Round ’em Up: Friday

11 07 2008

UPDATE 07-11-08 3:04pm – Baseball America picked their minor league All-Star team last week. Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, and Matt LaPorta all made the squad. It is amazing how stacked Huntsville is, even with the departure of LaPorta. (Tip of the cap to Aaron for this one)

Dixieflatline from Brew Crew Ball has a great post that takes a look at the horizontal movement of Dave Bush’s pitches and attempts to figure out why he has struggled on the road. Ned Yost says the mound at Miller Park is to Dave’s liking. That could play a big part, as Dave has far more movement on his pitches when he’s at home. Give it a look. It’s great stuff.

I never wish injury onto anyone, but the Milwaukee Brewers get some good luck this weekend. Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang will miss his scheduled start against the Brewers due to a strained forearm. The injury is not serious, but it will allow the Crew to dodge him. Harang has killed Milwaukee when pitching against them throughout his career. In 2008 alone, the big right-hander has two starts and is 1-0. He went eight innings in both starts and only gave up one run in each game. Thank goodness the Crew doesn’t have to deal with Harang this weekend.

The Junkball Blues analyzes the amount of extra-base hits the Brewers hit.  No surprise, the majority of these hitters are extra-base hit machines.  The league average is about 1/3 of the hits to be for extras.  The only players for Milwaukee that do not live up to that are Craig Counsell and Jason Kendall.  No surprises there.

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I know I usually write an NL Central Review on Fridays, but it takes far too long to write. The response is not nearly as high now as it was at the beginning, so I think I will begin to include more NL Central news in the Round ’em Ups instead of a separate post each week. I apologize if you were looking for the Review today, but I would rather spread the information out through the week and give more continuous attention to the NL Central.

  • In case you did not know already, Corey Hart officially made the All-Star team thanks to your votes! Chuckie Hacks has the video of the Brewers mobbing Corey and giving him a little beer shower during his press conference. You want to know why people say Milwaukee’s clubhouse is great? Take a look at the video. It’s obvious that the guys truly like and respect each other.
  • Bill Chuck from Dugout Central takes a look at the NL All-Star team and has a little commentary after each player. He doesn’t have Corey on the list though, so it must have been written before the final vote ended.
  • ESPN.com has an interview of CC Sabathia with reporter Amy Nelson. It’s nice to see that CC is an articulate young man who is genuinely excited about being in Milwaukee. When asked about how much money it would take to keep him in Milwaukee after the season, however, he gave a very evasive answer. He says he wants a winning team with a great attitude. Perhaps Milwaukee can be that place for him.
  • ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says Zack Greinke was Milwaukee’s Plan B if they were unable to score Sabathia. This is interesting, as all reports have said Greinke is not on the market and will not be until after the season is over. The reliever idea is intriguing though.
  • Aaron from Brew Crew Pub has a recap of the Colorado Rockies series. Let’s hope the Reds series goes a little better this weekend. The Crew needs to go into the All-Star Break on a high note.
  • SportsBubbler names RHP R.J. Seidel the Prospect of the Week. His change-up is electric. It’s nice to see the LaCrosse native put a couple good outings together. I still see him in a relief role, but it will depend on how he handles Brevard County next season. Eric Fryer is also mentioned in the Three Up category, but they make it sound like he hasn’t done anything until this week. He has raked since being promoted to West Virginia. Get used to the name.
  • The Hardball Times has a great piece that breaks down the mechanics and projectability of RHP Jake Odorizzi and LHP Evan Frederickson. The general consensus is that Odorizzi is something special, and the Brewers were lucky to get him with the #32 pick. I had not heard this before, but Jake is apparently trying out a four-seam fastball and has seen his velocity jump up to 95. With such a wiry frame, he should be able to add a couple ticks to that fastball too.Frederickson, on the other hand, did not receive much praise from THT. The author actually refused to rate Evan because the video being used did not match the reports of him. He was throwing much too slow. His control was still horrible though.
  • The Brew Town Beat gives everyone in the batting order a theme song when coming up to bat. This is a nice light piece to kill some time while you’re at work.
  • The Seattle Mariners finally released former-Brewer Richie Sexson. When you’re as tall as he is, a drop from productivity is a big fall. I suspect he’ll land somewhere. Not Milwaukee though. Don’t get excited.
  • Cardinals Diaspora thinks its time for another NL Central team to negotiate a deal with Billy Beane. This time, the target would be Joe Blanton. If you really want Joe Blanton and his 5.00+ ERA, I will not stop you. St. Louis’ pitching coach, Dave Duncan, has worked wonders with the Cards’ pitching staff in 2008, but this may be asking for a little too much.
  • Do you think the Cardinals aren’t worried about the big moves made by the Brewers and the Cubs this past week? You’d be wrong. St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa is asking for the front office to get him help right now. He does not want to wait for the return of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in mid-August. He wants that help right now. It’s nice to make other teams feel nervous.
  • JoeSportsFan.com has the 7 Worst Trades in the last decade. That Aramis Ramirez deal to Chicago remains one of the worst deals that has affected the Milwaukee Brewers. Every time I think about that deal, I just get upset. How did that seem like a good idea at the time? I know hindsight is 20/20, but seriously. What was Pittsburgh thinking?

