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Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?

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Offline    Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#1

Posted: January 28, 2020, 8:40 AM Post
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It seems that every thread over the past couple weeks is devolving into this question. This offseason certainly hasn't gone the way I thought and hoped it would, but there is still plenty of reason for hope. Still, that isn't stopping people from predicting a big downturn for the team this season.

So let's lay it out there. Why will this team be a contender? Why won't it be? Have they done enough? Do the projection systems that seem to indicate that they should be a solid team hold water?

Note: I'm not interested in seeing people being accused of "drinking the kool-aid" (which is extremely condescending, by the way) if they are optimistic, nor am I interested in seeing people called a Debbie Downer if they aren't (also condescending). I just want people to lay out their reasons why or why not they believe this team will be good in 2020. Because I truly don't know. I see reason for optimism, but there's a lot of rebound hopes too. I think this is a team that could realistically win 95 .... or 75.


Last edited by Ron Robinson's Beard on January 28, 2020, 9:25 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#2

Posted: January 28, 2020, 9:18 AM Post
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Someone just posted the ZIPS projections thus far for the NL Central in another thread (Chi and Pitt have yet to go up) but I can't imagine Chicago's dormant winter did them any good and Pitt is Pitt so (pending the addition of Nick C changes) the Brewers are projected to win the most games in the Central .. so Kool-Aid or not, Fangraphs likes us too.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#3

Posted: January 28, 2020, 9:40 AM Post
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They upgraded the overall talent level of the roster. I'd anticipate that 7 out of the 8 position players will have an OPS+ of around 100 or better. Not giving 1400 at bats to hitters with an OPS+ of less than 90 should translate into a better offense.

Their starting pitching wasn't very good last year, but a healthy Woodruff, Houser with significant major league experience, Lauer was a former first round pick with upside.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#4

Posted: January 28, 2020, 9:59 AM Post
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Yes. I think they’ve done enough to be a playoff contender. They have also “saved some bullets” in terms of payroll flexibility in order to make significant moves at the deadline.

Do I think the Brewers have done enough to be considered a World Series front runner? No. I’ve come to terms that they may never do that, unless they start to draft & develop multiple Cy Young candidates and/or MLB adopts a hard salary cap ala the NFL.

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#5

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:07 AM Post
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Location: Madison, WI
Contender in what way?

Contender in that they are able to stay within 3 or 4 games of a wildcard spot throughout the season? Yes, I think their lineup is good enough to achieve that.

Contender in that they will make the playoffs and will be considered one of the five or six best teams once they get there? No, I don't think the pitching (handicapped by poor infield defense plus Narvaez) will be good enough.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#6

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:15 AM Post
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JosephC said:
Contender in what way?

Contender in that they are able to stay within 3 or 4 games of a wildcard spot throughout the season? Yes, I think their lineup is good enough to achieve that.

Contender in that they will make the playoffs and will be considered one of the five or six best teams once they get there? No, I don't think the pitching (handicapped by poor infield defense plus Narvaez) will be good enough.


Personally, my only goal is to make the postseason. I've always believed that all bets are off once that starts. A National League Wild Card team won it all in 2019, and the Brewers were a bad Hader pitch away from knocking them out of it. I don't know if the Brewers (who were still the hottest team in baseball) would have had the firepower to knock off the Dodgers and Cardinals, but I would have loved to see them try.

But this is where I am as well. I think the lineup will be good. The pitching is the big question mark. Can Houser establish himself as a legit middle-of-the-rotation starter? Can Lauer live up to his potential as a 1st round pick? Can Lindblom do a Miles Mikolas impression in his return stateside? Can Anderson provide a steadying influence and avoid the IL? Can Burnes and Peralta rebound into solid homegrown starters? Lots of questions, and that is just the rotation.

Formerly Joey Meyer Bombs


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#7

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:22 AM Post
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For starters, the Brewers got a bit lucky in the wins and losses column last year considering their level of play. So we definitely should be better than we were last year if we want to contend.

That said, the position players are probably overall a push...with some upside if we improve at SS. I think we'll improve at CF, LF, 2b, SS, and 1b. We'll get slightly worse at 3b and a bit more worse at C. RF(or if he moves to LF) hopefully will be about the same, but for 162 games.

