Tag Archives: predictions

In the Wake of a Trade for Marcum, Brewers Need a Slight Re-Direction

The Brewers went back to Toronto for the second time in three days when they traded 2B prospect and former #1 pick Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum on Sunday.  No matter what the minions of the blog commenters would have you believe, this is a good, reasonable move.  Here are the justifications:
  • Lawrie is a good prospect who played well at a young age in AA last year, but Milwaukee is going to get a long-term contract done with Rickie Weeks.  There won’t be any room at second base up here for at least 5 years or so.
  • Marcum is coming off a 2009 Tommy John surgery, but he threw 200 innings in 2010 with a 13-8 record and 3.64 ERA (which would make him better than the majority of Milwaukee’s current stable of pitchers).  Tommy John surgery is not the death-knell that the media generally hypes it up to be.  It is a complicated surgery with a long recovery period, but many players have returned to success after the procedure.  Marcum is not “damaged goods” just for having had this surgery.
  • This solidifies about 70% of the Brewers rotation for 2011.  They plan to go with Gallardo, Wolf, Marcum, and Narveson somewhere near the back (I count Narveson for about half a starter, which gets me to 70%).  Not to say this is a world championship rotation, but the top three look stronger than what we were going with a year ago (which, don’t forget – included Jeff Suppan), and the youth movement that emerged in the bullpen in 2010 is a step in the right direction, too.  If the Brewers can swing a deal for another #2- or #3-caliber starter (perhaps Casey McGehee or Mat Gamel and/or Carlos Gomez again, along with some minor leaguers?), combined with the prospects of giving Mark Rogers and/or Jeremy Jeffress a shot at a few starts… there is definitely more *hope* for the pitching in this scenario.  Maybe better performance, maybe not, but more upside for sure.

Here’s the facts, Brewers faithful: we are not going to be able to move Prince for the sort of stud pitching we once dreamed of.  Tom Haudricourt from the Journal-Sentinel has eloquently explained this several times since the end of the 2010 season.  The market is not there, and the few trade partners that seemed possible are just going to buy what they need instead.  To give up Prince for a Marcum would be highway robbery.  But Marcum is the sort of pitcher that was available, and Lawrie is a reasonable price to pay.

What to do with Fielder, though, when the clock is ticking on this final season of arbitration?  I am now of the opinion that the goal in trading Prince has to change.  We can raid the farm system to pick up some mid-level pitching, but that is going to leave us in trouble 2-4 years down the road.  There is no longer a team willing to pay the appropriate asking price for Fielder (top-of-the-rotation pitching), given that he is a one-year rental who will be a free agent next winter.  Melvin should be taking a page out his playbook from days gone by, when the Brewers featured a trio of Richie Sexson, Jeromy Burnitz and Geoff Jenkins, and move Fielder for as many prospects as he can get.

Where is the drawback, really?  We were considering moving a player that’s already on the roster over to first base anyway, in the event that Prince was gone.  If we trade someone else (or a few someone else’s) for another starting pitcher, that hole is plugged as well.  The Brewers are not going to be able to get the quality that they seek for Fielder, so they should just go for quantity instead.  I’m not saying that they shouldn’t still have some criteria– clearly, you’d want to look at prospects that have shown some major-league ability, and try to balance out the rosters at Huntsville and Nashville as best you can, but beyond that– just go for as many as you can.  I’m thinking that for the right team, who needs a big lefty bat to lift them this year, the Crew could get at least 3, maybe 4 prospects.  That’s one or two more draft picks than they would end up with if they stick with him this season and just let him go in free agency.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any shame in *how* you get there, just as long as you still meet your overall goals for the off-season:

  • Pick up 2 starting pitchers
  • Move Fielder
  • Minimal damage to the farm system
  • Still have a first baseman on opening day

Let’s get it done, Doug.

Opener Time

Another summer full of promise gets underway today.  I’ve spent a lot of time and words in this space in the past making assessments and speculating on the fate of the local 9 from year to year.  There’s so much to read, though, in so many places, so I’ll try to keep my comments more brief.  Here’s a list of 10 things I think we’ll see from the Brewers this season.

  1. Trevor Hoffman will become the first pitcher in baseball history to hit 600 saves for his career, before June 1.
  2. Veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds will get more playing time between center and right than anyone would have predicted when he signed.
  3. Ryan Braun will hit over .300 again, and pace the ballclub in batting average.
  4. Prince Fielder will hit over 40 homeruns again, and will get  mentioned again when we reach MVP chatter time.
  5. Alcides Escobar will be a Rookie of the Year candidate, and he’ll win it if he can hit over .260.
  6. Yovanni Gallardo will win 15 games.
  7. One of the team’s young catching prospects (Angel Salome or Jonathan Lucroy) will be called up to the team by the 4th of July.
  8. Jeff Suppan will be traded or released before July 1.
  9. We’re going to watch the opener in open-air sunshine.
  10. The Brewers will win 86 games.

