Round ’em Up: Sunday

13 07 2008

UPDATE 07-13-08 1:05pm – Take a look at the brawl in the Huntsville Stars game last night!  Also, the error Cole Gillespie has in the highlights is downright embarrassing…(A tip of the cap to Mass Hass at Brewerfan.net for this one)

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(Insert your own witty opening right here.) Let’s jump right into this.

  • Ned Yost says that the defense is drastically improved from last season. He doesn’t want us to look at the number of errors though. That isn’t a realistic representation of the improvement. Yost likes the fact that the outfield has more range than last season. They can get to more balls.Sure, the defense has improved some from last season. It is by no means above-average, however. Bill Hall has a penchant for making the difficult play look easy and botching the routine plays. Ryan Braun may not have an error in left field, but he’s still trying to throw every man out at home and not hitting the cut off man. That allows runners on the basepaths to move up into scoring position after a mere single. Prince Fielder is certainly not above-average at first. The only real improvements are Mike Cameron in center field and Jason Kendall behind the dish. You like how I did that without looking at stats? Ned Yost would be proud.
  • The Brew Town Beat analyzes the trend of the platoon for the Milwaukee Brewers. There is the Bill Hall/Russell Branyan platoon. There is the proposed Dave Bush/Seth McClung platoon. Brew Town suggests a Craig Counsell/Joe Dillon platoon while Rickie Weeks gets sent down to Nashville to work some things out. My guess is Milwaukee is not going to go down that path unless there is a productive trading option – like a Ray Durham.
  • Jon Rauch is receiving a lot of attention on the Trade Market. I would suspect that Milwaukee will or has already kicked the tires. The problem is that Washington is known for trying to screw other teams in a deal. I suspect the asking price will be exorbitant.
  • Battlekow on Brew Crew Ball has a nice overview of the Future’s Game. It actually started about an hour ago, so go check it out on ESPN2. Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta are playing. Check it out.
  • Vinny Rottino and Lindsay Gulin were named to the PCL All-Star team. Rottino has performed better than expected behind the plate. He may be the back-up in Milwaukee next season. Gulin has been one of the only consistent performers in the starting rotation in Nashville. He has been walking too many people lately, but his ERA is still extremely respectable.Luis Pena was a late addition to the All-Star team as well. As it says in The Sunday Harvest, Pena started out horrendously. He’s turned it on lately though. The right-hander will probably be called up to the big leagues in September, if not before.
  • The Hardball Times analyzes the Rich Harden trade. The article takes the position that the Oakland A’s probably got the better end of the deal because they got a surplus of talent that could become everyday players in the bigs.
  • Dugout Central asks who the most disappointing teams in the AL and the NL have been this season. In the AL, I would say the Cleveland Indians have been the most underachieving team. The San Diego Padres take the cake in the National League, in my opinion.
  • The Junkball Blues wonders why the amount of complete games have gone down so dramatically throughout the history of baseball. You can blame strict pitch counts and high salaries for that.
  • Seamheads looks at the Tampa Bay Rays and their attendance. Even though they are having the best season in their history, they just broke the one million mark for attendance. That’s rough for the management. Perhaps they will be moving sometime soon…
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Round ’em Up: Friday

27 06 2008

Hi everyone!  After a week-plus off, I’m back in the saddle.  Dan did a great job while I was gone, and I very much appreciate it.  Kudos to you, sir!

Anyway, I have quite a bit of news for you today.  Here we go:

