Ryan Braun
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Brewers Lineup.
C – Jonathan Lucroy
1B – Prince Fielder
2B – Rickie Weeks
3B – Aramis Ramirez
SS – Jean Segura
RF – Corey Hart
LF – Ryan Braun
CF – Carlos Gomez
SP – Yovani Gallardo
SP – Ben Sheets
SP – Zack Greinke
SP – Mike Fiers
SP – C.C. Sabathia
Closer – Francisco Rodríguez
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland A’s
Philadelphia Phillies
Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

Before the season started I urged you to use caution when drafting John Axford. While he had the potential to pile up the saves, he struggled with his control at times.
Right out of the gate he got blasted, blowing a save against the Reds in extreme fashion. Axford gave up four runs that day to walk away with a 54.00 ERA. In his seventh appearance Axford would blow another save. This time he only gave up one run, but he walked two batters. That gave him six walks in his first 6-1/3 innings.
Had had allowed a run in three of his first seven outings. He only had on appearance that he did not allow a hit. With an 8.53 ERA and a  2.21 WHIP, Axford was a major disappointment.
Since his second blown save, Axford had converted all four of his save attempts. He has a 2.25 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in eight one-inning appearances. Three of his appearances he did not allow a hit, but more importantly, he hasn’t walked a batter over that stretch.
As long as his control is under control, Axford can be one of the better closers in the National League. Despite his struggles, he has seven saves and 16 strikeouts in 14-1/3 innings. He certainly has Ron Roenicke’s confidence as he never put his closer on the hot seat. After Axford’ second blown save, Roenicke said “I’m really not concerned about him. He’s got too many good pitches to get hitters out.”
While he may have another rough patch or two, Axford remains a solid option.

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Ordinarily a pitcher  of Yovani Gallardo’s caliber with a BABIP of .358 would be a no-brainer to go after. He has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league thus far. No way can he remain that unlucky during the course of the season.
While I agree with that assessment, it must be noted that Gallardo’s BABIP last year was .324 and in 2009 it was .275. Even when he was tearing it up in Triple-A, he was posting close to a .300 BABIP.
Considering how many of his outs come via the strikeout, and thus the ball never actually gets into play, the high number isn’t all that surprising.
What is surprising is Gallardo’s diminished strikeout rate. After posting 9.89 K/9 and 9.73 K/9 in his first two full seasons with the Brewers, Yovani is down to  6.53 in 2011.That’s quite a drop.
Gallardo has allowed four or more runs in each of his last five starts. It’s to the point that a fantasy owner can be justified letting Gallardo ride the pine until he gets his act together. With St. Louis up next, I can easily see you let Gallardo sit that one out.
If you’re looking to make a deal for Gallardo you have to root against him in his next start. Perhaps that will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and sends his owner off the deep end.
Then you can swoop in and get Gallardo for pennies on the dollar. He has two consecutive 200 strikeout seasons, posting ERA of 3.84 and 3.73. He’s just 25. If anybody is going to turn it around, it seems like Gallardo could be the guy.

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Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
The Washington Nationals have had enough of Nyjer Morgan and sent it packing. Morgan, who had 34 stolen bases in a tumultuous year with the Nats, gets new life with the Milwaukee Brewers. Morgan has 76 stolen bases in the past two years and is a career .283  hitter. He will likely take over in center field for Carlos Gomez, who also  has great speed, but is a career .246 hitter. Gomez has more trouble making contact, striking out every 4.2 at bats.  Morgan strikes out every 5.8 at bats.Rick Ankiel, who will play center field for the Nationals gets a small bump, but he’s likely on useful in N.L. Only leagues. If you’re looking for cheap steals, Nyjer Morgan could be your guy.

John Axford came out of nowhere to save 24 games for the Brewers last year. He also sported a8-2 record with a 2.48 WHIP and a 1.19 ERA. He also recorded 76 strikeouts in 58 innings for a rock solid 11.8 strikeout per nine innings ratio.
Axford was good before the All-Star Break going 5-1 with ten saves, a 3.12 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, and a .232 BAA. He was brilliant afterwards though as he went 3-1 with 14 saves, a 1.97 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and a .180 BAA.
When you consider that Axford split time with Trevor Hoffman, who recorded ten saves of his own last year, the potential is even greater in his first full season with the closer gig. Especially when you factor in the improvements made to their pitching staff with the acquisition of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
So is John Axford ready to become an elite closer? Maybe, but I would be a little cautious with him. For starters, he does have control issues. He walked 27 batters in 58 innings, or 4.2 per nine innings. His 1.19 WHIP was solid last year, but he posted a 1.43 WHIP to start the year for Triple-A Nashville, which matched his WHIP in his cup of coffee with the Brewers in 2009. His 1.30 WHIP for Double-A Huntsville and 1.27 for Triple-A Nashville in 2009 are far from dominating.
At the root of his high WHIP totals is his control. He sported a 6.06 BB/9 ratio in his minor league career. He even struggled with it at the collegiate level, walking 118 batters in 144 innings (7.4 BB/9) for Notre Dame. If he continues to walk batters at an alarming rate, he could find himself out of the closer job, especially with LaTroy Hawkins (87 career saves) and Takashi Saito (84 career saves) waiting in the wings.
I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom with Axford. He does have some serious potential. I just want to make sure you see the whole picture before selecting him on draft day.
What are your thoughts on John Axford?

