Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Episode 56 "Jamie Easterly Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Hot Stove/Winter Meetings (0:00-38:00)
- Acquire Burke Badenhop in trade
- Sign LHP Travis Webb to Minor League Deal
- Who is still out in SP market
- Who is still out in RP market
News & Notes (38:00-1:00:00)
- Counsell staying
- Brewers upset w/ Nashville Stadium
- Weeks back to leadoff?
- Gamel's role with club?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Episode 55 "Marcus Hanel Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Quick 2012 Wrap Up 0:00-21:00
Early Hot Stove Talk 21:00-37:00

Friday, September 21, 2012

Episode 54 "David Riske Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Wild Card Mania Running Wild! 0:00-38:00
NL MVP Race (Braun, Cutch, Posey) 38:00-58:00
Preview/Chalet Award Winner 58:00-1:01:00

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Episode 53 "Victor Santos Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Randy Wolf Released! 0:00-16:00
Corey Hart Wants To Stay, Is It Possible? 16:00-33:00
Axford Back In Closer Role 33:00-47:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 47:00-1:03:00

Friday, August 10, 2012

Episode 52 "Sergio Mitre Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Segura Gets The Call 0:00-15:00
Shaun Marcum: Yay or Nay in 13'? 15:00-30:00
CF in 13'? 30:00-49:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 49:00-1:01:00

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Stand With Stan

Today the Milwaukee Brewers decided to make a move they hope will right the ship for their bullpen, firing the bullpen coach Stan Kyles. Much of the Brewer world is upset with this move, including myself. Kyles was a great person for the community, and although partially responsible for coaching his players has no direct influence on their performances.

Someone in the bullpen needed to suffer. After giving up 9 runs in a single game, everyone in baseball should have seen a move coming, but to fire the man who answers the phone and gets players ready seems like the wrong route. It is true, Kyles does have a role in working with bullpen pitchers. You can consider him the assistant pitching coach. But to fire someone in that bullpen who is not directly responsible for giving up run after run makes no sense. Kyles has not thrown a single pitch, he has not blown a single lead, he has not put the Brewers into insurmountable deficits, yet while he was surrounded by players who fit those criteria, he is the one without a job.

Congratulations to Kyles for taking the high road out of town. In his last moments with the media he basically said I understand why they did it. He didn’t whine about being the scapegoat. He didn’t complain like I am doing for him. Really if Stan doesn’t feel the need to fight this, the rest of the Brewers fandom should shut their mouths because when you get down to it, it’s only his battle to fight. I refuse to do that. As a fan it is offensive that they would take away the job of a coach, who has a family to support and does so much for this community, when you can get rid of one of the people directly responsible for the chaos. The pitchers get the message just as well if you get rid of one of them. Showing them that they can lose their job no matter how much credibility they have built up before this year.

I hope this move works. I hope every pitcher sitting in that bullpen, with the exception of Jim Henderson, sits out there and realizes that their poor performance is directly responsible for a man losing his job who didn’t deserve it. I hope they know that every home run they have allowed cost this man a profession he loves dearly. I hope they throw until their arms fall off and make this sacrifice at least worth something. I just hope if they do succeed no one takes it as a sign that this is the right move.

Congratulations to the Brewers front office for playing the villain. You had so many other options and chose the wrong one. I wouldn’t cut any of the coaches, but I would cut and send down almost all of the bullpen. If you’re going to punish someone, punish someone who is directly responsible.


Astros at Brewers Series Preview 7/30 through 8/1

Milwaukee Brewers (45-56) vs. Washington Nationals (35-68)

Miller Park

Probable Starters

Monday July 30th 7:10pm

Game 1

Marco Estrada (0-4 4.52 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (5-8 5.05 ERA)

Tuesday July 31st 7:10pm

Game 2

Yovani Gallardo (8-8 4.07 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-3 4.63 ERA)

Wednesday August 1st 1:10pm

Game 3

Michael Fiers (4-4 1.77 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-7 5.54 ERA)

Good news! The Astros come to town! Better news! Every starter the Astros are sending to the mound had an ERA of 7 or worse in July! Bad news, the Brewers still have the same bullpen they did during the Nationals series, so really no situation is every a good situation after the starter leaves.

The picture for this series: the Astros are bad, very very very bad. But collectively they probably have more talent than our bullpen that can give up multiple leads in one game and nine runs in a matter of 5 innings. The Brewers starters should be looking at going 9 innings to get a win.

The best chance for the Brewers to win? Wednesday with Fiers taking the mound. Fiers has given up ONLY 4 RUNS OVER HIS LAST SEVEN STARTS. They also have a great chance with Yovani going against the Astros. Yo has an 11-2 record with a 2.72 ERA in his career against the ‘Stros.

