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  1. Several Brewers have dazzled at second base in the 54 seasons the franchise has existed. Some of the fans’ favorite Brewers held down the keystone of the infield, whether it was outstanding offense, dazzling defense, or just solid standbys. Which ones were the best? Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC Without further ado, we should jump into the list. 5. Jim Gantner .274/.319/.351 with 47 HR and 568 RBI in 17 seasons "Gumby" was the primary starter at second base for nine seasons and added two more as the primary third baseman for the Brewers. Gantner made contact and provided web gems decades before YouTube existed, but his offensive limitations were evident simultaneously. He never won a Gold Glove or made the All-Star Game, and for three full seasons (1988-1990), he did not hit a single home run. But Gantner’s longevity puts him in the top five. 4. Ronnie Belliard .263/.341./.396 with 30 HR and 170 RBI in 4 seasons In three seasons as the primary starter at second base, Ronnie Belliard delivered a lot of doubles and very solid on-base skills. Belliard wasn’t flashy on offense, but he was solid. His biggest problem – he followed Fernando Vina, a fan favorite. The Brewers let Belliard walk as a free agent after the 2002 season, and he ended up providing solid production for the Rockies, Guardians, Nationals, and Dodgers after he left Milwaukee. 3. Paul Molitor .300/.349/.428 with 24 HR and 144 RBI in 3 seasons at 2B .303/.367/.411 with 160 HR and 790 RBI in 15 seasons Brewers fans can always wonder what would have been had Paul Molitor never been moved from second base. In the three seasons he played at second base, he was second place for Rookie of the Year, 20th place for MVP, and received the first of five selections for the All-Star Game. While his greatest glory for the Brewers came at third base and designated hitter, Molitor was an excellent second baseman. Brewers fans can only wonder what might have been had he not been moved to center field and eventually third base. 2. Fernando Vina .286/.349/.389 with 22 HR and 164 RBI in 5 seasons Fearless Fernando – best known for taking on Albert Belle in an infamous collision – was no slouch at second base. Acquired as a player to be named later in the trade that sent Doug Henry to the Mets, his superb on-base skills and speed (26 triples and 57 steals) provided the offensive spark, and he secured an All-Star Game appearance. He secured two Gold Gloves following a trade to the Cardinals, where he posted a .794 OPS in three consecutive postseasons. 1. Rickie Weeks .249/.347/.424 with 161 HR and 474 RBI in 11 seasons Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder famously hit their first major-league home runs in the same game, and for 11 seasons, Weeks provided outstanding offense for the Brewers. Injuries limited his overall success with the team, and he had only one All-Star appearance. The second overall pick in the 2003 draft, Weeks could obliterate opposing pitchers at the plate or burn other teams on the base paths (126 stolen bases). Far and away, Weeks was the best to play second base for the Brewers. Honorable Mentions Ron Theobald delivered outstanding OBP skills during two seasons as the primary second baseman before a sudden retirement. Willie Randolph was a one-season wonder for the Crew in 1991. Kolten Wong provided two outstanding seasons for the Brewers before being traded to Seattle. What are your thoughts, Brewer Fanatics? Give us your top five second basemen in franchise history. View full article
  2. Without further ado, we should jump into the list. 5. Jim Gantner .274/.319/.351 with 47 HR and 568 RBI in 17 seasons "Gumby" was the primary starter at second base for nine seasons and added two more as the primary third baseman for the Brewers. Gantner made contact and provided web gems decades before YouTube existed, but his offensive limitations were evident simultaneously. He never won a Gold Glove or made the All-Star Game, and for three full seasons (1988-1990), he did not hit a single home run. But Gantner’s longevity puts him in the top five. 4. Ronnie Belliard .263/.341./.396 with 30 HR and 170 RBI in 4 seasons In three seasons as the primary starter at second base, Ronnie Belliard delivered a lot of doubles and very solid on-base skills. Belliard wasn’t flashy on offense, but he was solid. His biggest problem – he followed Fernando Vina, a fan favorite. The Brewers let Belliard walk as a free agent after the 2002 season, and he ended up providing solid production for the Rockies, Guardians, Nationals, and Dodgers after he left Milwaukee. 