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Are the Brewers a Good Team?


Pedro
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This is a question that has been on my mind since the beginning of the season: are the Milwaukee Brewers a good baseball team? Not "should be" or "potentially," but actually a good team right now. In my mind, the short answer is no. I don't believe they've done anything to prove themselves as a good team yet. A number of good players, yes; but as a team they've been only average. They did not assure themselves of even a winning season in 2007 until the second to last game. In the last 162 games, their record is 79-83.

 

Expectations (mine included) were that this would be a good team in 2008. Yes, it's only May 4th, and yes, they're 16-14; but I have yet to see anything that shows me the Brewers are still anything but an average team. Offense, pitching, defense....nothing has been impressive. If this group (players, manager and management) had a good track record, I could chalk it up to a choppy start. But they don't and I can't.

 

To me, the real question is, will they become a good team with the current structure (players, manager, management) in place?

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Yes

 

If you go back through the beginning of 2007 they have had one really bad month statistically and that was August of 2007 when they had 119 RS and 173 RA for a 9-18 record. They slumped badly from the last 10 days or so of July until September last year and have played .500+ ball the rest of the time. (yeah we went 14-15 in May but with more RS than RA so just a luck thing and I'd call that .500ish).

 

Losing Gallardo pretty much turns us from a playoff calibre team to a needs a bunch of luck to get in type team though. In my mind he was our most valuable pitcher and only having one guy who can consistently go deep into games is going to kill us.

 

If Sheets goes down I think we are sellers by the trade deadline becuase we do not have the SP to make a run at things.

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I agree totally with Ennder's last paragraph. Yo's injury is a killer. I do think the offense will come around in a little bit, and be just fine, and I think the bullpen is pretty solid, but it's going to just get worn out because of the rotation.
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I'm going to go with a not really. Sure these guys are going to come around and probably hit a ton sometime through out the season, but teams win with pitching a defense. Now with Yo gone, I don't think the Brewers have enough starting pitching outside of Sheets. The D is horrible, even though they don't have many errors. They have two complete hacks out there in Weeks and Fielder, and Hardy has no range. Braun has done a pretty good job moving to his new position but still makes some mistakes that a guy that has been out there awhile wouldn't make. I think they finish the season under .500.
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Yes

 

If you go back through the beginning of 2007 they have had one really bad month statistically and that was August of 2007 when they had 119 RS and 173 RA for a 9-18 record. They slumped badly from the last 10 days or so of July until September last year and have played .500+ ball the rest of the time. (yeah we went 14-15 in May but with more RS than RA so just a luck thing and I'd call that .500ish).

 

Losing Gallardo pretty much turns us from a playoff calibre team to a needs a bunch of luck to get in type team though. In my mind he was our most valuable pitcher and only having one guy who can consistently go deep into games is going to kill us.

 

If Sheets goes down I think we are sellers by the trade deadline becuase we do not have the SP to make a run at things.

Without Gallardo, or Parra and Villanueva stepping up, this year's down the tubes.

 

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I agree with Pedro's assessment.

 

1.) Rotation -- Bush/Villy/Suppan/Parra have not been able to over the 5 inning hump regularly. I realize that we don't need shutouts from the backend of our rotation, but needing four IP out of our BP each time these 4 guys start is not good. Sheets/Yo have been fantastic, and Suppan has had some great starts -- but Suppan will need to pitch more like a 2/3 than a 4/5 for this team to win.

 

2.) BP -- Our BP is still very very problematic -- as a unit, they are walking more players at a greater rate than anyone in the NL. Our BP was bad last year, at this point I do not see how they are much better this year -- especially if the BBs continue. Furthermore -- the BP does not have a solid long guy, like we did last year with Villy. McClung is crap, he is fine pitching in 19-5 games, but he is not a sufficient long-reliever in a game where it is 4-4 in the 5th and Parra is gassed.

 

3.) Defense -- Moving Braun off of 3rd was huge -- but our ss/2b/1b is among the weakest in the NL, Weeks struggles to throw the ball above Fielders ankles -- and all 3 of them have limited range. Having Cameron will help -- but the right side of the IF is not playoff caliber.

 

4.) Offense -- Again having Cameron will help here. Obviously the offense is underperforming -- Weeks has sucked so far this year, Hardy is hard to watch -- I am not sure what to say outside of the offense isn't going to pick up the defense and pitching if it continues on like it has.

