Round ’em Up: Wednesday

28 05 2008

I’m feeling well today after the Brewers pulled out an exciting, yet also frustrating, game against the Atlanta Braves.  The Crew will face a lefty in Jo-Jo Reyes today, so Bill Hall will be in the lineup.  Perhaps he’ll play with that same emotion he played with, especially since he said he hasn’t lately.  Interesting comment…

  • After Russell Branyan’s call-up on Monday, MLB Trade Rumors says that Bill Hall could be one of a handfull of third baseman that could be had near the trade deadline.  That would be an interesting move for the Brewers to make, and I believe they will seriously consider it if the Brewers continue to scuffle.

    Anyone else notice Dallas McPherson on that list.  He would be an interesting player to have in Triple-A.  He’s young, been hampered by injuries, but he can flat out hit.  Doug Melvin won’t make the move, as the Marlins are notorious for demanding an arm and a leg.  It would be an intriguing move though.

  • Speaking of trades, Eli from MLB Rumors says that Prince Fielder will not be moved this summer.  I hope he doesn’t believe he’s relaying some groundbreaking news here.  The Brewers are not moving their superstar when they still have control of him for another three years.  They might consider it once his salary reaches the $10M range, but not now.

    Eli also says that the Brewers may entertain trade proposals for Ben Sheets near the deadline if the Brewers cannot return to their winning ways.  Really?  I just don’t understand why he feels this is enlightening.  People have been saying this since the season began.  Before that even.

  • Eli is just Brewers central today.  He also says that the Brewers are still probably interested in Huston Street.  First of all, Milwaukee is in no position to be buyers right now.  Milwaukee is playing worse than Oakland.  That trade makes no sense.  Secondly, Salomon Torres has handled the closer’s role just fine, thank you very much.  The Brewers will not be trading prospects for Street (who has a history of arm troubles, by the way).  Eli has lost a lot of credibility to me right now.
  • Brewerfan.net has a 2008 Draft Preview up.  You all should definitely check this out.  Get to know some of the faces that may be a part of the Brewers farm system in just a couple months.
  • Dugout Central names Ned Yost as one of the five managers who are most likely to get fired.  Duh.
  • Brewers Fanatics has a little prospect information up about Jeremy Jeffress.  If you want a little more in-depth look at Jeremy, here’s a Prospect Profile of him that I did when I first created this site.  The site has come a long way, no?
  • SportsBubbler.com names RHP Omar Aguilar the Prospect of the Week.  I agree that his fly-ball tendencies are a cause for concern, but Ben Sheets also is a fly-ball pitcher.  Benny’s doing just fine.  If Omar can spot his slider, the fly-balls will not matter so much.
  • Tennessean.com has an article about Derrick Turnbow and how he’s trying to find his stuff down in Nashville.  Do you want to know why Derrick cannot make it in the big leagues anymore?  Look at what he had to say:

    “I felt like I was always one more bad game away from getting sent down or released,” Turnbow said. “Pitching under that kind of pressure doesn’t lead to good things.”

    If you cannot pitch under pressure, Derrick, I do not want you coming into tight games.  I do not want to rely on you to get an out with runners on base if you cannot deal with pressure.  That comment from Derrick just makes me sick.

  • John Sickels has a round-up of the Top 50 pitching prospects and how they are doing.  He says that Manny Parra has been struggling with his command, which is why he has posted a 5.00+ ERA.  John still likes him for the long-term though.  Me too, John.  Me too.
  • Here’s an article from Charleston, WV about OF Eric Fryer.  Eric came to WV as a catcher, but has played strictly in the outfield thus far.  He’s done everything the team has asked him to do, and he’s produced along the way in 2008.  You have to like a guy that will play wherever the manager wants him to play and still produce.
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Round ’em Up: Sunday

25 05 2008

Writing the Round ’em Up in the morning is a lot more pleasant after a win. The Brewers sites are a lot more pleasant to read, and I don’t have to relive the loss thirty times each morning. Not too much has been written on the Brewers this morning, however. That’s probably due to the people that are wasting gas and traveling this weekend.