  • As you can all tell by the Minor League Boxscores from yesterday, Eric Gagne struggled quite a bit in his second rehab outing in Nashville.  That’s obviously not something you want to see.  Between the Green Pillars wonders what Ned Yost is going to do with Gagne.  Most likely, Gagne will be a seventh inning guy until he can prove himself capable of pitching in close games.  Either that, or Ned Yost will be stubborn and throw him out in a one-run game in the eighth inning just to prove something to the fans.  I hope its the former.
  • Tom Haudricourt also writes about Gagne’s struggles, but brings up a good point.  Randy Choate has been lights-out in his rehab outings thus far.  The Brewers have a decision to make.  They can put him on waivers and hope he can clear.  Choate would then be sent to Triple-A Nashville.  It seems unlikely that a veteran left-hander would make it through waivers, so the Crew may simply have to promote him to the bigs.  That would mean Mitch Stetter may be saying goodbye to Milwaukee once again.
  • Brew Crew Ball has a poll up about C.C. Sabathia.  Should the Brewers offer up stud prospects for a rental?  37% say the Brewers should trade for Sabathia, but only if no big name prospects were given up.  That’s obviously not going to be possible.  That leaves the 35% who say the Crew should trade for a lesser big name pitcher.  Like who?  Randy Wolf?  Please…
  • Bugs and Cranks lets Brewers fans see how C.C. would look as a Milwaukee Brewer.  I don’t even know what to say about that.  It’s quite hideous, in fact.
  • I wouldn’t be so quick to be so excited about a pending C.C. Sabathia acquisition.  NJ.com is reporting that the Cleveland Indians are attempting to sign the big left-hander to an extension.  This is most likely a token offer, however, as Sabathia has repeatedly stated that he does not wish to talk about his contract mid-season.

    Plus, MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Brewers most likely will not make a major acquisition before the trade deadline.  Starting pitching has been a major strength for the Brewers in the past month or so.  Why fix it if it ain’t broken?  If only it were that simple, right?

  • The Milwaukee JS has a piece up about Salomon Torres.  Where would the Brewers be without their veteran closer?  He’s been one of the most pleasant surprises this season.  I think we all knew Doug Melvin had a steal when he acquired Torres for two no-name prospects during the winter.
  • Here’s a Brewers-Twins series preview from SportsBubbler.com.  I wonder if a young man wrote the article.  I wouldn’t have guessed by the picture atop the article.
  • SportsBubbler also recognizes LHP Zach Braddock as the player of the week.  He must have that “invisi-ball” working once again.  It will be extremely interesting to see how he fairs the rest of the season.  His arm is fragile, so his pitch count will most likely be quite strict throughout the year.  There is also a Vinny Rottino sighting in the Three Up section.
  • Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta have both been invited to play in the the U.S. Futures game.  Congratulations to both of them.  It is much deserved.
  • Battlekow from Brew Crew Ball has been been quite proficient on the Minor League side of the game.  Today, he maps out the performances of some of the top prospects in the Brewers system.  Sure, the ranking is quite arbitrary, but it is still quite interesting to read.
  • Get to know Tim Dillard from the Nashville Sounds.  I now know that if Tim is approached with the option A or B, he will choose C.  Interesting.
  • Recently drafted RHP Trey Watten has been quite impressive in Helena thus far.  He only has two outings, but Trey has managed his nerves quite well in the beginning of his big league career.
  • The Charleston Daily Mail has a nice article on 1B Curt Rindal from the West Virginia Power.  He has struggled with consistency for most of the year, but the young man has heated up quite nicely in June.  Let’s hope he can sustain this production for more than just one month.
  • The Baseball Analysts have a list of the Best Players of Each Decade.  Both Hank Aaron and Robin Yount make the list.  Both very deserving.  Does anyone else from Milwaukee deserve to be mentioned?




Round ’em Up: Saturday

14 06 2008

UPDATE 06-14-08 – This comes to you courtesy of our own Dan Wiersema.  The Milwaukee Brewers have been known for converging in the outfield for a jumping high five.

Yahoo! Sports writes an article about how the Brewers are saving the game by not falling into the fad of the “hip bump.”  Not only does that just sound stupid, but the Brewers are just too good for it.

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I apologize for not getting up a game wrap-up for last night’s game. I was unable to watch the game, as I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was a nice evening, and by the looks/sounds of it, I didn’t miss much of a game at all anyway.

Here’s a couple game wraps for you – SportsBubblerMilwaukee JS.

Let’s move on to the stories of the day:

  • J.J. Hardy has a strained rotator cuff. The consensus is that he will be out for the whole Twins series, but the Brewers shortstop will be ready to go for the opening game of the Toronto Blue Jays series. It’s just a hunch…but Brewers players are always out for longer than originally reported. I wonder if Milwaukee will put J.J. on the DL “just to be safe.”
  • The Junkball Blues is quite concerned with the increased workload Ben Sheets has been getting in his past few starts. I have been surprised that Ned Yost would ride Sheets so hard early in the season, but he’s the Brewers ace. He has had injury problems in the past. The injuries have never been arm problems, however. Sheets has a relatively stress-free delivery for a maximum-effort pitcher. There is no cause for concern until Benny begins to lose velocity. He’s still popping the glove with a 95-96 mph fastball at pitch 115. His arm clearly isn’t overly fatigued.Sure, it would be nice to see Ben have an efficient outing his next time out, but his arm doesn’t need it. He’s also been injured the last few seasons. His arm is still relatively fresh in comparison to other pitchers his age, as he hasn’t thrown so many innings.

