With three-fourths of the infield held by young players, the only infield position in question is third base. Corey Koskie missed a large portion of last season to post-concussion syndrome, and his status still remains in question. The most recent report is that he is still unable to partake in “baseball activities.” Considering Giants catcher Mike Matheny recently retired due to the same condition, things don’t seem too encouraging for Koskie.
A potential solution at third base lies in what the Brewers hope to be their long-term solution at the hot corner. Super-prospect Ryan Braun, a first-round draft selection in 2005, has been tearing up the minor leagues. In 59 games after moving up to Double-A in 2006, he hit .303/.367/.589 with 15 home runs and recorded 12 steals in 12 attempts.
Ideally the Brewers would give Braun at least a half-season in AAA, mainly to polish his defensive game. If they can keep him in the minors until July, they would delay starting his arbitration clock for another season.
Milwaukee may not have that luxury. If Koskie can’t play, the Brewers plan to platoon backup infielders Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell at third base. Doug Melvin can only wait so long if the third base position isn’t producing. He’ll either have to make a trade, or more likely, call up Braun earlier than he’d probably like.
The Brewers hope Ryan Braun is the long-term answer at third base, but he might need some more time in the minors.