The Grand National Championships

May 15, 2009

Break the Brewers DOOOOOOOOOOOOWN.

Okay, I napped a little longer than expected. Sorry about that. But here’s something to make up for it.

The Brewers are hot. Red hot. In fact, these are the days that make up for scouring the six-year free agent wires and saying…”Oooh, I think Carlos Mendoza would be a nice fit.” I’ll have more on that later.

But we will break down the Brewers into 4 categories…

The Good
1) Rickie Weeks (If he stays healthy, he might have a chance at a 30 home run season. He has stopped running though, so for fantasy purposes you may want to consider selling.)
2) Craig Counsell (For a guy who was essentially ballast during his time in Milwaukee, he does deserve propers for his start. .328/.412/.466)
3) Trevor Hoffman (Milwaukee is in love with Trevor Hoffman. I know it’s in eight games, but Eric Gagne was so bad last season. So, so bad.)
4) Mark DiFelice (This is why you need a smart GM. Overpaying for middle relievers is ridiculous when you can pluck a dude out of AAA and say hey, 31 year old who hasn’t pitched before? You got this.)
5) Mike Cameron (If this be a contract drive? Let the gods allow him to turn a full on Adrian Beltre season.)
6) Billy Hall (For being the lefty masher in the soft platoon, he’s doing very well. Better than 2007 or 2008 to be sure.)
7) Ryan Braun (Nobody expects to have an OPS over 1.000. Braun does right now. He’s helping!)
8) Mitch Stetter (In terms of ERA+, you have to be happy with what he’s done. His tendency to walk hitters is a worrying thing.)

The expected
1) J.J. Hardy (The dude’s always been streaky. And it’s too early to call it a slump yet. He’s been bad for half-seasons at a time. This too shall pass.
2) Dave Bush (His ERA will always be a touch higher than his command indicates, but he’s been solid this season.
3) Braden Looper (An innings eater with an ERA in the 4’s is what the Brewers paid for, and it is what the Brewers have received.)
4) Todd Coffey (In terms of solid middle relief? He’s been actually what you expected. His BAbip is .353, his luck will even out.)
5) Seth McClung (But not in a good way. He’s walked more batters than he’s struck out. He’s allowed 28 baserunners in 17 innings. Maybe he was too much a product of the Mike Maddux whisperer.)
6) Mike Rivera (Passable offense when he plays, but he does not play often enough.)
7) Yovani Gallardo (Lost in Grienkemania was the fact that Yovani has developed into an ace. Stay healthy. Please. You’re awesome when you do.)

The bad
1) Manny Parra (I have to worry if Ned hurt him by overworking him in 2008. When he loses the plate it’s usually a signal that he has something deeper wrong with him. I’m hopeful that this is just a bad streak. But I can’t not consider the injury question. He’s a Brewer pitching prospect.)
2) Corey Hart (He’s also streaky. But because I want in my heart of hearts the Kentucky Ninja to be a superstar? I am disappointed. He decided to be called Corey Hart. That’s the decision of a man with swagger.)
3) Carlos Villanueva (He always struggles in April. And I keep expecting him to break through to superstar levels, because he can go months at a time as a stud. He’s just bad long enough to keep his stats down.)
4) The Bench (With what Casey McGheehee and Chris Duffy have done? Mat Gamel’s infusion couldn’t have come at a better time.)

Just release him already
1) Jeff Suppan (I know, it’s still only seven starts, but the Brewers trendline is scary bad. He’s walking one more batter per 9 innings, he’s on pace to allow one more dinger per 9 innings. His ERA+ is at the point where he was trying to face down the next Maddux claims. Pitchers die off earlier than 34, and if you’re a finesse pitcher? The line is just that much thinner.)
2) Jason Kendall (Average in the .220’s. 4 out of 5 runners stealing bases on him as steals come back into the playbook. If he didn’t take a walk once in a while, he would be completely useless.)
3) Jorge Julio (Electric arms don’t always translate. Let someone else take their shot.)
4) Brad Nelson (Outrighted to Triple-A. So. Thanks.)

Like I said, 87 wins can win the NL Central this year. And while there will be some regression to the mean, you have to wonder if the Brewers may not have another year of October Baseball. I love it.

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