—isfeatured with his five Gold Glove awards as a Brewer from 1972-76.

MAY

On May 5 against the Cardinals, the Brewers will pay tribute to the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, who played in the American Association from 1902-52. Corey Hart—presented by Kwik Trip—will be showcased in a 1913 Brewers uniform to honor the 100th Anniversary of the team’s first American Association championship. The American Association Brewers won eight pennants during their 51 seasons of existence.

Ryan Braun bobblehead, which will honor his 40/30 season in 2012, is set for May 26 vs. the Pirates and is presented by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Braun followed up his 2011 MVP season with 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases to become just the ninth member of Major League Baseball’s 40/30 Club. This will be the third Brewers bobblehead for Braun (also 2008 and 2009). 

JUNE

Carlos Gomez will get his first Brewers bobblehead, presented by Time Warner Cable, on June 9 against the Phillies. The collectible will include Gomez in a Cerveceros uniform (“Cerveceros” is the Spanish translation for Brewers and the team has worn Cerveceros uniforms during the Cerveceros Day celebration in each of the last seven seasons).

The Brewers will host Polish Heritage Day on June 23 against the Braves and all fans will receive a Klement’s Famous Racing Sausage Polish Bobble, presented by Klement’s Sausage. Polish Sausage will be featured wearing a “Piwowarzy” jersey, which is the Polish translation for Brewers.

JULY

The first player in MLB history with a 40/30 season was Hank Aaron as a member of the Milwaukee Braves in 1963. He finished that season with 44 home runs and 31 stolen bases. On July 7 against the Mets, a Hank Aaron bobblehead will commemorate his 40/30 season in a Milwaukee Braves uniform. It marks the third Aaron bobblehead to be given away at Miller Park (also 2002 and 2010).

AUGUST

Harvey Kuenn, who was named American League Manager of the Year in 1982 after leading the Brewers to the World Series, will be featured with a bobblehead on August 4 against the Nationals.

SEPTEMBER

The month of September will include a pair of former outfielders – Gorman Thomas and Ben Oglivie.

Thomas was the first player selected by the Seattle Pilots in the first round of the 1969 June Draft and as such, his bobblehead will feature him in a Pilots uniform on September 1 against the Angels.

On September 15 against the Reds, Oglivie will round out the bobblehead schedule. This will mark the first full-size Brewers bobblehead of the three-time All-Star.

Did Aoki, Fiers Place in NL Rookie of the Year Results?

The Baseball Writers Association of America revealed their first two awards today. Mike Trout was the deservedly unanimous Rookie of the Year in the American League, but the NL MVP had a bit more intrigue with multiple worthy candidates.

Bryce Harper won it, but this isn’t a blog about the Washington Nationals. This is a blog for the Milwaukee Brewers so I want to discuss where the top rookies on the Milwaukee Brewers finished in the voting.

First of all, as I expected, Mike Fiers did not receive any consideration for the award. Look, there are only three slots on each ballot and while Fiers had a phenomenal first part to his year (and a solid campaign overall), there were more than three rookies better than he was in 2012 in my opinion.

Obviously the BBWAA members in NL chapters agreed with that assessment.

The assessment that we disagree on is Norichika Aoki.

Aoki came to MLB without much fanfare, significantly less than one might think given his accolades in NPB in Japan. All he did after being put into the daily lineup was produce, leading to several hitting streaks of at least 10 games. His defense was just fine in right field too.

His final numbers, mostly out of the lead off spot, were:

151 G, .288/.355/.433, 588 PA, 520 AB, 81 R, 150 H, 37 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 30 SB, 43 BB, 55 K, 110 OPS+

Ultimately, Aoki finished in fifth place receiving two second-place votes and five third-place votes for a total of 11 points in the scoring system. In all, eight different players received votes for the award. Harper was first with 112 points, Wade Miley finished second with 105 points, Todd Frazier was third with 45 points, and Wilin Rosario of the Rockies finished with 12 points because of (in part) one first-place vote he somehow received.

Regardless of his final position, Aoki becomes just the 20th Milwaukee Brewers player in history to garner votes for Rookie of the Year and that is to be commended and applauded on its own merit.

Congratulations Nori!

For the record, Dennis Semrau of the Wisconsin State Journal (MIL Chapter) and Paul White of USA Today (WAS Chapter) gave Aoki his second-place votes. The third-place votes were cast for Aoki by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (NY Chapter), Keith Law of ESPN.com (AZ Chapter), Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (HOU Chapter), Hideki Okuda of the Sports Nippon Newspaper (LA Chapter), and El Nuevo Herald’s Luis E. Rangel.