Friday, April 01, 2005

Your 2005 Opening Day Roster

As it stands, here is the 25-man roster that Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, and Ned Yost decided upon:

Damian Miller
Chad Moeller

Russell Branyan
Jeff Cirillo
Trent Durrington
Billy Hall
J.J. Hardy
Wes Helms
Lyle Overbay
Junior Spivey

Brady Clark
Geoff Jenkins
Carlos Lee
Chris Magruder

Chris Capuano
Doug Davis
Gary Glover
Victor Santos
Ben Sheets

Mike Adams
Ricky Bottalico
Jorge de la Rosa
Wes Obermueller
Derrick Turnbow
Matt Wise

From the start of Training camp last month, I don't think anyone in their right mind could have predicted an opening day roster with such a make-up. There are a few things that stick out as being rather puzzling.

The first thing was the fact that they will carry EIGHT infielders, including what amounts to be basically four third basemen -- Branyan, Helms, Cirillo, and Durrington -- in that order. A case can be made for Cirillo to have made the club, based on his ability to play first, second, and third base. He would fit the role of the 25th man on the roster -- someone who can adequately fill in anywhere on the diamond, pinch hit off the bench, provide veteran leadership, etc. Fine, I have no problem with the sentimental pick of bringing Cirillo back.

But Durrington on the other hand, he just seems like a waste of a roster spot. He will more than likely be fourth on the depth chart at third base and second base, as well as serving as the emergency catcher. Big deal. Oh, I can't forget that he'll provide "speed" off the bench in pinch-running situations. Watch out now!! The sad part is, he isn't even really that fast. It's not like he has blazing Kenny Lofton-in-his-prime speed, but is simply mediocre. So tell me, how much playing time will he actually see while he's with the club?

Keep in mind that the toolshed Brooks Kieschnick was released earlier this week. Brooksy could have definitely have been of more value that Durrington could ever dream of being. Brooks would have provided a bat from the left side of the plate off the bench besides Magruder (who is stronger from the right side). In all honesty, I think pitcher Wes Obermueller has more potential at the plate than Durrington does, which leads into another point.

"We're going with eleven pitchers now because with two off days early, we're going to need that extra player, to pinch run or whatever (Durrington)," Yost said of the decision. "We'll need a twelfth pitcher in a couple of weeks. ... We think those guys can be a big part of our bullpen. We just need them to sharpen up their command and have clean innings. ... Whoever goes down there and gets the job done is going to come back. We told those guys the competition is going to be fierce."

"Those guys" that Yost was referring to were Tommy Phelps, Julio Santana, and Justin Lehr. These were the last three players vying for a spot in the bullpen. Another factor in going with an 11-man pitching staff to temporarily begin the year was the fact that none of the candidates trying to earn a spot in the bullpen were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, thereby making the the Brewers' braintrust's decision all the more tougher. Doug Melvin flat out said that nobody earned the twelfth pitching spot.

If you followed the spring training games at all, you would know that the bullpen was very, very shaky...and that's being kind. If I were in the braintrust's position, I would think it would be beneficial to carry an extra reliever, but that's just my opinion. This is why I am still very skeptical that this will be the actual team that makes the trip to Pittsburgh on Monday. I would be willing to bet that Melvin has something up his sleeve to help address the bullpen woes. I think he is looking to acquire someone off of the waiver wire to help shore up the bullpen. One name that has been released was that of Stephen Randolph. He is a younger relief pitcher who started off with the D'Backs organization and was just released by the Cubs yesterday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2005 Milwaukee Brewers Preview

There is a nice in-depth article about the 2005 Brewers over at the Baseball Think Factory website. Go check it out.

Obviously there are a few things that didn't pan out since this article was written, such as Kieschnick being released, and Ben Hendrickson and Jose Capellan being sent down to Nashville. But this excerpt from the article made my jaw drop:

While Hardy hasn't put up jaw-dropping numbers just yet, he has steadily improved his power and strike zone judgment every year and at every level, doing just about everything well except hit for average. Over the last two years between Double-A and Triple-A he has hit for a slightly unlucky BABIP of .292, indicating that as he matures more of those flyballs may start going over the fence. I think he has a chance to be every bit as good as Miguel Tejada.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Greatest Day on the Sofa Ever

Noon - 1:30: Golf, The Players Championship (5th major)
1:30 - 4:00: Badgers v. N. Carolina
4:00 - 7:00: Michigan St v. Kentucky
7:00 - 8:00: Poker on FSN
8:00 - 11:00: Brewers ST game v. Rangers on FSN
11:00 - 12:00: last hour of "Major League" on ESPN classics

