Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ranking 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster

Congrats to these 25 guys (and 4 guys on the disabled list) that made the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day is truly a Sunday Funday for them:

Pitchers (12): Dave Bush (R), Todd Coffey (R), Doug Davis (L), Yovani Gallardo (R), LaTroy Hawkins (R), Trevor Hoffman (R), Chris Narveson (L), Manny Parra (L), Mitch Stetter (L), Claudio Vargas (R), Carlos Villanueva (R), and Randy Wolf (L).

Catchers (2): George Kottaras and Gregg Zaun.

Infielders (6): Craig Counsell (UTIL), Alcides Escobar (SS), Prince Fielder (1B), Joe Inglett (UTIL), Casey McGehee (3B), and Rickie Weeks (2B).

Outfielders (5): Ryan Braun (LF), Jim Edmonds (CF), Jody Gerut (UTIL), Carlos Gomez (CF), and Corey Hart (RF).

Disabled List: Jeff Suppan (RHP), David Riske (RHP), Josh Butler (RHP), and Mat Gamel (3B).

Take a look back at my predictions of which players would make the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster. Keep in mind I made my predictions at the start of spring training on February 24, 2010 and I was still 23 of 24 (since Jeff Suppan started the season on the DL). I predicted the Brewers would keep Scott Schoeneweis (LHP) instead of Chris Narveson (LHP). The Brewers made the right decision keeping Narveson, he was much more impressive than Schoeneweis in spring training and rightly deserved to make the team ahead of Schoeneweis.

With the niceties out of the way, here is how I rank the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day Roster:

#25) Joe Inglett (UTIL): much like Jose Canseco, minus the steroids and antics, I feel vindicated that Doug Melvin kept Inglett on the 25-man opening day roster. If you look back at my pre-spring training predictions from February 24, 2010 I called that Inglett would make the roster. As you can see, I don't think Inglett brings much to the table since I ranked him 25th out of 25 guys...I am just happy my prediction came true.

#24) Claudio Vargas (RHP): after coming over from the L.A. Dodgers in 2009, Vargas was almost unhittable: 1.78 ERA in 28 appearances over 30.1 innings. That performance lead the Brewers to offer Vargas a one-year, $900,000 contract but the Brewers have a number of right-handed arms in the bullpen that are better than Vargas so he better perform if he wants to stay in Milwaukee for the entire season.

#23) Jody Gerut (OF): it still blows me away that Doug Melvin traded Tony Gwynn Jr. (27 years old) to the San Diego Padres for Gerut (32 years old). Melvin said he traded Tony Gwynn Jr. because of his offensive deficiencies but Gerut hit .236 last year for the Brewers while Gwynn hit .270 for the Padres.

#22) Jim Edmonds (CF): it pains me (and my buddy Gaber even more) that Edmonds is playing for the Brewers. The fact that the Brewers have to rely on a 40 year old guy that didn't even play baseball last year does not bode well for the season...or the three guys ranked below Edmonds.

#21) Carlos Villanueva (RHP): is the Bill Hall of pitchers. The Brewers cannot decide where to pitch Villanueva (starter, long relief, set-up man, or closer) and it has adversely impacted his progression. Much like Stetter, Villanueva is one of the only relievers with minor league options so he might have a cup of coffee in Triple-A depending on how he starts the season.

#20) George Kottaras (C): may be the quietest pick-up by Melvin in the off-season could loom large since Zaun turns 75 this season. Luckily for the Brewers, Boston waived Kottaras in favor of bringing back the carcus of Jason Varitek.

#19) Mitch Stetter (LHP): has been an effective situational reliever against left-handed hitters but will have to show he can get left and right-handed hitters if he wants to stay in the majors. Stetter could get sent down to Triple-A when the injury bug hits the Brewers because he still has minor league options.

#18) Manny Parra (LHP): similar to Rickie Weeks, its time for Parra to produce. Every year Parra has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy but every year he never backs up that potential with actual production. If Parra had minor league options he would have started the season in Triple-A, unfortunately the Brewers don't have that luxury.

#17) Chris Narveson (LHP): not too sure if this is more about Narveson being out of minor league options or the Brewers thinking he can be effective out of the pen or as a starter once someone goes on the disabled list?

#16) LaTroy Hawkins (RHP): similar to my Suppan/Wolf comparison above...Hawkins reminds me of Dave Riske...oh dang.