 

5.) Management -- Of course I don't think Yost has the chops to pull this team together, esp. after losing Yo -- but bigger than that, the roster management this year has been bizarre. 14 pitchers, having TGJ being your go to guy off the bench when the bases are jacked and you are down by 4, batting TGJ second in Cameron's absence, etc...

 

I know it's early and things can change -- but things are not going to necessarily change because we hope they will.

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As they're built now, they're probably good enough to finish over .500 and stay at least in contention for the wildcard for much of the season, barring additional significant injuries.

 

But those that are predicting us to be sellers by the deadline because of the rotation, isn't that more of an argument to be buyers and acquire a starter before it gets to that point? There's nothing that says we can't trade to improve the team, and both ownership and the front office have shown a willingness to do so in the past.

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But those that are predicting us to be sellers by the deadline because of the rotation, isn't that more of an argument to be buyers and acquire a starter before it gets to that point?

 

Agreed, however I think the original post was looking at our current roster.

 

I'm sure we could make a run if we started trading our prospects -- but I think most teams could make this sort of statement.

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I see a team with a load of talent that is not improving. Other teams have brought up young kids who seem to be progressing as expected at the major league level. Who that onus falls on is open for debate. I see a team that plays extremely tight. Who that particular shortfall can be atrributed to also is up for debate. However, when those two things seem to be taking place at the major league level, it's tough not to question how effective the coaching staff is. I also wonder why the bench coach position has been a revolving door.

 

Screw it, I'll say it. I think the manager is stunting the growth of this team.

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Compare the Brewers to the Phillies for a second. Both offenses have plenty of power. Howard's production is comparable to Fielder's, and Utley's is similar to Braun's, and Burrel's is similar to Hart's . The Phillies might have a slight edge in offensive production this year overall, but it should be pretty close.

 

Hamels--- Sheets

 

Myers--- Suppan

 

Kendrick--- Villanueva

 

Moyer--- Parra

 

Eaton--- Bush

 

Brad Lidge, Tom Gordon, JC Romero, and Ryan Madson are their primary bullpen guys.

 

Even without Gallardo, I'd say the Brewers are pretty close to the Phillies. Would you write the Phillies off right now?

 

I'm not trying to say the Brewers are going to win 100 games here, but lets keep things in perspective.

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As they're built now, they're probably good enough to finish over .500 and stay at least in contention for the wildcard for much of the season, barring additional significant injuries.

 

That's the problem in my opinion. They're pretenders. As much as I don't think the Cubs were a better team than the Brewers last year, I really do this year. The Cubs score runs with ease...and without the long ball for the most part. And they'll get a another piece or two as well. I know there's still the wild card, but I just don't see it.

 

While everyone pointed to this year as the Brewers year, last year was their best chance because of the competition in the division. And they blew it. Even in the playoffs, look at what teams did damage, the Rockies and Diamondbacks. I hate to say it, but 2007 was their best chance given the circumstances.

 

Get what you can for Sheets (and I mean a bigger trade, not draft picks). Get what you can for the other assets with value. Draft COLLEGE pitchers in this draft. Get a new manager, and try to make a run next year.

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If we believed that there were an 87 win team before Yo's injury, they are probably around an 84 win team without. They are still above average but probably not by much. Remember, it's the offense that's supposed to be better than average, not the pitching (which certainly isn't anymore). Suppan, Bush, Villy and Parra should collectively be only a little below average, so Sheets realistically pulls them up to around average. If the offense can start performing as expected, they are legitimately an above average team. Just not by enough to not need some balls to bounce their way to get to the playoffs.

 

Remember, most teams are only a few games away from being average to begin with. Even average teams make the playoffs with some luck (winning a bunch of 1 run games, big hits in big situations, etc...)

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"Get what you can for Sheets (and I mean a bigger trade, not draft picks). Get what you can for the other assets with value"

 

MLB doesn't allow trading of draft picks. You can't even trade for a player in the first year after they were drafted.

 

To answer the thread question, I guess it depends on the definition of good. I think the Brewers have players that are near average at most positions and they have a couple of players who could be very good-great this year. That meets my personal definition of good. I'm still hopeful that the Brewers can put together a good season, but with Yo gone, my confidence in that is not high.

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MLB doesn't allow trading of draft picks. You can't even trade for a player in the first year after they were drafted.