    Here’s something else. It may just be a little cynical on my part, but some of me wants to believe Ned is using all he can get out of Ben Sheets now. He won’t be with the team past this season. Why not let it all hang out with Sheets this season? Like I said, that’s quite the cynical view.

  • Brew Crew Pub has a list of the Five Things the Brewers Need to Do to Make the Playoffs. Most of them are obvious, but there are a couple points that are a bit off.I hate to break it to Brewers fans, but the Brewers organization is not going to call up Mat Gamel this season. It would stifle his defensive development. The Crew needs Mat to be a polished player when he gets called up. There is no need for him to learn on the job. That was fine when the Brewers were a sub-.500 team. The team needed to have Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder learn the ins-and-outs of baseball while playing every day. The 2008 Milwaukee Brewers do not need that. Mat needs to get his defense polished up so he can make a run at the starting lineup for the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers. Give the kid a chance to marinate down on the farm a bit.

    Not all the problems can be solved through trading or calling prospects up to the big leagues. When things are not going well for a team, it is only natural to clamor for changes to spark a turn-around. The great thing about the Brewers is that they are not scuffling anymore. They have their flaws, sure, but the team is playing pretty good baseball as a whole right now. You can look on the down side and ask when the home runs are going to stop coming, but the fact is the Brewers are a home run hitting team. We will live and die by the long ball. It’s not desirable, but it’s a fact of life in Milwaukee right now. If that needs to be changed, Brewers fans will have to wait until the off-season.

  • Dugout Central has a list of 12 Outfielders the author would rather have than Ichiro Suzuki. That’s a bold statement right there, but number one on the list is Ryan Braun. Understandable. Pat Burrell though? C’mon…
  • Some of the newest Brewers are in Arizona having a quick rookie “training camp” before the Rookie League season starts. The article catches up with 5th-round pick Maverick Lasker who seems to have his head on straight. He sounds ready for business. 20th-round pick, Liam Ohlmann, however appears to be a deer in the headlights. He’s so in awe of everything that his first few outings are going to be rough. I can tell that already.
  • The Charleston Daily Mail has an article on West Virginia infielder, Steffan Wilson. He has the reputation of a big power threat in the line-up, and he’s proving that again this season with 11 long balls already. I would like to see his average climb a bit (and so would he), but he’s shown the ability to hit for average too last season. His versatility in the infield will also be a big advantage for him moving up the ladder in the minors. He’s an interesting prospect to watch, as he has “breakout” potential. If he can get a bit more consistent at the plate, he will be one to watch.




Round ’em Up: Thursday

12 06 2008

It’s getaway day in Houston, and the Brewers will have Ben Sheets on the mound.  If the Crew can pull one out today, it will be a .500 road series.  That would certainly be a moral victory for Milwaukee after their performances on the road lately.

Unfortunately, the Astros have a history of being a Sheets-killer in Houston.  Lance Berkman has had Benny’s number his whole career, and so has the lowly Brad Ausmus.  We’ll see how it goes today.  After calling the Brewers would pounce on Brandon Backe last night, I’m feeling lucky again today.  Ben Sheets is due to have a dominating outing.  He’s been good the last couple outings, yes, but not dominate.  I have a feeling Ben’s going to come out with his A-game today.

