Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’
The Milwaukee Brewers have answered nearly all of the question marks that faced them coming into their 2011-2012 offseason, and now wait in anticipation for spring training to commence roughly two months from now. Let’s take a look at how their lineup might look on opening day 2012 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
1. Corey Hart, RF
Nearly half of Corey Hart’s plate appearances last season came as Milwaukee’s lead-off man but I suspect 100 percent of his at-bats to be at the top of Milwaukee’s order on opening day against the Cardinals. Roenicke toyed with a number of players at lead-off before Hart returned to the lineup from an abdominal strain in late April but none definitively fit the role.
In 256 at-bats at the top of Milwaukee’s order, Hart posted a .301 BA, 15 HR, 36 RBI, 47 runs as well as a .366 on-base percentage, roughly comparable to Jose Reyes’ .388 from a season ago. Many feel the Rickie Weeks is best suited here as he clearly has the most background at the top of Milwaukee’s order. However, Aramis Ramirez will need adequate protection and Weeks’ game is slowly converting to power first, speed second. Hart is the right man for the job.
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
Nyjer Morgan may be best suited to be a lead-off type hitter, but there’s simply no ignoring what he accomplished out of the No.2 hole last season.
In 429 total plate appearances, Morgan spent 352 of them in batting second — exactly 82 percent. In that role, he batted .310 with 2 HR and 31 RBI, 46 R and a .353 on-base percentage that finished as one of the best OBP in the National League. With either Adam Wainwright or Chris Carpenter, both right-handed, likely to take the mound for St. Louis, expect Morgan to get the nod over Carlos Gomez strictly because of Morgan’s left-handed bat.
No matter what the final verdict is on Ryan Braun’s alleged PED-usage, GM Doug Melvin says he is going about his normal business as through he expects him to be in the starting lineup on opening day. So, we’ll do the same. Do you really need an explanation?
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Aramis Ramirez has lingered in either the third or fourth spot for most of his career, and since the No.3 spot is already taken, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that he’ll bat cleanup next season. Out of the cleanup spot last season with the Cubs, Ramirez batted .291 with 8 HR, 32 RBI and a .450 slugging percentage in a feeble Chicago lineup.
While we shouldn’t expect him to completely fill Fielder’s shoes next season, we should expect a solid middle-of-the-order bat that can protect Braun. Anything short of a .275 BA, 25 HR and 85 RBI would be considered inadequate on Ramirez’s behalf.
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B
Gone are the days of Rickie Weeks being Milwaukee’s lead-off man. At 29 years of age and a bevy of past injuries, he’s clearly entering the second phase of his professional career in that he’s much more of a power-first, speed-second type player. Last season, Weeks amassed 20 home runs and 49 RBI with a .269/.350/.468 line despite missing a substantial chunk of his season due to a ankle injury.
With Prince Fielder gone and Ryan Braun still facing a 50-game suspension to start his season, Weeks will much more better suited to be batting either fourth or fifth in Milwaukee’s lineup. He has the potential to hit 30 or possibly even 35 home runs next season and should be the one protecting Aramis Ramirez new season.
6. Mat Gamel, 1B
Incumbent 26-year-old prospect Mat Gamel has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in six minor-league seasons, but filling the shoes of Prince Fielder at first base won’t be a cakewalk by any means.
Last season in triple-A, Gamel managed 28 home runs and 90 RBI with a .310/.372/.540 line. Impressive to say the least, but he’ll need to vindicate his career .222 BA and .309 OBP with the Brewers in a timely fashion. Batting behind Rickie Weeks is most likely the best spot for him on opening day. He’ll be a modest defensive upgrade from Fielder but don’t expect him to be a gold-glove caliber first baseman as he’s been known to be a bit lackadaisical from time to time.
One of Melvin’s preeminent goals of this offseason was to upgrade at shortstop. He accomplished just that in signing Alex Gonzalez to a one-year, $4.25 Million deal with a $4 Million 2013 option.