This is probably the best chance for the Crew to win in a long time, unless major changes come to the ‘pen that are much more significant (and less douche) than firing a bullpen coach that has minimal impact on pitching performance, the Brewers can get swept in any series. I think the Brewers will take 2 of 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go 0-3. I suggest every fan stops watching in the seventh. That’s what I started doing and the Brewers are a lot better in my head than they are in real life.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Episode 51 "Jim Henderson Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Greinke For Segura/Hellweg/Pena 0:00-18:30
Bullpen Goes From Bad To Total Joke 18:30-29:00
Rotation Rest Of Season? 29:00-43:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 43:00-51:00

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nationals at Brewers Series Preview 7/26 to 7/29

Milwaukee Brewers (44-53) vs. Washington Nationals (58-39)

Miller Park

Probable Starters

Thursday July 26th 7:10pm

Game 1

Yovani Gallardo (8-7 3.72 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-6 3.73 ERA)

Friday July 27th 7:10pm

Game 2

Mike Fiers (3-4 1.96 ERA) vs. Ross Detweiler (5-3 3.01 ERA)

Saturday July 28th 6:10pm

Game 3

Randy Wolf (3-6 5.46 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (7-6 2.31 ERA)

Sunday July 29th 1:10pm

Game 4

Zack Greinke (9-3 3.44 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (13-5 3.13 ERA)

And enter the Nationals. Washington has been destroying competition left and right. They have the best record in the National League (by a very small margin) and lead all of baseball in team-ERA at 3.20. They have the likely Rookie of the Year on their team in Bryce Harper. They are just having an amazing year.

The Brewers, on the other hand, are not having the greatest season. They are in sell mode, lost 6 straight, including a lot of blow saves, and have sunk into the depths of MLB sucking. But they do have some good things going for them. They get Jonathon Lucroy back and have a 15-2 record over their last 17 home games against the Nationals, but I should reiterate, they aren’t the same Nationals.

The Brewers best chance to win is Game 2. Fiers looks like he can outpitch anyone in the majors right now. They also have good chances on Game 1 and Game 4, but Greinke’s probably out the door and Yo isn’t a sure thing in any game this year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brewers lost all four games. Mainly because of their well documented crappy bullpen. At the same time I can see the Brewers taking 3 of 4 here. The best news for them in this series? It’s 4 games and not a single one is against Stephen Strasburg. Let’s be optimistic, Nats take the series 3-1


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Brewers Are Selling. What's On The Shelves?

This past series against the Reds cemented what almost every fan has known for months, the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers are losers. Yes, it’s true and disappointing, but not only are they losers, they have talent that is good and will be gone soon, or is filling up space in payroll the front office will need to rebuild this team.

So it’s time to take a look at what the Brewers can sell and a few players they should probably think about selling.

Players That Are Available

Zack Greinke- This is the one everyone already knows. Greinke doesn’t want the contract the Brewers are offering right now, so in order to get an immediate return on the pitcher Milwaukee needs to ditch him. This is the most valuable piece they have (obvious statement I know), but most teams won’t pay in top prospects with the new rules of the CBA (restrictions in pick compensation for losing a A or B player). So, unless the Brewers and the team getting Greinke agree to a deal where the other team signs Greinke before a trade is completed I think the Brewers will most likely get AA to A players no higher than top 50 in value. I believe Melvin is looking for better, but might not get it.

Francisco Rodriguez- It’s true he’s the new closer, but K-Rod costs a lot and is gone after this season. Some teams really need a high end reliever at the back end of their bullpen so Rodriguez will probably have some good value, but he is more valuable if the Brewers eat some of his contract. I think a AA pitcher with late inning bullpen pitcher is a great return of K-Rod and something that fills the Crew’s needs for the future.

Nyjer Morgan- With the arrival of Norichika Aoki, I can’t believe Morgan isn’t available. Considering the season Morgan is having, I cannot believe the Brewers can expect much in terms of return for Nyjer. He is cheaper and has another 2 years before he’s a free agent, but considering he isn’t always considered a team player, and has little value outside of defense and speed I think the Brewers could get a mid-level AAA prospect. A role bench player and nothing more.

Players That Are Probably Available

Randy Wolf- The lefty has an option left on his contract and can fill the back end of a rotation. But his value diminished this year with his performance. Not many teams are looking for a starter with an ERA above 5, but his recent performances may have redeemed him to some GM’s. Plus he is probably a lot better as a #5 than most player in the league in that role.

George Kottaras- Every team needs more catching, beside the Brewers. With the arrival of Martin Maldonado the Brewers actually have two plus catchers locked up for a very long time. Teams will probably be interested since he has some pop too, but if they trade Wolf they might need to throw in Kottaras so he has someone to pitch to on his next team.

