Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 Pre-Season Profile: Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers went from relevant in 2014 to completely irrelevant in 2015.  Was that a start of things to come or an anomaly moving forward?

Last Season
My 2015 Prediction: 4th in NL Central
2015 Result: 68-94, 4th in NL Central
I had the Brewers positioned just right in 2015.  They were a mess last season.  The only thing that kept them out of last place was the fact that the Reds were even more of a mess.  They overachieved in 2014, then did nothing to improve themselves.  It was just waiting to happen.  They had a mid-season managerial change and an unloading of some top talent to try and start rebuilding.

2016 Additions / Subtractions
The Brewers continued unloading some of their big league talent as they started to rebuild their roster for the future.  They traded away players like Adam Lind, Jean Segura, Luis Sardinas, and Khris Davis.  The only established big leaguers that were brought into Milwaukee this offseason were feast or famine hitter Chris Carter and infielder Aaron Hill.

Most Important Hitter
Jonathan Lucroy
Many experts looked at what the Brewers did this offseason and said they didn't do enough.  The reason is because they still have Jonathan Lucroy on their roster.  Once Carlos Gomez was traded, Lucroy was their best player and their best trading chip.  I don't know if they are trying to convince themselves that they are not in a full rebuild or what, but Lucroy needs to move on.  What makes him the most important hitter this season for the Brewers is because the fate of Lucroy might help determine the fate of the Brewers for the foreseeable future.  A catcher with the offensive upside of Lucroy could bring a decent return that could set the Brewers up for a brighter future.  They just need to convince themselves that this is something they need to do.

Most Important Pitcher
Wily Peralta
Honestly, no one on this pitching staff stands out from the crowd.  Outside of the inconsistent veteran Matt Garza, the entire pitching staff is under 30, good talent, and mediocre production.  The pitcher with possibly the highest ceiling of the group is Wily Peralta.  Peralta has been around for a little while, entering his fifth season of big league action.  However, his career ERA right now is over 4.00.  He has some electric stuff, and the Brewers believe in him, which was shown when they named him their Opening Day starter this year.  He has to start living up to expectations if he wants to have any sort of memorable career in the big leagues.

Player to Watch
Orlando Arcia
The one nice thing the Brewers have going for them is they have a pretty deep farm system stocked full of future big league talent.  The cream of the crop is Orlando Arcia, a 21 year old shortstop ready to burst on the scene.  Between Aaron Hill and Jonathan Villar, there should be an opening on the lft side of the infield at some point this season.  Either Hill will be traded or get hurt, or Villar will struggle like he did with the Astros.  Look for Arcia to be up on the big club before the All Star Break.

2016 Prediction
5th in NL Central
The Brewers are bad.  They will be challenging the Braves and Phillies for the worst record in baseball this year.  They are a team that is in full rebuild but haven't seemed to fully commit to it yet.  They are just content on being bad.

Fearless Prediction
Jonathan Lucroy will be traded to the Texas Rangers for Jurickson Profar.
One of the teams that had been talked about in connection to Lucroy all offseason was the Texas Rangers.  Catcher is definitely a position the Rangers could improve upon, and they have the depth on their team to bring him in.  Jurickson Profar, just a few years ago, was the top rated prospect in all of baseball.  However, a few years of injuries not only sidetracked his progress, but also allowed for other players to pass him up in the system.  Now, the Rangers have a full infield with no room for Profar to play.  Look for him to have a strong start in AAA to show that he is finally healthy again, and then be a popular trading piece for the Rangers to bring in a guy like Lucroy.  This would work out great for both teams as the Brewers could use all the talent they could get.

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