  • J.J. Hardy tweaked his surgically-repaired left shoulder during last night’s game.  It has been an ongoing problem throughout the year for J.J., but he says he can play through it.  I wonder if another surgery will be in order this off-season…
  • Some of the readers here at BrewersNation have been wondering why the Crew hasn’t been running more often.  Look for that to change with Corey Hart at the top of the batting order.  Corey is looking forward to running more often.  Ned Yost, however, says the law of averages will cause the same number of runners to be on base ahead of Corey in the leadoff spot as when he batted fifth.  Yes, Ned.  Those averages that say Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder get on-base much more often than say…the pitcher.  Goodness…
  • In-Between Hops says its time for Milwaukee to make its move.  Alfonso Soriano is injured for Chicago.  Albert Pujols is injured in St. Louis.  The Crew is just about to start a 9-game homestand, while Chicago goes on the road.  The time is now, Scott says.
  • The Brew Town Beat is pleasantly surprised after last night’s game.  Something that has been overlooked is Jason Kendall’s monster home run.  It was not a cheap shot, either.  It would have gotten out in almost any park.  The article says that Corey Hart should stay at the lead-off spot after Rickie Weeks returns from injury.  Corey is the best protection behind Prince Fielder that Milwaukee has.  He is a run-producer that just happens to be fast.  We’ll have to see, but I’m not sold on the idea.
  • Between the Green Pillars writes about the Brewers starting to sign their draft picks.  It is reported that second-round pick RHP Seth Lintz will sign today with a $900,000 signing bonus.  That’s about $300,000 more than he’s slotted by Major League Baseball to receive.  I agree with the article when it says it’s nice to see the Brewers get their priorities straight and ante up the cash to get quality prospects in the system quickly.
  • Alex Eisenberg from The Hardball Times breaks down the swings of some of the top position players chosen in the first round.  He says that he likes the swing of Brett Lawrie more and more every time he sees it.  Lawrie loads his hands beautifully, which generates a lot of raw power.  Alex gave Brett a B+.  That tied for the highest grade given to a prospect on the list.
  • The Brewers plan on leaving Mat Gamel down in Double-A Huntsville throughout the year.  It is traditionally known as a pitcher’s league, but Gamel has absolutely dominated pitching this season.  The Brewers want to bring Gamel along slowly through the top echelons of the system.  I personally think its more because they want Gamel to work with manager Don Money on his defense more.  His throwing motion and his footwork has improved dramatically over the past year, and Don Money is a big part of that.  Doug Melvin and Gord Ash want to keep Gamel where he will flourish this season.  It will be interesting to see whether or not Gamel can make a run for a big league job in 2009.
  • CF Lee Haydel is the fastest Brewer in the farm system, hands down.  The Charleston Daily Mail reports that Lee is working on harnessing his speed and learning the fine points of the game.  He needs to hit the ball on the ground more and let his speed work for him.  The skills are very raw, but remember…you can’t teach speed.

Post of the Day

Jacksonville.com has a great article on Mat Gamel.  I did not know this, but Mat was cut from his first Junior College team.  He was stuck behind a star in the Junior College ranks, and apparently thought about quitting baseball all together.  The article gives a nice behind-the-scenes look at what almost never happened for Mat.  He almost never stuck with baseball, and Brewers fans would be without Milwaukee’s best minor league prospect right now.  It’s funny how things work out for the best sometimes.





Round ’em Up: Thursday

5 06 2008

How about a little draft day excitement?  I’m upset that I will be unable to be at my computer during the draft, so you’ll all have to deal with after-the-fact analysis.  Rumors are flying about everywhere concerning the draft, much of which will make my mock draft very incorrect.  That’s the nature of the beast though.  The MLB Draft is the most volatile draft of all major sports.

Here are some links on the draft:

  • Tom Haudricourt throws out some names.  He says the Brewers are looking at 3B/C Brett Lawrie, SS Anthony Hewitt, and 1B/3B Brett Wallace.  Wallace has been flying up draft boards in the past weeks because he’s been mashing in the college World Series.  If Lawrie is there (which is doubtful at this point), the Brewers will not be able to resist the Canadian.  Wallace is interesting though.  I hadn’t heard that rumor yet.
  • The Baseball Analysts have a very nice run down of past first round picks for every team, as well as outlining each team’s primary needs.  Give it a look.
  • Between the Green Pillars has a nice preview of the draft.  Surprisingly, the article does not focus on the Brewers at all.  That’s okay though.  You can get your Brewers fix here.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have made their #1 selection, even though the draft is still over two hours away.  They have settled on SS Tim Beckham.  That makes me one-for-one on my mock draft.