Enjoy the season!

The Fates of Forty Men 2009 – Part 1: Summing Up

I wanted to offer up my commentary and thoughts on the Brewers roster as we close out the 2009 season and prepare to hot stove it to spring training.  Last year, I took about a day to think through what would happen with each man on the Brewers’ 40-man roster in the off-season.  It was a really long post.  This year, I’m going to split it up, and I’m starting today, just hours after the Crew completed their sweep of St. Louis to head into the off-season at 80-82, and out of the playoffs.

Way back on February 10, I posted a short bit about Baseball Prospectus’s 2009 predictions and thought it would be interesting to come back to them at the end of the year, to see how everything shaped up.  Overall, they weren’t very close.  They did not project one division winner in all of MLB, and in at least 4 cases (Arizona, Cleveland, Oakland, NY Mets), they weren’t even remotely close.  Granted, these projections were based on a sum of individual player stat projections, but still– it demonstrates that if using math to project how a season will go is tough, guessing at it can only be tougher.

The Prospectus wasn’t too far off on the Brewers’ record, though.  Only missed by three games.  And it’s been well-documented that the Crew contended with a lot of injuries in addition to their generally spotty pitching.  The pros saw it that way, but as a fan, I didn’t want to.  I still think that if Rickie Weeks, Dave Bush, and Jeff Suppan hadn’t each missed a significant amount of time, we might’ve been a little closer when we got to the end of the season.  I think we would’ve had a winning year, anyway.

With the off-season on the horizon, there are a number of big questions facing the team that have been well-documented:

  • What are they going to do about the starting rotation?
  • What can they get for JJ Hardy?
  • Is it time to trade Prince?
  • Which free agents should be offered arbitration?
  • Are coaching changes really going to make a difference?

Over the next week or so, you’ll find out what I think about all the players currently on our 40-man, and what I think about these and other questions.  It’s going to be a slightly longer off-season, but I think we’ve got a foundation that’s solid, and with the right moves, the Brewers could be playing in the post-season again in 2010.

Pro Football Predictions, Week 1

Schneider seems to have actually retired from this game, quite unlike Brett Favre ever will.

I do not wish for you, dear reader, to enter this first weekend of the pro football season uninformed and unprepared to enter verbal combat with your friends, colleagues, and co-workers regarding the prediction of the games’ outcomes.  Goodness knows there is no place else on the Internet to obtain such information.

To that end, I will now announce the winners of every professional American football contest that will take place between September 13 and September 14.  Feel free to use this as a guide for all wagers, friendly or otherwise.  After all, I have not been wrong yet.

The home team in each contest is listed last.  The winner is in bold.  Go forth, and win millions.

SUN, SEP 13 MON, SEP 14
Miami at Atlanta Buffalo at New England
Denver at Cincinnati San Diego at Oakland
Minnesota at Cleveland
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
BC at Montreal
Detroit at New Orleans
Dallas at Tampa Bay
Philadelphia at Carolina
Kansas City at Baltimore
NY Jets at Houston
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
Washington at NY Giants
San Francisco at Arizona
St. Louis at Seattle
Chicago at Green Bay

The Spring Homestretch

The Journal-Sentinel featured a post on the Brewers blog yesterday speculating on how the roster would shake out for opening day on April 7 in San Francisco.  As I page through some older posts, working on my little updating project that I mentioned yesterday, I’ve become more curious than usual about the accuracy of my various predictions.  I wonder how Haudricourt’s list stacks up against the one that I made back in October, right after the Crew was eliminated by Philly…

A quick overview:

  • Agreement on “locks” – 13
  • My “good bets” that TH says are locks – 61
  • My “good bets” that still have a shot – 22
  • My “locks” that will not be on the team – 13
  • My “good bets” that will not be on the team – 54

I think I’ll revisit it again when they annouce the 25-man…

  1. One should note that in October, I had people like Prince and Billy Hall noted as only “good bets,” mostly because the possibility existed they could be traded… []
  2. Lamb, Gwynn []
  3. Who saw Solomon Torres’s retirement coming??? []
  4. Mota, Capuano, Shouse, Escobar, Kapler []

The Most Optimistic Brewers Preview You'll Read This Year

Tomorrow is the Brewers’ first spring training game down in Maryvale.  The team looks a bit different than last year, but overall, a lot of familiar faces are back.  Still, the concensus from the national and regional prognosticators is that the Crew will be lucky–very, VERY lucky–to experience the sort of success and playoff run that they had last season.

