I decided that this would be a good year for me to venture into the world of fantasy baseball. That quickly subsided when I saw just how much effort it takes to not only draft what will hopefully become a successful team, but manage it throughout a 24 week season. Luckily for people like me, there is what I like to refer to as a “lazy option.”
I thought it would be best if my first time was as simple as possible, so I opted to let the system do most of the work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I spent an inordinate amount of time pre-ranking just about every player in the Majors to give myself the best chance at having a semi-good team, but that’s about as far as my involvement went. I guess in the end, my chances of winning the $10,000 are pretty slim, but considering I started this whole thing basically on a whim, I don’t really care.
Well, today was my auto-draft and when I checked my email earlier and saw my roster, I figured there were people in my league that cared even less. I mean, how else do you explain Prince Fielder and Matt Holliday winding up on the Brewgirl’s Bombers (corny, I know) when I was in the 8th slot? I was also pretty happy to see that I got both the Brewers and Twins pitching staffs, not to mention a slew of Hotties, past and present, in Garrett Jones, Casey Blake and ,yes, even JJ Hardy.
Quite honestly, I think I might be able to hold my own in this thing if I just let it play out. I have my team set to send out the top ranked players for each game automatically, though if I see things are starting to look rough, I might actually have to step in. Although, I’m not even really sure how to go about things like trades and waivers. I may just have to let the thing play itself.
So anyway, I’d like to introduce you all to the Bombers and I’m open to any criticism or advice you may have. Already I’m a little concerned not having a backup catcher so that might have to be something to address.
1. Prince Fielder – 1B, MIL
2. Matt Holliday – OF, STL
3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B, WSH
4. Jason Bartlett – SS, TB
5. Carlos Lee – OF, HOU
6. Miguel Tejada – SS, BAL
7. Michael Cuddyer – 1B, MIN
8. Kurt Suzuki – C, OAK
9. Alberto Callaspo – 2B, KC
10. Milwaukee Brewers – P, MIL
11. Casey Blake – 3B, LAD
12. JJ Hardy – SS, MIN
13. Garrett Jones – OF, PIT
14. Minnesota Twins – P, MIN
15. Carlos Delgado – 1B, –
16. JD Drew – OF, BOS
The offseason is starting to finally produce some newsworthy content and I’m happy to report (even though I’m a little behind) that the Brewers organization is actually doing some useful things this winter.
So I was grocery shopping with my mom today and we walked past a rack of calendars. It made me think of how, even though it’s December 4th, I had just turned my calendar page yesterday. And who do I see? JJ Hardy. Understandably, JJ wasn’t entirely terrible in 2008 and, yes, was still part of the team so why not put him in the 2009 calendar? Well, the month before had featured Bill Hall. As we all know by now, Hall is now a Mariner.
So I had to walk over to the rack and find a 2010 Milwaukee Brewers calendar and wouldn’t you know it, both Hardy and Hall are featured again!
Of course, baseball is a fickle business and unless you’re locked down to a solid, long-term contract, you’re future could be a pretty big question mark. But Hall was traded in August. Does it really take that long to put a calendar together? I mean, at least wait until late September to submit the pages. There are 25 guys on the team. You only have to pick 12. Bill Hall? Really?
Anyway, we both found it humorous that the 2 biggest slumping players of last season (Brad Nelson notwithstanding) were chosen way back when to be calendar boys for 2010.
But the Brewers seemed to have gotten themselves a catcher for next season, and at a more than 50% discount, too. Gregg Zaun, who split time within the Orioles and Rays organizations last year, signed on for 1 year at $2.15 million, with a club option for 2011. The 38-year-old Zaun will have to earn his keep, as Mike Rivera, Angel Salome and George Kottaras are all on the 40-man roster as well. The Brewers were looking to shed payroll of some of their higher-paid guys to open up their options and hopefully acquite some starting pitching for next year. They certainly did so by not making Jason Kendall an offer, who made $5 million in 2009.