Now on to some normal Brewers news:

  • This just in: There is nothing wrong with Prince Fielder.  He’s been absolutely on fire this homestand.  I particularly like his comments about his strategy at the plate.  Just put the bat on the ball and let your natural ability do the rest.  Don’t think too hard.
  • Jim Powell reviews the nice home cooking the Brewers received in the past 9 games.  It’s been a nice ride.  Powell also has some audio up from yesterday’s game if you would like to take a listen.
  • While Bill Hall is quite upset about sharing time with Russell Branyan at third base, Branyan is just going along with the flow.  He has the right attitude about it.  He didn’t choose the situation.  Neither did Bill Hall.  You just have to deal with what’s given to you and make the best out of it, Bill.  No use in complaining.
  • Eric Gagne is not close to coming back from the DL.  The Brewers are playing great baseball right now, so there’s no rush getting Gagne back on the mound.  Make sure that shoulder is ready to go.
  • Two Fisted Slopper profiles Mat Gamel.  The article brings together a lot of good information into one post.  I’m not sure there is any original analysis here, but it’s still worth a look.
  • Right Field Bleachers says that the Milwaukee Brewers should trade for Rich Harden.  The article says a package with Brad Nelson and Michael Brantley would get the trade started off right.

    I must admit that I’m not a big fan of this idea at all.  First, Billy Beane will not be trading Harden for anything less than 3 or 4 top-tier prospects.  Say all you want about Harden’s injury history, but Beane will hold out until he gets what he wants.  Rumor has it that Joe Blanton is requiring three top-notch prospects at this point, so there is no way Harden is coming out of Oakland for less than that.

    Secondly, I don’t like either of the trading chips to start off the trade.  If the Brewers are going to trade for an injury prone starter, I do not want to be giving away one of the system’s best corner infield prospects along with my personal favorite to fill the void in center field in a couple years.  I would much rather start the trade with someone like Cole Gillespie and Tony Gwynn Jr. With that said, those two would not get Harden to Milwaukee.  The price is too steep Brewers fans.  Unless those two and Bill Hall could get it done, it would be best to wait until the off-season to see what’s available.





Round ’em Up: Wednesday

4 06 2008

Seth McClung and the boys kept it rolling last night, pulling away late in the game for a 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The MLB Draft is tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.  I’ll have my Mock Draft up either later today or tomorrow morning.

  • Eli from MLB Rumors has some thoughts about where Bill Hall could be headed.  He names the Nationals, Mariners, and Giants.  I agree with the possibility of the Mariners, but the other two possibilities are very unlikely.  Eli has lost a bit of credibility with me the past couple of posts about the Brewers, as his insight has been a little faulty.  You’d think the Dodgers and Indians would make the list before the Nationals and Giants.  That’s just me though…
  • Brewers Bar has a plea to Brewers fans out today.  I agree with it completely.  While it is every fan’s right to boo and cheer for whom they wish, fans could stand to be a little classier and cheer on their own players.  Do you really think booing a player will help his psyche?  Think about it a little bit before you boo.  Instead of booing, come onto a blog and rant.  Much more productive.
  • MLB Trade Rumors has the starting pitching market posted.  Taking a quick look, I would think the Brewers would be interested in Derek Lowe and perhaps someone like Boof Bonser or Jarrod Washburn.  I’m surprised that Anthony Reyes is not on the list.
  • SportsBubbler named C Jonathan Lucroy the prospect of the week.  It’s great to see Jonathan getting some face time on Brewers sites.  He has been extremely gracious in doing the interviews for this site, and we at BrewersNation wish him the best of luck.  Keep swinging the bat like you have been, Jonathan, and we’ll see you in the bigs soon.
  • 3B Mat Gamel and OF Matt LaPorta made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet.  Gamel was second behind Jay Bruce.  That is understandable.
  • Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz opts to have season-ending shoulder surgery.  It’s always difficult to see one of the best pitchers in the league go down to injury.  John also points out that retirement is definitely an option at this point.  If he is not able to throw at his normal arm angle, I suspect he will retire.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com attempts to predict the Top 30 picks of the MLB Draft.  He has the Milwaukee Brewers selecting C/3B Brett Lawrie.  That bat would be tough to pass on if he does fall to the #16 slot.  He’s only a high schooler, but he can rake already.
  • Brewerfan.net has their Power 50 up.  Matt LaPorta still ranks #1 as the top Brewers prospect.  I’m not sure I agree with that anymore.  Mat Gamel has a .380+ average, draws walks, has power, and has improved defensively a bit.  I have to give him the nod right now.