Monday, March 16, 2009

Umm...Braun to 1st base???

I saw this article by Rob Neyer linked by A. Witrado a couple days ago on JS. Didn't see any Brewer blogs (that I check out anyway) cover this really in detail, so I figure some sort of analysis is warranted.

I thought it was a decent little article at first, talking about the prospects of moving Rickie Weeks to the outfield, saying that will increase his production at the plate because he'll be less worried in the field...blah blah blah. It's no secret that Bill James loves Rickie Weeks. He predicted last year he would bat .280 with a .380 OBP, hit 15-20 bombs and steal 40 bases. To which we can all say in unison: HA!

I've covered Weeks already and my stance on him won't change, I don't think he'll ever be a "consistent" major league player but might have a couple above average years (like the year Bill James predicted for him last year) in his career. I also don't think any position change will stop this.

Here's what Rob Neyer had to say at the bottom of this article regarding Fielder and Ryan Braun:
The Brewers currently have a first baseman (Prince Fielder) who can't play first base, a second baseman (Weeks) who can't play second base, a left fielder (Ryan Braun) who probably shouldn't play left field, and an extra young shortstop (Alcides Escobar) who should have an everyday job soon.

Problems? No! Opportunities! I suppose it's too late in the spring to trade Fielder and move Braun to first base and find a new left fielder, but eventually all these things are going to have to find their natural balance, and the Brewers will be better off if management takes an active role in that process.

So for the record is what Rob Neyer recommends the Brewers to do: Trade Prince Fielder (for I assume pitching...although he doesn't say for what). Move Ryan Braun to 1st base. Move Alcides Escobar to SS which I will assume means he wants JJ Hardy to play 2nd base. From here I assume Rob would recommend trading Mike Cameron and moving Weeks to CF (and then finding somebody to play LF), or just flat moving Weeks to LF to replace Braun.

Everybody follow that? Can you wrap your heads around that? Seems like a little too much right?

Here's what Rob fails to mention:

Why on earth would the Brewers trade Prince Fielder when we have him under a "reasonable" contract for the next two years? He currently is the only Left-handed hitter in the lineup. His offensive numbers don't need to be discussed because I've covered them in length NUMEROUS times before but the fat bastard has hit over 100 bombs in the bigs so far and he's only 25!!! Do you expect his offensive production to drop this year to Lyle Overbay's level or something? How are we supposed to match his level of offensive value if he's gone?

Move Ryan Braun to 1st base? Yeah...ok...I would imagine he could play 1st pretty well. But why are we moving him? Is he THAT bad out there in LF? No. I don't think so. Braun is an athletic freak who just learned the position last year and showed significant improvement throughout the year. Is he the worst defensive LF in baseball? Hell no. AND...he's only 25 too which means he'll be better. Oh and also, he's Ryan Braun. He can do whatever the hell he wants. We have him signed to a ridiculously cheap contract relative to the player for the next 7 years. He seems to actually WANT to play LF. Can we just leave him alone please? Leave RYAN alone! I don't want to mess this up. I don't want him "upset" that he is now playing 1st base, which is reserved for men with B-Cups (see current player manning the position).

Alcides Escobar. Probably the Brewers SS NEXT year. Yes, an unbelievable defensive prodigy. Yes, he has improved offensively in past years as well, doing well in Double A last year. Can we give the man reps in AAA ball please? Look at his spring offensive stats so far (small sample I know, but still) and tell me this guy will hit above .240 if he's in the bigs this year. No way. Oh...and you know who we got at SS right now? You didn't mention his name. JJ Hardy. Ever hear of him? All-star. Top 5 NL SS. 25 HR a year guy. Cannon for an arm. He isn't bad. I tell you what...if JJ goes down for an extended period of time Escobar will be the guy, otherwise he's at least a year away.

HERE's the point I guess: what are we doing wondering about Rickie Weeks? He'll never be an all-star. He'll never be better then 4th or 5th best guy on the team. Why are we rearranging our defense for him? Why are moving ALL-STAR players who are comfortable in their positions for him? Tell me Rob...tell me.

If Rickie is going to make it as a Brewer, it's going to have to be as as 2nd baseman. The team is too deep in the minor/major leagues at most other positions. Gamel will eventually take over at 3rd or 1st. Braun is set in LF. Hart (I hope anyway) will be around for 5 years or so in RF. We've got Cain, Duffy, & even TGJ ready to go next year in CF when Cameron is done. When Escobar is up next year, hopefully Hardy will take over at 2nd or 3rd.

Really Rob??? Ryan Braun at 1st base? Come on...

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