The Electric Commentary

Friday, March 09, 2007

Hope And Faith in the Brewers

The Baseball Prospectus book likes to point out all of the negatives of your team, but the site has been running a series of optimistic articles on every MLB team, and they are very optimistic about the Brewers. I think you need an account to read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:

But aside from what might be, the what is looks solid. In a division that appears to be redefining medioparity, the Brewers as currently constructed have the fewest things that need to go right in order to reach the top of the standings. The Cardinals have to be carried by a shaky pitching staff and three creaky stars. The Cubs are already feeling the weight of renewed (and expensive) expectations. The Astros are still looking for an identity at the end of the Bagwell/Biggio era. The Reds are relying on Ken Griffey, Jr. to stay healthy and on Adam Dunn to be a bit more than Russell Branyan.

All the Brewers have to do is what all winning teams do: stay within themselves and stay healthy. It’s that last part that’s hard. Up the middle, J.J. Hardy has spent four of the last five years dealing with major injuries. Rickie Weeks has a history of wrist problems. Ben Sheets has spent the better part of two years fighting to overcome a muscle tear, something he’s just now coming to mechanical terms with. The team doesn’t need career years from anyone, just solid and reasonable production. They don't even need someone to “step it up” or “take it to the next level,” two clichés you’ll hear about virtually every team. Improvement would be welcomed, a peak year would be accepted, but it’s not one of the necessary ingredients for a World Series run. Bill Hall doesn’t have to be the next Robin Yount and Ned Yost doesn’t need a wooden leg to bring this team back to October.

It’s a team of depth and options, of possibilities and probabilities. The Brewers are the only team in the league which could take an injury at almost every position and still have a solid replacement there the next day (aside from Sheets going down again). There’s no team in the division with the bench depth and versatility. There’s no bullpen in the NL with the combination of role players, power arms, and potential. With all that, the team simply has to do what’s expected. For once in Milwaukee, that’s enough.

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