But I’m not a sports writer or a broadcaster; I’m a baseball fan, so for people like me, spring is all about optimism, and seeing the silver lining around each CC Sabathia-shaped cloud.  With that in mind, here are the Top Five (Perhaps Overly Optimistic) Reasons the Brewers Will Have a Great Season:

  1. Our young pitchers will each start at least 30 games and win 15 apiece. Yovanni Gallardo is going to come back healthy from his knee troubles in 2008, and it will be shown that he racked up enough bad luck last year to last for a while.  Manny Parra will really come into his own in his second full season in the majors, no longer hampered by the nagging inconsistency that was troublesome at times in 2008.  The young 1-2 combo in Milwaukee will draw comparisons to Ken Macha’s Oakland A’s teams that featured Tim Hudson and Barry Zito early in their careers.  Speaking of which,
  2. A change in managerial demeanor will be reflected throughout the clubhouse. I was never a Ned Yost basher– he guided the team that was a laughable riff-raff at the open of 2003 and helped transform them into serious contenders in 2008.  But you can’t deny that by the end, he was wound a bit too tight and the feeling seemed to be reflected in some of the players.  Ken Macha will be more relaxed, and having two more members of his coaching staff with managerial experience will help, too.
  3. Trevor Hoffman will be a steady, if not spectacular, closer from day one, and the trickle-down will lead to clearly defined roles in the bullpen. The Brewers were scrambling to get all their pitchers into a groove in 2008 after Eric Gagne blew his first save on opening day, Carlos Villanueva’s struggles in the rotation led to McClung bouncing back and forth, and a variety of injuries meant guys had to shift around.  This year, Hoffman will be the one and only closer, Villanueva will be where he belongs (in relief), and the rest of the group will be healthy enough to stay comfortable.
  4. Our big guns (Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder) will continue their meteoric rise. Another year under their belts, both comfortable with multi-year contracts, Prince having taken care of himself a bit better in the off-season, our 3- and 4-hitters will each hit at or near .300, blast 30-40 homeruns, and knock in over 100.
  5. The “other guys” will see a reverse of fortunes, too. Bill Hall’s improved eyesight won’t quite return him to 2006 form, but he will hit for a respectable average from both sides and earn his every-day job back.  Corey Hart will shake his post-all-star mental block and rediscover consistency.  Jason Kendall will get some occasional rest from playing every day, and that will reflect itself in an improved offensive game.  Rickie Weeks will benefit from the tutelage of bench coach Willie Randolph in the field, and hitting coach Dale Sveum at the plate as he becomes one of the top lead-off men in the National League.

So even though we don’t have CC or Ben Sheets, the world is not going to end.  We’ve got an exciting and talented group of players ready for another season.  It’s going to be a good 2009…

Oscar Fail

Despite the effort to get out early and knock out those contending flicks, Jen and I did not see all the Best Pic nominees.  Sadly, then, I cannot reasonably offer any critique or prediction on the outcome Sunday’s show.

On TMJ this morning, they did mention the predictions of some sort of math genius who likes movies and has been mostly spot-on with the “big categories,” over the last few years.  Take that for what you will.

Other than that, I will open it up to you, my comrades, about the nominees you may have seen this year– what are your thoughts?  Here is a quick summary of an Oscar-related talk I had with Schneidie via phone yesterday:

  • Ben Button — really, really, REALLY long.  Gump-ish, which is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just that Gump has been on cable like twice a week for the last 10 years, so everyone in America has seen it like a million times.
  • Slumdog Millionaire — nice movie.  Truly.  But what’s with all the hubub?  The way some people are talking about it, it BLEW them away in a Star Warscirca ’77 sort of way.  For the uninformed, they have had motion picture technology in India now for more than a couple decades…

Enjoy the show, if you decide to watch it.  I usually only catch the last 30-40 minutes, then review the recap of winners in the morning.  Maybe I’ll watch The Producers, at home from my Netflix right now…

It's Just About Time

While Jim is sad about the lack of exciting sports-goings-on at this time of year, I am delighted to look ahead to baseball season.  Tom Haudricourt, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, posted a blog with a link to Baseball Prospectus’s 2009 predictions earlier today…

They mathematically project a team’s record by tallying up individual player projections for the year.  They have the Brewers finishing with a winning record, but missing the playoffs.  It’ll be interesting to come back here in 7 months and see what actually happened!