I promised you all some big news either yesterday or today. I’m still working on it. The news just didn’t quite happen when it was planned. Stay tuned though. I’m not just teasing you all, don’t worry. Something is actually happening, and it is significant.





Round ’em Up: Wednesday

9 07 2008

Those are a couple of pictures I got of CC Sabathia during his pre-game warmup. They’re not very big on here, but program I’m using doesn’t let it get much bigger.

The atmosphere inside Miller Park was absolutely electric last night, and the Brewers did not disappoint. The Crew sent the fans home happy with a 7-3 victory over the suddenly hot Colorado Rockies.

In the first inning, Ryan Braun launched a 430′ home run into the left field bleachers. The guy behind me one row and two guys to the left caught the ball. I was about three feet away from getting my glove on it. How awesome would that have been? Oh well. Another day, another time, maybe.

Let’s get into the news.

  • Jim Powell says CC Sabathia delivered in a big way last night. The “Sabathia era” is now in motion, no matter how short of a time it would be. He has some audio from Sabathia himself, Doug Melvin, and the in-game audio from last night. In Sabathia’s post-game comments, he said he was overly excited and tried to overthrow a bunch of his pitches. I agree with that completely. It’s understandable that he was trying to impress the Miller Park crowd that gave him two or three standing ovations before even throwing a pitch.
  • In some other trade news, Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports is reporting that Milwaukee is showing interest in San Francisco’s second baseman Ray Durham and lefty reliever Jack Taschner. Durham makes a lot of sense for the Brewers, as Rickie Weeks is struggling again to find his swing. Taschner, on the other hand, is a little bit of a mystery to me. Mitch Stetter has better stuff than Jack, and Mitch is much younger. I would much rather Doug Melvin target someone like Jon Rauch from Washington. That would also deepen the bullpen past this season.
  • Milwaukee finally signs second-round draft pick RHP Seth Lintz. There was a bit of confusion last month, as a report had been leaked that Lintz had signed with the Crew when he hadn’t. That’s all inconsequential at this point. The young man went 9-0 with a 0.57 ERA in high school down in Tennessee last season. That’s not too bad. He will report to AZL Brewers very soon.
  • Driving home from the game last night, I turned on ESPN radio to see if the Cubs won or lost last night. After learning that they pulled out a win, I found out they traded for Rich Harden from the As. What?! That was quick! Chicago gave up Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and minor-league catcher Josh Donaldson. The Cubs also received reliever Chad Gaudin to ease the load on Carlos Marmol. Not many Brewers fans are going to admit this after the big Sabathia trade, but this move by the Cubs hurts. I really thought they were going to be stuck with A.J. Burnett. By giving up Gallagher, however, their starting pitching depth is extremely thin. They cannot afford for Harden to get injured, and that is obviously no guarantee.
  • I never thought I would write this in 2008, but FOX Sports’ Dayn Perry actually wrote something positive about the NL Central. In fact, he even says good things about the Brewers! I’ll give you a second to catch your breath. He still gives the edge to the Cubs down the stretch, and it is very hard not to. Perry is right about something else, too. This is going to be a fun ride to the end of the season.
  • How did the Brewers react to the Rich Harden acquisition? Exactly as they should. Ned Yost couldn’t care less, and Doug Melvin loves the competition. The article also quotes Mark Attanasio saying that Doug Melvin is going to be looking for another piece before the trade deadline. Don’t get too excited though. Milwaukee simply cannot afford another big-name player. Their payroll is extremely high right now, and their is no room on the roster to add someone.
  • The Brew Town Beat is reporting that MLB.com contributor for Milwaukee said on the radio this morning that the back-end of the rotation will be a platoon once Jeff Suppan returns from the DL. Seth McClung is going to pitch on the road, and Dave Bush will take the ball at home. The statistics would argue that is a perfect solution, but I think McClung should move to the bullpen. It is extremely unlikely they will both be able to stay fresh pitching every 10th day or so. Give the ball to Bush every fifth and move McClung to the ‘pen. His control has improved greatly and could thrive in a late-inning role.
  • In-Between Hops takes a look at the Home Run Derby swing curse. It has long been suspected that the Home Run Derby messes up a player’s swing for the second half. Case and point, Bobby Abreu. This post, however, says it is a myth and gives some convincing statistics to back it up. Let’s hope Ryan Braun doesn’t come back from the All-Star Break trying to hit a home run every at-bat. Prince Fielder already does that.
  • Chuckie Hacks has an update on Derrick Turnbow in case you forgot about him.
  • Dugout Central hands out the mid-season Cy Young awards for both the NL and the AL. The clear-cut favorites are Edinson Volquez for the National League and Cliff Lee for the American League. There are others in the discussion, however. I just don’t understand how the article cannot even mention Ben Sheets in the Cy Young mix. That 10-2 record with a 2.77 ERA not doing it for you? Yes, Volquez has been better, but give Sheets his due. Mention him in the discussion.