Kameron Loe- A solid reliever. Probably only low-A return to get anything valuable. Probably a player that could get packaged with someone else.

Players That Should Be Available

Aramis Ramirez- A good investment to start the season but now he’s an old guy eating roster space. Not a rental, still has value and can immediately help a contender. A-Ram is the type of player that can bring back a good return for the Brewers. I don’t think they will sell him because they want a hitter behind Braun.

Corey Hart- See Aramis Ramirez. I think his prominence at first base will make the Brewers much less interested in selling compared to if he was still playing right. If the Brewers sell either of these players it’s only going to be one of them.

If the Team Trades This Guy It’s a Fire Sale

Rickie Weeks- A few years on his contract. When he’s on he’s one of the most valuable second baseman in the league. If he was traded last year, he could get a Dan Uggla type haul. This year he could bring back some nice pieces but nothing completely mind blowing. Unless Melvin can do a great sell job it’s probably better to wait until his value is back up. Maybe even this offseason.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Brewers at Phillies Series Preiew 7/23 to 7/25

Milwaukee Brewers (44-50) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (42-54)

Citizens Bank Park

Probable Starters

Monday July 23rd 6:05pm

Game 1

Randy Wolf (3-6 5.60 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (4-5 3.96 ERA)

Tuesday July 24th 6:05pm

Game 2

Zack Greinke (9-3 3.57 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (1-6 3.72 ERA)

Wednesday July 25th 12:05pm

Game 3

Marco Estrada (0-4 4.10 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (5-6 3.82 ERA)

This series in Philly is a battle between two teams cursed after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 Post-Season. Philadelphia went from being perennial division leaders for the past 4 years to bottom dwellers thanks to injuries and a decline in pitching.

The Brewers are in a similar decline just the Brewers are coming off one year of success, and they were just swept by a division rival on the road. They most likely are sellers and will be looking forward to the future, not 2012. So setting the table, this is a series of losers vs. losers.

The best chance for the Brewers to win is in Game 1. Wolf is 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA in his last 3 starts. That’s not good, but where it becomes great for the Brewers is in over the course of Halladay’s last 3 starts he is 0-2 with a 7.62 ERA. Along with Wolf’s great career numbers against the Phillies, this is the best matchup of the series for the Crew.

They also stand a good chance in Game 2, what will most likely be the last start Greinke makes a s a Brewer in 2012. Greinke is coming off a long break after starting three games in a row, and if you believe Roenicke and Melvin, that should help him perform better. Greinke’s recent numbers aren’t strong, but it’s in a very limited showing. On the other hand, Lee has been one of the Phillies best starters, but as you can tell by his 1-6 record, his teams isn’t backing him up in those starts.

Overall these two teams look equally matched and the best part? Both rosters could be completely different by Wednesday since they are both rumored sellers. In an equally matched series, I go with the home team to take the win. I’m guessing the Phillies come away 2-1 winning games 2 and 3.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Episode 50 "Chris Spurling Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Recharging Greinke's Batteries 0:00-20:00
Axford to K-Rod, Right Move? 20:00-41:00
Lucroy, Marcum Back Soon 41:00-1:01:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:01:00-1:10:00

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Episode 49 "Yovani Gallardo Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Looking Back 0:00-20:00
Looking Ahead 20:00-43:00
Prospect Talk 43:00-1:00:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:00:00-1:14:00

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Brewers Top 10 Prospects 2012

Well, if we recorded episode 49 of the podcast tonight like originally planned I may have never written this. So this is kind of like the thing that was never supposed to be but happened anyway. Since we didn't record I felt like I should get something new up on the blog, been quite awhile since I wrote anything. I much prefer to talk Brewers baseball then write about it since I feel I am not very good at writing. Nothing long or flashy here, just the top 10 Brewers prospects in my humble opinion with a quick blurb about each player. I decided not to include any of the players the Crew drafted this year (Coulter, Roache, etc.) because I don't think I know quite enough about them yet to really rank them. Also chose not to include guys like Taylor Green or Michael Fiers since they are up and playing prominent roles with the Brewers now.

1. Taylor Jungmann (RHP): 1st round pick in 2011, pitching well in A+. Has the body, the stuff and experience to be a top half of the rotation guy. Should move quick through the system. 

2. Scooter Gennett (2B): Good approach at the plate and all he does is hit and hit and hit. Most pundits say its a plus hit tool. Not much power, but can really barrel a ball into the gap and down the line for doubles and triples. Okay glove at 2B with some speed on the bases.

