Spinning Wheels | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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

Spinning Wheels

By on September 20, 2012

One of the difficult aspects of following a sudden Wild Card contender is that the cybermarket is flooded with loads of virtual ink analyzing said team and verifying the “what-ifs.” Of course, if this type of run happens to a team virtually overnight, there might be a month or two where articles about that team have little or nothing to do with the playoffs. This entire playoff industry produces a huge set of analysis, and then we wait.

So, here we are. Approximately two weeks after we, Brewers fans, corrected our states of disbelief from “there’s no way this could happen” to “holy crap, this could happen!,” the Brewers remain SCORCHING hot. Our Milwaukee nine won yet again, this time holding the Pirates to minimal run production over a close ballgame. Swingman-turned-pocket ace Marco Estrada followed the pitching staff’s excellence memo, working seven scoreless innings against the Bucs.

Yet again, the Cardinals won. After the Cardinals beat the Astros for the second consecutive night, the Brewers’ wild card position remained 2.5 games out.The excitement over the last two weeks was (a) seeing the playoff win threshold lower as Los Angeles and St. Louis sputtered, while (b) the Brewers stormed over their competitors, overtaking a few wild card spots. Now, the Brewers nearly reached their final stop on this improbable run, and it’s the most difficult step: how on earth does a team overcome a Wild Card leader without playing them? Not only does St. Louis control their own destiny, they also control the win threshold for the playoffs. Merely two days ago, the Cardinals’ winning percentage placed them at approximately 85 final wins; now they’re inching to 86 wins, just like that.

What does this mean for the Brewers? If you’ll recall, at the beginning of the week, the Brewers needed to go 11-5 to reach 85 wins. Luckily, the Brewers did not use either of those 5 losses against the Pirates, but it did not matter. Once the Cardinals won two consecutive games against the Astros, their winning percentage paced them to 86 wins, requiring a 10-4 record for the Brewers from here out. Basically, consecutive Cardinals wins are as good as a Brewers loss, even when the Brewers win, too. As J.P. mentioned yesterday, and the general comments tone suggested, if this improbable run results in a playoff berth for the Brewers, it would basically be miraculous. Over the last two days, we have seen why this run is improbable.

Pocket Aces
BUT, enough about that, this Brewers squad is playing EXCELLENT baseball. One of the reasons for the Brewers’ success over the last month is their starting pitchers. As noted by many, Gallardo is putting together his best stretch in his career — the Brewers were victorious in EACH of Gallardo’s last 10 starts (his previous high was 6 consecutive wins, in 2011). However, the Brewers also received lights out performances from two of their prospects at the end of August and into September, as well as an excellent campaign from Estrada. (Perhaps one of the most interesting steps in this streak is that of Estrada from good swingman/5th starter to serviceable top end hurler). Fastballer Mike Fiers‘s exceptional starts have been less frequent, although he’s helped the Brewers stay even in his starts. The only downsides in the last month were eating Randy Wolf‘s contract and Shaun Marcum‘s difficult injury return.

Gallardo: 45.3 IP, 15 runs since mid-August (7-0)
Estrada: 41.7 IP, 12 runs since mid-August (6-1)
Peralta: 20.0 IP, 4 runs since September (3-0)
Rogers: 15.3 IP, 4 runs in the end of August (3-0)
Fiers: 32.3 IP, 19 runs since mid-August (3-3)
Marcum 23.7 IP, 19 runs since returning (2-3)

After their disastrous series in Colorado, the Brewers are 24-8. As you can see from the list above, the Brewers have basically received ace performances from three rotation spots since that series at Coors Field. Gallardo’s runs average is below 3.00 during that stretch, and Estrada is allowing fewer than 2.60 R/9 IP lately. Taken as a single rotation spot, Rogers and Peralta contributed to six lights out starts — their combined runs average is 2.04 over 35.3 IP. Now, a lot of other things have gone right for the Brewers over that time, as none of those pitchers suffered tough luck losses (and the Brewers’ bats took over whatever poor outings those starters had in the last month). Over those 122 innings from Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, and Rogers, the Brewers are 19-1.

