In case you were wondering -- Todd "the Llama" Welter (and, no, I have no desire to find out how, exactly, he got that nickname) doesn't know much about baseball, either.
Opening day is one week away. Last time we saw the Brewers a storybook season did not get the happily ever after ending. What a tale it was and the expectations for a sequel are high. Without CC and Sheets, the Brewers will have a tough time coming up with a Godfather II. That does not mean the Brewers can come up with another run towards playing meaningful games in October. A lot of hopes and dreams will have to come true for that to play out. So as season approaches, have high hopes but realistic happenings.
Jesus. I made it one whole paragraph before blood started pouring out of my eyes. Let me get this straight: without Sabathia and Sheets, the Brewers will find it hard to repeat last year's success. But: "[t]hat does not mean the Brewers can come up with another run towards playing meaningful games in October." In sum: it will be hard to repeat, but that doesn't mean we should expect them to repeat. Um. Well... Hmmm.
So far, off to a bad start, and we haven't even reached "have high hopes but realistic happenings" yet. (I don't know about y'all, but I have happenings all the time.)
Hope that Bill Hall’s Lasik surgery helps him regain that form where he was pounding out homers at will and coming up with big hits in the clutch. Expect that not even modern medicine can save Bill Hall’s career from being labeled he is who he is and he already had his career year.
Bill Hall is being labeled "he is who he is"? What is this, Moses and the burning bush? "I am Bill Hall. I Am Who Am. Deliver this message to Pharaoh: Let my people go."
Request that we hear Hell’s Bells a lot at Miller Park. Expect Trevor Hoffman to be in a closer platoon with Seth McClung by the end of the year.
That's a pretty provocative statement. You don't often see closer platoons; usually, if the closer isn't doing his job, he forfeits the closer role entirely. He doesn't share it with someone else. But I'm sure you've got a good reason for thinking that way.
McClung has got the stuff and the mindset to be a closer. Hoffman’s numbers have been on the decline thanks to father time. He will still get the job done but so will McClung which might incline Ken Macha to give McClung a few shots at the ninth later in the season as to not burn out Hoffman. Although do not discount Carlos Villanueva making a case as well.
Oh, I see. Let's break this down in bite-size morsels:
(1) "McClung has the stuff and the mindset to be a closer." M.C. Lung has two pitches: a fastball, and a faster fastball. Far as I know, for his entire career, he's either been a starter or a long reliever. How this adds up to closer material, I'm not sure.
(2) "Hoffman's numbers have been on the decline thanks to father time." Three years ago, Trevor had 46 saves, and ERA+ of 189 (wow!), and a 0.968 WHIP. Two years ago: 42 saves, ERA+ of 135, and a 1.116 WHIP. Last year: 30 saves (in 48 games), ERA+ of 101, and a WHIP of 1.037. He gave up too many homers last year (8), for sure. That seems to be the biggest difference in his splits; batting average against has held steady around .220 for the last two years and was .205 three years ago.
(3) "He will still get the job done but so will McClung which might incline Ken Macha to give McClung a few shots at the ninth later in the season as to not burn out Hoffman." If Hoffman is getting the job done, why would K-Mach let McClung pitch? To prevent Hoffman from burning out? If you looked at Trevor's stats from last year, you'd see (1) that he only pitched 45.1 innings in the 48 games he appeared in -- nobody's asking him to get 6-out saves here; and (2) he got better as the year went on. He's going to get plenty of rest this year. Don't worry.
(4) "Although do not discount Carlos Villanueva making a case as well." If there's one thing we've learned about Carlos Villanueva, it's that he's a middle reliever. No starty, no closey, just middle reliefy.
Wish that the offense gets some plate discipline and does not get into run droughts. Expect some small ball with Dale Sveum as the hitting coach but do not expect the Brewers to change their hack away ways anytime soon. Sveum will convince them to be ballplayers as he likes to describe but even when he was the manager he struggled to get the lineup to be patient.
Sveum will convince them to be ballplayers? Are some of our guys operating under the belief that they're accountants? Morticians? Ninjas? And I don't know that we can make any sweeping generalizations on what Sveum did or didn't do during the three weeks he was the manager.
Hope that Prince Fielder bounces back from last season. You can expect that as well. Prince is now paid, in shape, and will be back to playing the way we have come accustomed to. Great hitting, MVP chants, and lousy defense.
Last year, the year that Prince needs to "bounce back from": .276/.372/.507, OPS of .879. I think we need to get over the idea that 2007 can be considered some kind of benchmark for Prince's production. That year was the lodestar. So how 'bout we agree that anywhere between 35-40 homers, 100+ RBIs and an OBP around .380 is just peachy?
Give Rickie Weeks one more chance at the lead off spot.
Oh no you di'int.
Get ready to say he might not live up to the hype. The guy will have to show better plate discipline if he hopes to take that next step forward. There is no argument that the guy can score runs so if he can take more walks, his career could be ready to get back on the upswing.
Take more walks? He walked 66 times and got hit by a pitch 14 times in 118 starts last year. The year before, he walked 78 times and got hit by a pitch 14 times in 111 starts. Sure, a few more walks would be nice, but Rickie needs to start hitting the damn ball (and probably catch a few breaks -- his BABIP last year was .277).
Predict 88 wins but expect 83 wins at most. The lineup can still keep the Brewers at contender status but the pitching lacks a stopper to prolonged losing streaks. Just hope there is no injury in the rotation because then we are talking about 75 wins at most. This team just not have the depth to overcome an injury.
And there you have it: predict a number of wins that, according to Mr. Welter, can't be reached for a team that "just not have the depth to overcome an injury." Beautiful.