Solving the Brewers bench problem
By Lou Olsen
Here is a short list of guys who are currently contenders for the final bench spots. I am going to put this to a reader debate/vote (see poll posted below this article to your right). There are currently 6 players in my opinion who are options to fill maybe 3 or 4 spots. Here is my spring breakdown and analysis on each of these guys. You can pick for yourself:
Brandon Boggs OF – This kid has proven that he is ready to be playing in the big leagues. When you watch him in the outfield, there is no doubt that he has the skills to cover the vast landscape of Miller Park. At the moment, he is one of the hottest hitters on the team and will probably total over 100 AB’s by the time spring is over and done with. If he is optioned down to Nashville in the coming weeks, he could still be an option as the year goes on. What a talent.
Spring Stat Line: 2 HR, 11RBI’s, 2 SB’s, 44 AB’s, .295 BA
Erick Almonte 1B, SS, OF – I think that at this point in spring training he is a lock. The team has had him take reps at 5 different positions (LF, RF, CF, 1B, SS) and his bat has been an absolute revelation for the Crew. Almonte has already knocked in game winning runs twice this season. In my opinion, Erick is the only player on this list who should be an absolute no-brainer to make this squad.
Spring Stat Line: 3 HR, 10 RBI’s, 48 AB’s, .667 SLG%, and a .396 BA
Jeremy Reed OF – Although I had my doubts when they first signed Reed, he has shown that he is more than capable of still being a major contributor on a MLB squad. He leads the team in AB’s and RBI’s this spring. Too me, the most impressive stat about Reed this spring, in 51 AB’s he has only struck out 4 times. That is what you want in a strong bench contributor. The last thing this team needs is a pinch hitter who can’t hit. On the flip side of that coin, he does not walk a whole lot either.
Spring Stat Line: 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 51 AB’s, .373 BA
Mark Kotsay OF, 1B– If you ask me, he has not done anything to separate himself from the three OF’s listed above. Quite frankly, Kotsay and Almonte fill the same void on the field. Biggest difference, Kotsay does not hit HR’s anymore. Ever since that back injury in 2006 the guy has never been able to replicate the power he once displayed. Sorry Mark A, this looks like a waste of 850k to me.
Spring Stat Line: 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, .324 BA
Luis Cruz SS, 2B– There is no doubt in my mind that he will be on our roster someday, but his spring has not been stellar enough to get him a spot for opening day. Cruz has a terrific glove and solid arm. The biggest fault I have seen in his game this spring is patience at the plate. Luis has 8 k’s in 40 AB’s, which to me just means he needs more time to work on that part of his game. He exhibits flashes of opposite field power on a regular basis. I like this kid alot as maybe an option to take over at shortstop for next season (naturally I assume that the Crew will allow Betancourt to walk off into the sunset).
Spring Stat Line: 1 HR, 6 RBI’s, 3 doubles, .300 BA
Chris Dickerson OF – At the start of spring training, I thought he would be our opening day CF. Today, I am not even sure if he will make the opening day roster. Chris did not do himself any favors by not getting a hit in his first 10 AB’s. Now he has settled in a little bit, but I think it might be too little too late. No one has ever questioned his ability to hit the long-ball. Of the 7 hits he has this spring, 3 of those are bombs. The play of Boggs, Almonte, and Reed make me wonder if Dickerson could find himself in Nashville before too long.
Spring Stat Line: 3 HR, 10 RBI’s, .259 BA
Those are my thoughts on these 6 gentlemen. The only guy who is a lock to make the bench is Craig Counsell, so that is why he is not included in this list. Mat Gamel did not make the list bceause I do not think he is even in the running to make the roster right now. The reason I brought this up is so that we could discuss it as a Brewers collective. Please comment below about who you like and who you think should make the team. I have also put up a ballot below and to the right. Please be sure and vote. You can vote for up to 3 guys that you want to see on the opening day roster.
Make sure you vote for who you like. Be on the lookout for Colin’s finishing touch to the All-Brewers Team, oddly enough it will be the top Brewers utility players. Hope everyone is enjoying the madness of March. Best of luck to the UW and Marquette on their quest to continue the trend of Wisconsin sports domination. Talk to everybody soon.