Brewers Bringing the Bats to Spring Training
There’s only a handful of games left in Arizona for the Brewers, and through all the injuries Milwaukee has been able to weather the storm and come out with a pretty good 13-8-1 record. It’s often hard in any sport to make season predictions from pre-season performances, but I’m not the sort of person to let that stop me. Instead, dear readers, indulge me as I take a look at the team where it’s at today, and how it projects going forward.
The Brewers currently sit on top of the National League in Batting Average with .337 – for comparison the number two team, San Diego, comes in with only a .308. These other teams really need to pick up the slack. Milwaukee is also 2nd in RBI’s with 147. What might be even more amazing is we are producing all of these phenomenal numbers without relying on the long ball as much as years past. Granted we still knocked 25 balls out of the park thus far, but the stats from this spring show a better dedication to getting men on base and bringing them in as opposed to the “swing hard, hope for the best” mentality from the Yost/Macha era. This is most definitely a good thing. Ron Roenicke has this team focused and playing smart at the plate.
There have been some great bright spots from a number of different players as well. George Kottaras put on an offensive clinic so far, with a .404 average and 11 RBI’s in 18 games. He needed a big spring to secure the number two spot behind Lucroy, but now you have to think that it’s Lucroy who has the pressure on. Mark Kotsay must have used Lou’s criticism as fuel, because he definitely put up some nice numbers – most notably a .324 average and six RBI’s.
Of course we can’t just talk about the positives. There were a few people with big expectations who did not perform as well as we would have liked going into the home stretch. Craig Counsell and Wil Nieves may not have had the world on their shoulders, but with a group of young catchers and a cornucopia of shortstops waiting for a spot, things are not looking good. Counsell is a fan favorite and has a history of stepping up in clutch situations, but so far all he’s doing is stepping himself out of lineups. He has only managed 8 hits in 43 at bats. .183 isn’t getting anybody anywhere except for a short trip back to Port Washington, even if he does offer up veteran leadership or the occasional handy glove play.
Nieves has experience calling games, no question, and a good offensive output from him would have no doubt given him the regular season edge. He did do a pretty good job – .273 AVG and .636 OPS, but up against the one man wrecking crew that is Spring Training Kottaras, it just isn’t enough in my book.
Overall, the Offense looks great. They seem to be a potent and aggressive group that offers a surprising amount of depth. If Hart can make a speedy return and McGehee can quickly pop up to mid-season form, we could have some amazing performances this year. Don’t forget about Braun and Fielder either, they’ve been quietly putting up some excellent numbers so far.
So this was a short post, as things have been a little bit busy in Colintown these days so I am not writing with the regularity I usually enjoy. Do note that the All-Time Brewers Utility Team is still in the works, so if you have any people you want to put on the list, feel free to drop us a line.
Another short note: This week my father celebrated his birthday. Like an idiot, I did not get his present in the mail on time. My father is wonderful and supportive person who gave me his sense of humor, unconditional love and a nearly unrivaled love of the game of baseball. For this I thank him, even though a mere thank you will never be enough.