3. Wily Peralta (RHP): Was most peoples #1 Brewers prospect coming into the season, but has struggled mightily at AAA after a great 2011. Still has a lot of upside and has a good chance of being in the big league rotation in 2013. 

4. Tyler Thornburg (RHP): Dominating AA this season. Looked good through 5 in big league debut spot start, but was chased in the 6th when he got gassed. Big fastball, good offspeed with a curve and change but needs to command them better for strikes.

5. Jed Bradley (LHP): Second 1st round pick in 2011, started season off pitching well at A+ but has struggled recently with a dip in velocity. Like Jungmann, he has the body and stuff. Should move through system quick. Hope that recent drop in velo is not due to an injury. 

6. Jimmy Nelson (RHP): Big right hander with a fantastic mid 90's sinking fastball. Needs to command his slider better but he has the ability to miss bats and get a lot of grounders. 

7. Caleb Gindl (OF): Has hit at every level. Has a little power, but more of a doubles hitter. Can play either corner OF spot respectably. Good OBP guy, if Brewers leave Hart at 1B, could get his shot in 2013.

8. Logan Schafer (OF): Might be best defensive CF in entire org, including Gomez. Decent hitter, gets on base has speed to steal bases. Could start in CF in the bigs as early as 2013.

9. Drew Gagnon (RHP): Off to a really good start in A ball this season. Good low 90's fastball and a nasty slider. Needs to develop better changeup to stay a starter. 

10. Orlando Arcia (SS): 17 year old out of Venezula. Super athletic, good defender. Has a stick to, hit for average with flashes of power. Good OBP skills. Guys would could walk more than he K's. Unfortunately he will miss this season due to a fractured ankle.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Episode 48 "Tim Dillard Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Bullpen Woes (It Aint 2011 Anymore) 0:00-20:00
Lineup Construction 20:00-39:00
Guest Interview: Adam Rygg of Brewer Nation 39:00-1:03:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:03:00-1:14:15

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Episode 47 "Jorge De La Rosa Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

When/Should They Sell? 0:00-20:00
Draft Review 20:00-35:30
Corey Hart: 1B or RF? 35:30-45:30
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner/Mail 45:30-57:30

Friday, May 25, 2012

Episode 46 "Ray King Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Roster Moves: Ransom & McClendon 0:00-16:30
Luuuuuuuuuc On Fire! 17:00-29:00
Guest Interview: Vince of Miller Park Drunk 29:30-48:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 48:00-1:05:00

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Real Solution At First Base

There has been a lot of talks in recent days about how to solve the conundrum at First Base in Milwaukee. Of course the current rumor is that they are moving Cory Hart from Right Field. Right now the situation is an odd platoon of Travis Ishikawa and Taylor Green.  The simple solution should be move George Kottaras over and call up Martin Maldanado. 

Looking at the current situation, I think it is easy enough to see that those options will not work long term. Green while being a top prospect for the organization in some form, he has a career line of .254/.262/.339 in the major leagues, granted in limited work. A first baseman should be able to slug at least .400 and be a major run producer in the lineup. Ishikawa or Trishi doesn’t fit the bill either. In over 300 games played, the first baseman doesn’t even have 20 home runs. In a full season, he has never even produced more than 40 runs. That production will not help an already struggling Brewers lineup. Even playing at a career high level, Trishi still is only hitting .246, well below his career average.

So, move Cory Hart to first base. Makes sense, the Brewers starting right fielder has slugged over .500 each of the last two season, has 20-30 homer power, and has shown he can be a big time run producer in the lineup. There is no doubt in my mind he could be a serviceable first baseman. The real question is who would replace him? Is it worth filling one hole in a starting lineup only to create another? Your options in right field after Hart include, Nyjer Morgan, Carlos Gomez and Norichika Aoki. All are plus defenders, but only Gomez has a truly serviceable arm in right. Morgan and Aoki both have lesser arm strength, and considering your right fielder needs to make the longest throw on the field, they could not play there every day. As late inning fill ins, sure, but not everyday. Next you’re looking at what type of production you want from a right fielder. 

The only right fielder without some pop in the majors is Ichiro. Every other player can hit at least 20 homers and probably slug above .470. Morgan, Gomez and Aoki can’t touch that. Looking at their career slash lines, .283/.343/.366, .244/.292/.361, and in a short sample size .295/.358/.426. None of those lines is the line of a respectable right fielder. 

So without creating another hole, the last option is move George Kottaras over and bring up Martin Maldanado. Kottaras is having a career year. The Brewer should want to capitalize on that and get their best players in the lineup. Hopefully that starts some sort of winning atmosphere when the lineup has a better chance to regularly produce. Kottaras has never had a career slash line of what you would like out of a starting first baseman, but he definitely has power. 