These strong starts mean significant things for the Brewers moving forward. First and foremost, these starts should allow the Brewers’ front office to give the vote of confidence to their young starters to work in 2013. This is significant because if the Brewers can stay away from the free agency pitching market, they will be able to focus significant funds on other aspects of their ballclub. Even though the revenue situation in the MLB is improving, freeing money from the pitching rotation to spend on other parts of the club allows the Brewers to maximize the value for their dollars (perhaps allowing them to make a splash elsewhere, or provide another contract-extension to a regular player).

Secondly, these strong starts simply show a rotation subtly morphing into a consistently above average group. As of today, the 2012 NL runs average is approximately 4.50 when adjusted for Miller Park’s 3-year environment. This means that three of the Brewers’ future pitchers have solid, above average seasons to build on in 2013:

Gallardo: 193 IP, 79 R, 194 K/76 BB; +18 runs
Wolf: 142.3 IP, 94 R, 96 K/45 BB; -23 runs
Estrada: 126.3 IP, 55 R, 129 K/26 BB; +8 runs
Greinke: 123 IP, 49 R, 122 K/28 BB; +13 runs
Fiers: 114.3 IP, 44 R, 115 K/32 BB; +13 runs
Marcum: 106 IP, 52 R, 97 K/34 BB; +1 run

When the Brewers traded Zack Greinke, Estrada had 35 runs allowed in just under 68 IP. While his 75 K/14 BB mark hinted at better things to come, Estrada allowed 15 home runs over that first stretch of the season. Since Greinke left, Estrada pitched 58.7 IP, striking out 54, walking 12, and allowing 2 gopher balls. Indeed, Estrada’s 3.07 runs average since Greinke left is markedly better than Greinke’s 3.78 mark, and Greinke’s 54 K/22 BB/9 HR mark with the Angels actually projects to a worse performance than Greinke’s 3.78 runs average (although, to be honest, Greinke deserved to finally have a stretch of his career where he outplayed his FIP).

Long story short, the Brewers traded Greinke and Estrada stepped in without missing a beat. Both Estrada and Fiers have a chance to surpass Greinke’s value to the Brewers in 2012, which is somewhat remarkable given (a) the expectations for Greinke and his actual performance (which was very strong), and (b) the preseason roles Estrada and Fiers served in the organization. If we add Gallardo’s campaign — arguably the best in his career — to that equation, suddenly the Brewers have three strong pitchers in line for their 2013 rotation.

To underscore the value of Estrada, Fiers, Gallardo, and even Greinke, here is a list of comparable pitchers from the 2011 National League. The pitchers below were not necessarily the top aces in the 2011 NL, but their strong runs prevented over moderate-to-high workloads landed them the #8-#20 spots among NL starters with 100+ innings.

2011 Comparable “Moderate Aces”
Daniel Hudson (Arizona): 222 IP, 98 R; +8 runs
Matt Cain (San Francisco): 221.7 IP, 82 R; +14 runs
Tim Hudson (Atlanta): 215 IP, 86 R; +13 runs
R.A. Dickey (New York): 208.7 IP, 85 R; +9 runs
Hiroki Kuroda (Los Angeles): 202 IP, 77 R; +14 runs
Shaun Marcum (Milwaukee): 200.7 IP, 84 R; +11 runs
Jhoulys Chacin (Colorado): 194 IP, 87 R; +19 runs
Ryan Vogelsong (San Francisco): 179.7 IP, 62 R; +15 runs
Jeff Karstens (Pittsburgh): 162.3 IP, 69 R; +8 runs
Jordan Zimmermann (Washington): 161.3 IP, 62 R; +13 runs
Josh Collmenter (Arizona): 154.3 IP, 61 R; +13 runs
Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta): 152 IP, 52 R; +18 runs
Vance Worley (Philadelphia): 131.7 IP, 47 R; +15 runs

This group should be instructive for the Brewers going forward (as should any group of this level). We can conclude that (1) pitchers can indeed overplay their abilities for one season, and land at the top of the league, while (2) some moderate aces can continue or exceed their performances, and (3) pitching performances and value will always be subjected to injury and ineffectiveness risks.