I honestly didn't know who to root for in the UW/UNC game. It really was bittersweet for me because in the back of my mind, I knew that only one of my two favorite teams would advance, though I eventually came around to root for the Badgers. It was the first time those two teams have ever played each other. I was a freakin' wreck the last 5 minutes of that game...I honestly never would have thought in a million years that UW would have been able to play up to NC's talent level. I'd swear, UNC could probably beat a couple NBA teams this year. They've got a sure-fire lottery pick coming OFF THE BENCH for crying out loud! It just sucks that we'll never see Shariff Chambliss, Wilkinson, Morley, or Hanson play another game together. Every 3-pointer that Hanson made today, all I could think about were my old roommate's so-called stories of just how bad he was in high school, yet he was able to shut down two of the best players in all of college basketball in their last 2 games -- Hodge of NCSU and McCants to a certain extent yesterday.

Hope you got a chance to catch the Crew on TV last night. I actually caught myself being giddy over the fact that I got to watch the game on TV, even though I watch 4 games in person a couple weeks ago! I've never done this before, but I was honestly laughing all by myself during the later innings when they were talking about Tommie Phelps' 1992 Honda Accord. It was just good to see the team on TV again. Seriously, I might have a problem with paying too much attention to them this year!!

Updated Roster Predictions

This was my projection on February 13th. As of now, it appears that three of my original projections will not break with the club when they head back to Milwaukee next week.

Ben Hendrickson was sent down to AAA, again, due to the fact that he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with his pitches this spring. Brooks Kieschnick will be outrighted and has either 10 days to clear waivers or to be traded. And lastly, outfielder Dave Krynzel appears to be ticketed along with Hendrickson to AAA Nashville in order to play everyday.

In their places, it appears Gary Glover has the inside track to take over Hendrickson's spot as the 5th man in the rotation. Based on grumblings out of the desert, it appears as if the prodigal son, Jeff Cirillo, will take over Krynzel's bench spot and serve as an extra utilityman and provide veteran leadership. The 25th and final spot on the roster still appears to be up for grabs, although it can be fairly safe to say that it will go to someone from the bullpen, possibly Derrick Turnbow.

Projected 2005 Opening Day Roster

CF Brady Clark
2B Junior Spivey
1B Lyle Overbay
LF Carlos Lee
RF Geoff Jenkins
3B Russell Branyan
C Damian Miller
SS J.J. Hardy

C Chad Moeller
3B Wes Helms
MIF Bill Hall
OF Dave Krynzel
OF Chris Magruder

RHP Ben Sheets
LHP Doug Davis
LHP Chris Capuano
RHP Ben Hendrickson
RHP Victor Santos

RHP Mike Adams, closer
RHP Ricky Bottalico, setup
RHP Justin Lehr, setup
RHP Matt Wise, middle relief
LHP Jorge de la Rosa, middle relief
RHP Brooks Kieschnick, middle relief
RHP Wes Obermueller, long relief

Brooks Kieschnick Apparently Released

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers are planning on releasing relief pitcher and pinch hitter Brooks Kieschnick. 'Kiesch' pinch hit in 44 AB's off the bench last year, the fourth most in a season for the Brewers, and recorded 11 hits for a pedestrian .250 average. Other highlights...posted a 1.99 ERA in 14 games at Miller Park and a 5.75 ERA in 18 games on the road...allowed 9 0f 17 inherited runners to score...14 of 32 appearances were for 1+ innings...hit .429 in July...batting average was .359 on July 16...went 3 - 23 (.130) for the rest of the season...hit .316 when batting as a pitcher...hit .317 with runners on base.

I don't seem to quite understand why Doug Melvin would do this move at this point in time. Brooks' greatest value to the team was the ability to perform two roles as a two-way player. He provided some power off the bench as a pinch hitter as well as served as a middle reliever/set up guy in the bullpen. With Brooks gone, the 2005 bench will be considered one of the worst in all of baseball, whereas last year it was considered a strength of the team with all of its depth. The "Official Krispy Kreme Spokesman" will be the only bat off the bench that will provide any potential power, and that's not really saying much. McGruder, Hall, Moeller, and possibly Cirillo definitely will not strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers, compared to last year where Keith Ginter and Brady Clark were also coming off the bench who were more than serviceable in the role.

Brooks almost assuredly will not pass through waivers without being claimed by some team, so, good luck on what's left of your career.