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Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

We’ve heard a lot about the potential of Manny Parra over the years, unfortunately it has never translated to a big league diamond.  The trend has continued in 2010, as he’s posted the following line:

3 Wins
64.2 Innings
4.45 ERA
1.65 WHIP
66 Strikeouts (9.2 K/9)
31 Walks (4.3 BB/9)
.369 BABIP

There are a few things that jump out at you almost immediately.  First of all is the luck, which he clearly hasn’t had.  The strand rate is normal (75.7%), but the BABIP continues to be a problem for him.  Just look at his numbers through parts of his previous three seasons:

  • 2007 – .332 (26.1 IP)
  • 2008 – .337 (166.0 IP)
  • 2009 – .365 (140.0 IP)

This begs the question, is it bad luck or is it poor skill?  Before we decide on that, let’s look at the other numbers.

He’s a solid, though not elite, groundball pitcher.  Thus far in 2010 he’s posted a 49.2% groundball rate.  Over his minor league career he posted a 52.7% mark, so look for this to continue.

The strikeout rate is impressive, and not impossible for him to repeat.  Over his minor league career (564.0 innings), he’s posted a K/9 of 8.6.  He’s also shown signs at the major league level prior to this year, with a career K/9 of 8.1.  Even if he regresses some from his mark this season, seeing him maintain a mark of above 8.0 is very likely.

The control has been a problem, but is not indicative of what he actually is capable of.  Over his minor league career he posted a walk rate of 2.6.

Is it possible that he was rushed to the big leagues?  Being drafted in the 26th round of the 2001 draft, Parra was nurtured slowly, that is until 2007 in his 24-year old season.  After that, he has been up and down from the minors and the majors, spending just 50.2 innings at Triple-A.

Could he have been better suited, despite his age, to have spent a little bit more time at Triple-A against the upper level competition?  At this point we’ll never know.  What we do know is that Parra actually does have the skill set for potential success:

  • Strikeout potential
  • Groundball pitcher
  • Good control

Of course, we have not yet actually seen the control, which, when coupled with the bad luck, explains the terrible numbers we’ve seen from Parra over the past four years.  However, with his abilities, it’s not the time to simply think that he can’t put things together.

Those in shallower formats can ignore him, but if you are in a deeper league and need a pitcher to take a flyer on, consider stashing him on your bench, just in case.  He has the stuff and it could come together all at once.

What do you think of Parra?  Is there any chance that he’s viable in 2010?  Do you not believe in his potential?

Make sure to check out our recent Scouting Reports:

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Happy Birthday JP!

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Aside from sharing a name with one bad ass Canadian 80′s pop singer (kidding), Corey Hart also saw a promising career dry up. Of course, the baseball version can be attributed to injury, and a successful comeback is more than likely.

Hart quietly was one of the better all-around fantasy outfielders in 2007 and 2008 with the following lines:

2007:  .295, 86 runs, 24 HRs, 81 RBIs, 23 SBs, .892 OPS
2008:  .268, 76 runs, 20 HRs, 91 RBIs, 23 SBs, .759 OPS

He was limited to 115 games and 419 ABs last year and subsequently hit .260 with, 64 runs, 12 HRs, 48 RBIs, 11 SBs, and a .753 OPS. While his down year certainly decreases his fantasy value, I’m not one to put too much stock into one season. Especially considering the circumstances.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweeted that Hart has lost 22 pounds during the offseason meaning he should be in excellent shape. He’ll turn 28 in March. I see no reason why he can’t rebound in 2010. Thanks to last year, he should come at a pretty good bargain.

Prediction: .280,  80 runs, 24 HRs, 85 RBIs, 25 SBs

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney

Now an early look at the NL Central.

1. Can the Cubs’ offense bounce back?
Geovany Soto had a miserable season hitting .218. He was brilliant in Triple-A Iowa in 2007 and had an amazing Rookie season. I fully expect him to bounce back in 2010. Even if he is an average of his past two years, he’d have a decent season. Just don’t reach for him. Assuming Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano can stay healthy, they should have better seasons as well. Marlon Byrd hit 70 percent of his HRs at Rangers Ballpark so I expect him to take a step back in Chicago. At his age (34), I don’t expect Derrek Lee to match the 35 HRs and 111 RBIs. As a whole, though, I do think the Cubs will be much-improved on offense next year thanks to the addition by subtraction of Milton Bradley.