3. Paul Molitor .300/.349/.428 with 24 HR and 144 RBI in 3 seasons at 2B .303/.367/.411 with 160 HR and 790 RBI in 15 seasons Brewers fans can always wonder what would have been had Paul Molitor never been moved from second base. In the three seasons he played at second base, he was second place for Rookie of the Year, 20th place for MVP, and received the first of five selections for the All-Star Game. While his greatest glory for the Brewers came at third base and designated hitter, Molitor was an excellent second baseman. Brewers fans can only wonder what might have been had he not been moved to center field and eventually third base. 2. Fernando Vina .286/.349/.389 with 22 HR and 164 RBI in 5 seasons Fearless Fernando – best known for taking on Albert Belle in an infamous collision – was no slouch at second base. Acquired as a player to be named later in the trade that sent Doug Henry to the Mets, his superb on-base skills and speed (26 triples and 57 steals) provided the offensive spark, and he secured an All-Star Game appearance. He secured two Gold Gloves following a trade to the Cardinals, where he posted a .794 OPS in three consecutive postseasons. 1. Rickie Weeks .249/.347/.424 with 161 HR and 474 RBI in 11 seasons Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder famously hit their first major-league home runs in the same game, and for 11 seasons, Weeks provided outstanding offense for the Brewers. Injuries limited his overall success with the team, and he had only one All-Star appearance. The second overall pick in the 2003 draft, Weeks could obliterate opposing pitchers at the plate or burn other teams on the base paths (126 stolen bases). Far and away, Weeks was the best to play second base for the Brewers. Honorable Mentions Ron Theobald delivered outstanding OBP skills during two seasons as the primary second baseman before a sudden retirement. Willie Randolph was a one-season wonder for the Crew in 1991. Kolten Wong provided two outstanding seasons for the Brewers before being traded to Seattle. What are your thoughts, Brewer Fanatics? Give us your top five second basemen in franchise history.
  3. There’s a couple of recent stars drafted by the Crew in rounds 11 to 15, including one who may end up surpassing the top player signed in the future, but needs to prove it once again. Even with that current player who has shown absolute dominance in the past, it remained a difficult choice between two other former greats, but one just edges out another, while there is no true option all together for unsigned players, but a Brewer broadcaster just sneaks in. July 17th marks the beginning of the 2022 MLB Amateur Draft, so we’ve been looking back at the best players the Brewers have drafted, and the best that they failed to sign over the past week. Today we will take a look at players the Brewers drafted between rounds 11 and 15. Before you start with this one, at the last one on Saturday, where rounds 16-20 are looked at, or go back further to Wednesday’s article, where I check out players drafted by the Brewers in Round 31 or later or Friday's article where I check out players drafted by the Crew in Round 21 to Round 30. Best Player Who Signed The best player who signed with the Brewers in these rounds shared an infield with two Baseball Hall of Famers, and a potential HoF snub for over 10 years. It was a tight call between Jim Gantner and the corner-infield slugger Jeff Cirillo , but Gantner edges out Cirillo in my opinion. Eden, Wisconsin-raised Gantner was drafted with the 270th overall pick in the 12th Round of the 1974 draft out of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and it only took him two years to make his debut with his hometown Brewers in 1976. On that day, September 3rd, he played third base next to Hall of Famer Robin Yount and go 2 for 4 at the plate with a walk in the 11-2 win against the Detroit Tigers, which also featured a cycle by fellow Brewer, Mike Hagen. Gantner played second base, along with third in the crowded infield in the 80s of the aforementioned Yount, Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor, and potential snub, Cecil Copper , and as such, was often overshadowed. Gumby, as Gantner was nicknamed, still earned a great reputation, with a smooth double play, and a decent bat, going 0.274 across his 17 year career, all spent with the Brewers. He didn’t have much power at the plate however, only hitting 47 home runs and once going on a four-year, 1,762 at bat streak without one. Despite this, he is the one who hit the walkoff home run, which was also his last career home run, in the 13th inning against the Boston Red Sox on August 14th, 1992 with Bob Uecker’s famous call "Here's the pitch to Gantner. He hits one to right and deep. Get up. Get up. Get outta here - gone! A dinger for Klinger! And this game is over. Woah, Jimmy Gantner!" Gantner earned 22.4 WAR in his career, is the best player to sign, and was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 for his feats. A great defensive player, he