The most games Kottaras has played in a season is 67. In that season he had nine homers and 27 RBI’s. He only had a .396 slugging percentage, but in just 43 hits, 22 of those were for extra bases. That is proof that the lifetime backup catcher can smash. Also, that season Kottaras only had a .203 batting average. Maldanado may be an unproven question mark, but considering it’s a bat that would only be in the lineup every now and again, I can’t imagine it being a large enough factor compared to taking away power or playing an under producing player as a starter every day. I'd rather have a weak bench, than a lineup filled with backups. This is in my mind the most serviceable move for the Brewers to make.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Episode 45 "Mark DiFelice Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Injuries Piling Up, Lost Season? 0:00-18:00
Melvin & Roenicke Extensions 18:30-31:30
MiLB Talk 32:30-47:30
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 48:00-58:00

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Episode 44 "Hank Aaron Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

5-4 Homestand vs Dodgers/Rockies/Astros 0:00-16:00
Carlos Gomez, Curb Your Enthusiasm? 16:30-27:30
Interview: Jaymes Langrehr of 28:00-49:30
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 49:30-59:30

Friday, April 20, 2012

Episode 43 "Doug Jones Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Small Ball & Bunting 0:00-17:00
Dynamic Catching Duo 17:00-31:00
Hot Pitching Prospects 31:30-49:00
Chalet Award Winner/News & Notes 49:30-1:01

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2012 Week 2 Power Rankings

Compared to last week the standings are going to change a bit. It’s power rankings and with another week of games in the book some of these have changed quite a bit. I imagine they will become more stable soon enough but for now here they are.

1. Texas Rangers (4)- The second best record in baseball and the best standing in this Power Ranking. The Rangers have it figured out. It’s early but this group can make it a three peat… they just need a title.

2. Detroit Tigers (2)- They don’t have the best record in baseball but with Justin Verlander throwing complete games and strike out after strike out, he can carry this team all the way. Even with a series loss to the White Sox.

3. St. Louis Cardinals (3)- Whatever high they hit last year, they are still on it. They keep rolling, winning every series of the year. It seems that they have found more than enough to replace what they lost over the winter.

4. Washington Nationals (8)- The Nats are dealing, hitting and pitching. We all knew that this would come soon enough just did not know it was coming so soon. It’s early, but they look like they have it all together and a big arsenal waiting to help lower in the system.

5. New York Mets (10)- The Mets could be the surprise team of the year. Right now they are just a team that’s lucky to be doing so well.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (13)- The Dodgers are playing above themselves. They host the best record in the MLB but are one of the worst. I fully expect them to come crumbling down.

7. Tampa Bay Rays(1)- After a strong start they started getting beaten up by division rivals. They still own the best staff in the majors and a great manager. They should gain some ground pretty quickly.

8. Toronto Blue Jays (7)- They still hold the best record in the AL East but the big dogs are catching up quick. The Blue Jays could see the cellar again soon but their staff could keep them in it for a while.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks (3)- The Diamondbacks are still competing but after losing a series in Colorado they took a small set back. They should pass the Dodgers soon if through nothing other than their bats.

10. New York Yankees (12)- The Yankees are rebounding from their horrible starts. They are coming on strong. The Yanks have all the power to be at number one in their division.

11. Cincinnati Reds (9)- Sharing the same record as Houston has to hurt. Their losses are coming to hot teams right now and because of bad back end pitching.

12. Los Angeles Angels (6)- The Angels added a lot and are falling like their National League counter parts. I think Pujols and their pitching staff will pull them out of it but it will take a lot of work.

13. Seattle Mariners (15)- One of the few winning record teams lest and one of the least deserving. Really they are just beating up on the A’s.

14. Atlanta Braves (20)- They beat up the Brewers and won 5 straight. Their last series showed off their pitching and offense and most of all that bullpen. That pen can keep them in anything.

15. Chicago White Sox (30)- Even though I am upset with confusion you can’t deny their winning style. Beating Detroit may say more than their record. Without Ozzie they could be good.

16. Philadelphia Phillies (11)- Injuries are taking their toll on the Phillies. They can’t even win at home let alone on the road. Something needs to change, mostly someone getting healthy would make a world of difference.

17. Baltimore Orioles (19)- They are the worst team in first. And they will show it soon enough. You can only get so far with Jake Arrieta as your ace.

18. Colorado Rockies (22)- The Rockies beat the D-backs and they haven’t been swept. That’s a lot for a team that doesn’t have a lot.

19. San Francisco Giants (16)- The only thing the Giants have going for them is Matt Capps. Tim Lincecum needs to figure his problems out quickly and they need to replace Brain Wilson. The Giants are in a real bad place, real early.