During his 12-year career, Gonzelez has become one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, harboring a .981 fielding percentage and 5.938 zone rating last season at 33 years of age. His hustle in the field will manifest itself early next season, and will be a noticeable upgrade from Yunieksy Betancourt.
Gonzalez’s pop at the plate has diminished, but he will still be held accountable to at least a .250/.270/.390 line next season. He has experience batting just about anywhere in a lineup, which will make Roenicke’s job that much more easy.
8. Jonathon Lucroy, C
Jonathon Lucroy is by no means a superstar talent behind the plate nor in the batter’s box, but 2011 certified just how important he is to Roenicke’s ballclub.
Last season, Lucroy committed just seven errors on his way to a .993 fielding percentage — a commendable feat given Milwaukee’s league-high 70 wild pitches from a season ago. He also posted a 7.87 range factor that ranked fifth-best among all MLB catchers. At the plate, he managed a .265 average with 12 HR and 59 RBI, but garnered a 21.2 K%. Improving his plate discipline and on-base percentage will be key moving forward. Expect him to be in the No. 8 hole on opening day nonetheless.
9. Yovani Gallardo, P
Yovani Gallardo is just 25 years old and will enter his third consecutive season as Milwaukee’s No. 1 starter. When it’s all said and done, he’ll probably be the greatest pitcher in franchise history.
Last season, he went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA while striking out 207 in 207.1 innings (33 GS). He led all Brewers starters in wins, ERA, and strikeouts and finished with a better K/9IP (8.99) than AL MVP Justin Verlander (8.96). Each year Gallardo continues to better every facet of his game and I suspect him to take the next step and lower his ERA to 3.20 or lower in 2012. There’s really no question as to who will take the mound for Milwaukee on opening day.
Updated Starting Lineup and 25-Man Roster Projection
1. RF Corey Hart
2. CF Nyjer Morgan
3. LF Ryan Braun
4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
5. 2B Rickie Weeks
6. 1B Mat Gamel
7. SS Alex Gonzalez
8. C Jonathon Lucroy
9. P Yovani Gallardo
C George Kottaras
CF Carlos Gomez
3B Taylor Green
OF Logan Schafer
RHP Yovani Gallardo
RHP Zack Greinke
RHP Shaun Marcum
LHP Randy Wolf
LHP Chris Narveson
RHP John Axford
RHP Francisco Rodriguez
RHP Kameron Loe
RHP Jose Veras
RHP Frankie De La Cruz
LHP Zack Braddock
LHP Mitch Stetter
RHP Wily Peralta
After a largely successful 2011 season in which numerous franchise records were rewritten, Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin finds himself in a bit of a predicament heading into the offseason.
First-baseman and MVP-candidate Prince Fielder is now set to become an unrestricted free-agent this winter, leaving open the possibility of a whole new offensive outlook for the Brewers in 2012. Many rumors suggest that Milwaukee will use their additional payroll to upgrade their bullpen. However, there are a number of issues hampering Milwaukee moving forward.
The Brewers are likely to upgrade the left side of the infield via free-agency this winter, particularly at shortstop. The club currently holds a $6 Million 2012 club option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt with a $2 Million buyout.
Melvin said Betancourt was “a better player than what his critics said” earlier this month, but there’s simply no disputing his horrendous .965 FPCT, which came via 21 errors in 2011.
With such a need for an upgrade at shortstop, could the Brewers actually go after a big-name free agent this offseason to shore things up?
Earlier this month, Milwaukee Brewers superstar left-fielder and MVP-candidate Ryan Braun disclosed is admiration for New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.
Braun told the New York Post:
“I think there’s a better chance we sign [Reyes] than we re-sign Prince,” Braun told The Post yesterday, referring to slugging first baseman Prince Fielder.
Reyes, who managed to hold of Braun for the NL batting title by mere decimal points, is, like Fielder, set to become an unrestricted free-agent this winter. The speedy shortstop amassed 7 HR, 44 RBI, 101 R and 39 stolen bases, much to the enjoyment of Braun.