owns a career fielding percentage at third of 0.956 and at second of 0.985 for a total fielding percentage of 0.982. He only committed 152 errors in his 17 year career. Cirillo is a close second to Gantner, but will still be talked about here due to the lack of options for unsigned players. Cirillo was also a great defensive player, sharing a record of 99 consecutive games at third base without committing an error. He was signed by the Brewers after being drafted in the 1991 MLB Draft with the 286th pick and in the 11th round. His debut came in 1994, late in the May 11th game against the Boston Red Sox, and he would not take an at-bat. Cirillo played the next five seasons with Milwaukee, including earning an All-Star nod in 1997. His best offensive year came in 2000, after he was traded in 1999 from Milwaukee to the Colorado Rockies. That season he would bat 0.326 with 53 doubles and 115 RBIs, all career highs, and earn his second, and last All-Star appearance. He played another year with the Rockies before getting traded to the Seattle Mariners, in 2002, spending the 2002 season and 2003 season in the Pacific Northwest, before returning to Milwaukee once again for another two seasons. He left Milwaukee once again after the 2006 season, and spent his last year splitting time with the Minnesota Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks before retiring in 2007. Across his 14-year career, Cirillo hit for an average of 0.286, though was better in his 8 seasons in Milwaukee, with an average of 0.306 while there. He also hit 112 home runs to pair with his 727 RBIs and accrued 34.5 WAR spending most of his time at the hot corner, owning a career fielding percentage of 0.970, but just missed out on the top spot. Best Unsigned Player This is much more boring, but I guess Mallex Smith owns this right now, as the “best player” who was unsigned. The speedy outfielder was drafted and ultimately unsigned by the Brewers in 2011, when he was drafted with the 401st pick in the 13th Round. He was drafted once again by the San Diego Padres the next year in the 5th round. He would not appear with them though, as he was packaged in a trade with Dustin Peterson, Jace Petersen, and Max Fried to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Aaron Northcraft and Justin Upton in 2014. Smith debuted in 2016 with the Braves, before playing two years each with the Tampa Bay Rays and then Seattle Mariners. His last MLB appearance was in 2020 with the Mariners, though he owns a career batting average of 0.255 along with 5.3 WAR in his five-year career. Honorable Mentions Round 11 has been a great round for the Brewers across their history. Obviously there has been Cirillo, but there was also Darryl Hamilton back in 1986, drafted 269th overall. More recently there is Corey Hart, drafted 321st in 2000 and current pitcher, Brandon Woodruff, drafted 326th in 2014. Brewers’ broadcasters also represent in these rounds, both in the 15th round, as Jerry Augustine was 342nd overall in 1974. Also, current broadcaster Tim Dillard was drafted as a catcher in 2001 with the 448th pick, but was unsigned, though he did ultimately sign with the Brewers after being drafted in 2002 in the 34th round. Hamilton and Hart both missed out due to longevity and sustainability. Hamilton played 13 years in the MLB, with a career average of 0.291 along with 16.7 WAR, while Hart played 11 years in the bigs, and holds a career average of 0.271, along with 14.4 WAR and smashing 162 home runs. Both played as primary outfielders, and certainly had respectable careers, but Jim Gantner and Jeff Cirillo both surpass them. Woodruff is an interesting argument to be the best signed player drafted between rounds 11-15, but isn’t there yet, mostly due to struggles this year. If it weren’t for this year, he would likely be the best in my opinion, but his RAR and WAA both are concerning, and his recent fight with Raynaud’s Syndrome and some injuries provide some question marks. If he returns to his old self from 2019 onward, where he was a two-time All-Star (2019, 2021), and finished fifth in Cy Young voting in 2021, he will easily make it back to the top. The right-handed throwing Woodruff has started 89 of the 104 games pitched, with all of his outings of relief in his first two years in 2017 and 2018. He has an ERA of 3.32 in his 6]-year career, along with a great 129 ERA+ while having 12.7 WAR. If those question marks can be answered, which looks like they might, he will be the best of the bunch. Be sure to discuss in the comments about my rankings! Do you think that Woodruff should be the top? Or are the two pronged, Jim Gantner and Jeff Cirillo better right now? Unsigned doesn’t offer much, but is Tim Dillard better than Mallex Smith? Finally, should I have included John Jaha too? Let me know and keep an eye out for the next one!