  • This post made my entire night last night. Russell Branyan has been called up from Nashville and will start tonight against the right-handed Tim Redding. To make room for the veteran, Tony Gwynn Jr. got sent down to Triple-A. The young man needs to play every day.Russell is not going to come into Milwaukee and hit .400 against righties, but I can almost guarantee you that he’ll succeed more than Bill Hall against right-handed pitching. It’s nice to see Doug Melvin taking steps towards improving the team. You can only say “it’s early” for so long before time comes to adjust the lineup. I am happy this morning.
  • Tom Haudricourt says that Derrick Turnbow is not going anywhere, despite his downright awful numbers in Triple-A. It’s to the point that I don’t really care now. Jeff Weaver, however, has the option to be released from his contract in a couple weeks if he does not make the big league squad. If he continues pitching the way he has, Jeff may be searching for another team soon.
  • After spouting off about the Brewers yesterday, The Brew Town Beat is markedly happier today. Seth McClung has infused them with a bit of hope as well. Russell Branyan is another reason to put a smile on your face this morning, Brewers fans. The article also mentions that Carlos Villanueva should get an opportunity in the closer’s role. Disagree. Carlos does not have the stuff to be a closer. His change-up is not good enough right now to be the Trever Hoffman-type closer. And I completely disagree with the comment on Salomon Torres struggling. If Bill Hall wouldn’t have forced him to get five outs last night, he wouldn’t have had to throw many pitches. In fact, Torres almost got two saves in one night…
  • Dugout Central mentions that the Milwaukee Brewers have had eight straight seasons with a losing record on the road. In past years, the Brewers were under .500 on the road because they were a bad team. Now, I blame Ned Yost. If you cannot get your players energized to play for you on the road, you are not doing your job as manager.
  • As mentioned yesterday, RHP Donovan Hand was promoted to Huntsville yesterday after dominating high Class-A ball with Brevard County. Here’s a nice article on Donovan.  He credits his fine pitching this year to his hard-breaking slider he worked on this off-season. Before 2008, Donovan got by with a fastball and a change-up. He needed that third pitch.It’s crazy to think that Donovan has been promoted three times already in his minor league career, and he was only drafted in June. He was still pitching in college at this point last season. Impressive.

Post of the Day:

After talking about Mat Gamel and his defensive improvements at third base, The Huntsville Times wrote a very, very nice article about Gamel. You cannot help but like the guy after reading this article. He’s taking his defensive trouble’s personally. He wants to prove everyone wrong about his defensive capabilities. His coaches say that his throws have gotten much more consistent this year, but he has still made 11 errors this season. It’s not great, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The other aspect of the article I very much enjoyed was Gamel’s humility. He didn’t tell his girlfriend he was a star prospect in the Brewers system until after she came home to meet his parents. He didn’t tell anyone about being considered for a call up to the big leagues to play DH against Boston. The third baseman is too concerned with becoming a complete baseball player. That starts on the defensive end.

Great article.





Round ‘Em Up Thursday

22 05 2008

Twenty cent rise in gas prices in the last 24 hours got you down?  Here are some of the Milwaukee Brewers stories floating around the Inter-Web today.  Maybe that will pick up your spirits…

First off, congrats to the work horse Ben Sheets for his fantastic outing last night. It was even more amazing that after the fourth inning (he had five by then) he didn’t have a single strikeout until the final batter.  Taking 11 hits last night and only allowing one run to score (which was a homer) is a credit to Sheets and a solid defense behind him. P.S. Nice catch Mike Cameron!

* Worried about Eric Gagne?  Yeah, me too… I haven’t slept at all since he blew our first shutout since April. Just in case you were hoping the you might never see him again.  Your chances just got a little bit better in the short-term.  The J-S is reporting that Gagne and his sore shoulder will keep him sidelined “indefinitely”.” Gagne has been experiencing “tightness and inflammation” since his duty against the Pirates on Tuesday.  Ironically those are the same words I would use to describe myself when Gagne gets on the mound and then follows with blowing up.

* The Junkball Blues has a bunch of stat break downs of what is the best battling line-up approach for the Brewers.  Its kinda cool that you can see hitting, power, and patience.  For that last one I don’t know if we can even field a line-up! Ha! Get it? Because we have no patience and strike out a lot! Funny!

* Fox Sports Dayn Perry looks at the red-hot Chicago Cubs and decides there is no freakin’ way that these guys can keep up the torrid hitting, pitching, and defense.  He says that its the pitching that will eventually fall off. Works for me. I don’t care how they fall apart as long as they do.

