Saturday, March 11

Milwaukee Brewers: Bright Lights, Small City

Head back to the home discussion

Starting Pitching:

Well, here's the first major problem that the Brewers have - and this is a situation that will get updated through the year. Anyway, as of now, Ben Sheets is injured again. This isn't good news for an organization that pretty much needs him at the front end of the rotation to stay competitive in this division. If he's healthy, he's at least on par with any of the other aces in the league.

After that, things don't tail off as much as you'd think. Chris Capuano had an amazing season last year, so while Brewers faithful obviously hope that he repeats that same magic (as does Brewers management, slotting him in the 2-hole this year), I personally find it a little bit silly to think he'll do that. Personally, I'd slot him in at 3 and move Doug Davis up to the second spot. As for Davis, he's got surprisingly good numbers - think of him like a better version of the current Greg Maddux. I know, it sounds odd, but he puts up good strikeout numbers, a fair amount of solid periphials, and all in all is a pretty average guy in the 2 spot, but above average in the 3.

The back end of the rotation isn't horrid, either. Tomo Okha was a Nationals castoff - but this doesn't mean that he sucks, oddly enough. The Nationals just really, really like casting off serviceable pitchers, it would seem. Not exactly something I'd want to hang my hat on as an organization, but there you go. The Okha / David Bush combination is certainly no worse than what you'll find at the tail end of most rotations, and actually might be slightly better than average - and is certainly in the top half of this division. Now, if Sheets is down and Rick Helling needs to step in, forget I said any of that.

Rough Rotation Guess:
Ace: Ben Sheets
2nd: Chris Capuano
3rd: Doug Davis
4th: Tomo Ohka
5th: David Bush

Fantasy Value:

Shockingly enough, I like all these guys (except for Capuano, who's going to be overrated). Granted, that only matters if Sheets is healthy, but you get the idea. If he's healthy, then he'll provide a solid front-of-the-rotation anchor. Davis, again, is better than average but also consistently forgotten. Ohka and Bush are better late / deep / NL only plays, but not too bad.

More information:
Chris Capuano
Doug Davis
Ben Sheets

Closer / Bullpen:

Again, the theme here seems to be way better than you think. Derrick Turnbow emerged out of relatively nowhere to be an incredibly solid closing option (probably the third best in the division behind Lidge and Izzy), and the guys leading up to him aren't bad, either. Dan Kolb returns after a rough year in Atlanta, but this time he'll be doing setup work. Matt Wise will also be doing setup work, and he's pretty solid stuff.

Rough Bullpen Guess:
Closer: Derrick Turnbow
8th: Matt Wise
7th: Dan Kolb
Sit. Right: Jose Capellan
Sit. Lefty: Lorge de la Rosa
Mop-up: Rick Helling

Fantasy Value:

Well, Turnbow's a closer. You do the math. Beyond that, Wise - again - is a MR that nobody's really heard of that'll put up some really good numbers for you; think a poor man's Scot Shields (and if you have no idea who that is, hang on, I'll get to him), although he's probably still a tick below the Wheelers of the universe. As for Kolb, he's a total wildcard. No idea - wait until the regular season.

More information:
Jose Capellan (!)
Derrick Turnbow
Matt Wise


The youth movement has arrived. This should be an exciting year to watch the offense develop. Prince Fielder - yes, he's related to Cecil, and if you saw him, you'd already know that - was handed the keys to the first base position after the offseason trade of Lyle Overbay. He'll have some growing pains, but on the whole, it should be a fun ride.

His partner on that side of the diamond is another highly touted hot prospect in Rickie Weeks. Granted, at this point giving Weeks the "prospect" label is kind of demeaning, but still - he's young and he's good. His average should improve from last year, as should the rest of his numbers. Great power/speed combination. J.J. Hardy is, shockingly enough, a shortstop who doesn't run. Quietly not that bad, either.

Third base will have some combination of supersub Bill Hall and Corey Koskie. Both guys are vets, so it's not like the Brewers are starting all rookies this year. Of course, Hall will sub in all over the diamond, except for first.

Another vet - Damian Miller - will spend the majority of the time behind the plate for the Brew Crew. He's pretty average, except for the fact his first name is Damian.

Projected Infield:
C: Damian Miller
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Rickie Weeks
SS: J.J. Hardy
3B: Corey Koskie

Fantasy Value:

In a keeper league? Fielder or Weeks avaiable? Do what you need to do. If you're not in a keeper, they'll still be worthwhile. Hardy is a decent play in deeper leagues, and if you think Koskie will be worthwhile, go for it. Evidently Brew Crew Ball is on a Free Koskie campaign. Make of that what you will.

More information:
Prince Fielder
J.J. Hardy
Rickie Weeks


Carlos Lee is fantastic - great semi-veteran middle of the lineup RBI machine. He's the offensive anchor. Geoff Jenkins was above average (when he was healthy) back in the late '90's; however, age and the aforementioned injuries have taken a toll on his body. I figure that at this point, he's pretty much Joe Generic Outfielder. As for Brady Clark, he's 33, so he's on the decline, but should provide a decent power/speed combination. Corey Hart (not the '80's guy) will run around as backup for everyone.

Projected Outfield:
RF: Geoff Jenkins
CF: Brady Clark
LF: Carlos Lee

Fantasy Value:

All of them, in some capacity. Lee if you need RBIs, Clark if you need a combination, Jenkins if you need a warm body on your bench. He could start in deeper leagues.

More information:
Brady Clark
Corey Hart
Carlos Lee

Extra Stuff:
If you haven't been able to tell yet, I really like this team going forward in this season. At the very least, they'll be a lot of fun to watch, but for the Brewers, the future is now. So the question then is what could derail it?

Well, injuries to your ace for one. They have depth in the rotation, but the depth isn't good depth - it's just a bunch of warm bodies. If Sheets is down for an extended period of time, the rotation will struggle, and while the bullpen can take care of any close games, they might not have that many winnable games if their pitchers are serving up a bunch of meatballs.

Still, though, they have what it takes to compete in this division - which is why it's the toughest one in baseball. Someone's going to get beaten up - and these guys came on hard at the end of last year. Impressive, if you ask me.