“[Reyes] is dynamic, man — he is one of the most exciting players in the game,” Braun said. “He plays with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion and I enjoy watching him play. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. Whenever their games are on, I love watching him, man. He always plays the game the right way. He always plays hard. He runs everything out.”
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, both Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November on what they plan to offer Fielder in the offseason.
If the two sides aren’t able to come to an agreement early in the offseason, it may not be out of the question to suggest that Melvin could go after Reyes.
For now, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Over the course of the club’s 42 years of existence, the Milwaukee Brewers have become one of the most successful organizations in developing young prospects through their minor league system. Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy and John Axford are all quintessential models of drafting excellence in Milwaukee.
However, there is one player who stands out more so than any other prospect in the franchise’s framework: Ryan Braun.
Upon making his Major League debut back in 2007, Milwaukee’s most admired left-fielder has gone on to accomplish many noteworthy achievements, some of which have gone relatively unnoticed until recently. In fact, his rookie year alone (which would not start until nearly two months into the season) would bring about much national attention. Finishing his rookie campaign batting .324 with 34 HR and 97 RBI, Braun was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
In his next three seasons with the club (2008-2010), Braun averaged 31 HR, 107 RBI, a .303 BA and a .535 SLG. His outstanding production was enough for management to sign him to a $105 million contract extension that would make him a Brewer through 2020.
Fast forward to this season, where Braun finished just decimal points behind the Mets’ Jose Reyes for the NL batting title, with a .332 BA. He would also go on to complete his 2011 regular season with 33 HR and 111 RBI and a career-high 33 stolen bases—no doubt an MVP résumé.
He, along with Fielder, has led Milwaukee to just their second postseason appearance since 1982 and the club’s first ever NLCS appearance in impressive fashion. Through six postseason games, Braun has slugged his way to a .500 BA (11-for-22) with two home runs, five doubles, seven runs scored, eight RBI and is slugging 1.000.
Yet, somehow there’s still a debate as to who will be named the NL MVP at season’s end.
Should Braun continue to deliver the way he’s been able to so far in these playoffs, there’s no disputing he should be named NL MVP at the end of this season. It’s really that simple.
The Milwaukee Brewers are both literally and figuratively firing on all cylinders.
Taking game one of the 2011 NLDS by a 4-1 mark Saturday afternoon, Ron Roenicke and his suddenly hot-hitting crew took to Miller Park on Sunday afternoon with high expectations…possibly too high. Milwaukee slugged their way towards a 9-4 victory over Kirk Gibson and company behind Zack Greinke — a man who has yet to lose at home this season.
Here’s five key observations to take away from games one and twp with the series now shifting to Arizona.
Everyone is Hitting
Seldom has Milwaukee put together such a valiant effort against top-notch pitching in consecutive games in 2011, but, then again, isn’t this the postseason? In games one and two, everyone in Ron Roenicke’s lineup seemed to be contributing toward a winning cause, leading to Milwaukee’s weekend sweep of Arizona.
On Saturday, the Brewers dismantled Cy Young-candidate Ian Kennedy to the tune of four runs on eight hits in just 6.2 innings of work. Sunday was much the same, as Milwaukee got to 24-year-old Daniel Hudson, putting up five runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings of work. I would be sweating if I was Charlie Manuel right about now.
Ron Roenicke Is a Genius (as If We Didn’t Already Know That)
Unimpressed with Casey McGehee’s performance at the end of the season, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke elected to put veteran and utility-man extraordinaire Jerry Hairston in at the hot corner to start the series.
Needless to say, the move payed off handsomely.
In game one, Hairston managed a sacrifice fly to center field that would score Ryan Braun in the fourth inning, breaking what was then a magnificent pitcher’s duel. He would also make a few key put-outs at third base during the game, as well.On Sunday afternoon, No. 15 worked his magic once more. Going 3-for-4 with a run scored, Hairston was an essential piece to Milwaukee’s puzzle in taking both games at home.