* Is the Brewers’ front office racist?  Brewers Bar thinks is might be a possibility in considering why Braun got a contract before Fielder.  I’ve got to be honest and in no way, shape, or form, did this thought even consider forming itself in my head.  Where do people get stories like this?  Must have gone to the Badger Blogger School of Journalism.

* Is Eric Gagne Fidel Castro?  Bugs & Cranks makes the case that the low-profile of the Cuban dictator of the last ten years matches up with the rising profile of Gagne.  Makes sense to me.

* V-Dub (aka Carlos Villanueva) is cool with heading to the ‘pen.  He’s just glad that he’s not rooming with Turnbow in Triple A.

* Any finally, Brew Crew Pub grades Doug Melvin over the last couple of years.  Tough teacher!

This is the first time for me doing the Round ‘Em Up so please feel free to link to any stories I might have missed today.  Thanks!

By: Dan Wiersema





Round ’em Up: Saturday

10 05 2008

Finally!!!  Rickie Weeks comes through last night with a huge hit in the bottom of the ninth.  Unfortunately, I was unable to catch the game last night.  I missed a dandy.  It feels wonderful to get off the losing streak.

  • Derrick Turnbow has accepted his move to Triple-A Nashville.  I figured that Derrick would not be able to forfeit his $3.2M contract just to keep his pride.  Four teams were apparently interested in Turnbow, but a deal could not be worked out.  The teams wanted Doug Melvin to pay for most of Turnbow’s contract and were only offering a middling prospect in return.  That is certainly not worth losing an arm like Derrick’s.  I hope he can figure something out in Nashville.
  • Tom Haudricourt is reporting that Yovani Gallardo should be having surgery next week.  Yo says that he hopes that he can get back before the season is done.  I appreciate the enthusiasm, but the Brewers need him for the next few years.  Yo cannot jeopardize his future with Milwaukee trying to rush back.
  • (Hat tip to Right Field Bleachers) I has been reported, albeit from an unreliable source, that Ryan Braun has signed a long-term contract with Milwaukee.  It appears to be worth between $8-9M per year and will buy out one of his free agency years.  That price tag seems a little steep to me, especially for a player with only one year of experience.  We shall see.
  • The Junkball Blues has my favorite post for today that analyzes the struggles the offense has dealt with.  It outlines the attributes that are taken into consideration for what a good approach at the plate truly means.  Let me give you a little hint, Ryan Braun does not take many pitches and does not walk often.  Shocked?  Check out the rest of the post.
  • Al’s Ramblings believes that Seth McClung should get a shot at the starting rotation.  Really?  I think he’d have to come in during more important situations and prove himself before I give him the ball every fifth day.
  • RHP Amaury Rivas from the West Virginia Power is getting some praise.  This article delves a little into Amaury’s arsenal.  He has a 95mph fastball that overpowers young hitters, and a slider that is big league ready…according to his manager.  It sounds like he still has some control issues, but his stuff is electric.  The 22-year old Dominican will be one to watch out for this season.

    The article also notes that LHP Mike Ramlow will be on his way to Brevard County sometime soon.  The big lefty has shown dominant stuff in West Virginia thus far in 2008.

  • Florida Today writes an article on Brevard County’s CF Darren Ford.  In case you did not know, he’s fast.  He had five stolen bases in a game last week.  He has 21 stolen bases already.  That is seven more than his closest competitor in the entire league.  The article does note that his swing needs some work.  The offense as a whole is not where it needs to be, but Darren does possess some special gifts that will separate him from everyone else in the system.  Don’t blink, you just might miss Darren as he flies up the prospect list.

Don’t forget to comment on Dan’s article from yesterday.  I would really like to know if Dan’s work is something you all would like to see on BrewersNation regularly, and I’m sure Dan would love to get some feedback.  So please, comment on the article below!!!





