With Opening Day almost here the writers at RtB have come together to do a two-part bold prediction piece for the upcoming season. Part 1 the position players for the Brewers.
It’s difficult to choose a “bold prediction” this year as most often there are a few players that are obvious choices that one can say they’ll have an up or down year. But, this year for the Brewers’ rebuilding squad, there are so many to choose from, it’s like picking a name out of a baseball cap. Right away I thought about when I wrote about Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS Projections and the two clear cut winners were Domingo Santana and Chris Carter. To say Santana having a .252/.337/.467 with 26 HRs and 84 RBIs isn’t too crazy and I’m expecting him to have a great year, but I guess to go way out there I’ll predict Carter gets near the projected .237/.333/.506 with 31 HRs and 85 RBIs numbers and even flirts with a possible All-Star nomination. Of course, he has to be hot at the perfect timing (Carter is known for being hot/cold) and the 1st baseman in the NL are crazy as looking at the 2015 All-Stars at 1B were good to say the least (Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Gonzalez), so no doubt there will be luck involved. But, if Carter peaks at the right time, the Brewers don’t really have another player to put on the All-Star ballot, and a few 1Bs aren’t peaking at the time, he may just get a spot. How’s that for bold?
Keon Broxton will lead the team in OB% and finish among the top 10 in runs scored for the NL. I’ve already written why I think Broxton could be the next Gomez, and recently John Sickels suggested his ceiling as Lorenzo Cain. He’s done everything and more during Spring Training (though we can’t take Spring stats too seriously), and the coaching staff is already impressed with his play in centerfield. If he plays everyday and bats leadoff, given his above average skills at getting on-base, he’ll provide ample opportunity for the likes of Braun and Carter to drive him in.
My bold prediction for a position player is that Domingo Santana will represent the Brewers in the All Star game this season. Last season Santana flashed his power for the Brewers, hitting 6 home runs in 121 at bats for the Crew. He also was able to draw 18 walks while with the Brewers and wound up sporting a .345 OBP for Milwaukee. His average of .231 left something to be desired, but his minor league batting averages over the past 5 seasons are .287 in 2011, .302 in 2012, .252 in 2013, .296 in 2014, and .333 in part of the season last year. In a full season at the big league level Santana should be able to put up a batting average more in line with his minor league numbers. At 23 years old he is still at a point in his career where most players continue development, and big things can be expected of him moving forward. An increase in batting average, along with continuing to draw plenty of walks and smash home runs will lead to an All Star campaign for the Brewers new right fielder in 2016.
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Prediction: Braun, Santana, Carter combine to hit over 75 homeruns