Tuesday, May 25, 2010

RE-CAP

The Brewers must activate Chris Capuano by Saturday or risk loosing him to free agency. #nobrainer

This isn't some kid developing his skills.  Capuano is an established Major League pitcher who got hurt.  By all indications, he's well.  Get him in there.  They have never faced an easier, zero risk decision than this.  He can replace anyone other than Gallardo on the pitching staff and he team is better for it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

DID JACK ZDURIENCIK CHECK OUT BEFORE HE LEFT?

The Milwaukee Brewers are falling further and further out of contention and heading toward the possibility of a 90-loss season.  This kind of ineptitude is no stranger to Brewers fans who endured four consecutive 90-loss seasons from 2001 to 2004 and 89, 87, and 88-loss seasons the three years before that.

What's troubling about this 90-loss season, if in fact the Brewers are that bad, is the wonder of exactly where this organization stands now.  In the early 2000's, the team was horrible, but had the promise of a huge crop of minor league stars waiting in the wings.  What helped us through then was knowing than Prince Fielder would soon be here.  Ryan Braun would soon be here.  J.J. Hardy.  Yovani Gallardo. Rickey Weeks. Manny Parra. Tony Gwynn.  These would be the saviors who would would deliver us from this misery and make the team good again.

Suppose that the Brewers do lose 90 games this year.  Where is the hope now?  Who is the next Prince Fielder?  Who is the next Ryan Braun?  Who is the next, hell, Mitch Stetter?  They're not in Nashville.  Not in Huntsville. Brevard County?  Anywhere?  The Brewers minor league system that was the pride of baseball not 5 years ago has fallen back to the pack and has no more than an average amount of Major League prospective talent.  Are the Brewers on the cusp of another decade of doormat status?

Jack Zduriencik was of course the architect of Brewers once potent minor league system which won him the Major League Executive of the Year Award in 2007 for his efforts and ultimately landed him a coveted GM position in Seattle.  Are we already seeing the effects of him being gone?  Or did those "effects" begin while he was still here?

Only three players who  Zduriencik drafted in the years 2006-2008, his last three with the team, have played in the Major Leagues.  They are:

  1. Matt LaPorta, drafted in 2007 - debuted with Cleveland in 2009.
  2. Cole GIllespie, drafted in 2006 - debuted with Arizona in 2010.
  3. Jonathan Lucroy, drafted in 2007 - debuted with the Brewers yesterday.
Of course your thinking that's unfair because it takes some time for players to develop in the minors and evaluating the 2006-2008 drafts in 2010 might be too soon.  Perhaps.  But let's move the whole window back three years for comparison.  How many of the players that Zduriencik drafted in 2003-2005 had appeared in the Majors by 2007?
  1. Ryan Braun, drafted in 2005 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
  2. Yovani Gallardo, drafted in 2004 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
  3. Rickey Weeks, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2003; regular in 2005.
  4. Tony Gwynn, Jr., drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2006.
  5. Mitch Stetter, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
  6. Ty Taubenheim, drafted in 2003 - debuted with Toronto in 2006.
  7. Drew Anderson, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2006.
By any means of measurement, that's a much more impressive list.

If you moved the window back one more year, the list would include Prince Fielder.  One year earlier than that, it would include J.J. Hardy.  The fact is that Jack Zduriencik had a very impressive run of draft picks, but that run seemed to end just about the time people started to notice.

Am I saying that Jack Zduriencik purposefully drafted lesser quality players here because he knew that he would soon be getting a better job somewhere else?  No - I wouldn't say that.  Did the notoriety bestowed upon him make him lose his edge?  You'd like to think not.  Did he just have a run of bad luck in the last three years?  Might have.  Did he just have a run of good luck in the years before that?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions.  But I do know that I'm wondering that if Jack Zduriencik was so good, why did he leave us with what could be such a horrible mess?  Did he check out before he left?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

HOW BAD?

