Wherever He Goes, Whatever He Does, I Will be Right Here Waiting for Braun

Posted by Steve

Craig Counsell AVG .222 | HR 0 | RBI 6 | OBP .293 | SLG .361

Tony Graffanino AVG .206 | HR 0 | RBI 2 | OBP .300 | SLG .206

Great googly moogly. Coming into the season I knew the Brewers’ production from the Counsell/Graffanino platoon would be bad, but amazingly, it’s been even worse than I anticipated– it’s abysmal. Dan made a good point the other day when he said, “Who bats their third baseman eighth?” At this point, I just don’t understand why Braun is still in AAA. I can think of a few excuses we might get, but I don’t buy any of them:

  • Braun needed time to work on his defense. This is very true. He is still a ways away from being even an average defensive third baseman. But it’s not as if the Brewers are getting great defense at third right now anyway. Counsell is admittedly very good with the glove, but Graffanino has looked pretty bad. If the errors are going to be made anyway, I’d rather have Braun making them than Graffanino. Furthermore, Braun has one error in 29 attempts in Nashville. 29 attempts is certainly not earth-shattering, but it’s not like he has Steve Sax-Chuck Knoblauch Syndrome.
  • Braun had never been above AA, and we wanted to make sure he wasn’t overmatched in AAA first. This was a fair assessment, I guess. Although Braun dominated in Spring Training, you’ll get yourself in trouble if you look too much into Spring Training stats. But now, after 61 ABs, Braun’s OPS is still on the sunny side of 1.000. Normally 61 ABs means next to nothing, but in this case I think it’s safe to say Braun isn’t overmatched by AAA pitching.
  • As long as the Brewers are playing well, they might as well give him more time in AAA. Now, this one I don’t understand at all. Just because the Brewers (outside of third base) are playing well means you don’t want improvement? The bottom line is if Braun is an overall improvement over Counsellino (and I don’t see how you can say he wouldn’t be at this point) then he should be starting at third in Milwaukee.

The only reason for keeping him down that I can buy is waiting to start his arbitration clock. I keep hearing mixed reports on the date that his clock will be pushed back another year, but I know that it is close (if not already passed). If this is why the Brewers are keeping him down then I not only understand it–I support it. An extra few weeks of Ryan Braun in 2007 is not worth losing him a year early when he’s in the prime of his career. But Braun should be up as soon as that arby date hits.


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