Milwaukee Brewers 2013 Team Preview

Ryan Braun

How much of this Brewers season will Ryan Braun be a part of?

The biggest storyline for the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers will be whether or not they get a full season of Ryan Braun. There is a rumor circulating that in a few weeks Braun will receive a 50-game PED suspension from the MLB front offices.

I used to really enjoy Ryan Braun. But you know something? A quick browse of his career numbers, and they suddenly look a little bit out of control to me. Too perfect. Too clean. Not enough blemishes. There’s no doubting that Braun is a generational talent type. It’s possible that these numbers were achieved cleanly. But the fact of the matter is that when you’re hearing his name whispered amongst the cheaters, you start believing there’s a possibility. If I had to wager one way or another, I would say that Ryan Braun has used something that would give him an extra edge. That’s just my instinct at this time.

Braun receiving a 50-game time out would change the entire landscape of this Brewers team this season. With Braun this team can be formidable on a lot of nights. Without him, the cupboard looks a little bit bare.

The Brewers had themselves a nice little D+ off-season, at best.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Signed LHP Tom Gorzelanny
  • Signed LHP Mike Gonzalez
  • Traded for Burke Badenhop

Almost like a rite of passage into spring time, Mat Gamel hurt himself again. Never trust a Mat who spells his name with just one ‘t’. It’s bad karma. I don’t know any. Also, Corey Hart will miss his usual six or so weeks to start the season and then spring into action and tear the shit out of the baseball for the final five or so months.

Your 2013 Milwaukee Brewers, after the jump.

Projected Starting Lineup:
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With Braun centering their lineup, the Brewers have the propensity to have a pretty dangerous upper half; especially when Corey Hart returns. One has to wonder which Rickie Weeks the Brewers will get in 2013. He looked on the verge of becoming an elite offensive second basemen before last year and then his average dipped to .230 and his OBP went down to .328 in what should have been another huge season. The power was still there (21 HR) and he added a little speed (16 steals) but Weeks hurt the Brewers last season. If he can rebound and hit .260 this group will seem more ornery from the get-go.

I felt like the lead-off man Norichika Aoki was a pleasant little surprise. He hit .288 with 30 steals, 10 home runs, and 81 runs scored while playing nice defense in right field. What is it with Japanese guys being able to play the outfield? Even in Major League II, Isuro Tanaka is a great outfielder.

Aramis Ramirez is still a great offensive player. He OPS’d .900 last season knocking in 105 hitting 27 home runs and .300 on the dot. He provides excellent protection for Braun. He’s at an age where nagging injuries can slow a guy down. If he can stay healthy he’s one of the better offensive third baseman in the National League.

Jonathan Lucroy showed the world he could hit a little bit last season. He’s come a long way from the young man who had his manhood taken from him in Aroldis Chapman’s debut. I’ve never seen a big league hitter so over-matched in my life! You don’t believe me?

Look at the poor little fella. If it were one of those Animal Planet/Predator-Prey videos that people put on YouTube it would be titled “Baby Lucroy is STRANGLED and OWNED by Massive Chapman Anaconda!”. And the amounts of views would be in the millions.

Carlos Gomez is Carlos Gomez. About a .255 hitter with decent speed and marginal to above average power. I am excited about Jean Segura, another guy who has a chance at swiping 30 bags. This lineup quietly has a lot of guys in it who can steal bases. This will obviously help them in other areas where they’re deficient.

Projected Pitching Rotation
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Yovani Gallardo has proven himself to be a very capable, near-top of the rotation starting pitcher. How nice would it be to be able to trot him out as your number two? The Brewers won’t have that luxury this year, Gallardo will be the Opening Day starter coming off a season he went 16-9 while striking out nine hitters per nine.

I feel the same way about Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers. I like these guys if you can have them as your number three and number four, but I feel like it’s a lot to ask these guys to be your two and your three starters. Chris Narveson tore his rotator cuff last April after showing some promise. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back, but you wouldn’t expect too much immediately. I’m probably most excited about Wily Peralta in this whole rotation. I feel like he has the chance to really be the ‘boom’ guy in this group even with as much as I like Estrada and Fiers.

Peralta is 23 years old. He did not own a baseball glove until age 11. He learned to play baseball by practicing THROWING A FUCKING LEMON!

Yes, I am rooting for Wily Peralta on a count of this fact.

Those great Brewers fans known so well for their pregame tailgating were pounding antacids last season but it wasn’t because of all that yeast in their beer or those sausages. It was due to John Axford making young men age ten years over the summer months with his cluster of a closer experience. Didn’t it seem like Axford lost the closer job about six times last year? The guy is like Rasputin though, you can try to poison him, you can attempt to stone him to death, you can shoot his horse out from underneath him. He will always rise again though, and still be firmly entrenched as the closer because that’s what some insane person in the Brewers front office views him as.

Axford is going to get Ron Roenicke fired one of these days. Even if he hides his ‘shit down his leg’ trait for a season or two, I’m telling you that this guy will go Brad Lidge on you in a big spot.

Mevs’ Projected Season Record:

80-82, fourth place in the NL Central

No one gives the Brewers a realistic shot in their division this year, and rightfully so. This year is about finding out what Rickie Weeks is, maturing their starting rotation, and keeping their top guys in the lineup together for as many games as possible.

When and if Braun receives his PED suspension, the most interesting question suddenly becomes: did the Brewers build around the wrong slugger? Don’t think for a minute that people won’t be asking that while Fielder is aging just fine with his tofu diet while hitting bomb after bomb in Motown.