Bullpen I think will be fine if Hader is at least 90% as good as he was last year. There's obviously some concern about the workload last year, and the whole one trick pony thing. Beyond that, I think we look a lot better on paper. Knebel back will be huge. Suter for a full season. And for the rest we can go with a quantity approach and it should work out. There are alot of high potential guys competing for bullpen slots.

Rotation I have much more comfort than most. Beyond Woodruff, it's full of guys with some upside left...but primarily high floor guys. It would be a bit surprising if we had multiple of the current projected rotation with over a 5 ERA. It's nothing special, but they should eat innings and keep us in games. What can make the rotation very good, is if any of Burnes/Peralta/Suter force their way into the rotation. I'm primarily looking at the top 2 here. Both were pretty bad in the rotation in 2019, but both have pretty incredible arms and are very good bounce back candidates. I would be a bit surprised if at least one didn't force their way into the rotation to open the season.


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#8

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:28 AM Post
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I don't think the Brewers get lucky as much as the way they build a team and manage the pitching distorts the run differential. They had a similarly disproportionate differential in 2018 where they "should have" won five fewer games. If they don't have it on a given night they throw in the towel rather than waste arms and lose to the Marlins 18-4. Then they'll burn through six guys to save a one-run game, knowing they really have to steal those ones to be competitive.

I don't think you can go 60-38 in one-run games spanning two years by getting lucky.

Similarly, to me, what's going to make or break this team is the thing people seem to be freaking out about the least. It's the bullpen. Is it going to be closer to 2018 or 2019. Because I'm not really concerned about the lineup, which I think is better overall, or the SP, which was not that good last year and they made it work despite several flameouts.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#9

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:30 AM Post
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Considering the only two teams that have improved their rosters on paper in the division from last season are the Reds and Brewers, yes absolutely. From a projections standpoint, the 2020 Brewers' roster is better than the one which won 89 games despite their best starter missing a few months of the season and their best player shattering his kneecap in early September.

I agree that getting Knebel back to serve as frequent closer and allowing Hader to return to his inning 7-8 relief ace role would be huge in improving the bullpen. The rotation has question marks, but last year's rotation was largely a train wreck for a good chunk of the season and the Brewers found a way to piece it together and earn a wild card berth. Their lineup looks better on paper despite losing Grandal and Moose.

If contender means having a 100-win roster on paper, then no...but then again 100 regular season wins doesn't guarantee you anything in the playoffs.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#10

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:32 AM Post
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Every year I feel like the press and fans get dazzled by the biggest signings and the flashiest trades. Check if you like, the 'winners' of last offseason:

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb- ... ort-cards/

Phillies A+, 81 wins.
Atlanta C+, 97 wins.

Angels B, 72 wins.
Oakland C, 97 wins.

Padres B+, 70 wins.
Dodgers C, 106 wins.

In fairness, the Twins and Cardinals were graded A and both did improve to win divisions, though you might argue how much their high profile offseason moves played a role in that. The Rays got a C and made the wild card. The ten playoff teams had 2 As, 4 Bs, 4 Cs.

In case you think it's a fluke, check out the Angels and their winning 2017-18 offseason...etc. Or this bleacher report listing Donaldson and Lynn among the 'worst moves' last offseason:

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/281 ... ason-moves

It's not the offseason I expected, but there's a lot of solid signings, depth and flexibility, and I'm cautiously optimistic. I love the Narvaez and Urias trades, Urias more than Narvaez. I'm happy that there should be payroll space for an addition if needed. I'd still like to see another pitcher or two for depth, though.


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Online  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#11

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:32 AM Post
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The bullpen is largely the reason for the small run differential in my opinion. It allows us to win so many close games because we have the upper hand in late game pitching. I don't think it is all that fluky we are outperforming the differential.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#12

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:38 AM Post
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Assuming the Urias injury is minor and he can be considered a major part of the team this year, Yes I consider them to be a 2020 contender however with a decent amount of risk. As mentioned above, they key to the offseason seems to have been to improve the worst parts of the 26 (or 40) man roster so as to not have any really poor performers drag us down. We have done that with a lot of bounce back / upside / growth type players rather then the proven, sure bet choices. Because of that risk path, I'd like to see a few more minor league contract depth signings to have more depth in case of poor performance. If we can do the following, I would consider us a strong / stronger contender this year.