Round ’em Up: Friday

9 05 2008

The Brewers are mired in a six-game slide.  This stretch may mark the lowest part of the season, even though it is early in 2008.  Starters are not going deep into games, and the offense is obviously not producing a lick.  The Crew will look to turn it around against the Cardinals this weekend.  Thank goodness we’re back at home…

  • Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, and Jason Kendall were all absent from the Brewers lineup last night.  Was it a shake-up to get the offense going?  Ned Yost says no.  It was simply a scheduled day off for some of the starters.  The team will play 29 out of the next 30 days, and Yost felt like he needed to get his players some rest.
  • The Sports Bubbler has a preview of the Brewers-Cardinals series.  Let me give you a little hint: the bats and the arms need to start producing.
  • The Yost Infection believes it is time to give Ned Yost the boot.  I agree with the article in the fact that the team’s struggles are certainly not the manager’s fault.  That does not mean that the team could use a little shake-up at the top.  Personally, I believed that the signing of Ted Simmons meant that Ned was going to have a short leash in 2008.  If the team cannot turn it around on the homestand, Yost may be on his way out.
  • It appears that Derrick Turnbow will be on his way to Triple-A Nashville.  The distinct possibility of a trade is dwindling quickly, and Derrick will most likely not forfeit his $3.2M contract.  Hopefully, Derrick will be able to fix his control problems in the minors.  Perhaps he needs a little time in Nashville to get back his appreciation for the game.  Perhaps he simply needs to be away from booing fans in Milwaukee.  Either way, a change is needed.
  • Michael Hunt also believes that Ned Yost is in danger of getting the boot.
  • The Junkball Blues analyzes the last handfull of starts by Brewers starters.  There have been no quality starts since Yovani Gallardo‘s start against the Cubs at Wrigley.  I honestly believed that the starting pitching had a chance to be a strength for the Crew this season.  Apparently, that is not the case.  Jeff Suppan and Manny Parra need to step it up specifically.
  • In one of the most interesting articles of the day, The Brew Town Beat contends that it is time for a change at the closer’s spot.  Who would replace Eric GagneGuillermo MotaDavid Riske?  Nope, none of the above.  Try Carlos Villanueva.  I have personally not examined his splits, but Brew Town asserts that Carlos is most effective early in his starts.  This is not a persuasive argument, as Manny Parra is also most effective in the first three innings as well.  In fact, so is David Bush.  Gagne is not the reason the Brewers are losing games.  There is no need for a change.
  • Beyond the Boxscore compares Matt LaPorta to Ryan Braun.  That is not a bad comparison at all for the former Florida Gator.  The article goes on to say that LaPorta will most likely play right field for the Crew, while Corey Hart moves to center, and Braun stays in left.  Hmmm…where have you heard that before?  Oh yes, I said that just a couple days ago.  It’s funny how people write that stuff like they thought of it first.  (Yes, I do realize that I was not the first to come up with that too.)
  • Mark Rogers, a former first-round pick for the Crew, is experiencing more pain in his shoulder.  I believe he should be re-named Mark Prior Jr.
  • How about some good news for the day?  Doug Davis has been declared “cancer-free.” Doug had been battling thyroid cancer and had surgery a few weeks ago.  That is fantastic news for the ex-Brewer.  Let’s hope that he gets back on the mound very quickly and that the cancer is indeed gone for good.
  • Another ex-Brewer, Richie Sexon, charged the mound last night against the Texas Rangers.  Richie charged after Kason Gabbard threw a ball up and in on the big righty.  This is a rather humorous video, as the ball was not very close to Richie’s head.  Plus, he apparently needed to throw his helmet at Gabbard instead of using his 6’8″ frame to pummel him.  Lame.
  • Here is a nice article about John Axford.  The Brewers gave the young pitcher another chance after the New York Yankees released him after last season.
  • It is largely accepted that the Milwaukee Brewers will be taking a pitcher in the first round of the 2008 First Year Player draft.  Minor League Ball has a rundown of some of the likely pitchers to be taken early in the draft.  One of these pitchers is likely to be a Brewer in a couple months.  My money is on LHP Christian Friedrich from Eastern Kentucky University.  Just a prediction though.




Round ’em Up: Monday

5 05 2008

The Brewers lost a heartbreaker last night in Houston. Eric Gagne pitched better than his line suggested. The umps were awful, but they were awful to both teams. Houston got a couple terrible calls against them earlier in the game. Milwaukee’s bad calls just came at a more crucial part of the game. I’m beginning to get a little more pensive about the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers, and I’ll be working on a nice article in the upcoming days. For now, the Brewers have a much-needed day off. Here’s a Round ’em Up to keep you entertained.

