Over the last decade or so, the Milwaukee Brewers have been one of the best offensive teams in the MLB. With that said, they’ve also been a team on the rise which finally culminated with the squad capturing their division title for the first time in twenty five years last season.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the Brewers’ projected starting line-up in 2012.
Could this be the year where Weeks finally stays healthy? If so, he’s one of the better offensive second baseman in the league. His on-base percentage is good enough to keep him at the leadoff spot and his better-than-average power is a bonus. He used to steal bases, but hasn’t eclipsed 15 bags since totaling 19 in 2008.
2.) CF Nyjer Morgan
In his 429 plate appearances with the Brewers in 2011, Morgan was a pleasant surprise with a .304 average, 61 runs and 37 runs batted in. Morgan’s only problem was his dismal play versus left-hand pitching (.209 average). For that reason, I expect Roenicke to platoon him with Carlos Gomez who fares well against left-handers. Both Morgan and Gomez are good defensively in the outfield.
3.) LF Ryan Braun
Not sure I have to say much here, Braun is one of the best hitters in the game. It will be interesting to see if he has any kind of dip in production due to Prince Fielder’s departure in free agency. The Brewers will definitely be in the race for the NL Central with Braun slated to play the entire year after his successful appeal of a 50 game suspension.
Here’s where it gets interesting because Ramirez will be turning 34 and has never been a solid hitter outside the confines of Wrigley Field. In a new uniform and at Miller Park where he’s hit .270, he needs a successful season in order to help the fans forget about Fielder. Unfortunately for the Brewers, I think Ramirez is well beyond his prime and will have one of his worst seasons in Milwaukee despite hitting behind the potent Braun.
5.) RF Corey Hart
Hart’s goal this season should be consistency because if he’s able to play like the Brewers know he can, he could be one of the top outfielders in the league. Like Weeks, he doesn’t steal as many bases as he used to, but still has great power and knows how to get on base. I’m not a buyer on him returning to the lead-off spot where he’s had success before. In fact, him or Gamel could be candidates for replacing Ramirez in the four spot if he indeed struggles.
6.) 1B Mat Gamel
Gamel is going to shock a lot of people this season. He won’t have that out-of-this-world year, but will hit over 20 home-runs and will be a fan favorite in Milwaukee. He’s very versatile with the bat and has put some maturity issues which plagued him in the past to rest.
7.) SS Alex Gonzalez
Gonzalez didn’t join the team for his bat, but rather for his solid defense. Brewers fans shouldn’t find this hard to understand because their recent history has been littered with so-so offensive shortstops.
8.) C Jonathan Lucroy
Similar to Gonzalez, Lucroy won’t have the numbers to wow you in the stat sheet, but he will be consistently solid at the catcher position. Expect some modest numbers on the offensive end.
9.) Pitcher’s Spot
Until Major League Baseball decides to establish the designated hitter in the National League, we will once again have to watch the pitchers attempt to hit a small fraction of baseballs over the long season. Yovani Gallardo is perhaps the best hitting pitcher in the league and Randy Wolf isn’t too bad himself. Other than that, keep dreaming about how much better off the team would be with a true ninth hole hitter.
What are your expectations of the Brewers starting line-up in 2012? Will they do just fine without Prince Fielder? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Follow paulmbanks