Feb 25, 2014; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcherMatt Garza
(22) throws during a Spring Training inter-squad practice game at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
A couple months back I posted my 2014 Milwaukee Brewer best case scenarios for the outfield, middle infield, corners, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers. Assuming everything broke right I had the Brewers finishing 92-70, competing for a Wild Card playoff spot. Since, there have been several moves and adjustments. Let’s take a look at the impact.
The Outfield (Projected WAR 17.5)
Khris Davis was already penciled in as the starter, but Norichika Aoki was the nice-to-have fourth outfielder. At this point everything else is status quo in the outfield. This starting outfield has the potential to rock Major League Baseball in 2014.
Projected WAR Change: None
Middle Infield (Projected WAR 9.0)
Omar Infante did not sign on as my dream utility infielder; more importantly though, Rickie Weeks spring training is pulling me to the pro platoon Scooter Gennett and Weeks debate. If Weeks continues to hit (humongous if), having him hit the lefties should increase overall offense from the second base position.
Projected WAR Change: +.5
The Corners (Projected WAR 1.0)
Corey Hart is gone and has been replaced by Lyle Overbay, Mark Reynolds, Juan Francisco or some combination of the three plus possibly Sean Halton and Hunter Morris. The position continues to be a cluster something or another. Coming off injury I was not expecting much, only a WAR of .5 for Hart. Best case is Reynolds finds his power and Francisco continues to show the offense displayed so far this spring. Aramis Ramirez seems healthy, at least more than my initial half-game above replacement, bumping up to a full game. (Already regretting giving Ramirez a bump and waiting for injury.)
Projected WAR Change: +1.5
Starting Pitching (Projected WAR 12.0)
Wei-Chung Wang (aka Mr. Rule 5) is fighting for a spot, but even if he hangs on he probably won’t factor into the starting rotation. Will Smith most likely finds himself in the pen unless there are injuries which leave us with Matt Garza, the Brewers huge free agency signing this off-season. The initial rankings had Tyler Thornburg as the number five starter and Jimmy Nelson winning the six spot. Assuming Garza finds himself near the top of the rotation, then everyone moves down a slot with Nelson heading back to Nashville for now. Replacing Nelson with Garza is good for a two game increase in WAR.
Projected WAR Change: +2
Relief Pitching (Projected WAR 5.0)
Projected WAR Change: None
The late transactions are all coming up roses for the Brewers who now find their best case scenario 96-66, good enough to compete with St. Louis for the division crown. What do you think? Am I too drunk on the spring training Kool-Aid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.