Milwaukee Brewers Last Year: 90-72 2nd in NL Central, Lost to Philadelphia in NLDS This Year: 2nd in NL Central
Last year was a year long party in Milwaukee, they made the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and had plenty of memories. From Sabathia multiple complete games to Ryan Braun walk-offs it was a season to remember. Then came the inevitable offseason in which they lost Sabathia to the Yankees and Ben Sheets. They still have a very good lineup and if they can piece together a pitching staff they can have success but not on the level or excitement that was 2008.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections 2B Rickie Weeks .231 14 HR 44 RBI SS J.J. Hardy .279 25 HR 77 RBI LF Ryan Braun .305 39 HR 113 RBI 1B Prince Fielder .281 38 HR 108 RBI RF Corey Hart .274 22 HR 87 RBI 23 SB CF Mike Cameron .239 23 HR 67 RBI 3B Bill Hall .231 16 HR 56 RBI C Jason Kendall .248 1 HR 39 RBI P Yovani Gallardo
Rotation RHP Yovani Gallardo 16-9 3.45 ERA 156 K RHP Dave Bush 12-10 4.59 ERA 119 K LHP Manny Parra 12-8 4.09 ERA 164 K RHP Braden Looper 9-10 4.45 ERA 102 K RHP Jeff Suppan 8-10 5.11 ERA 97 K
CP RHP Trevor Hoffman 3.83 ERA 32 SV 47 K
Best Case Scenario: Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder put up MVP numbers. Gallardo stays healthy and becomes an ace. Hoffman still has a year left in him and is a solid closer. Rickie Weeks finally stays healthy, hits for average and becomes an average defensive player. This team plays well above .500 and contends for the division and has an outside chance at the wild card.
Worst Case Scenario: Gallardo fails to stay healthy and Parra and Bush fail to step up. The bullpen falls apart. Fielder's home run production mysteriously continues to decline. Rickie Weeks is officially a bust. This team finishes just below .500.
Player Most Important to Success: Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo was a big time prospect on his way up. He proved the hype in 2007 making 17 starts with an ERA of 3.67 and 101 K's in 110 innings. He then tore is ACL and only made 4 starts in all of 2008. He did pitch well in those starts but if he was healthy the Brewers likely don't trade for Sabathia as he would have filled the role. Now Sabathia and Sheets are gone and he is being counted on being the ace. The Brewers have a good offense but as evidenced by Sabathia they need someone who can win a game for them by himself.
Outlook: Last year's team was a contender to win the World Series. Everyone thinks the Brewers will fall off the face of the earth without Sabathia. They forget that this team went 83-79 in 2007 when Braun was a rookie and without Sabathia. They may not be a title contender this year but they still have the parts of a very good team especially in the mediocre NL. Their lineup is one of the best in the league. How successful this team is will come down to the pitching. One problem they had last year was the bullpen. Sabathia hid that problem by pitching complete games. If Hoffman is too old and can't close anymore this team is in serious trouble. This team should be competing for a playoff spot but ultimately they will fall short.