Of these 13 pitchers, nearly half spent 2012 injured, or faced a shortened workload due to other ineffectiveness issues. Daniel Hudson, Collmenter, Jurrjens, Marcum, Karstens, and Chacin did not have a clear opportunity to match their 2011 value. Steady Matt Cain continued his stretch of above average seasons in 2012, almost perfectly matching his workload and value once again, while Dickey, Zimmermann, and Kuroda worked more innings and had stronger performances in 2012. Worley and Tim Hudson both worked similar or smaller innings totals, with moderate results.

If anything, the 2012 Brewers campaign should prove that pitching injuries can hurt a ballclub. However, the Brewers have proven that they have strong depth in their minor league system, and that’s before they even get to potential surprises Jimmy Nelson and Hiram Burgos, or top prospects Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley. Obviously, there are questions or concerns about these arms, but these arms still serve as notable depth as potential replacements for the Brewers. Meanwhile, Estrada and Fiers have morphed into extremely valuable starters thanks to very simple premises: throw strikes, and don’t beat yourself.

While we might not expect Gallardo, Fiers, and Estrada to each repeat their 2012 value in 2013, we should feel confident about how their pitching profiles project. Rounding out the rotation with Peralta, Rogers, Tyler Thornburg, and maybe even Chris Narveson, it’s clear that the Brewers suddenly have a gang of arms to consider for 2013.

IMAGE:
Aoki (AP): https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120919/sports/709199658/photos/AR/

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Andy says: September 20, 2012

    “Once the Cardinals won two consecutive games against the Astros, their winning percentage paced them to 86 wins, requiring a 10-4 record for the Brewers from here out. Basically, consecutive Cardinals wins are as good as a Brewers loss, even when the Brewers win, too.”

    True, but this is the easy part of the Cardinals remaining schedule. We all know the Brewers have the slightest margin of error possible – they need to win as many games as they can, no matter who the opponent is or where the games are played. But I think it’d be remiss to look at Cardinals wins without considering the greater context of what games they’ve got remaining, and what the Brewers need to pull off this miracle. We know the Cardinals aren’t going to lose every game they’ve got left to play. We need them to lose as many of them as possible, obviously, but the real cause for concern won’t be Cardinals victories against the likes of Houston and Chicago (unless they win all nine of them!), it’ll be Cardinals victories against Washington and Cincinnati in those final six games of the season. This, of course, is assuming the Brewers hold up their end of the bargain, but that should go without saying at this point.

    I think that IF this is going to happen, it likely won’t be until those final six games, where it’s not inconceivable that the Brewers could still make up two or three games just right there. This should seem logical based just on the fact that it takes time to make up 2.5 games, but its doubly so considering the Cardinals have six tough games on the road and the Brewers have six home games against sub-.500 teams. Yes, it might seem like just spinning wheels right now, but when viewed in context of the remaining schedule, there’s still hope.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 20, 2012

      I think it’s absolutely true that there’s still hope; I simply hate to see the win threshold increasing while the Brewers win, too. While it’s true that the Brewers close with an easier schedule than the Cards, the Brewers first need to survive those 7 games at Washington and Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the Brewers have that same tough test that the Cardinals receive.

      But, the Brewers are playing great ball and have done everything possible to stay in it to this point. That’s why I remain hopeful.