Also, Doug Melvin spoke with Craig Counsell’s agent earlier in the week to discuss the possibility of keeping Counsell on for the 2010 season. As I’ve said before, I’m all for keeping Craigy on the team. Left-handed bats are always useful, and as a bench player, he’s certainly versatile. He had an amazing season last year on a bum knee, so hopefully his post-surgery knee will be even better. Plus, I always like hearing Jimi Hendrix when Counsell comes up to bat…
In other news, I just want to say how happy I am to have made the mlblogs leaderboard for the month of November. I love having this outlet to voice my thoughts and OPINIONS, even if I do create a little controversy every now and then. So perhaps thanks are in order to Zack Hample for getting me there? Yes, thanks, Zack, for not being able to handle one person, alllllll the way in Milwaukee, not liking your childish hobby and sending all your loyal minions to flock to my blog. I appreciate it!
I’m not dwelling on JJ Hardy’s departure. Sure, the Brewers lost a true hottie, a Top 10 Hottie no less, but here’s to hoping they gain much more. Much more by way of speedy, young center fielder Carlos Gomez.
It’s been awhile. I know. Bear with me.
I’ve decided to forego talking about the World Series because I’ve been reading The Yankee Years and my disdain for that team is doing nothing but growing. Needless to say, I was disappointed in the outcome.
I’ve also decided to save my thoughts on the JJ Hardy-Carlos Gomez trade for another entry, as I’m getting kind of sick of people asking me about it and have far too much to say. Let’s leave it at this for now: excellent move for the Brewers. Mike Cameron, I’ll miss you.
Instead of all that, I’ve decided to let you all in on my votes for the This Year in Baseball Awards. I’ve literally been on that website for at least the last hour mulling over the choices. And instead of just voting for all the Brewers nominees and whomever else I liked the most throughtout the season, as I have in the past, I think I’ve actually made some very well thought out decisions this year.
My team did have 2 nominees this year in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Looking at everyone’s numbers, Braun probably could’ve been bumped off the list, but needless to say, I was happy to see his name.
Naturally, I voted for Fielder. True, his average was kept just shy of .300, but he had held it quite near that mark the majority of the season. Ending at .299 was probably a bit of a disappointment, but his other numbers made up for it. Fielder led the league for RBIs, tied at 141 with Ryan Howard, went 2nd to Albert Pujols with 46 HRs, led in OPS with 1.014 and capped out with 103 runs.
If it weren’t for Prince, I was leaning towards Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and his league-leading .365 AVG and 28 HRs or the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez’s .342 AVG coupled with 106 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
Of course, with the Brewers’ abysmal starting rotation, there were none of my own boys to choose from, so I went with Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals. I’m sure he’ll walk away with this honor given his 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA, which led all other pitchers in the category. Not to mention he struck out 242 batters.
I picked Greinke over St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, whom I do think is a strong contender for Cy Young this year with his 19-8 record (the Brewers spoiled his 20th win. Ha!) and 212 Ks. I also was considering Detroit’s Justin Verlander because of his 19-win season and 269 Ks, leading in that category.
Rookie of the Year
Picking a single winner is going to be tough. As far as batting goes, it’s a tough call. But so is pitching.
You must know that I voted for Casey McGehee, not only because of his strong offensive numbers, but because I was able to watch him on the field all season, too. Sure he led the rooks in RBIs with 66 and was 2nd in just about every other major batting category (.301 AVG, .859 OPS, 58 R and 16 HRs), but he battled his way to an everyday spot starting for the Brewers at third base and did a pretty damn good job at it, too.
If it weren’t for Casey’s name on the list, I more than likely would’ve voted for Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins. Coghlan led with a .321 AVG and 84 R, while knocking in 47 runs, stealing 8 bases and hitting 9 out of ballparks across the country.
As far as pitching, I just find it really hard to compare to everyday players at any other position. Tommy Hanson of the Braves went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA, struck out 116 batters and had a WHIP of 1.18. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey went 26/30 in save opportunities while striking out 91 batters, keeping his ERA well under 2.0 and had a mere .88 WHIP. (But I still finding batting stats way more impressive. Sorry.)
Although the winner will most likely be the Yankees’ Joe Girardi, who led his team to the best record in the MLB at 103-59, my vote goes to Jim Tracy. Tracy took over the sagging Colorado Rockies partway through the season and led them to a NL Wildcard victory with a 92-70 record.
Milwaukee’s own Trevor Hoffman was 37/41 with a 1.83 ERA, 48 Ks and a WHIP of .91. Not the greatest, but he gets my vote because, well, he’s Trevor Hoffman. Jonathan Broxton of the LA Dodgers had a crazy-high 114 Ks and the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera did only blow 2 saves. He also had the lowest ERA with 1.76. But, as I’ve previously stated, I don’t like the Yankees. Therefore, I vote for NO YANKEES!
