News & Notes: Gomez Injury, Trade Winds, Lucroy | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

GOMEZ EXITS GAME WITH SHOULDER INJURY

Few things have gone right for the Brewers on the diamond this year, but one of the brightest spots of the 2013 season almost went up in smoke when Carlos Gomez awkwardly collided with the wall in the top of the fourth inning. His entire body seemingly jackknifed as fell to the ground. The 27-year-old center fielder immediately clutched his left shoulder and grimaced in extreme pain.

He didn’t writhe on the ground for long, nor did he wait for the training staff to reach him on the warning track. Instead, Gomez clutched his shoulder and walked directly to the dugout. No tests, no discussion. He was done.

Everyone, including Brewers players, thought Gomez re-injured his collarbone, which he broke during the 2011 season. It seems he and the team will dodge a bullet, though. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Gomez only sprained his left shoulder and may only miss a handful of games. In fact, he said after the game that he expects to be “fine” in a few days.

It’s truly fortunate news. After enjoying such an incredible breakout season, in which he’s hitting .314/.354/.572 with 12 home runs and 14 stolen bases, it would’ve been heartbreaking to see Gomez have his season cut short due to a freak injury. He’s already accumulated +4.2 WAR through only 291 plate appearances. It sounds like he’ll have a chance to build upon that elite pace after a few days off to rest his sore shoulder.

BREWERS WILLING TO TRADE GALLARDO?

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Baltimore Orioles have little chance to trade for Yovani Gallardo because they’re one of the teams on his no-trade list. Rosenthal says the Brewers would prefer to negotiate a trade without no-trade restrictions getting in the way.

While this rumor appears to be an afterthought in the flurry of hot stove news that will begin swirling in the coming weeks, it’s noteworthy that Gallardo and the Brewers are mentioned so nonchalantly in trade rumors by Rosenthal. It appears the Brewers are legitimately willing to listen on Gallardo this summer — something about which we’ve speculated upon the last couple months. Players such as Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez have seen their trade value tumble due to injuries, and the right-hander may be the Brewers only opportunity to acquire true impact talent at the deadline.

Gallardo is potentially under team control through 2015. Such a team-friendly contract for a three-win pitcher is extremely valuable on the trade market, and although the contract situations aren’t identical, the Brewers could pursue a Mat Latos type deal this summer. The Padres acquired the Reds’ #3, #4 and #10 prospects (according to Baseball America) and also received Edinson Volquez.

Scale down the potential deal a bit because Latos is a cut above Gallardo on the starting pitcher totem pole, but the Latos deal does illustrate that the Brewers could potentially get a haul in return for their prized, young starter. While it wouldn’t be a popular move amongst the fan base, trading Gallardo may be one of the few ways to infuse the minor-league system with top-tier players, and the organization is thirsting for such impact talent.

LUCROY HEATING UP

Though most Brewers fans were busy griping about Rickie Weeks’ woeful start to the season, Jonathan Lucroy experienced his own significant struggles. On May 20, he was only hitting .208/.268/.328 and was starting to lose some playing time to Martin Maldonado, as Ron Roenicke tried to squeeze whatever production he could out of the catcher position.

Since that point, though, Lucroy has heated up at the plate and has scorched opposing pitching with a .371/.406/.619 slash line in his last 27 games. He has five doubles, two triples and five home runs in that stretch. He even stole a base. It’s been quite the turn-around for the Brewers’ catcher, who is once again on pace to be a three-win player this season. His .336 wOBA currently ranks seventh amongst qualified catchers, and he continues to be solid defensively behind the plate.

This is exactly the type of production the Brewers hoped to receive when they inked Lucroy to a five-year, $11M contract a year ago. He’s only making $800,000 this season and he’s a top-ten catcher in the league. That’s crazy valuable. And to think he is only scheduled to make $2M next year, the deal is one of the most team-friendly contracts in the National League.

GALLARDO: AN ALTERED APPROACH IN HOUSTON

Yovani Gallardo is one of the more predictable pitchers in baseball, at least in terms of location. He’ll mix up his fastball and slider early in counts and eventually try to get to his curveball, but he consistently works away from both right-handed and left-handed pitchers. He almost exclusively lives on the outside corner with every pitch.

Here is Gallardo against right-handed batters:

Here’s a similar heat map of Gallardo against lefties:

The patterning is quite similar. Away, away, away. Occasionally, he works up with the fastball against right-handed hitters or tries to bury a slider inside against lefties, but for the most part, he attempts to avoid damage by focusing on the outer portion of the plate.

Against the Houston Astros on Thursday, however, he significantly altered his approach. He still worked away from right-handed hitters, but he consistently tried to bust lefties on the inside corner the whole afternoon. Check out how different his heat map looked on Thursday compared to the seasonal charts featured above:

This isn’t likely a shift in repertoire or approach by Gallardo, but it’s extremely interesting to see how differently he pitched the Astros on Thursday. It worked rather effectively, too, as Gallardo only surrendered two hits to lefties and struck out three.

MINOR LEAGUE OUTFIELDER TEARING UP SINGLE-A

At only 19 years old, outfielder Tyrone Taylor was supposed to be a project for the Brewers’ development team. He was a young, toolsy athlete, and the Brewers hoped they could refine those athletic tools and transform him into a baseball player. Scouting reports out of the draft also suggested he had mechanical problems in his swing and limited power potential. Taylor turned some heads last year before succumbing to a shoulder injury, but it was still expected to be a significant challenge for him to get sent straight to the Midwest League this season.