  2. Dan V says: September 20, 2012

    This is going to sound funny but a part of me is glad we have a tough stretch coming up. They have to earn their right to play in October, something they couldn’t do earlier in the season. If they can beat the best on the road they will truly be vetted and ready to play in October. If not, we have a lot to look forward to next season and they should be proud of how they pulled it together. No matter what I’m excited about Brewers baseball and these games are meaningful and I can do more that ‘prospect’ watch :)

  3. Doug says: September 20, 2012

    This situation reminds of the end of the 2008 season. As of the Friday morning of the final weekend of the regular season I think the Brewers were two games behind the Mets for the wildcard spot. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that the Mets would be in the playoffs because they were facing a weak Marlins team – while the Brewers had to face the division leading Cubs. As they say – you still have to play the games though. Anyone remember how that turned out?

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      And just to add a bit to that – the goal isn’t necessarily to be in the wildcard spot NOW – the goal is to be in that wildcard spot on the last day of the season.

      • Doug says: September 20, 2012

        Let me correct my previous post – upon further research at the end of the Thursday night games – and prior to the start of the games Friday – the Mets and Brewers were TIED for the wildcard spot. I remember alot of agony in Brewers nation that the Mets were going to walk into the wild card because they had an easier opponent that weekend in the form of a pretty average Marlins team. Again – you still have to play the games and the goal is to be in the drivers seat at the conclusion of the FINAL game of the season – not necessarily TODAY.

        Go Brewers.

  4. SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

    I will join you all in excitement for next year, which is something I would not have said before the season began. I’m a little worried Narveson won’t be able to pitch right away, and then of course no one knows yet what he can give us coming off the rotator cuff surgery. I’m also little wary of trusting Peralta’s command yet and of Mark Rogers pitching a full season. I think they should sign a low cost innings eater if one of quality is available for these reasons. Best case scenario, I’d start Rogers and Narveson with Peralta in AAA to see how his command is to start the season. Then when it seems comfortable to call him up, trade Narveson (assuming he shows he’s healthy and can provide value). Left handers are always sought after and while he’s not going to return a Segura, he’d bring something valuable back. This is the same reason I hope they sign Gonzalez (hopefully around 2 million or less) and start Segura in AAA(a level he’s basically never played at). Let the kid get comfortable and then when they bring him up, trade Gonzalez (also assuming he proves he’s healthy and can provide value). EVERY team is always looking out for help at SS and Gonzalez could potentially be a big boon for any team. That’s a ton of trade value for very little money or risk.

    • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

      By the way, who’d have thought coming into 2013 that two of our strongest/deepest positions would be starting pitching and shortstop?

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      Makes no sense to send Segura to AAA next year – he has shown he can play at the big league level and his service time clock has already started. Why sign Gonzalez to play SS when you already have one? Are you that confident sinking $$ into a 35 year old SS coming off major knee surgery and possibly regressing the growth of a future piece of the big league picture. Makes no sense to me.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

        I don’t see how sending Segura to AAA would regress his progress. And yes, if Gonzalez can be signed for a team friendly contract I would do it in a heartbeat.

        • Doug says: September 20, 2012

          There is no such thing a ‘team friendly’ deal for a 36 year old shortstop with a carrer OBP under .300 coming off major knee surgery. Plus he only plays shortstop and you already have two of them in Segura and Biachi. Gonzalez would be a sub-replacement level player next year AT BEST. That money that you would waste on him would be better spent shoring up the bullpen.

          • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

            There is going to be plenty of money to spend next year. Two million for Gonzalez isn’t going to stop us from doing anything and there is no thing as ‘just plays SS’. You’re also making a big assumption that he’ll be sub replacement at best.

  5. Doug says: September 20, 2012

    What if the Brewers would have spent that $2 million this year on a Fernando Rodney instead of paying $5 million for 24 games from a 35 year old shortstop?

    There is absolutely NO upside to resigning Gonzalez. The guy has been replacement level pretty much his entire career – except in 2007 and 2010 when he was worth 2 to 3 wins above replacement.

    And, this may be news to you, when you are 36 and coming off major knee surgery chances are you are not going to suddenly outperform your career norms and become anything other than the replacement level player you have always been.

    • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

      Yep, no upside at all. It’s not like he’s got the ceiling potential to hit 20+ HRs in a hitter friendly ballpark or posted a positive WAR, with exceptional defense, in all but 2 of his MLB seasons or anything. And you’re right, they should have totally sunk money into their pen last winter instead of at shortstop, even though the pen looked like a major strength and SS was a black hole. I’m pretty sure 2 million for even a back up shortstop with the potential of Gonzalez is a fair deal. Then if they can turn around and trade him, and if he shows he’s healthy it would be unimaginable they couldn’t, then tell me again, what’s the downside? Two million is not a lot of money in baseball.

      • Doug says: September 20, 2012

        They had sunk over $7 million into the shortstop position this year and basically got replacement level production out of it. $5.5 million to Gonzalez, nearly $1 million to Izturis and half million buy out of Bentancourt. They could have gotten a couple of decent dependable bullpen arms for that instead.

        The Brewers, being the Brewers, need to make extremely wise choices on where they spend their money. There is absolutely no reason to give Gonzalez ANY money whatsoever when they have two able bodies shortstops ALREADY on the roster making the major league minimum.

        At the end of the day I just don’t get the obsession about bringing back a 36 year old shortstop coming off major knee surgery. Makes absolutely no sense – especially for the small market Brewers.

        • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

          First of all, they should not have spent in the bullpen. It looked strong. Second, they spent 4.25 million on Gonzalez and he went down on a freak accident. Third, your whole argument is based on three big assumptions: 1) Gonzalez can no longer play baseball 2) Signing Gonzalez stops them from doing something else 3) Jean Segura is ready for an everyday major league starting position. Segura has never played more than 9 games at AAA and has only recently started hitting well w/the Brewers. That’s the definition of small sample size. And seriously, $2million dollars is not that much, even for the Brewers, especially if they’re able to trade him at some point in the season.

          • Doug says: September 20, 2012

            Good luck trying to find a trade partner for a 36 year old shortstop next year. I am sure his suitors will be lined up around the block.

            The Brewers lost Saito and Hawkins in the bullpen during the offseason – two excellent performers from 2011. In retrospect they should have picked up an arm or two to replace them. Did you happen to miss the first three quarters of the season?

  6. SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

    I’ve seen every game this year, but you can’t say that they should have spent in the bullpen because at the time it seemed strong. It would have been taking money away from positions that needed it to sink it into a place that didn’t. Sure it didn’t work out the way they thought, but no one could have known that. And seriously man, if a guy can play it doesn’t matter how old he is, especially if it’s a one year contract. Jerry Hairston Jr is making 3.75 million next year and I’d say he’s a decent comp for Gonzalez. They’re roughly the same age( Hairston is a year older), and they can both play SS. Sure Hairston plays the OF too, but that hardly makes him that much more valuable. Plus, if they can sign Gonzalez for $2 million, any team that acquires him would probably only end up paying $1 million. That’s less than peanuts. I think you’re all mad because I suggested Segura should spend some time in AAA because there is almost no risk in signing Gonzalez. I mean, hell, they’re going to pay almost that much to have Wolf not play for them.

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      Honestly, I just see it as a complete waste of resources and as a hindrance to the development of Segura.

      But hey if you want to see a 36 year old coming off major knee surgery and his sub .300 OBP in the lineup next year that’s awesome for you.

  7. SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

    You also can’t compare last winter to this coming winter. They’ve got a lot more money to play with. Greinke, Wolf, Marcum, and K-Rod are all off the books and they have a large number of low cost players to fill in the starting rotation and bullpen. All say it again, maybe this time it’ll start to sink in, $2 million is not a whole lot in terms of baseball and it’s not going to keep them from doing anything.

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      There may be no risk in re-signing Gonzalez – but there is no upside either.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

        *facepalm*

        • Doug says: September 20, 2012

          Why the facepalm? Trying to knock some sense into yourself?