20. Milwaukee Brewers (14)- The Brewers proved they won’t stand down with a big comeback against the Braves. And then they proved they can’t finish it. The Crew better hope they only play like this is Turner Field.

21. Boston Red Sox (18)- Manager troubles and only one good series. At least the home opener went well.

22. Houston Astros (24)- They’re doing as well as you can ask for a team that has nothing. I’m just surprised they aren’t the worst team in baseball.

23. Kansas City Royals (23)- I really thought they’d play better than this. They are the Nationals of the American League. Just their offense is better than their pitching.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates (17)- They are sinking back down to reality. The Pirates are a bad team because they keep getting rid of everything good with the team.

25. Cleaveland Indians (27)- Going .500 might be a good enough goal for the other Ohio team.

26. Oakland Athletics (28)- They just keep getting beaten up by the Mariners but being above the Angels is something.

27. Chicago Cubs (25)- They haven’t been swept. And I think they think they’re better. Dale deserves better.

28. Minnesota Twins (29)- They aren’t getting better. The other teams are just getting worse.

29. San Diego Padres (26)- The only way they can score runs? Walking them in. No one hits and all the pitches get hit.

30. Miami Marlins (21)- Not winning, no manager, lots of controversy and a crappy stadium. Not much to be happy about.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Episode 42 "Scott Karl Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Cardinals & Cubs Series 0:00-22:00
Greinke/Brewers Table Extension Talks 22:00-42:00
Bullpen Woes 42:00-53:00
Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner/News&Notes 54:00-1:00

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 Week 1 Power Rankings

A new feature at View From Bernie's Chalet for the 2012 season. Each week Brad will do his power rankings from the best team to the worst in MLB. Who doesn't love lists? Here is week 1 (well technically weekend 1).

  1. Tampa Bay Rays-Have to go Rays here. One of, if not the best, starting rotation in baseball. Dominated the powerhouse Yankees on all aspects of their game. The Rays are playing like they are sick of the wild card and are itching to claim the AL East crown.
  2. Detroit Tigers- 5 bombs in 4 innings off Josh Beckett. That will be the story all season for the Tigers. They have a very potent offense and will destroy even the best pitching. And there staff is very strong. We all know how good Justin Verlander is. Don’t worry, Valverde will not keep giving up games like he did on opening day.
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks- The D-Backs took it to the top starters of their toughest enemy. They made Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner look like #5 starters. The last place Arizona team from a few years ago is now an after thought. These guys are playing on a new level.
  4. Texas Rangers- It’s the offense that keeps producing. I would have put them higher, but wins against Chicago and Seattle aren’t all that convincing. Once they play some tougher opponents they will jump up.
  5. St. Louis Cardinals- The reigning world champs are playing tough baseball. Their rotation is still succeeding, even without Dave Duncan or Chris Carpenter, and the offense doesn’t seem to be phased from the loss of Albert Pujols.
  6. Los Angeles Angels- The Angels aren’t playing the best out of the top 10 teams, but they are a very tough team. They might be showing their age a little. Some of their prospects might be up in mid-season to kick the old guys to the curb.
  7. Toronto Blue Jays- Probably played the most innings in baseball thus far. Over came some early deficits to have a very good opening weekend.
  8. Washington Nationals-This might be a little high, but to kill the Cubs with pitching and late inning heroics, they really showed off how tough they are going to be in the coming years. I expect them to fall big from this spot as the year goes on.
  9. Cincinnati Reds- Another NL Central team that was not intimidated by the much improved Miami Marlins. However they probably only have a couple of years to succeed, I can’t imagine that deal to Votto will give them much flexibility in the future. Still, can’t blame them for locking up a stud.
  10. New York Mets- The Mets can pretend they expected to be at this level all along, but we know the truth. It’s only a matter of time before they come crashing down to Earth, even if Johann returns to form.
  11. Philadelphia Phillies- The Phillies were everyone’s favorite a year ago. Now their age and injury problems might have them falling behind in the East already. The East was full of potential… now the Mets are the best team looking down on three playoff contenders. Still a lot of baseball to go.
  12. New York Yankees- The Yanks can’t be this bad… Can they? I’m guessing a very young, very tough Tampa team just got the best of them.
  13. Los Angeles Dodgers-The Dodgers looked good against a bad team. But we have seen before, teams that pick on bad teams can make the playoffs, even if they aren’t great against the good teams.
  14. Milwaukee Brewers- Poor performance on opening weekend. But this team has way too much upside to keep performing at that level.
  15. Seattle Mariners- They have a few freebie wins from easy battles against the A’s but are still looking good for the Mariners. The fight only gets harder though, eventually they have to meet the Angels and Rangers.
  16. San Francisco Giants-Despite getting swept by the Diamondbacks the Giants still showed a lot… Arizona just showed more. Multiple comebacks in that series show the offense might actually produce this year.
  17. Pittsburgh Pirates- They beat a good Phillies team. Now are they going to play all year or just the first half again?
  18. Boston Red Sox- The Sox can’t be that bad can they? Starting 0-3 is not a good sign, but they still have all the pieces to be major contenders.
  19. Baltimore Orioles-I know I’ve given higher rankings to teams that are just as bad for poor performance. I just trust them more than the Orioles. At least other teams have some good signs in their organization. I can’t find many things to like about Baltimore.
  20. Atlanta Braves- This offense really needs to get going to have any hope of success. They look like the Atlanta team that got beat up at the end of the year last year, and it’s hard to see them improving if they can’t put anything together.
  21. Miami Marlins- Another dream team stinking it up. They are having a lot of troubles, and the possibility of losing their manager can’t be a good sign.
  22. Colorado Rockies-Not much going on here. Jamie Moyer is old, not aged, old.
  23. Kansas City Royals- I would rank them higher, but their pitching staff isn’t this good. A lot of success from two bad pitchers. They’ll come down to earth. Most talented bottom 10 team though, without a doubt.
  24. Houston Astros- They are bad! And they have too many wins for a bad team. They just look better than any one on the bottom half of this list through the first week.
  25. Chicago Cubs-The only reliable part of their team two years ago is now a black hole. What happened to Carlos Marmol?
  26. San Diego Padres- Their only big inning started on three straight bases loaded walks. Only one run was driven in with a hit. The Padres are a sad sad team.
  27. Cleaveland Indians- The Indians will not be in second place again. They have too many holes to fill and it doesn’t look like anyone is on their way to fill them.
  28. Oakland A’s- This team gave it all away. Not their new import is the only thing to watch on a dismal roster.
  29. Minnesota Twins- Horrible. This team always seemed to win, even when things were bad. Not even they know what to fix first.
  30. Chicago White Sox-The White Sox are this low because they can’t decide whether they are rebuilding or not. Why trade away all your team and then sign people to extensions. Once they figure themselves out or start winning, they can move up.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

