Milwaukee Brewers 2015 Preview

23
Mar

2014 Record – 82-80, 3rd NL Central

Key Additions

Luis Sardinas, Adam Lind

Key Departures

Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Mark Reynolds, Rickie Weeks, Lyle Overbay

Projected 2015 Lineup

  1. CF Carlos Gomez
  2. RF Ryan Braun
  3. C Jonathan Lucroy
  4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
  5. LF Khris Davis
  6. 1B Adam Lind
  7. SS Jean Segura
  8. 2B Scooter Gennett
  9. Pitcher

Projected 2015 Starters

  1. Kyle Lohse
  2. Matt Garza
  3. Wily Peralta
  4. Mike Fiers
  5. Jimmy Nelson

Breakdown

First base has been a hole in the lineup for several season. The addidition of Adam Lind won’t blow the doors of off fans, but it may be the most useful addition the Brew Crew could have made. In 2014, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay hit .196/.287/.394 and .233/.328/.333 respectively, creating an offensive hole in the lineup where teams rely on offensive contributions. Lind hit .321/.381/.479 in just 96 games. If he can stay healthy, the rest of the lineup features offense for days.

The issue is in the rotation where young pitchers like Peralta, Fiers and Nelson will have to both stay healthy and effective. Lohse and Garza are known commodities but trusting youth with 3/5ths of the rotation is a risky move. Taylor Jungmann, another youngster, is the only other pitcher that might be able to fill in to a decent degree in the eventuality of an injury. The rotation is what will hold them back from the playoffs once more.

X-Factor – Jimmy Nelson

Nelson started 12 games and pitched 69.1 innings in 2014, but will be looking at a full slate this season if the Brewers stay in contention. At 6’6″, Nelson should be able to handle the full workload and may be able to improve on last year’s results if his changeup progresses. Though his ERA was all the way up at 4.93 but he had a 3.75 FIP and will be looking to increase his groundball rate of 50%. The sink on his fastball will help, but the results needs to be closer to the peripherals, to be a reliable back end starter and secure the rotation.

Most To Prove – Jean Segura

The Brewers already have quality hitting in up the middle positions at catcher and centerfield. Again, the offense should be good again, but if Jean Segura can get back near the OPS+ of 105 that he had in 2013 instead of the 71 he had in 2014, Milwaukee will bein much better shape to make up for the rotation’s possible shortcomings. After all, an everyday starter that hits 29% worse than average is a huge detriment. Segura already surprised everyone by becoming a regular shortstop when it looked unlikely as a prospect, but the bat still needs proving.

2015 Impact Prospect – Taylor Jungmann – RHP

Formerly a first round pick, Jungmann fell down rankings quickly after a lack of upside potential reared it’s ugly head in the minors. After looking like a potential mid-rotation starter, the fastball/curveball combo never fully developed and he now uses four pitches. When he was drafted 12th overall, Jungmann had a fastball that could touch 97 but he now reaches back just to get to 92-93. However, the profile is still a starter’s and he will be a valuable pitcher than can eat innings as a fifth starter. It isn’t sexy, but it is useful.

Why They’re Worth Watching

Do you like power bats? Do you like wild players that eberyone loves on good teams and hates on bad teams? Do you like to see a mascot with a giant blonde beard fly down a twirly slide every time a ball gets over the wall? Moral of the story, for better or worse this team should be fun to watch in general.

Best Case

Like I said, I think the offense is set, but the rotation can’t deal with many injuries, if any at all. If the pitchers stay healthy and effective, this team could easily compete for the NL Central crown and a playoff spot. 86-76

Worst Case

If Segura is a complete non-factor on offense and any of the best bats get bitten by the injury bug, Milwaukee will struggle to stay afloat in a competitive NL Central. Injuries happen and almost certainly will happen, so this is much more likely. 74-88

Projected Record – 78-84

About the author: Colby Rogers

Colby is the Editor-in-Chief, Founder and Lead Contributor to Other League. Also a law student focusing on Labor & Employment law and intersections with law and sports. You can find him on Twitter via @Colby_OL.