Who to choose? The Giants’ Jeremy Affeldt had the lowest ERA (1.73) and tied Matt Guerrier of the Minnesota Twins with 33 holds. Oakland’s Michael Wuertz led in strikeouts with 102 and with .95, had the lowest WHIP.
Even though there was a Brewer on this list, I just can’t vote for Todd Coffey with guys like Wuertz and Affeldt sharing the nomination. My vote foes to Jeremy Affeldt.
I can’t quite get a grip on what’s better: putouts or assists? Fielding percentage is one thing, but what should I be more impressed with–the number of outs you make, or the number of outs you help make? My vote is for the Angels’ Torii Hunter. He only made 1 error, giving him a fielding percentage of .997, while also having 286 putouts. Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies was also pretty impressive with .986 fielding percetage and 433 assists. But I based my decision solely on fielding percentage and went with Hunter.
Yovani Gallardo offered a stellar game vs. Pittsburgh in late April, taking the win entirely into his own hands. Gallardo went 8 innings, struck out 11 with no ERs and smacked a solo homerun, accounting for the only run the Brewers would need to secure a victory. But I didn’t vote for Yo.
White Sox starter Mark Buhrle gets a lot of praise for his perfect game against the Rays, but with only 6 strikeouts, I think a lot of the credit should really go to his teammates. So I didn’t vote for him, either.
Troy Tulowitzki impressed me the most hitting for the cycle, going 5-5 with 7 RBIs and scoring 2 runs. Why was this feat more impressive than the rest? Welllllllll, it was against the Cubs!
I watched evey play, waiting for the best reaction. I needed to be impressed. Making a leaping catch at the wall to rob someone of a homerun? Big deal.
The winner? The flip from Angels’ Maicer Izturis to Erick Aybar. Izturis flipped the ball from his glove directly to the waiting bare hand of the human projectile that was Aybar in time to throw Kurt Suzuki out at first. I watched that clip twice just to be sure I was actually impressed. I was.
Hands down, the Angels’ tribute to fallen pitcher Nick Adenhart after winning the AL West. No other moment put a bigger smile on my face.
This is the one that I vote on purely because of what makes me laugh the hardest.
I still get a kick out of Milton Bradley’s stupidity, but the absolute take-down of Racing President Teddy Roosevelt had tears in my eyes. That Peirogi was brutal!
Tag-teaming with my vote for Jim Tracy, I picked Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd for being the man with the plan. Who knows where Colorado would’ve finished in ’09 if O’Dowd hadn’t had a hand in firing Clint Hurdle, but kudos for making the move. It certainly paid off.
With numbers all over the place, it was hard to decide on this one. I went with Jayson Werth of the Phillies. His .268 AVG, 36 HRs and 99 RBIs helped get his team to the post season yet again. But with names like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, then adding Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, a name like Werth gets lost in the mix. (Although, after this post season, it probably won’t be lost for long.) Ben Zobrist of Tampa Bay was a very, very, very close second.
Post Season Moment
After Dexter Fowler leapfrogged Chase Utley in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the NLDS between the Rockies and Phillies, Colorado stirred up an eventual 4-2 lead going into the 9th. But, Ryan Howard smacked a 2-run double off of Rockies closer Huston Street to tie the game, giving the Phils enough momentum to eventually take the series. Since I’m a bit of a sucker for the Phillies (only after the Brewers, of course!), I chose that moment of Game 4 over Fowler’s gymnastics.
So there you have it. My picks. It’ll be interesting to see how many of my choices are actually winners. I’m guessing probably not many, but that’s alright. I have my reasons for voting the way I do and I’m quite impressed with myself for not just outright voting for the Brewers and Phillies like I’ve done in years past.
So that’s all I have in me after not posting for I don’t even know how long. But I promise I’ll keep it up a bit more, especially with all the free angents that will be floating around soon. And with the Brewers mounting need to pick up some key players. There will be much to write about soon enough.
The season may be over here in Milwaukee, but Miller Park has seen it’s second consecutive year of 3 million plus fans. For me, the home season started with a win and ended with a bang, all in all bringing my record this year to 12-10. (Clearly, the Boys prefer my presence more often than not.)