VFBC Podcast Episode 41 "Marco Estrada Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

AL Preview/Predictions 0:00-44:00
NL Preview/Predictions 45:30-1:30:00
News & Notes 1:31:30-1:37:00

Monday, March 26, 2012

Better Than Estrada, Brewers Lock Up Lucroy

The last time the Brewers had a home grown catching prospect as the opening day starter? 1998. Mike Matheny was a home grown Brewers prospect but he might be more known for his time as a Cardinal and was gone after 5 years. Before that, B.J. Surhoff in 1993.

They changed that Monday by locking up home grown prospect Jonathon Lucroy for 5 years/$11 MM (depending on Super Two status), buying out all of his arbitration years and a club option for a 6th year (first free agency year). And giving the Brewers someone better than Johnny Estrada for at least half a decade.

It’s true Lucroy has not been the Brewers starter on Opening Day for either of his two years of starting, but he was been the Brewers regular catcher. Gregg Zaun only started for a few weeks, Wil Nieves will holding a spot while Lucroy came back from injury.

Since coming into the Major League’s Lucroy has given the Brewers’ something they haven’t had in over a decade. They’ve had their ace, their home run hitter, their MVP candidates but not a young every day starter behind home plate.

Luc definitely has to guarantee some important attributes for the Brew Crew as an organization. While Lucroy’s bat still may be developing, he is an amazingly good defensively. His ability to frame pitches has been very well publicized. Rough statistics on the run saving abilities of framing pitches showed Lucroy was THE BEST catcher the last two years at getting extra outs. Luc’s ability to get the extra outs on the edge of the strike zone is just as important as having a Short Stop with range and defensive ability. After all where does the battle to get on base start? Home plate, and Lucroy’s goal is to leave them there.

Aside from his ability to frame pitches, he has also been one of the best in the normal defensive metric scales. He allowed the least passed balls last year, allowed the 5th least stolen bases and was in the top 10 at successfully catching those base runners. Lucroy does exactly what you want, calls a clean game and doesn’t let runners get the extra bases other catchers may let them steal through extra balls and stolen bases. The difference between an out and a runner in scoring position can mean the game at the end of the day. All those attributes combined leave Luc with the 4th best cERA in 2011.

While it’s true that Luc has not been the bat we expected while he was in the minors, he is still only two seasons in. Despite small drops in average and on base percentage, he has shown long streaks where he was producing at that top notch that turned him into the Brewer’s top prospect behind the plate and first long term option behind the plate in over a decade. It’s still a young career and more patience when batting should turn Luc into the bat we saw in the minors.

