The Brewers’ new injury free lineup!

Ron Roenicke has more on his plate than expected so far this season. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Well…at least not everyone has torn their ACL or injured their shoulder. With the devastating blows of losing Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel and now Alex Gonzalez for the season, the Brewers ship is being roughed up in the sea that is the NL Central. The pitching is still trying to get on track all while the offense struggles to survive without two everyday batters. Last night’s loss to the Reds shows that Marco Estrada has not really adapted to the starting role, and in a rotation with our four main starters having a rough go of things, the fifth man role becomes all that more crucial. So, the pitching will eventually figure their problems (well hopefully), but the reconstruction of the line-up is a new task for Ron Roenicke.

Something that Roenicke should tamper with is putting Corey Hart at first. The outfield has depth and once Carlos Gomez comes back, we’ll have more than enough to toy around with. The infield is a much different issue. Yes of course Jonathan Lucroy is still behind the plate, Rickie Weeks is at second and Aramis Ramirez at third, but what about first base and shortstop? Easy. Corey Hart and Brooks Conrad. Unfortunately, Conrad will only be seen as a defensive backup, but the great thing about Conrad is the fact that he has played the entirety of the infield (except catcher) in his career so he’s a very versatile guy to have. Why not put him at shortstop? Is Cesar Izturis the answer? How about Edwin Maysonet? No. Brooks Conrad should be the shortstop with Izturis as a back-up (if he’s even needed). First base will more than likely stay with Travis Ishikawa, while Taylor Green is the back-up, but we cannot dismiss the idea of putting Hart there.

Here are two different lineups Ron Roenicke could go with:

Line up number one:

1. Norichika Aoki – CF

2. Jonathan Lucroy – C

3. Ryan Braun – LF

4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B

5. Corey Hart – RF

6. Rickie Weeks – 2B

7. Travis Ishikawa – 1B

8. Brooks Conrad – SS

9. Pitcher

With this line-up, you have two people in front of Braun who can get on. Aoki is a contact hitter and Lucroy has been seeing the ball very well so far this season. With those two on, say Braun hits a double. That double could potentially score two runs with Ramirez, Hart and Weeks (all power hitters) to follow. The lower part of the order still isn’t bad because if either Ishikawa or Conrad can manage to get on, the pitcher can just bunt (or Yovani Gallardo could hit some home runs as he’s done in the past) going to the top of the order repeating the potential process.

With the huge infield injuries, Corey Hart's role becomes expanded. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Line-up number two:

1. Norichika Aoki – CF

2. Rickie Weeks – 2B

3. Ryan Braun – LF

4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B

5. Jonathan Lucroy

6. Brooks Conrad / Cesar Izturis – SS

7. Corey Hart – 1B

8. Nyjer Morgan – RF

9. Pitcher

This lineup varies from the bottom half. By no means is this a punishment for Hart. In fact, it’s actually a compliment. What this says is “Hey, we can get guys on and if you’re near the bottom of the line-up, you can score them because you have power”. Say this works and Hart does get on scoring runs, then the line-up is only two batters away from the top. Why is Morgan in right field? Aoki can cover just the same amount of ground that Morgan can and Aoki’s proven so far this season that he’s more locked in at the plate. This is the line-up that also tests Corey Hart at first. I doubt this experiment will ever happen, but it’d be fun to see.

Obviously the line-up gets even more shifted when Roenicke inserts in Taylor Green, George Kottaras and Carlos Gomez (once he comes back), but I get the feeling there’s going to be a lot of shifting going on this year. With the injuries we have so far, beggars can’t be choosers and shortstop is running dangerously thin. Is this a permanent solution? No. Am I placing too much stock in Brooks Conrad? Probably. Baseball is such an interesting game. One guy who you never expected to gets on a hot streak and the guy who was supposed to be the best hitter is slumping. Maybe we’ll see some production out of guys who are supposed to be quiet hitters. At this point in the season, while it’s still early, Roenicke needs to experiment with what he thinks is right and what sees the most production. We have some time before the games become more crucial. Our record so far against the NL Central is not where we want it to be, but hey, at least it isn’t win-less.

Until next time guys and gals.

Topics: Alex Gonzalez, Aramis Ramirez, Brooks Conrad, Carlos Gomez, Cesar Izturis, Chris Narveson, Corey Hart, Edwin Maysonet, George Kottars, Jonathan Lucroy, Marco Estrada, Mat Gamel, Milwaukee Brewers, Norichika Aoki, Nyjer Morgan, Rickie Weeks, Ron Roenicke, Ryan Braun, Taylor Green, Travis Ishikawa, Yovani Gallardo

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