The Milwaukee Brewers suffered through a miserable 2013 season. Their best player went to hurt to suspended. Their closer blew up. Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks were hurt. Yuniesky Betancourt amassed almost 400 PA’s. Wisconsin banned transfats. Okay. That last one would cause riots in the streets of Green Bay, but the 2013 season was a disaster no matter how it’s sliced. The 2014 come with more than a few question marks and hopefully we’ll find some answers in this edition of Top Five Questions
5. Will Ryan Braun be a top 10 player again? This is the $113 million dollar question. What is a post-juice Ryan Braun going to look like? How long has he been using? What is real with Braun? The problem is that he went to college at University of Miami. Coral Gables, Florida was also home to BioGenesis. We know that Alex Rodriguez started using before 2003. Is it unreasonable to think that Braun started using around the same time and at the same place? Fantasy GMs need to see what kind of shape Braun shows up in for spring training. It’s a good idea to stay away if he’s throwing around words like “increased flexibility” and “adjusted diet.”
4. Will Jean Segura repeat his success? Jean Segura won a lot of leagues for a lot of people last year. The batting average and stolen bases might be repeatable, but the power that Segura posted was likely a mirage. He’s been picked over by almost every fantasy pundit. Here are the relevant numbers; He posted a 23.3% FB % with a 10.4 HR:FB ratio. He has exactly one year in his minor league career with double digit homers and that came in Single-A. He hit exactly one homer after June 21st. Don’t expect another double digit homer year and don’t overpay for Segura.
3. Who is going to pitch for these guys? Well, the rotation is going to feature some combination of Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta, Matt Garza and Marco Estrada and Jim Henderson will open the season as closer.
Estrada is forever a sleeper. Lohse is essentially a one category pitcher and that category is wins. Stay away. Peralta looks like an end of the draft flier/waiver wire fodder. Garza should be a back of a fantasy rotation arm who really can’t be trusted to make more than 25 starts. Yovani Gallardo is only 28 years old, but he has five consecutive years of 180+ innings on his arm and posted the lowest K/9 (7.17) of his career. He’s another back end of a fantasy rotation innings eater at this point.
Henderson is doing a great job showing just how unpredictable relief pitching is. No one would have thought that this guy, basically a name on a roster for the past eight years, would rack up 28 saves with a 11.25 K/9 in 60 ML innings last year. The Brewers really don’t have a second option and he’ll likely get a lot of chances before the Brewers take him out of the closer job.
2. Does this team have a first baseman? Kind of. They have players who could win the first base job. Remeber Mat Gamel? No. No one remembers Mat Gamel. Juan Francisco is the incumbent and he’s really underwhelming. Francisco has a 0.5 career WAR in 298 games at the ML level. That’s a great way to describe Francisco. He is the “R” in WAR. He could probably hit 20 homers in 500 PA’s, but that’s about all he offers.
Mark Reynolds is in spring training on a minor league contract and he has a pretty good chance of winning the Brewers first base job outright. He’s four years removed from a career year, but he will essentially be an end of draft play in most formats. He has a good chance to win the job outright and should provide value if he does. You could do a lot worse at the Util/corner IF slots this year.
1. Is Khris Davis worthy of your attention? Well, do you like guys that hit baseballs really, really far? Khrush Davis blasted 11 homers in 153 PA cup of coffee last year and has the minor league track record to back up his power potential. He posted a 22.2% K %, which actually isn’t that bad for a guy with Davis’ power in his first time in the majors. He also showed a 20.4% LD %, so he has a chance to produce power and not murder your batting average. He has a clear path to a job and should be owned in just about every applicable format.