The Brewers play game number 40 on the season tonight. They will finish the first quarter of the season with a record of either 15-25 or 16-24.  There have been five other times in their history when they finished the first quarter with a record that bad or worse:


First 40 G Final

W L W L
2002 12 28 56 106
1970 13 27 65 97
2003 13 27 68 94
1972 15 25 65 91
2000 16 24 73 89

You need to seriously consider the possibility - perhaps likelihood - that this isn't going to turn around and that this is just a really, really bad team.

Friday, May 14, 2010

AZ-STAR GAME

Selig ignoring call to move All-Star Game
This is why Bud Selig is Commissioner of baseball and Ozzie Guillen is not. Good call, Bud.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WORKING LIKE A BULL

Al rambled about whether the Brewers' bullpen is being overworked.  His perceptions are (as usual) mainly on the mark.

Through yesterday's games the Brewers starting pitchers are averaging 5.4 innings per outing.  This ranks 25th in the Majors.  By comparison, the Cardinals lead the Majors with 6.5 innings per start.  That extra inning+ per game means keeping an extra guy fresh for tomorrow and over time that adds up.

Last year the Brewers also averaged 5.4 innings per start (5.37 to be precise) so nothing much has changed.

Interestingly though, of the five teams that rank below the Brewers:

Mets - 5.3 IP/start
Nationals - 5.3
Dodgers - 5.2
Tigers - 5.2
Pirates - 4.9

three having winning records, and as a group they are 4 games over .500.

However, the top of the chart is:

Cardinals - 6.5 IP/start
Rays - 6.4
Phillies - 6.3
Giants - 6.2
Twins - 6.2

so there is clearly a correlation between this stat and wins.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

THE FINAL SCORE

Per Adam McCalvy on Twitter:

"Brewers official scorer (and) longtime Arrowhead baseball coach Tim O'Driscoll announces retirement (health reasons)."
I wish Tim O'Driscoll all of the best as he tackles his health issues.  All the same, I think this bodes well for the fielding percentage of Brewers' fielders.

UPDATE:  Apparently it's still unclear as to whether O'Driscoll will relinquish his position with the Brewers.  He is giving up his coaching position with Arrowhead though.

REHEAT THE SOUP?

I think maybe the Brewers should consider giving Doug Davis' next start to - dare I say? - Jeff Suppan.  Here are Soup's five relief appearances:


9 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Not stellar, but I'd take that as a start over anything Doug Davis has done so far.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

SWEET SEVENTEEN

The Brewers have scored 17 runs or more in a game for the third time this season.  It's the first time in their history that they have done that.  Four other times they hit the 17+ runs mark twice - 1980, 1990, 1996 and 1999.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

RAZE THE ROOF

For all of the whining about the Minnesota Twins building and open-air stadium, they haven't had so much as a rain delay in their 11 home games so far.  The coldest game-time temperature was 52 degree for a sunny afternoon game.

I think that a roof on a stadium is something that you overvalue if you have and is sour grapes if you don't.  Plenty of colder climate teams have been able to draw fans.  Cleveland sold out their stadium for something like three straight years after it opened - the same team that had to play a series in Milwaukee because of the snow a few years ago.  I have never liked the confined feeling I get at Miller Park and my preference would be to not have a roof.  But I don't have to drive three hours to get there either, so I understand the appeal for the people who do.

I'm not advocating tearing the roof off of Miller Park.  The headline was too catchy to pass on.  But I'm just sayin'; if I had to do it over again I'd do what the Twins did.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

THE HEAT IS ON

CBSSports.ocom MLB Power Rankings, re: Ken Macha

"He's a goner before too long."
They make a very legitimate point about Macha's use of Craig Counsell at shortstop (who has started three of the last six games) rather than Escobar.
"Management didn't deal away J.J. Hardy so that Macha could give his at-bats to a utility scrub"
Maybe I need to change the vigil.

 
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