The California native held his own throughout the beginning of the season. The Timber Rattlers didn’t play much in April due to weather, but Taylor still displayed signs of life at the plate. Since the middle of May, though, Taylor has been mashing the baseball. He’s been tremendous. He’s hitting .365/.438/.540 with 14 doubles and two home runs in his last 33 games. He’s walked as many times as he’s struck out, and he’s OPS-ing .997 as a 19-year-old in a difficult offensive environment. It has been an impressive season for the young man.

His torrid stretch at the plate has led some Brewers fans to start asking when he will be promoted to High-A Brevard County. It’s extremely unlikely that the organization will push him to High-A this summer. Taylor is already dealing with the aches and pains, as well as the mental stresses, of playing in his first year of full-season ball. It’s a huge transition for young players. Slapping the stresses of a mid-season promotion on top of that doesn’t seem prudent.

Expect the organization to allow Taylor to remain in Appleton the entire season, even if he continues to dominate the competition. He’s plenty young and already ahead of the developmental curve. No reason to rush his development. The organization will allow him to continue to get comfortable in his professional surroundings — prepping him for a big year in 2014.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Ryan says: June 24, 2013

    Can anyone offer even one logical reason as to why Yuni B is still on the roster? A .489 OPS in May, followed by a .324 OPS in June!! The Brewers are playing 8 on 9 offensively when he starts, which is way too much, and he isn’t going to be around next year…is there a single good reason not to release him and give his playing time to someone that it may benefit?

    • crichar3 says: June 24, 2013

      I can offer no explanation. It makes no sense to me. I would rather seen Francisco flail wildly against lefties and Sean Halton on the roster.

      • Doug says: June 24, 2013

        This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the Brewers club this year if you ask me. I thought for sure they just wanted to get through the Houston series so they could play Ramirez at DH and Yuni at third through the series. Yuni had a HORRIBLE week last week – DFA the guy and bring up Halton already. He can give you some pop at first and the corner outfield spots.

  2. crichar3 says: June 24, 2013

    Such a shame about Gomez. I will be surprised if he is back as soon as he thinks. And if he is I wouldn’t be surprised to see his numbers take a Ramirez-type decline.But dude is a gamer (the anti-Hart) and he will probably try to push back in sooner than he should. It would be sad if this derails what had a the making of a fine season.

    Trading Yo? Yes, please. But only if they can get a significant haul for him. He might not be Latos or Greinke, but he has years of control and is a top of the rotation talent. They should get comparable return. If they can’t, than they should wait until the off-season to move him.

    • SecondHandStore says: June 24, 2013

      Knock it off with this Hart isn’t a gamer crap. You think he’s just sitting at home relaxing and collecting paychecks? Go to jsonline with that garbage.

      • crichar3 says: June 24, 2013

        Evidence suggests Hart waited to have his surgery until it became so late that he would be of no use to the team for most of the first half. He has consistently been slower than other players to return from injuries. It also raises questions about his desire to play hurt for fear it would diminish his numbers in a contract year.

        • Luke says: June 24, 2013

          That’s 100% speculative. No evidence whatsoever.

        • dbug says: June 24, 2013

          In addition to being speculative, its dumb speculation. Why would a guy intentionally sit in a contract year? Hart has one good payday left in his career, why would he dog it? Not willing to play hurt? That’s just silly.

  3. Anton W. says: June 24, 2013

    I don’t know about other Brewers’ fans out there, but I welcome the thought of trading Gallardo for prospects. The team we are fielding isn’t going to get to the playoffs, and without ANY minor league talent, getting a few prospects for our #1 starter (who, in all reality, pitches like a mid-level #2 at best) is a bargain. Not to mention his team-friendly deal and that he’s still relatively young, which means we’ll never be able to get more for him than we will right now. I think any fan who disagrees with the decision to trade Gallardo is just being naive to the Brewers’ sad state of affairs. If we don’t build up the farm, Braun will play out the greatest contract in Brewers’ history with the club’s best year being 2010. That’s a scary thought.

  4. Dan V says: June 24, 2013

    I’m excited about Taylor. Michael Reed is quietly having a pretty nice first half in Wisconsin too.

    • Allen says: June 24, 2013

      Same about Taylor. Hoping to get up to Appleton at some point and watch him play. But yeah, no need to rush him. Gomez is locked up and, like they said, he’s already ahead of the curve.

  5. Chris K. says: June 24, 2013

    So relieved Gomez has just a strain…..Never doubted Lucroy’s ability to recover from a slow start. Last season wasnt a fluke, the numbers were there that I recall an idea that Lucroy’s LD rate deserved to bat him 2nd. You don’t just lose your LD ability one season to the next if you are a good hitter.

    Trading Gallardo. Yes if he continues to improve upon his start to the season. It hasn’t been mentioned a whole lot but Yovani lost his mother, that may have set him off track for awhile in the head,though I’m sure he’ll never say so. Could explain the DUI mistake.
    Gallardo coming back to his normal self raises his value a lot which is the key. No point selling low on the guy for 1 top 100 prospect when this is a guy who was worth 3 likely in this past offseason. 200ip/200k pitchers don’t grow on trees. Gallardo wasn’t on pace for either though and the resulting offers should be denied unless they are for a 200/200 pitcher.
    Mat Garza would be a nice comparison in trade from Tampa to Chicago. Netting Hak Ju Lee,Chris Archer,Sam Fuld. 2 top 100 prospects. And Fuld a 4th OF.

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