Knowing you have a catcher that will probably always have a positive WAR, the same person learning how the same pitchers operate off the mound, and defending the bases almost as well as anyone else, Lucroy will give the Brewers at least 4 more years of reliability behind the plate. Something they haven’t had for over a decade. I guarantee one thing and one thing only… he will be better than Johnny Estrada was for the Brewers.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

VFBC Podcast Episode 40 "Jose Veras Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Final Roster Spots Up For Grabs 0:00-16:00
Worried About Braun's Bad Spring? 17:00-25:00
Guest Interview: Kyle Lobner of BrewCrewBall 26:00-40-00
News & Notes (Uecker Statue, Marcum, Scottsdale) 41:00-49:00

Thursday, March 8, 2012

VFBC Podcast Episode 39 "Chris Capuano Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Infield Preview 0:00-20:00
Outfield Preview 21:00-37:00
Possible Greinke & Axford Extensions? 38:00-52:00
News & Notes 53:00-59:00

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Freedom With A Price

Yesterday at Maryvale Baseball Park Ryan Braun spoke his first words on the allegations of the use of PEDs or another banned substance. At first Braun seemed nervous or apprehensive about speaking on this subject, but that quickly turned to what seemed to be restrained defiance. The voice coming out of Braun, for probably the first time in his career, was filled with anger and contempt at the way the situation was handled, the breaches in his personal privacy, and the media's willingness to run with half truths and fabrications.

Braun stated that he in no way ever had the substance in his sample in his body and I believe him. Other cases involving steroid use have ended with some giant slugger, or a pitcher with a tree trunk arm, giving some half-hearted apology about using steroids. Braun, not folding to public pressure, denied up and down that he had ever taken a banned substance, and sighted his consistency in his weigh ins, power, speed, and numbers over his career which show no spikes in performance metrics or body mass that may suggest the use of steroids. In fact, given the amount of testosterone that was present in the sample, and given the amount of time between the sample before that, it would stand to reason that we would have noticed a definite spike in production. Didn't happen.

But through the turmoil of accusation Braun has always held his head high. He spoke in the press conference about how this act would be against his character. Not only that but it would in effect destroy everything he has worked so hard to accomplish. He showed that more than his public perception, more than his effectiveness in the field, and more than his financial gain he would stand to lose, Ryan Braun is most worried about how he views himself and what he has done. That speaks volumes to me, because no matter what anyone will tell you ultimately we all do things for ourselves, or to try an follow a set plan or way of life we want for ourselves. Ryan Braun is accountable to the highest ruler in the court of opinion, the personal acceptance of the things you do.

We have to remember that this story was cooked up in ESPNs rumor mill, and tossed out to the MLB audience to start a feeding frenzy for more news and information on the Braun case. They plastered the airwaves for months afterwards, only cooling down when fans started to lose interest or phase them out because of media outlets reporting supposed sourced stories when they had no new information to print. Newsflash everyone in case you didn't hear Braun does NOT have herpes, so go get him ladies! But, that was just the tip of the journalism breakdown regarding Braun's case.

Even after the press conference, and even after the decision made by the arbitrator, the court of media opinion continues to try and paint Braun as a user. They claim that Braun found a loophole in the process and that is the only reason that he was exonerated. They claim that while every player on twitter and everyone interviewed is happy for Braun they will continue to throw him in the PED pile saying he just had good lawyers, or he beat the system. Not one player had a bad word to say about Braun, and the only reluctant voice was that of Prince Fielder who claims he knew nothing about the story except that it happened. A surprising voice was that of David Freese of St. Louis who said he knows Braun and knows that he was having a really hard time dealing with this so he was happy he won his case.

The bottom line is this, because of ESPN's inability to fact check and uphold certain standards in journalism a 28 year old outfielder who just won his first MVP award, and was an integral piece to a Division pennant for his club, is viewed by the casual fan as a cheater. I hope this story is relayed to kids coming up in sports to show them how a champion acts. Braun didn't blow up, he didn't fire back, he didn't acknowledge. Ryan Braun waited until it was his turn, said his piece, and opened himself up to questions in front of the same media members that have been muckraking half-truths for 4 months and his teammates sitting in the bleachers. Braun will keep his integrity because he did the right thing, and in his own mind he will know the truth, even if no one else believes him.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

VFBC Podcast Episode 38 "Matt Wise Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Starting Rotation Preview 0:00-15:00
Bullpen Preview 16:30-26:30
Guest Interview: Jaymes Langrehr from Disciples of Uecker 27:30-52:00
Catchers Preview/Wrap Up 53:00-1:03