It’s as if Roenicke can see into the future…
John Axford…’Nuff Said
Trevor Hoffman, you’ve done well.
In his first go-around as Milwaukee’s full-time closer, John Axford has performed above what anyone could have expected. He hasn’t blown a save since last spring, and he’s only now getting recognition for it.
The former cellphone salesman and bartender set a franchiser record for saves in a season (46) in 2011, and quickly transitioned his regular-season success to the postseason. On Saturday, Axford worked a one-two-three ninth inning including a strikeout against Arizona. Sunday was no different, as Axford closed the door in the ninth inning with two emphatic punchouts to put the Brewers up 2-0 in this 2011 NLDS series.
Yovani Gallardo Looks Unstoppable
What Yovani Gallardo has been able to accomplish in just four complete seasons as a starter for the Brewers is nothing short of spectacular. However, it may be what he has yet to achieve that will be most impressive.
In his first truly meaningful postseason start, the 25-year-old Gallardo went the distance, administering nine strikeouts and just four hits in eight innings of work while giving up just one run. His outstanding performance would make John Axford’s job a whole lot more easy. If he can keep this pace up, the Brewers should like their chances against either Philadelphia or St. Louis in the NLCS (assuming they make it that far).
Ryan Braun is Really, Really Good (and Is clearly NL MVP)
Just kidding. We knew this after his first big-league game.
It’s hard not to be in complete awe of what Ryan Braun brings to each and every at-bat. One of the few traditional five-tool players inMLB today, Milwaukee’s left fielder is showing what he can do on the brightest of stages.
Through both games of this NLDS series, Braun has gone 6-for-8 with four runs scored, a home run and three runs batted in. Sorry, Matt Kemp. The NL MVP resides in Milwaukee.
Follow Alec Dopp on Twitter: @alecdopp.
Ryan Braun placed on day-to-day; Brewers lose six of seven: Is there a connection?
Although it may seem like nearly a decade’s worth of achievement, leading NL vote-getter and Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun has spent just three full seasons in Milwaukee upon being drafted back in 2005.
In fact, Braun has averaged 32 HR, 105 RBI, .307 BA and a .923 OPS from his 2007 rookie season up to the conclusion of last season — making him one of the game’s most lethal offensive threats and worthwhile talents to watch.
Some argue (myself included) Braun is more valuable to Milwaukee’s future than that of fellow superstar teammate Prince Fielder. And, judging by his contract extension (which locks Braun up through 2020), I’d say my thinking was right.
Nevertheless, it should be stated that Braun is worth every penny of his $145 million extension. But is he worth more than any other player in the National League?
It’s a question worth pondering for the simple fact that Braun is in fact the most valuable player to his respective team, based on statistical output and Milwaukee’s success without Braun in the lineup.
Here’s an interesting fact: since making his rookie debut back May of 2007, Braun has missed 25 total games. In those games, the Brewers have a combined 10-15 record, and have been outscored 114-98 in those games.
Sounds like a pretty big discrepancy, huh?
When Braun was placed on day-to-day back on July 2 for a left calf strain, the Brewers promptly lost their next two ballgames, and continued to fall back in the NL Central standings, now at 45-41 overall.
Braun addressed the media following Milwaukee’s 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks:
“Injuries are a part of baseball. It happens sometimes,” Braun said. “Obviously I want to play, but at the same time I have to listen to what everyone else says. It’s the type of thing that you could easily re-aggravate or make far worse, and I don’t want that to happen and have to miss a couple months.”
For a Brewers in dire need for health as the season progresses, Braun’s injury should come more as a testament to the success he brings forth.
So before you crown Matt Kemp the undisputed NL MVP, consider what Braun has meant for his respective team in the long-haul.
by Adam McClavy, MLB.com
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke felt an unfortunate sense of déjà vu on Thursday night.
“I’ve seen a lot of these games,” Roenicke said. “Whether it’s on the road or not, a lot of these games.”