-Current SP depth for April/May/June is Corbin Burnes & Shelby Miller. Since I expect Burnes to need a month or two to show his he is back, we really only have one starter in reserve not targeted for the bullpen (Suter, Peralta). Another minor league signing would cover my concerns.

-Current RP lineup for April is Hader/Suter/Peralta/Claudio/Black/D. Guerra and two of the following. If we can make it one of the following, our depth would be solid. Feyerson/Wahl/Williams/Williams/Perdomo/Yardley.

-Current IF lineup for April is some combo of Gyorko/Sogard/Urias/Arcia/Hiura/Smoak/Braun with Healey & Morrison in AAA for support. I'm comfortable here with this level of depth and ability to maximizes good AB while minimizing bad ones.

-Current OF lineup for April is some combo of Yelich/Cain/Garcia/Braun/Gamel with Taylor/Ray/Broxton in AAA for support. Also good here.

-Current C is Navarez/Pina with Freitas/Nottingham in AAA. Also good here.

So really, get a AAA SP depth (probably with a June Opt-Out) and a solid RP who can be the 3rd/4th type option and I would say we are a strong contender for the playoffs this year with sufficient depth & options to cover all the "risk" we took on.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#13

Posted: January 28, 2020, 10:59 AM Post
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I think the NL Central is wide open. Cubs, Brewers, Reds and Cards are all viable contenders. I think Milwaukee has more 'wild cards' than the other teams - meaning more uncertain players (things like can Cain rebound, can Urias be a quality starting SS, can Burnes or Peralta emerge as a viable starter, etc., etc.). We just have a lot of situations like this on the team. I think more than other clubs.

Every team has their question marks. I think the Cards and the Cubs are your clubs that are more predictable - but that's just on paper. You never know.

Depth is often a key issue when involved in a melee like this. You have the inevitable casualties of attrition, and having guys step up can make a huge difference. That's why a good farm system is really helpful. Or the ability to add payroll (something the Crew might be able to do during the season).


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#14

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:01 AM Post
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I posted this in another place, but I figured much more people would see it here. I am posting it in here before I even read this thread.

One thing I want to include here is that there has been an increase of people being attacked if they ever mention the Brewers possibly having a sub par team. But also, if other posters say something about the Reds being contenders or something along those lines, that person is basically dismissed and told the Reds aren’t contenders until the prove so and whatnot. Then how can you sit here and dismiss people that say the Brewers aren’t contenders until they do so? You can’t have it both ways.

It just seems like there’s a group of people here that love everything the Brewers do. If you mention another team being decent, that’s not allowed it seems like. Because it’s early and who knows what will happen and the regular season isn’t won in January. If it’s not, then you can’t be sitting here talking up the Brewers here in January as being a competitive team either. It’s been pretty interesting recently how much it seems like only one way of thinking is the proper way here recently while talking out of both sides of their mouths.

My point is that if the Reds can’t be contenders in January, neither can the Brewers. Don’t talk about the Dodgers either being good because they can’t be. It’s January. So then I guess we can’t really have much discussion. Which is almost what’s it’s gotten to recently.

We are all better than this. Again, people can have varying viewpoints. And I think this entire offseason of thinking “it’s only December” or “it’s only January” and now switching to dismissing any discussion on other teams isn’t helping with adding additional angles to a topic on the board. Because it’s almost like they aren’t allowed.

Let people have their discussions about other teams, or about the Brewers moves being underwhelming, or they love Gyorko and Sogard as being the 3B platoon. We are all fans and should be able to discuss different angles and topics here even if it’s different than what you think. Heck, even let people have their payroll discussions on here (maybe this one should have a delegated thread). But you get the point.

It’s just more of a call out to let people discuss other teams, trades, and signings how they seem fit for that person. If you don’t like a certain comment, you don’t need to comment. Or if you want to respond, don’t dismiss their opinion completely because of what month it is or anything else. Let’s try to keep this place fresh with new interesting discussions and ideas instead of trying to shut them down all the time.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#15

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:06 AM Post
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^Excellent take.

This is exactly the issue I'm having here lately.