  4. This is where things start to get really interesting, with a gluttony of good players drafted in Round 11 to Round 15, most of whom signed, leaving only a couple of notable unsigned players drafted by the Brewers in these rounds. There’s a couple of recent stars drafted by the Crew in rounds 11 to 15, including one who may end up surpassing the top player signed in the future, but needs to prove it once again. Even with that current player who has shown absolute dominance in the past, it remained a difficult choice between two other former greats, but one just edges out another, while there is no true option all together for unsigned players, but a Brewer broadcaster just sneaks in. July 17th marks the beginning of the 2022 MLB Amateur Draft, so we’ve been looking back at the best players the Brewers have drafted, and the best that they failed to sign over the past week. Today we will take a look at players the Brewers drafted between rounds 11 and 15. Before you start with this one, at the last one on Saturday, where rounds 16-20 are looked at, or go back further to Wednesday’s article, where I check out players drafted by the Brewers in Round 31 or later or Friday's article where I check out players drafted by the Crew in Round 21 to Round 30. Best Player Who Signed The best player who signed with the Brewers in these rounds shared an infield with two Baseball Hall of Famers, and a potential HoF snub for over 10 years. It was a tight call between Jim Gantner and the corner-infield slugger Jeff Cirillo , but Gantner edges out Cirillo in my opinion. Eden, Wisconsin-raised Gantner was drafted with the 270th overall pick in the 12th Round of the 1974 draft out of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and it only took him two years to make his debut with his hometown Brewers in 1976. On that day, September 3rd, he played third base next to Hall of Famer Robin Yount and go 2 for 4 at the plate with a walk in the 11-2 win against the Detroit Tigers, which also featured a cycle by fellow Brewer, Mike Hagen. Gantner played second base, along with third in the crowded infield in the 80s of the aforementioned Yount, Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor, and potential snub, Cecil Copper , and as such, was often overshadowed. Gumby, as Gantner was nicknamed, still earned a great reputation, with a smooth double play, and a decent bat, going 0.274 across his 17 year career, all spent with the Brewers. He didn’t have much power at the plate however, only hitting 47 home runs and once going on a four-year, 1,762 at bat streak without one. Despite this, he is the one who hit the walkoff home run, which was also his last career home run, in the 13th inning against the Boston Red Sox on August 14th, 1992 with Bob Uecker’s famous call "Here's the pitch to Gantner. He hits one to right and deep. Get up. Get up. Get outta here - gone! A dinger for Klinger! And this game is over. Woah, Jimmy Gantner!" Gantner earned 22.4 WAR in his career, is the best player to sign, and was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 for his feats. A great defensive player, he owns a career fielding percentage at third of 0.956 and at second of 0.985 for a total fielding percentage of 0.982. He only committed 152 errors in his 17 year career. Cirillo is a close second to Gantner, but will still be talked about here due to the lack of options for unsigned players. Cirillo was also a great defensive player, sharing a record of 99 consecutive games at third base without committing an error. He was signed by the Brewers after being drafted in the 1991 MLB Draft with the 286th pick and in the 11th round. His debut came in 1994, late in the May 11th game against the Boston Red Sox, and he would not take an at-bat. Cirillo played the next five seasons with Milwaukee, including earning an All-Star nod in 1997. His best offensive year came in 2000, after he was traded in 1999 from Milwaukee to the Colorado Rockies. That season he would bat 0.326 with 53 doubles and 115 RBIs, all career highs, and earn his second, and last All-Star appearance. He played another year with the Rockies before getting traded to the Seattle Mariners, in 2002, spending the 2002 season and 2003 season in the Pacific Northwest, before returning to Milwaukee once again for another two seasons. He left Milwaukee once again after the 2006 season, and spent his last year splitting time with the Minnesota Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks before retiring in 2007. Across his 