Some of the best moments from Miller Park this season? Well, why don’t we take a look back…
April 10 vs. Chicago Cubs
Opening Day was finally upon us. Ryan Braun belted a 2-run homer to take a 3-2 lead. Reminiscent of the final, Wildcard clinching game to end last year, no? It would be the only game of the series that the Brewers would win, but the weekend was pretty damn fun. I’m already looking forward to Opening Day 2010.
April 27 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
As if free Club Level seats weren’t enough, the Brewers were in the midst of that crazy winning streak against the Pirates. Not only was this game a come from behind win, but it was a one-inning undoing of Matt Capps for the Crew to secure a 5-run lead. It was also Trevor Hoffman’s first appearance at home and even though it wasn’t a save situation, it was the first of many times I’d hear Hell’s Bells. Amazing.
May 8 vs. Chicago Cubs
It was Danny Gokey day in Milwaukee and I was just as pumped to see him sing the National Anthem as I was to attend the 4th of many matchups against the Cubs. The Brewers won, Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder and it was way back when when JJ Hardy still contributed to the team. His homerun put the Brewers on top and then Hell’s Bells came out and saved it.
June 24 vs. Minnesota Twins
This was probably the hottest night ever at Miller Park, but I stuck it out, even though the Brewers were down late in the game. I honestly don’t remember the details, but what I do remember is missing an entire play that put Jason Kendall at 3rd base, and then a throwing error scored him to tie it up? Honestly, that may not even have been the case. Either way, Milwaukee came out on top and it was a pretty exciting game. Just really hot.
July 25 vs. Atlanta Braves
The Hottie worlds collided that night at Miller Park. Ryan Braun and Ryan Church faced off and although neither did anything particularly spectacular, both were equally hot and I was in heaven. And the Brewers won 4-0.
August 30 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
The winning streak was broken up already and the week prior, the Pirates swept the Brewers. But the Brewers returned the favor this weekend at Miller Park. Jeff Suppan had just come off the DL and was making his second start, just in time to finish out the sweep on his own bobblehead day. It also helped that it was a Leff’s sponsored tailgate party and so the game would’ve been a blast anyway.
September 23 vs. Chicago Cubs
Already having dropped the first 2 games of the series, and on the verge of being knocked out of playoff contention, Milwaukee managed to pull off a win in the final showdown with the Cubs. It was the last time Mol, Nik and I would all be together at Miller Park and also was the last time we’d hear Hell’s Bells played. (Tear.)
September 26 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
There are many reasons this final game is so memorable. Let me start from the beginning. Nik and I were enjoying some drinks in the parking lot when we see 4 golf carts go by with what appears to be a large amount of Brewers. Indeed, it was nearly the entire bullpen! As part of Fan Appreciation weekend, they were driving around giving out tshirts and other things to the tailgaters. We missed out on the giveaways, so we headed in to Miller Park for the final time this season.
Since we were sitting in the seats from my 9-pack, I didn’t even need to look for the location. We got to our section and a guy was sitting in my seat. I politely asked him to move, he asked was I sure he was in my seat, I said yes and he moved. We watched nearly the entire game from these seats. About 7 innings later, my dad texted me, pointing out we were 1 section over. Oops. But, as Nik, Mol and I always say, if you’re cute and act like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with pretty much everything. This guy just got up, like he was wrong. We all had a good laugh about it.
Also, it’s the last time that I’ll eat Cactus League nachos this year. That in itself is so sad, as I will be craving them again until next April.
Basically since we left the house, Nik and I had been talking about how Ryan Braun needed to hit a big homerun that night, as it had been over 2 weeks since his last one and since it was our last homegame, we really wanted to see it. After the Crew tied the game at 5 apiece and Trevor Hoffman held the Phils scoreless in the top of the 9th, I kid you not, this is the exact text conversation I had with my friend Mark G.
Mark: Let’s go T. Hoff!
Michelle: Hells yeah. Need my last game to be a win!
Michelle: Counsell singles. RB walkoff for the win. Calling it now.
Mark: That’ll work!
Mark: One down.
Michelle: My plan is working!
(RB walkoff homerun.)
Michelle: Called it. My texts are proof!
Mark: U did indeed! That was fun!
And it sure as hell was fun. Excellent last game, if I do say so myself.