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      Did you account for arbitration raises and the raises that Gallardo and Braun will see? They won’t have as much money to work with as you think.

      And the key is spending that extra money WISELY. Not throwing it at a crippled, washed up shortstop.

      • Doug says: September 20, 2012

        “Spinning Wheels’ is actually a great title for this post after reading your comments.

        • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

          Not sure what you think your point is here. Your the one that done nothing to substantiate his argument. You say there is no reason to sign him, I give several reasons. You say there is no upside, I give you several examples of upside. All you ever say is he’s old and coming off an injury but haven’t refuted any of my points.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

        They have $54 million dollars on the books for next year not counting arb-eligible players which likely won’t add more than $10 million. That accounts for just about every position. $64 million is not a lot. Then there is the $13 million additional money every team gets from the ESPN/MLB TV deal. Yeah, that’s a lot of money to work with.

        • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

          That’s like $30-40 million to fill 1 starting pitching position, and 1-2 bullpen roster spots and maybe 1 bench spot though I’d argue they don’t need it. $2 million for Gonzalez isn’t going to matter.

          • Doug says: September 20, 2012

            Then they should clearly just spend that spare $30 to 40 million on just shortstops. Let’s see how many shortstops they can get on their roster next year. No reason for it – but hey if you already have two able bodies shortstops why not throw a couple of million at an old, hobbled one just because you can.

            I am glad you are not Doug Melvin.

  8. SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

    Yep because I advocated spending it all on SS position. I’m going to guess you were never on the debate team in high school.

    • Doug says: September 20, 2012

      I just don’t get the obsession over Gonzalez. The Brewers overpaid for him this past offseason out of need. The need no longer exists. So goodbye Gonzalez.

      I mean what part of 36 years old, torn ACL and sub .300 OBP is so interesting to you that he needs to be part of the Brewers 2013 plans?

      I just don’t get it.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

        He can still provide value at 36 even if it was just as a back up middle infielder, that value is accentuated at $2 million or less , if he’s healthy there will be a trade partner to be had, at that price point even if he goes down or can’t play well they don’t lose out on much, I think Segura could benefit from time in AAA. It’s low risk for high reward. Even if they only get a single prospect in return it’s a win. I mean, it’s not like I’m saying he should be the starting SS all year. I’m also not advocating that Segura shouldn’t be our SS going forward. I’m just saying there is an opportunity to maximize value here. You’re right, Gonzalez is in the twilight of his career and it’s a risk, but like I said, it’s not a big risk because you’ve got Segura in the wings and you’re not spending much on him. All he has to do is show that he can play at all and they’d be able to get something for him.

        • Doug says: September 20, 2012

          But he isn’t a ‘middleinfielder.’ He is strictly a shortstop.

          And no one is going to give the Brewers a ‘prospect’ for him if they decide to trade him.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 20, 2012

        Also it’s not an obsession. I said I thought it was a good idea, you said it was a bad idea. You presented ideas why, I presented ideas why. It’s called a conversation.

  9. Dan V says: September 20, 2012

    Following this thread has been a true revelation. I disagreed with the original timing of the Segura call up but it seems to be paying off now. I imagine they’ll continue to season him in the majors from here out, much like the plan with Alceidies (sp?) Escobar. He took a while to come around and now really looks the part.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 21, 2012

      Right on, Dan!

  10. Gman says: September 21, 2012

    I still like very much like the Ervin Santana/Anibal Sanchez idea that the boys bring up in each and every Bernie’s Crew podcast. They need established depth while letting the youngsters sink or swim. Only problem is that getting either of them (or even Edwin Jackson) on a 3 year deal seems like a pipe dream.

    I think we’d be in for a whole lot of regression and depression in 2013 relying on the Estrada/Peralta/Rogers/Fiers/Nelson/Burgos bunch to look like anything more than a motley crew of 4/5 starters (though I do think Peralta could be a 2/3 type by 2014). Also, I just don’t see any of those guys anchoring the rotation if Yovani were to get hurt.