14-year career, Cirillo hit for an average of 0.286, though was better in his 8 seasons in Milwaukee, with an average of 0.306 while there. He also hit 112 home runs to pair with his 727 RBIs and accrued 34.5 WAR spending most of his time at the hot corner, owning a career fielding percentage of 0.970, but just missed out on the top spot. Best Unsigned Player This is much more boring, but I guess Mallex Smith owns this right now, as the “best player” who was unsigned. The speedy outfielder was drafted and ultimately unsigned by the Brewers in 2011, when he was drafted with the 401st pick in the 13th Round. He was drafted once again by the San Diego Padres the next year in the 5th round. He would not appear with them though, as he was packaged in a trade with Dustin Peterson, Jace Petersen, and Max Fried to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Aaron Northcraft and Justin Upton in 2014. Smith debuted in 2016 with the Braves, before playing two years each with the Tampa Bay Rays and then Seattle Mariners. His last MLB appearance was in 2020 with the Mariners, though he owns a career batting average of 0.255 along with 5.3 WAR in his five-year career. Honorable Mentions Round 11 has been a great round for the Brewers across their history. Obviously there has been Cirillo, but there was also Darryl Hamilton back in 1986, drafted 269th overall. More recently there is Corey Hart, drafted 321st in 2000 and current pitcher, Brandon Woodruff, drafted 326th in 2014. Brewers’ broadcasters also represent in these rounds, both in the 15th round, as Jerry Augustine was 342nd overall in 1974. Also, current broadcaster Tim Dillard was drafted as a catcher in 2001 with the 448th pick, but was unsigned, though he did ultimately sign with the Brewers after being drafted in 2002 in the 34th round. Hamilton and Hart both missed out due to longevity and sustainability. Hamilton played 13 years in the MLB, with a career average of 0.291 along with 16.7 WAR, while Hart played 11 years in the bigs, and holds a career average of 0.271, along with 14.4 WAR and smashing 162 home runs. Both played as primary outfielders, and certainly had respectable careers, but Jim Gantner and Jeff Cirillo both surpass them. Woodruff is an interesting argument to be the best signed player drafted between rounds 11-15, but isn’t there yet, mostly due to struggles this year. If it weren’t for this year, he would likely be the best in my opinion, but his RAR and WAA both are concerning, and his recent fight with Raynaud’s Syndrome and some injuries provide some question marks. If he returns to his old self from 2019 onward, where he was a two-time All-Star (2019, 2021), and finished fifth in Cy Young voting in 2021, he will easily make it back to the top. The right-handed throwing Woodruff has started 89 of the 104 games pitched, with all of his outings of relief in his first two years in 2017 and 2018. He has an ERA of 3.32 in his 6]-year career, along with a great 129 ERA+ while having 12.7 WAR. If those question marks can be answered, which looks like they might, he will be the best of the bunch. Be sure to discuss in the comments about my rankings! Do you think that Woodruff should be the top? Or are the two pronged, Jim Gantner and Jeff Cirillo better right now? Unsigned doesn’t offer much, but is Tim Dillard better than Mallex Smith? Finally, should I have included John Jaha too? Let me know and keep an eye out for the next one! View full article
  5. Part two of this Bob Uecker-narrated retrospective of the 1989 Milwaukee Brewers focuses on a trio of veterans: Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, and Robin Yount. While Gantner was injured and struggled for much of the season, Molitor went on a tear late in the season, posting long hitting streaks and absurd batting averages. Meanwhile, Robin Yount was hitting milestones left and right as he set the Brewers home run record, recorded his 1,000th RBI, and his 2,000th hit.
  6. Part two of this Bob Uecker-narrated retrospective of the 1989 Milwaukee Brewers focuses on a trio of veterans: Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, and Robin Yount. While Gantner was injured and struggled for much of the season, Molitor went on a tear late in the season, posting long hitting streaks and absurd batting averages. Meanwhile, Robin Yount was hitting milestones left and right as he set the Brewers home run record, recorded his 1,000th RBI, and his 2,000th hit. View full video
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