I’m so greatful that I had such a blast at Miller Park this season. The Brewers may not have done as well as we fans would’ve liked, but you know, that’s just how the game goes. Baseball is full of ups and downs and, unfortunately for Milwaukee, there were just more downs this season. I still have a great time watching my Boys, no matter what. What can I say? I’m a lifer!
And to prove my loyalty, I’m closing out the regular season at Busch Stadium where the Brewers will take on the NL Central Champion Cardinals. We were all hoping these games would mean something when we planned the trip, but I’m just happy to get to see all the Boys one last time before next season.
This week is a busy one for me, so this will probably be my only post until I get back from St. Louis. But there will be lots to talk about, I’m sure.
Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I was waiting for something really super-awesomely spectacular to happen before I wrote anything else, but since the Brewers have failed to do anything super, awesome or spectacular for quite some time, I suppose I have to comment on today’s actions within the ballclub.
First, dismissing pitching coach Bill Castro isn’t going to change the fact that the rotation is struggling and the bullpen can’t seem to salvage the myriad of situations they’ve been put into. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush are out– let’s not forget that’s still a factor. Carlos Villanueva is par, at best, as a starter, Braden Looper can’t seem to work 2 quality starts in a row and Yovani Gallardo pitches well, but the offense rarely supports him. Since coming back from his latest stint in the minors, Manny Parra has been the only pitcher to garner both quality starts and wins. The marred rotation, coupled with the wishy-washy bullpen (including the recent acquisitions of Jesus Colome and 2 former Brewers, David Weathers and Claudio Vargas) are never going to be enough to consistently win games.
Castro’s replacement, Chris Boscio, has big league experience both as a pitcher (with Milwaukee and Seattle) and as a coach (with the Tampa Bay Rays). The Triple-A Nashville Sounds, whom Boscio is leaving behind for this interim position, have a team ERA of 4.05, which is good enough for 2nd in the league. Hopefully whatever he’s doing with the Sounds will translate to the Brewers and he can help whip the pitching staff into shape.
The second move Doug Melvin and Co. made today was to send shortstop JJ Hardy to Triple-A for the first time in over 2 seasons. Alcides Escobar has yo-yo’d between Nashville and Milwaukee over the past season and a half as has gotten the call as Hardy’s replacement. Escobar is batting .298 in the minors while Hardy has been struggling to make it out of the .220 range all season. The plan for JJ is similar to the one Manny Parra had– regroup, start producing and get his head on straight. Hopefully, it’ll work to his advantage the way it worked for Manny.
Lastly, Bill Hall, the oft-slumping infielder turned outfielder turned infielder turned outfielder, was designated for assignment. Hall was sent to Nashville just a few weeks ago but was quickly recalled after Corey Hart had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Nevermind that he hit a 2-run homer last night, Hall has been platooned for the past 2 seasons and has been unable to match or exceed career-high numbers in the past 3 seasons. Hall’s replacement is a virtually unknown Jason Bourgeois, who missed most of the year so far due to a thumb injury. The Brewers now have 10 days to decide Bill Hall’s future with the team.
So what do I think about all this? I think the shake-ups are good. I think the majority of the players on this team will look at what was decided today and will realize their fates may not be secure if the team can’t turn it around. However, I don’t think this is going to be enough to pull out of the middle of the NL Central.
The Brewers are in desperate need of consistent, quality starts, something the rotation has been lacking in all season. The addition of 3 pitchers to the bullpen is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound. Milwaukee’s starting rotation is suffering and will continue to suffer if a new arm isn’t added soon. And the bullpen is exhausted because they’re constantly expected to clean up the mess. A number of pitchers have recently cleared waivers that are worth taking a long, hard look at, despite what it may cost to finish out the season with them. Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang of the Reds are options. So is John Smoltz, despite a poor showing in 8 starts with the Red Sox. All I’m saying, is anyone is better than what the Brewers have going on right now. The rotation has been in constant flux since April and I think consistency will be key, if the organization decides to add an arm and once everyone is healthy and back with the club.
One can only hope these moves are just minor stepping stones to something bigger. But until then, the Brewers need to figure out how to turn themselves around and start winning again. I will not be looking forward to St. Louis in October if those last 3 games mean nothing.
Tonight, the Crew looks for some sweet redemption from last night’s embarassing showing against the Padres. Carlos Villanueva (2-9, 6.05 ERA) is on the mound against Kevin Correia (7-9, 4.51 ERA).