#15) Gregg Zaun (C): not too sure why Melvin decided to "save money" on the catcher position by bringing in Zaun, who turns 39 this season, to start for the first time in his career. Why not bring back Kendall even if it costs you $1 million more than Zaun? It’s as if Melvin bought a bunch of expensive cars (Wolf, Hawkins, and Davis) but balked at filling it with premium unleaded and filled it with regular unleaded instead.

#14) Doug Davis (LHP): I feel horrible for Doug Davis and his family that Doug has battled serious health problems the last few years. That said, Doug Melvin knew about Davis' health issues, so why did he offer Davis a contract? Plus, Davis is possibly the slowest, most deliberate pitcher in baseball which means I will skip watching any of his starts live.

#13) Craig Counsell (UTIL): despite turning 40 this season, the Brewers had to bring Counsell back after he hit .285 in 130 games over 404 at-bats in 2009. Counsell filled in admirably at second base after Weeks was predictably lost for the season. Counsell reminds me of Richard Alpert from Lost...he doesn't age.

#12) Dave Bush (RHP): had his 2009 season cut short when he took a line drive off his pitching elbow. Bush looks fully recovered and should become a consistent middle of the rotation guy in a left-hand dominated starting rotation.

#11) Carlos Gomez (CF): is the player the Brewers got from the Minnesota Twins for J.J. Hardy. Gomez was the key player the Minnesota Twins received from the New York Mets for Johan Santana but has yet to produce consistently in the majors. Much like Rickie Weeks, Gomez has the potential to be a dynamic player but has not capitalized on that potential.

#10) Alcides Escobar (SS): the Brewers traded former fan favorite J.J. Hardy to the Minnesota Twins to make way for Escobar. There is no question that Escobar is one of the best defensive shortstops in MLB, the question is whether Escobar can produce on offense?

#9) Corey Hart (RF): some guys get by on talent despite being seemingly devoid of common sense...Corey Hart is that guy. Case and point, why did Hart wait until the start of spring training to correct his vision problems? Hart somehow won his salary arbitration hearing so unless he performs, Brewers fans will make him the #2 whipping boy behind Jeff Suppan.

#8) Todd Coffey (RHP): has been a bullpen workhorse for the Brewers since Doug Melvin claimed Coffey off waivers from Cincinnati in 2008. If I were Ken Macha, Coffey would be my set-up guy for closer Trevor Hoffman.

#7) Rickie Weeks (2B): at some point Weeks has to produce on the major league level like he did in college. Weeks has an amazing skill set but in five major league seasons he has only played more than 100 games twice.

#6) Randy Wolf (LHP): I hope I am wrong but I am on record as saying that Wolf is the left-handed Jeff Suppan. Wolf is owed a little less than $30 million over the next three seasons and the Brewers do not even view Wolf as a #1 starter. Wolf is Exhibit A for how costly it can be if you do not develop pitching through the farm system.

#5) Casey McGehee (3B): was not even penciled in to start at 3rd base for the Brewers and still ended up finishing 5th in the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Will 2009 be a flash in the pan for McGehee or did the Brewers finally identify an everyday 3rd basemen?

#4) Trevor Hoffman (RHP): with the lack of pitching depth in the Brewers' farm system, every Brewer fan better hope that old age does not catch up with Hoffman this season.

#3) Yovani Gallardo (RHP): the Brewers have struggled mightily to draft pitchers but Gallardo is the exception to those struggles. Gallardo is a legitimate #1 starter in the making and Doug Melvin should lock him up long-term as long as it is not a Teddy Higuera type contract. I actually think Higuera and his progeny are still under contract with the Brewers through 2050.

#2) Prince Fielder (1B): the first half of 2010 will determine where Prince plays the next 8 seasons of his career. The two variables that will intersect throughout the first half of the season are Prince's production and the Brewers' record. If the Brewers fall out of playoff contention by the All-Star break, Doug Melvin will be forced to trade Prince since Prince's value will only diminish the closer he gets to free agency at the end of the 2011 season.

#1) Ryan Braun (LF): in case you missed it, check out my Sunday Funday - Ryan Braun's Contract from last week to see how grossly underpaid Braun is for being the best player on the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers. When the Brewers moved Braun from 3rd base to left field, Braun took his offense to another level. I know it is early in Braun's career but if he continues on his current trajectory, Braun has a chance to go down as one of the all-time Brewer greats.

If you have read this far I want to thank you for supporting my rambling thoughts. Check back throughout the season for updates to the rankings because the Brewers have not played a meaningful baseball game in 2010 yet so the rankings will probably look drastically different as the season goes on.

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