10. Prince Fielder’s increased platoon split
Year - RHP _ LHP (OPS)
2006 - .835, .819
2007 – 1.100, .834
2008 - .955, .733
When Prince came into the league he hit lefties and righties reasonably well. In 2007 he (in my opinion) began to pull the ball more frequently, and to great effect, however, the league adjusted and while Prince still pounds righties something fierce, lefties are having an increasingly easy time with the hefty lefty. Having a platoon split is fine. Most players have them. The problem with the Brewers is that they are very right handed, and if Prince stays this way or gets worse, it will make him very easy to manage in high leverage situations. He didn’t even take his walks last year against lefties, putting up a terrible .313 OBP. Yuck.
You can count me amongst those who would like to see Fielder traded. His offense isn’t that great for a first baseman, and his defense gives a lot of his value back. He should be traded while something can be had for him.
9. Corey Hart’s Swing
Say Mr. Hart, why the long swing?
One thing I’m always on the lookout for is luck v. adjustments. Sometimes a slump or a hot streak is due to luck, but in Corey’s case, I think it may be more than that. Corey’s always had a long swing that makes him prone to striking out. The problem last year was that pitchers would set him up with a fastball, and then pound him low. Corey couldn’t (and couldn’t afford to) lay off those low pitches. If he is to get back to being a productive player, he has to develop more of a take and rake mentality, and let those low pitches go by.
8. CC and Sheeter will hurt more than you think
Why? Because in games pitched by Sheets and CC, the bullpen often did not see much, if any action. Granted the bullpen will probably be better this year, but you’re also likely to see more of it. Gallardo will probably be treated with kid gloves, at least early on (and especially if he plays in the WBC, as expected), and Parra is still young enough to warrant a pitch count. We are used to getting big doses of the bullpen in Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush starts, but now this may be a common occurrence.
7. Who is number 5?
Is it McClung? If not, who else, and if so, who is going to pitch the second half of his games?
So long, Gabe Kapler. By Russ, King of the Three True Outcomes. Hello Mike Lamb. Hi there, Tony “Not Tony Gwynn, Sr.” Gwynn, Jr.
5. Our Wart Covered Prospects.
Angel Salome has a weird body type that scouts can’t figure out. If he can’t catch adequately there is no place for him. Mat Gamel has been Braun-like at third and his value goes wayyyy down at first. Jeremy Jeffress digs the weed. Brad Nelson is actually a beaver. There are no sure things down there.
4. Bill Hall/Mike Lamb
Bill Hall and Russell Branyan. Yeah, OK. Bill Hall and Mike Lamb? I guess it’s better than just Bill Hall.
3. Who is on second?
Do we continue the Rickie Weeks experiment? Can he finally get his head out of his ass?
2. Who is catching?
This is a bigger problem than just the catcher. In general, you have a dead out in the 9 spot. When Kendall catches, they basically have a dead out in the 8 spot as well. With 2 dead outs in the lineup you can’t give too much more away, which is why it’s crucial that Hart starts watching those low pitches, and Rickie plays at least average, and either Bill Hall or Mike Lamb takes advantage of this platoon, and Prince Fielder doesn’t try to pull lefties. The offense wasn’t that good last year. They can’t give too much more away. And remember, without Branyan last year, they do not make the playoffs.
1. What if disaster strikes?
The single worst part of Doug Melvin’s lack of spending this offseason is what it may mean as the season moves along. Think about this. Reed Johnson takes out Yovanni Gallardo’s leg last year, and the Brewers manage to go out and get CC Sabathia, an adequate replacement if ever there was one. What happens if there is a major injury this year? What if Ryan Braun gets hurt? You will not see Adam Dunn brought in, because the budget is too tight. You won’t see a pitcher brought in either, in all likelihood.
Last year this team dealt with bad luck by using their financial resources. This year they have to rely on good luck. That’s a tall order, because injuries are the norm in professional sports, not the exception.
For all of these reasons, I am not optimistic. I do not think they will me an unmitigated disaster, but for now it’s hard for me to imagine this team being substantially over .500.
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