 

I didn't clarify what I meant I guess. I meant I'm in favor of trading Sheets to a contender, not getting draft picks for him when he leaves in free agency. The point being, getting some guys that will help soon, not guys that will help when this talented young team is broken up and another wave of rebuilding starts. Sorry for the confusion.

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Ah, that does make sense. Don't teams have to offer arbitration in order to get compensated? Isn't that why the Braves traded Millwood away, because they were afraid he was going to make too much money? I realize this only affects the Brewers if Sheets doesn't get attractive FA offers and accepts arbitration. I know it doesn't happen often, but teams sometimes don't get picks because they don't offer arbitration for that reason.
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The Brewers are a good team, much like most of the NL. It is a league filled with good teams, and no truly great teams. The winners will be determined by who steps up and outperforms and who gets performances from new players no one was counting on. Think of a guy like Tulowitzki for the Rocks or Marmol for the Cubs and Braun for us.

 

The Brewers have a great deal of potential given their developing youth. We saw the upside with Prince and Braun last year, but we are seeing the inconsistency of a player like Weeks this year. It should be expected. To win it, the pieces have to fall into place and those options have to pay off. For a team with limited financial resources, they are doing a very good job, but when you're a small market team losing a guy like Yo is nearly impossible to overcome.

 

I think our O will come around, our D is greatly improved and our bullpen is adequate. The problem is with only one viable top notch starter, the stress on the bullpen will only increase. The bullpen broke down last year as our starters couldn't get by the 5-6th innings (albeit not helped by our poor defense). That seems to be a recurring theme in 2008.

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I realize this only affects the Brewers if Sheets doesn't get attractive FA offers and accepts arbitration. I know it doesn't happen often, but teams sometimes don't get picks because they don't offer arbitration for that reason.

 

Yes, you do have to offer arby to get picks, but I doubt the Brewers would pass on offering it. Really, they'd probably be thrilled to have Ben for 1 year even at 15 or so million if he accepted it, as the concerns are more to giving him a long-term deal with his injuries. A one year deal would work great for the team.

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As they're built now, they're probably good enough to finish over .500 and stay at least in contention for the wildcard for much of the season, barring additional significant injuries.

 

But those that are predicting us to be sellers by the deadline because of the rotation, isn't that more of an argument to be buyers and acquire a starter before it gets to that point? There's nothing that says we can't trade to improve the team, and both ownership and the front office have shown a willingness to do so in the past.

At this point, I'd assemble a package of prospects headed by Gamel and see what is to be had.

 

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I'm not sure the D is greatly improved. Not committing errors is not necessarily synonymous with excellent defense.

 

I honestly don't know if this is a good team or not, but I can say that about just about the entire National League, so in a way it really doesn't matter. You just have to beat the teams you're competitng against, regardless or whether you are objectively "good".

This year's Packer team wasn't all that great, but they probably should have gone to the Super Bowl. Ten years ago that Packer team would have been comparable to some of the Lions teams with Barry Sanders and Herman Moore that were 'good' teams but had no shot against the Packers, Cowboys and 49ers.

 

At this point I think a playoff run must be predicated on the offense keying a couple of streaks where the Crew goes 15-5, including winning the crucial HTH series against the Cubs and Cards. I just don't think that they will be able to be consistent enough with their pitching to hope to be able to just slowly grind one of those seasons where they just keep playing until one day you look up and realize you're 20 games over .500

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Right now plus/minus has us at -11. Just 2 weeks ago we were +10 or so, so the defense has had a pretty darn bad two weeks. That is every bit as bad as last year. Whether or not that keeps up is hard to say. We have the worst FIP in the NL so the pitchers are not doing a good job either.

 

Only four teams in the NL have a lower OPS than we do as well. I'm kind of shocked we are still over .500 given how the team has played so far but I also think as a team we have massively underachieved so things will turn around.

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87? That would have been on the low end on my expectations. And I didn't expect Sheets to make 35 starts either.

 

Vegas certainly didn't have them at 90+ wins (what was their over/under?) and projection systems had the Brewers at around 85 wins (which takes into account, Sheets being projected for less than 175 IP). IMO, you might have had unrealistic expectations before the seeason.

 

And if you thought they were a 90 win team before the season started, why would the loss of Gallardo make them even average or below? I'm not picking on you, since there are probably many who agree with you. Is everyone weighing th results of one month more than they should be? Beyond injuries of course, one month doesn't tell us very much.

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