  • The Brewer Nation spouts off about the game last night. Apparently, last night’s debacle is Ned Yost’s fault. I understand that many people, especially those writing at The Brewer Nation, do not like Ned even a little bit, but I fail to see why this loss can be blamed on Ned. People are just looking for someone to blame.Otherwise, I do agree with some of the article. Jim Cuzzi, last night’s home plate umpire, squeezed the strike zone for Eric Gagne in the bottom of the ninth. Even Rock mentioned it last night on the air, and he tends to stay neutral most of the time. Michael Bourn did get a couple of friendly calls, but they did not compare to the calls Lance Berkman got. I must admit that a couple of those ball calls were ridiculous. At the same time, ball four to Berkman was not even close.

    Geoff Blum was out at first base. The first base umpire flat missed it. I didn’t even need to see the slow-motion replay to call him out. That would have changed the complexion of the inning. Gagne actually got four outs that inning, and he threw way more strikes than he got granted. Overall, it was a tough loss. Gagne was throwing good pitches for the most part. Cuzzi did not reward him though.

  • Tom Haudricourt has a nice informational piece. Eric Gagne leads the major leagues in blown saves. Oh, really? Thanks. That really brightened my day.Gagne is improving. His velocity is increasing with every outing, and his change-up still bites hard. His control was a little off yesterday, but he is pitching well right now. Yost should not demote Gagne here. If he does, however, I see Guillermo Mota getting the ball. After Gagne’s first blown save, I did note that Mota had the best stuff to succeed Gagne as closer if he were to falter. My prognostication looks to be right on there. Not to toot my own horn or anything….
  • Jim Powell talks about the trip to Houston. Let me summarize it for you. Thank goodness we are getting out of town.
  • The New York Mets are internally discussing whether or not signing Derrick Turnbow would be a good decision. It looks like Doug will not be finding a trading partner for Derrick. Teams will wait until he is released.
  • I have more about Eric Gagne. Yes, I know you love it. Remember how during the off-season, Ned Yost claimed that Gagne’s struggles last season in Boston related to the fact that he was not in the closer’s role anymore? An article on Dugout Central takes a look as to whether that actually matters. In general, it seems that there is very little correlation, but who knows? It’s just something else to look at concerning the subject.
  • Brewerfan.net unveiled their new Power 50 a couple of days ago. Matt LaPorta has taken over the #1 spot on the prospect rankings, while Mat Gamel is nipping at his heels. Take a look at Josh Butler though, he debuts on the list at #14. It is most likely wishful thinking on the part of the ranker, but he certainly has a higher ceiling than most of the Brewers pitching prospects. He’s looked fairly good since coming to Brevard County.




Mini-Round ’em Up: Sunday

4 05 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Houston Astros again last night.  What is it with Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra when it comes to the fifth inning?  It is getting a little ridiculous…

  • Jim Powell sums up what Brewers fans around the world thought and probably said when they heard about the Yovani Gallardo injury.
  • MLB Trade Rumors indicates that there are four unnamed teams that are interested in Derrick Turnbow.  A trade seems unlikely, unless the Brewers are willing to eat some of the contract or take a comparable contract back in return (like the Guillermo Mota acquisition).  I suspect that Doug will try to get a deal done in the next few days.  If I had to guess which teams were interested, I would say the Tigers, Braves, White Sox, and Mariners.  Just guesses though.

    The post also notes that the Brewers passed on Gerald Laird.  I guess I did not realize that we were in the market for a player we do not need.

  • Sticking with MLB Trade Rumors, the site says that the Texas Rangers are not interested in Derrick Turnbow.  I suspect that Doug attempted to get Laird for Turnbow, but the Rangers probably laughed at that deal.  The Rangers most likely then countered with an obnoxious deal, so the talk died quickly.
  • The Junkball Blues makes the case for a four-man rotation for the majority of the next 71 games (the amount of games until the All-Star Break).  The kicker is that it makes the case for Jeff Weaver to replace Manny Parra in the rotation for the most part.  You want to know what is scary?  I could easily be brought around to that argument.  Manny’s lack of command and lack of going deep into games has been annoying thus far in 2008.  The starting rotation has problems, ladies and gentlemen…in case you have not noticed.