Posted by Steve
Not really sure how this happened, but I managed not to post for a couple weeks. It’s not like there hasn’t been a ton to talk about, so I really have no excuse. If it’s any consolation, I have definitely had baseball on the mind. I’ve been working on setting up a sweet fantasy auction league, and I recently got the New Baseball Prospectus handbook after not getting one the last couple years. I’ll get around to the PECOTA projection post pretty soon, I reckon’.
Where to start? I guess Greinke’s injury is as good a place as any. It’s crappy for sure, but I don’t understand people who are angry at him for playing basketball. It’s not like he was racing a motorcycle or something. If he really only misses three starts, it’s not all that bad. Frustrating, sure, but definitely not the end of the world.
However, injuries are starting to pile up. Aside from Greinke, Mat Gamel, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy, Mark Rogers, Manny Parra and Mitch Stetter all have injuries of varying degrees. None are serious at this point, but the team could certainly be healthier.
At least we aren’t Cardinal fans, because then we’d be pretentious and self-righteous. Also, our ace pitcher would be out for the year, and our best hitter, who also happens to be the best hitter on the planet, has one foot out the door.
On the other hand, I’ve been catching some Brewer games on the radio as much as I can. The other day on my lunch break, Yuniesky Betancourt made an error and misjudged a pop-up in a 20-minute span. Here’s hoping that wasn’t a microcosm for the Brewers’ 2011 season, but I will say that I cannot believe Doug Melvin is truly entering the season with Betancourt as his starting shortstop. He had several opportunities to upgrade with free agents, and he chose not to. Using Betancourt all season will cost them runs, which will cost them games. There’s a reason he’s used as the “bad shortstop” in this amazing FIP video.
- The Brewers are apparently trying to convince us that Carlos Gomez is coming around. Of course, he still hasn’t drawn a walk, so, yeah… Not buying it.
- On a similar note, doesn’t a strict platoon between Gomez and Chris Dickerson make perfect sense? Dickerson can’t hit lefties. Gomez can’t hit anybody, but he at least hits lefties better than Dickerson. If they stuck to a platoon, they could probably at least approach league average production for CF with good defense.
- With Greinke out, the Brewers will need to figure out who to use as their fifth starter. They’d probably like that to be Mark Rogers, but after his setback it’s not clear yet whether he’ll be ready. I’m fine with Rogers filling in for the short term, but I really want him to get more time in AAA. As well as he pitched in Milwaukee last September, he still needs to show better control. His 5.6 walks per nine innings in the minors last season is way too high, and he won’t have sustained success in the majors until he improves his control.
- I am pumped for the return of Mark DiFelice. Big time. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he made the team, but even if he doesn’t, I all but guarantee we’ll see him in Milwaukee for much of this season. If he is close to what he was, the Brewers have the potential for a great bullpen between Axford, Saito, Braddock, DiFelice, and Lowe.
- Aside from retaining Betancourt as the starting shortstop, the most baffling personnel move to me is the signing of Mark Kotsay. Kotsay is a good OF/1B fill-in with solid defense and a nice left-handed bat… If it’s 2004. That was his last good season. Kotsay has been below replacement level the last two seasons, and hasn’t been solidly above replacement level since 2005! His defense is now horrendous in his advance age, and Bill James is projecting him for a .674 OPS. Giving him a major league contract is a baffling move, and I’m going to yell things if he makes the team over Mat Gamel. Gamel is at worst the sixth best hitter in the organization (I’d argue fourth best) and can’t just get a regular spot.
One more story for tonight, along with the caveat that I will be posting much more frequently from this point on. Last weekend I was out in downtown Milwaukee and randomly ran into some guys from Kansas City. I was dumbfounded by their reason for being here: Since KC has no NBA team, they’re all Bucks fans. They drove to Milwaukee from Kansas City to watch the Bucks! That blew my mind, since the Bucks are so crappy this year.
Anyway, I of course asked if they were Royals fans, and before I knew it, one of them was buying me a beer (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and excitedly talking baseball. They were all huge Royals fans, and really wanted to hear about the players they got in the Greinke trade. I ended up telling them that when their team is really good in a year or two, they will come to hate Ned Yost. Other highlights:
“Greinke is a weird guy. He likes World of Warcraft more than baseball. I guess it doesn’t matter, though, since he’s an awesome pitcher.”
I was met with looks of horror when I mentioned Betancourt. “Thank GOD he’s gone.”
“Rooting against the Royals is like rooting against Special Olympians.”
“Nobody is worse than Cardinal fans. They get all offended if you show any bit of emotion, or even enjoyment. Sure they have really nice and knowledgeable fans, but they also have the ones who brag about how nice and knowledgeable they are. I CAN’T STAND Cardinal fans.”