The Brewers are just not the same team on the road as the one that slugs its way to wins at Miller Park. And after scoring five times to win the opener of this brief, two-game series, the hitters slipped back into their inexplicable away-game funk, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 1-0 loss to the Padres at PETCO Park that was decided in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Orlando Hudson, fresh off the 15-day disabled list, won the game after a single, a stolen base, an intentional walk and a sacrifice bunt pushed the winning run to third base with one out. After another intentional walk loaded the bases, the Brewers employed the same five-man infield alignment they tried last month in Washington, but Hudson lined a first-pitch changeup for a sacrifice fly to right field.
That piece of hitting beat right-hander Marco Estrada (1-2), who joined the Brewers in early April as Zack Greinke’s fill-in and has remained because he’s so effective in relief.
“What are you going to do?” asked Estrada, who surrendered only one hit in the inning.
Before Estrada took the mound, the Brewers squandered one final scoring opportunity. It came via hard-nosed catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who threw up his left hand while sliding into second base to break up the Padres’ double-play turn. Credit Craig Counsell, who had hit the ground ball to second, for seeing the ball deflect off Lucroy’s hand and scuttling to second base, giving the Brewers one last opportunity to put up a run with a clutch hit.
Pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt didn’t last long. He swung at the first pitch from Padres closer Heath Bell, a breaking ball, and hit a routine grounder to second base.
“We had chances to win that game today,” Roenicke said. “Sometimes you look at games [like Wednesday's], and you think you’re going to get it going. Early on, we had people on base. We just didn’t get them in.”
The Brewers lost the game, and lost their left fielder in the fifth inning. Ryan Braun made an early exit after an inning-ending popout, and two innings later, the club offered a vague diagnosis: left shoulder soreness. Braun, who has started all 44 of the team’s games this season, said the injury was probably not serious, but he was unsure whether he’d play against the Rockies on Friday night.
Lucroy was examined by the training staff, too, and said he would be fine.
The real pain is being felt by the Brewers’ offense, at least on the road. They are the best hitting team at home in baseball, but went 6-for-43 in the clutch during their four-game West Coast road trip, and are 12-for-101 in their last 14 road games.
Braun was in no mood to discuss the team’s road woes.
“You just keep moving forward. Never look back,” he said. “It does us no good. You can’t go back to change anything, so you keep moving forward.”
The Brewers were blanked through eight innings by Padres starter Aaron Harang, who owned an 8.46 ERA and had surrendered seven home runs in his previous four starts — three of them at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. He held the Brewers to five singles and a Prince Fielder double, working around two walks and striking out four in his best start this season. He threw only 98 pitches, 10 of them to the second batter of the game, Corey Hart, who worked a walk.
It should have been a good matchup for Milwaukee. Harang, the former Cincinnati Reds right-hander, was 0-2 with a 7.91 ERA in his previous five games (four starts) against the Brewers since the start of the 2009 season.
But he was tough from the start on Thursday. Hart worked his 10-pitch walk with one out in the first inning, and moved to third on a single by Braun, who stole second base. That gave the Brewers runners at second and third with one out, but Fielder popped a 1-and-0 pitch to shortstop, and Casey McGehee hit an inning-ending comebacker to Harang.
The Brewers had three more opportunities for a clutch hit in the fourth inning, after Fielder scalded a leadoff double. McGehee grounded out to shortstop, freezing Fielder, before Mark Kotsay grounded out to first base and Lucroy flied out to center field.
In the fifth, it was Braun’s turn. But he flied out to right field with runners at first and second and two outs, and then left the game with his shoulder injury.
The Brewers’ continued road slump wasted left-hander Chris Narveson’s best start of the season. He scattered four hits and one harmless walk in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, with four strikeouts.
“Baseball goes like that,” Narveson said. “One swing different for us, one swing for them, and it could have easily been the game. We had opportunities, and they had opportunities, too.”
“It was really the first time I’ve seen [Narveson], but I was very impressed by his changeup,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I think that was a key, and that he kept the ball down. They’ve got the makings of a good rotation over there.”