Monday, July 9, 2007

Brewers All Star Break Report Card

We haven't had this much to cheer about since Teddy Higuera and his greasy mullet was the Brewer's ace.

Its time for some first half grades, by position. I’ll put those up against my preseason grades so it’s easier to rip me to shreds.

Catcher: B. Ponch and Miller have provided good sticks from the catcher spot. Estrada has even batted 5th quite often making him the first Brewer catcher to do that on a regular basis since the great Dave Nilsson. Defensively, this combo leaves something to be desired, to be sure. Preseason Grade: B-

First Base: A. Prince is the NL MVP favorite right now, and he’s only 23. If he isn’t the most important guy to his team in the league, then I don’t know who is. Many knew he had it in him, just not this early. On the bad side, he does have 10 errors…which is brutal for a 1B. The highest number for any 1B in the AL is 4. Preseason Grade: B.

Second base: D. Rickie has been a colossal disappointment hitting in the .220s with no pop. He’s lucky the other youngsters are playing on all star levels, or he would be getting hammered on right now. Personally, I think its his wrist. That doesn’t seem like an injury that will get better during the season. It’s too bad because I really believe he has 25 homer, 35 steal ability. From the people I talk to, it sounds like I’m one of the few Rick believers around. Also, his defense has gone from terrible to more than adequate in a pretty short period of time. Preseason Grade: B+

Shortstop: A-. Who saw this offensive outburst coming? If you say “I did,” you are a liar. JJ’s been everything and more for Milwaukee. He fueled the 24-10 start and has been playing pretty consistently since. Oh yeah, and his defense is top 3 in the NL. Preseason Grade: C

Third Base: B+. Why only a ‘B’? Because we subjected to about 100 useless ABs from Councinino before Braun was called up. Ryan Braun is a friggin stud. Yes, hitting in front of Prince helps (a lot), but come on. .340! With power! From a rookie! Preseason Grade: D-.

Left Field: B-. By my calculations, Menchkins’ stats smashed together are: .270, 18 bombs, 61 steaks. Granted, those are not exclusively while playing in LF, but you get the picture…they’ve been pretty good. Makes all that petty bitching in spring seem like a loooong time ago. Plus, Jenks is still a top notch outfielder. Preseason Grade: C+.

Center Fieled: D+. To say Bill Hall has been a disappointment would be an insult to the word “disappointment.” After hitting 35 bombs in less than a full year, Hall has 9 with a paltry 35 – despite hitting 4th or 5th for much of the year. And unlike Weeks, he didn’t have an injury as an excuse (except for the last few games). When you add his below average bat, below average defense, big contract, and his expectations, you have the makings of a bust…for this year at least. Maybe the transition to CF is harder than we think. Preseason Grade: B+/A-

Right Field: B. Like 3B, this grade would be even higher if Corey Hart was their guy the entire year. His bat, wheels, and defense has been outstanding. Preseason Grade: C+.

Starting Pitching: C-. Sheeter, Bush, and Vargas have been about what we expected. Suppan and Cappy have been poor. As for Suppan, he’s been terrible. Is there a hidden injury somewhere? I wouldn’t doubt it. I also wonder about Cappy. He was brutal in last year’s second half, and merely mediocre this year. Basically, he’s been a 6-14, 5.01 ERA pitcher in the last 12 months. That’s not good…especially when he’s your supposed #2 starter. On the plus side, everyone’s been healthy. Also, the two best starters might not even be in the rotation right now with Yo and Chuck Villanueva. Preseason Grade: B.

Relief Pitching: A-. CoCo has been, for the most part, lights out. D-Bow, although spotty at times, still has an ERA of 3.50…you can’t argue with that. Save a few terrible outings by Aquino, Dessens, and Capellan, you can’t really ask for much more. Chuck has been especially impressive. Where would they be without this guy mowing through the occasional 3 innings? In the past we had stains like Richard Helling or Matt Kinny in this role. With the starters typically laboring to reach the 7th, will the pen wear out? I hope not. Preseason Grade: C+

Overall: A. You have to look big picture. If I told you we would be 4.5 up at the break with the best record in the NL, you would take that in a New York minute. Yeah, maybe they should have a bigger lead, but they don’t. Let’s face it: they are up 4.5 games with the most talent in a terrible division with a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way. Can’t ask for much more than that. Except firing Yost!


AP said...

I think Weeks has been a gigantic disappointment, regardless of injury. If he's battling an injury then TG/CC need to start getting some of his at bats. You have to keep in mind that Weeks was always the prize prospect in the orginization, and that's reflected in his salary compared to the other kids on the time. He is to be commended for his improvement on defense, but overall Fielder, Hardy, Braun, Hart, Villanueva, & maybe Gallardo all seem to have more promise right now than Weeks. I hope he isn't like 30 years old and we are still talking about how he might hit 30 bombs some day.

Kick ass job on the mid season grades though......

BC said...

Thanks. Agreed, those other do have more promise than Weeks. But I've herd people say they should just give up on him and trade him. I wouldnt do that just yet.

AP said...

Also agreed, but at some point "potential" has to be realized or else it is useless. Cruz & Hendrickson had great potential too, but I am not going to say trade him. If this injury/performance issue pops up again next year though, I'd trade him while he still might have some value. I think it is definitely time to start looking a bit more critical of Weeks' abilities. But I'm with you and I will lay off for now, his defensive improvement was obviously his focus this year.

Also, if Wrigleyville is still looking for a reason to be concerned about the Cards, how about this?-The Pirates & Cards are just as close (or closer) to the Cubs in the standings as the Cubs are to the Brewers. If he's not concerned about the Cubs being caught from behind then I guess we don't need to worry about the Cubs either.

Tony said...

Prince is the man, no question right now, but how can you give an (A) a "perfect grade" to someone who is lacking with the glove. I want to say at times here. Because Prince has made some incredible plays on d this year.

As for the rest not much to say this team is looking good, what was your preseason ranking for road games, ouch. Forget firing Yost, you can't fire your couch if you are in first place at the break for the first time on 20 years. I say fire Dan Larrea! thats right director of team travel. What are these guys staying in a motel 6? They can't win a F'n series on the road. Frustrating.

BC said...

Prince gets an A because he's the NL MVP. I guess if you're the MVP, you are the very best player in the league. That deserves an A. Unless you are Terry Pendleton, 1991.

Wrigleyville said...

AP, as always, is the master of logic. I can't even answer.

AP said...

I think Wrigleyville is upset at me since I am one of the few people still alive in his "when will the Cubs catch the Brewers" contest. Fierce competetion will sometimes bring that out in people.....