    Or, they could just cut out all the guess work and get ZG back. This epic finish to the season undoubtedly increases that chance — ZG now knows this team ‘has it’, front office would look less desperate and more grounded in their pursuit.

    Seeing how the bullpen shakes out for 2013 seems almost a more interesting topic altogether.

    • Gman says: September 21, 2012

      I feel like I need to clarify

      Estrada: “good swingman/5th starter”
      Peralta: serious command issues, though Braunie thinks otherwise
      Rogers: middle name DL
      Fiers: middle name not Maddux
      Nelson/Burgos: not really in the equation until anyone who has a life outside the brewers has actually seen them pitch

      I am a Brewers fan, and I very strongly like the first 4 guys mentioned and dream of them all flourishing over a full season as they have these last couple months, but a truly objective observer could only possibly be confident in at most one of them being able to pan out as a well above average arm over 200 IP for a 2013 playoff contender.

      • Chris says: September 21, 2012

        Your take, Gman, is very close to mine. I share many of your concerns about the young pitchers (and Fiers performance since the disastrous outing in Colorado has done little to make me feel more comfortable).

        Count me among those who feel that SS is not an area that needs off-season focus, that team resources should be directed toward a veteran pitcher and a couple of bullpen arms.

        Yo is, obviously, the anchor of the 2013 rotation. Estrada seems to have earned a slot, but he is really a 4/5 guy. But after that there is serious doubt and many questions, that’s why I think they need a veteran to slot in because that would leave only two spots for the young arms to fill. I think that approach is much safer than counting on three of them to perform at 2012 levels over the course of a full season.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 21, 2012

      Thanks for commenting, Gman.

      I guess I go back and forth; while I would love to have some veteran rotation depth, what happens when Rogers, Peralta, etc., are ready to work? I understand that not all of them can work for the rotation, but on the other hand, it’s clear that Fiers and Estrada have earned their jobs and Peralta, Rogers, and some of the other prospects can round out the rotation.

      In a contrasting idea, I do like the idea of rotation depth to push Thornburg and Rogers (among others) to the bullpen. I believe the excess young arms can also improve the relief situation. Perhaps Rogers and Thornburg would be the best options out there.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 21, 2012

      BTW, another question, more hypothetical: is a 200 IP, well above average arm really an accurate threshold to judge pitchers any longer?

      For instance, in 2011, the NL featured 20 pitchers that worked 200 IP; approximately 10-14 of those guys were notably above average. This year, there are 10 NL pitchers that will almost certainly pitch 200 IP, and a cast of 10-15 others that might get close. Among the top 20 workloads, approximately 9 or so are notably above average.

      Certainly, the Brewers’ youngsters might not be surefire 200 IP seasons in 2013; but, might they be 150-165 IP pitchers? Maybe 180?

  11. Chris K in Sheboygan says: September 21, 2012

    Gonzalez back? Get Real! #1 prospect of the Angels in Segura means SS is secured and probably for a long time. He’s everything you want at shortstop and fits perfectly in the lineup with his skills. Gonzalez was a signing out of desperation.
    In truth you saying 2mil for a guy to spend bench time vs what Segura will make as the starter is retarded. How will that look in contract talks/arbitration when Segura reaches that? Not signing Gonzalez will keep Seguras value reduced. This is SS were discussing not 1/3b! What I’ve seen from Segura is promising from a position that’s more about defensive value over hitting value.

    • Doug says: September 21, 2012

      Amen to that Chris!

  12. Kurt says: September 21, 2012

    I know everyone is talking about the current pitchers: Estrada, Peralta, Rogers, Fiers, etc. Remember though Narveson should be ready to go by spring training to throw another name into the mix.

    As for Gonzalez… I would rather have a Taylor Green, Bianchi, or another player that can play multiple positions as a backup. Otherwise their play time will be very sporadic.

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