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Milwaukee Brewers Corner Infield Spots were Revolving Doors in 2013

October 17th, 2013 at 6:23 PM
By Phil Watson

To say the corner infield spots for the Milwaukee Brewers were unsettled in 2013 would be an understatement of epic proportions, something akin to when James Watson and Francis Crick said their discovery of DNA was of “considerable biological interest.”

The Brewers got just half a season from third baseman Aramis Ramirez and no season at all from Corey Hart, projected to be their first baseman.

First base, in particular, turned into a tragicomedy. The last time there were this many knee injuries, somebody owed money to a loan shark.

Hart, lost to knee surgery in January, never made it back. That left the job to Mat Gamel, who blew out his knee during the first day of full squad workouts at spring training in February. That left the job to Taylor Green, who injured his hip in March.

Neither Gamel nor Green played a game in 2013, at any level, and both were designated for assignment shortly after the regular season ended. Gamel wound up being claimed by the Chicago Cubs; Green is a free agent.

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Milwaukee Brewers Catchers Get High Marks Thanks to Jonathan Lucroy

October 16th, 2013 at 7:17 PM
By Phil Watson

No catcher in the major leagues drove in more runs in 2013 than Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 27-year-old Floridian, who came to the Brewers via the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, put together his best season yet and, during a season when the Crew lost key piece after key piece in the middle of the batting order, became a guy manager Ron Roenicke could count on.

Lucroy started 122 games at catcher, but also made nine starts at first base and three at designated hitter. That’s how important his bat became—the Brewers couldn’t afford to not have Lucroy penciled in the lineup somewhere.

With 76 RBI as a catcher, Lucroy tied with Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League lead, while Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles also had 76 to top the American League and tie for a share of the major-league lead at the position.

In all, Lucroy hit .280/.340/.455 in 580 plate appearances, with 18 home runs and 82 RBI. He also cracked 25 doubles and six triples and scored 59 times. The accumulated stats were all career highs; his batting line was the best he has put up over a full season. (Lucroy hit .320/.368/.513 in 2012, but was limited to 346 plate appearances in 96 games because of a broken hand.)

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Milwaukee Brewers Starting Pitchers Authored a Tale of Two Halves in 2013

October 15th, 2013 at 7:24 PM
By Phil Watson

Overall, the Milwaukee Brewers starting pitchers put together a season that could best be described as middling.

Milwaukee ranked 21st in the major leagues in starters’ ERA with a 4.20 mark and the rotation’s 1.32 WHIP tied for 18th in baseball.

But before the All-Star break, the Crew starters were ghastly. With a 4.86 ERA, Milwaukee ranked last in the National League and 28th in baseball. The Brewers had a 1.41 starters’ WHIP, tied for 24th in MLB.

After the break? Milwaukee’s starting pitchers were second to only the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League with a 3.36 mark and were fourth-best in baseball overall. Their 1.21 WHIP tied for fifth in the bigs.

There were lots of huge turnarounds from the first half to the second among the four pitchers who were the most often-used starters. Kyle Lohse and Wily Peralta made 32 starts each. Yovani Gallardo made 31 despite missing two weeks on the disabled list in July and August. Marco Estrada took the ball 21 times.

Before the All-Star break, Lohse was 5-7 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.162 WHIP in 19 starts and 115.1 innings. Afterward, he was 6-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.176 WHIP in 13 starts and 83.1 innings, tossing two complete games and a shutout after the break, as well.

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Milwaukee Brewers Have 3 Who Could Go to Arbitration, Including Juan Francisco

October 15th, 2013 at 3:39 PM
By Phil Watson

The Milwaukee Brewers have three arbitration-eligible players heading into the offseason and one online site did some forecasting about how much it would take to retain all three.

MLBTradeRumors.com reported Tuesday that starting pitcher Marco Estrada, reliever Burke Badenhop and corner infielder Juan Francisco will be eligible for arbitration this winter.

Francisco will be considered a “super two” player, a player with less than three years of service time, but one who ranks in the top 22 percent of all two-year players in terms of service time. According to baseball-reference.com. Francisco has two years and 156 days in the big leagues.

It was a tale of two seasons in 2013 for Estrada, who was inconsistent and hit hard prior to going on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on June 5.

In 21 starts overall, Estrada was 7-4 with a 3.87 ERA and a career-best 1.078 WHIP in 128 innings, with 29 walks and 118 strikeouts. But prior to going on the disabled list, Estrada was 4-4 in 12 starts with a 5.32 ERA and 1.356 WHIP in 69.1 innings with 18 walks and 62 strikeouts.

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Milwaukee Brewers Report Card 2013: Grading the Bullpen

October 14th, 2013 at 4:04 PM
By Phil Watson

The Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen in 2012 was a dumpster fire. The Crew relief corps ranked dead last in the majors with a 4.66 ERA. The ‘pen was tagged with 33 losses, the most in the big (two more than even the moribund Houston Astros). Not shockingly, the Brewers were also last in baseball with 29 blown saves.

They surrendered 56 homers in just 512.1 innings. As a unit, the bullpen posted a WHIP of a horrific 1.483.

There was nowhere to go but up.

Up they went in 2013 … and then some. It was a remarkable turnaround for the Brewer relief corps, which finished fifth in the majors, and third in the National League, with an ERA of 3.19. The relievers were a combined 26-28 (the 28 losses tied for the 20th-most in baseball with the Colorado Rockies) and their 23 blown saves tied for 24th with the Seattle Mariners), but by and large, the relief corps was much, much better.

They surrendered one fewer homer (55) in 11.2 more innings (524). The WHIP fell from that ghastly 1.483 to a more respectable 1.240.

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