No Fielder? No Braun? No Problem!


Yes it’s true, having Ryan Braun out of the line-up does not look like most attractive thing in the baseball world. This however, is not a problem for the Brewers’ first two months. While Braun is facing a possible suspension (as he is trying to appeal it) and Prince Fielder’s status is currently unknown, it looks like a bleak and gray 2012 for Brewers’ fans. Fear not! The offense has not been cut down, at least not as bad as most fans would think. The signings of Norichika Aoki, Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez add quite a bit of fire power to the Brewers’ line up. If Braun is gone, Aoki can take up that spot in an outfield that is already powered by Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and his alter ego Tony Plush. Not to mention, the Brewers do have a bit of depth for their outfield with guys like Carlos Gomez, and the young Logan Schafer.

The offense does have a bit of a dent without the bats of Fielder, Braun and now Casey McGehee who went to the Pirates. However, with the infield changes, GM Doug Melvin knew that the newer players to the team would fit in perfectly. The biggest question the Brewers face is how will Mat Gamel fare in a spot that was dominated by one of the best hitters in the game? Throughout his career, Gamel has only hit 5 HRs and accumulated 21 RBIs with an overall batting average of .241. I don’t think he’ll exactly be per say, the caliber of hitter that Prince Fielder is, but time will only tell.

If I could make my own example of what I think the lineup would look like without Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, it’d go something like this:

  1. Corey Hart – RF
  2. Nyjer Morgan – CF
  3. Rickie Weeks – 2B
  4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B
  5. Jonathan Lucroy – C
  6. Mat Gamel – 1B
  7. Alex Gonzalez – SS
  8. Norichika Aoki / Carlos Gomez – LF
  9. Pitcher

Now here would be my example if they are able to resign Fielder and Braun somehow miraculously manages to appeal his suspension:

  1. Corey Hart – RF
  2. Nyjer Morgan – CF
  3. Ryan Braun – LF
  4. Prince Fielder – 1B
  5. Aramis Ramirez – 3B
  6. Rickie Weeks – 2B
  7. Jonathan Lucroy – C
  8. Alex Gonzalez – SS
  9. Pitcher

In all honesty, either lineup is really solid. The outfield hitters are already very dangerous hitters, and throwing Norichika Aoki into the mix just adds to the destruction. When Aoki played for the Yakult Swallows in Japan, he put up some decent numbers (.292 BA with 170 hits and 51 BB, so he’s a patient hitter) and has a pretty extensive list of awards which include: 7xNPB All-Star, 6xGolden Glove, 3xBatting Champion, 2xAll-Star Game MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2005. In the infield, the addition of Aramis Ramirez is great. In 2011, Ramirez batted .306, had 26 HRs, 93 RBIs and had slugging percentage of .510. Alex Gonzalez is more or less a contact hitter, but can still drive the ball out of the ballpark as he did hit 15 HRs. Also, knowing what we know from 2011, second year, now third year catcher Jonathan Lucroy can hit (he had a .265 BA, 12 HRs and 59 RBIs, which is pretty decent for a catcher), Rickie Weeks who was an All-Star in 2011 had a great year posting a .269 BA, 20 HRs and scored 77 runs,  Corey Hart is still nothing but productive, and Nyjer Morgan may not be the best home run hitter, but with a .304 BA, I don’t see too many people complaining.

Really, the Brewers have nothing to fear about 2012. The pitching is good, the hitting is good either way, and if my second lineup were to be the actual lineup going into this season, I’d sayMilwaukeemight wrap up the division early.