2.  Can Carlos Marmol get it done at Closer?
His BAA was equally nasty as a closer and a setup man, though his ERA and WHIP both improved when he took over at closer. He has both the stuff and demeanor to get the job done. I think he can be a high-end closer next year despite entering the season with just23 career Saves.

3.  Is Joey Votto set to bust out big time?
Joey’s average and OPS  soared dramatically in his second full season. Despite playing in 20 fewer games he had 13 more runs, six more doubles, one more HR, the same amount of RBIs, and 11 more walks. As long as he stays healthy, Votto should emerge as one of the games best hitters.

4. How about Jay Bruce?
I’m not sure he’ll light the world on fire, but he should be improved. Hard not to when you hit .223. I’m encouraged by the way he played in September when he hit .353 with 4 HRs and 16 RBIs in 34 ABs.

5. Is Lance Berkman’s dip a sign of things to come?
I don’t think so. He’s about as steady as they come. Gone are the days of 40 HRs and 120 RBIs, but he should still be good for 30 & 110.

6. Is Tommy Manzelli going to be a viable fantasy option?
I don’t think so. He didn’t exactly put up monster numbers for Triple-A Round Rock last year, hitting .289 with 68 runs, 9 HRs, 56 RBIs, and 12 SBs in 530 ABs.

7.  Is Casey McGehee for real?
He had an impressive Rookie season hitting .301 with 58 runs, 16 HRs, and 66 RBIs in 355 ABs. I like the way he responded in September hitting .337 with 5 HRs and 26 RBIs after struggling in August hitting .241. I wouldn’t want him as a starter, but his 2B/3B eligibility make him a decent bench option.

8.  Can Garrett Jones continue to be a power threat?
He certainly hit his share with 21 in 314 ABs for a 14.9 AB/HR ratio. It is highly unlikely that he can maintain that ratio. His OPS of .939 was also significanly higher than the majority of his minor league stints.

9.  Will Mark McGwire be a distraction?
I don’t think so. He came clean early enough where is shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Cards.

10.  Will Ryan Franklin continue to be an elite closer?
Franklin was one of the surprise closers last year when he recorded 38 saves with a 1.92 ERA. His numbers were significantly worse after the All-Star break.

0.79 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, .165 BAA
3.33 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, .284 BAA

While he was a pleasant surprise last year, I see no reason to believe he can match his 2009 production.



The Twins cleared up a logjam in the Outfield by moving Carlos “Go Go” Gomez to Milwaukee for Shortstop J.J. Hardy.

I think it’s a great deal for the Twins. They have too many Outfielders with Denard Span, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and DH Jason Kubel. As for the Twins they got some pop at Shortstop, which they haven’t had in years.

Hardy had a down year, but is a goo candidate to bounce back. If Alexi Casilla can bounce back as well, and they solve their 3rd base issue, the Twins could have one of the better infields in the league with the M & M boys.

Gomez gets a much needed change of scenery. He strikes out too frequently and has mental lapses. Those are two no-nos in Ron Gardenhire’s book. In Milwaukee he won’t have to carry the pressure of being the key component in the Johan Santana trade with him.

Frankly, I thought they rushed him into the lineup in his first year with the Twins because they had to have someone from the Johan deal on the Opening Day roster.

Span outplayed him that spring, and should have got the nod. The Twins had to save face though. I think that stunted his growth and messed with his confidence.

He did better last year when Orlando Cabrera took him under his wing. He’ll need someone to do the same in his new home. He has the tools to be a quality leadoff hitter. It’s just a matter of whether or not he can make the proper adjustments and continue to grow.

Click here for the Rotoprofessor’s take on the trade.

Face of the Franchise:
Robin Yount
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Manager: Buck Rodgers

C – Ted Simmons
1B – Cecil Cooper
2B – Jim Gantner
SS – Robin Yount
3B – Paul Molitor
OF – Geoff Jenkins
OF – Ben Oglivie
OF – Gorman Thomas
DH – Greg Vaughn

Bench:  Util B.J. Surhoff, Util Don Money, 3B Jeff Cirillo, OF Jeremy Burnitz

SP – Teddy Higuera
SP – Mike Caldwell
SP – Ben Sheets
SP – Jim Slaton
SP – Moose Haas
P – Chris Bosio
P – Pete Vuckovich
P – Lary Sorensen
P – Jim Colborn
P – Bob McClure
RP – Dan Plesac
RP – Rollie Fingers

That’s the team I came up with. Do you have any changes you’d like to suggest? I’m always open to them.

Past Teams
Red Sox
Blue Jays
White Sox

 | Posted by | Categories: All-time Teams, MLB | Tagged: All-time Team, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB |

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