Round ’em Up: Tuesday

8 07 2008

After falling to a little bit of a hangover last night, the Brewers will trot out CC Sabathia to the mound to a sold-out crowd.  Yes, yes…I will be there.  Perhaps I can get a picture of the big guy.  Probably not though, as I will not be close at all to the action.  Who cares?!  The atmosphere is going to be electric.

  • CC Sabathia is very excited to be in Milwaukee.  He is a little worried about his batting average going down – yes, the man has a sense of humor.  The big lefty is saying all the right things on his first day in Milwaukee.  He’s always been a fantastic clubhouse guy who is extremely charismatic.  Can’t complain about that.
  • Here is some audio from the CC press conference.
  • The agent of Michael Brantley and Taylor Green has a blog.  The latest news is that both Brantley and Green are on the table for Cleveland’s PTBNL.  Why would you get rid of Brantley?  He had all the makings to be Milwaukee’s lead-off hitter and center fielder in just a couple years.  I can only hope the fact that he does not fit into Cleveland’s plans (because of Grady Sizemore) steers them towards Green.  Taylor Green is a great player, but he is not as polished as Brantley.
  • Yahoo! Sports has a nice little article about how excited Milwaukee is to have CC Sabathia on the team.  The management is extremely excited.  Giddy, in fact.  I never realized that David Riske and CC were such good friends.  They have been texting and calling each other for over two weeks about the impending trade.  CC may like his time in Milwaukee a whole lot.
  • Jim Powell says Doug Melvin cements his status as one of the game’s best GMs through this trade.  The news about Michael Brantley changed this for me.  If Brantley is the PTBNL, only a playoff berth will ease the pain.  If it is Green, I will be upset…but not heartbroken.  I just do not understand how Doug could even consider giving up two of the “Huntsville 5” to get a 3 month rental.  If CC signs an extension after the year, the deal becomes a steal, even if Brantley is included.
  • Dixieflatline from Brew Crew Ball analyzes how much CC will affect the win-loss record in Milwaukee.  After a some calculations, it comes out to about 10%.  I’ll take that.
  • The Hardball Times has a great breakdown of the trade.  It assumes that Taylor Green will be the PTBNL.  I agree that Cleveland most likely wouldn’t have been able to draft someone of Matt LaPorta’s value next season.  He’s a very advanced bat for his age.  The one issue I have is that the article says CC will provide some wins because it will push Seth McClung to the bullpen and send Randy Choate to the minors.  There is a problem with that logic.  Choate isn’t on the big league squad…
  • In-Between Hops says Brewers fans can thank Mark Attanasio for the Sabathia move.  I couldn’t agree more.  The article mentions something about the Brewers finishing in the red this season, but there is no way that will happen.  Did you see the ticket sales in the first two days after the trade?  Enough said.
  • Right Field Bleachers has their week InReview segment.  I do enjoy the part about Corey Hart.
  • The Brew Town Beat is hoping Yovani Gallardo will be back in September.  I did see the article from Baseball Prospectus that says Yo is already throwing from 45-feet and has a chance to be back in Sept.  Just do not rush him back from his injury.  He is a huge part of the team’s future.  Gallardo will almost certainly come in from the ‘pen if he returns.  There is simply not enough time to stretch his arm out and get him into the starting rotation.
  • Brew Crew Pub has a recap of last night’s game.  The Brewers played flat baseball.  There was no emotion.
  • Brewers Fanatics has a Prospect Watch on OF Cutter Dykstra.  There isn’t much for a scouting report in there, but he is certainly someone to watch down in Helena.  He is showing solid plate discipline already, which is exceptional for a high school prospect.
  • Philly.com says the Phillies could not compete in the Sabathia sweepstakes because they did not have high-caliber position prospects that Cleveland demanded.  They will most likely shift their attention to Erik Bedard.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates expect SS Jack Wilson to stay exactly where he is.  Reports said the Los Angeles Dodgers backed out of the Sabathia race to focus on Wilson, but it seems that is no longer the case.  If LA wants Alcides Escobar and Zach Braddock, I wouldn’t mind taking Clayton Kershaw off their hands…
  • ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark thinks the Brewers just upgraded their team in a big way, but he still likes the Chicago Cubs in the division.  Oh really?  ESPN went with a big-market team?  Excuse me if I don’t gasp in amazement.
  • A few Brewers fans had been clamoring for a trade for RHP Justin Duchscherer from Oakland during the off-season.  That is unlikely, as Justin wants to sign an extension to stay with the As.  He’s been absolutely phenomenal this season.

On a side note, the big news I promised for the site should happen around the end of the week.  Stay tuned.  I am quite excited.