There isn't much I can say here that I haven't said in countless other threads, but it would be nice if people were allowed to have opinions without others telling them that their opinions are not valid, yada, yada, yada.

"I'm sick of runnin' from these wimps!" Ajax - The WARRIORS


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#16

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:10 AM Post
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But also, if other posters say something about the Reds being contenders or something along those lines, that person is basically dismissed and told the Reds aren’t contenders until the prove so and whatnot



If those people said the Reds were contenders they probably would get a different response. Instead they are saying the Reds were clear favorites and then insulted anyone who could think otherwise, all without adding any sort of reasoning for it to back up the opinion. Those are two very different things.

I think the NL Central is going to be a giant clump this year with the Pirates feeding everyone wins. Some team will play better than expected, some team will get nailed by the injury bug. But I don't think any of the top 4 teams really projects to be any better than each other. There isn't any sort of clear separation. So for me yes the Brewers have done enough. I wish they would sign one more starter but it isn't like you can't find one during the season if you need to most of the time.


Last edited by Ennder on January 28, 2020, 11:16 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#17

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:16 AM Post
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Is the team capable of going 19-2 for 3 weeks in September without their best player? Sure, did it last year. So can every team in baseball, but the chances are different for each team. And if you believe that 19-2 streak was anything but a fluke, then you likely also believe the Brewers will be a world series contender if Yelich is out for the year.

The Brewers were 3 games above 500 for 83% of the year before their unprecedented run. Have they added enough talent after their losses to make them a contender for the Wild Card Playin? Meh...

Note: the most condescending posts over the last 3 months are the ones pointing out the date. By a long-shot. That's a classic definition of condescending... 'if only you were smart enough to read a calendar you would know how stupid your comment is'...

JosephC said:
Stearns probably had no interest in getting a C because the Brewers need a C. It makes much more sense to trade for 3B when it's not needed, and then move the other 3B to 2B, then trade for a 2B, but since the 3B is now at 2B, then the new 2B goes to SS


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#18

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:18 AM Post
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Saying the Brewers will win 75 games shouldn't and mostly doesn't ruffle anyone's feathers. The crap about not spending money and Mark Attanasio pulling one over on the fans deserves to be treated as the Facebook comment section fodder that it is.


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#19

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:22 AM Post
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Ennder said:

If those people said the Reds were contenders they probably would get a different response. Instead they are saying the Reds were clear favorites and then insulted anyone who could think otherwise, all without adding any sort of reasoning for it to back up the opinion. Those are two very different things.



Has anyone said the Reds are clear favorites on this site? Not being snarky, I don't remember anyone saying that.

With the Brewers turning over more than half of their roster, if anyone is questionable as far as how the new pieces will work, it is the Brewers.

I have said from the beginning that the Reds WILL have something to say about who wins the Central. Either they will be in real contention or they will win enough more games in the division that they will have an impact.

I honestly see them as actually contending, along with the Cards, Cubs and Brewers. One of those 4 teams is going to win it, and any of them could.

The Brewers are fielding a roster, more so than any other team in this division with the most amount of question marks, which is troublesome for me.

People talk about the Reds adding pieces on paper, and we won't know how they actually fit and perform, but the Brewers are in the same boat, even more dramatically.

"I'm sick of runnin' from these wimps!" Ajax - The WARRIORS


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Offline  Re: Have the Brewers done enough to be a 2020 contender?
#20

Posted: January 28, 2020, 11:22 AM Post
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xisxisxis said:
Is the team capable of going 19-2 for 3 weeks in September without their best player? Sure, did it last year. So can every team in baseball, but the chances are different for each team. And if you believe that 19-2 streak was anything but a fluke, then you likely also believe the Brewers will be a world series contender if Yelich is out for the year.

The Brewers were 3 games above 500 for 83% of the year before their unprecedented run. Have they added enough talent after their losses to make them a contender for the Wild Card Playin? Meh...



This just isn't a fair way to look at a season. You can pull out their worst 21 game stretch and it makes it look like they were one of the better teams in baseball too. They had two different 1-7 stretches during the year and two different 1-6 stretches. They just didn't happen to be back to back. Teams are going to have streaks, you can't just pull them out and say that is the only reason they did well.


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