This year, management thinks it could have a winner on its hands and increased player payroll nearly 30 percent; while it could be too much to ask these Brewers to catch the rival Cubs for first place in the Division, a Wild Card berth is not out of the question.
Milwaukee has a very serviceable farm system, especially at AAA where the organization has a handful of future starting pitchers; likewise, there are a couple of solid major league hitters down on the farm. Historically, the Brewers promote their players to the majors early and let them learn on the job. This season, the Brewers signed free agents to fill out their Major League roster, with most newcomers on 1-year deals, or 1 year with an option. This will give the team some flexibility next season.
Here's how the Brew Crew lineup compares to last season .
|Season 28||Season 27||Adv||Notes|
|1||Ezequiel Uribe, 2B||Uribe, RF||28||Won Gold Glove in RF; Project .375, 100 runs, 25 SB|
|2||TJ O'Brien, RF||Pablo Solano, 2B||27||Solano had .789 OPS but will make $30mm in SF;|
|3||James Saitou, LF||Saitou, LF||28||Now 26, Saitou had 26 HR and 83 RBI after torrid start.|
|4||Desi Guerrero, CF||Guerrero, CF||28||23-year old had 30 HR and 102 RBI as a rookie.|
|5||Pat Hill, 1B||Hill, 1B||28||Just 26, went .308/35/100 for Milwaukee and Philly last season|
|6||Will Potvin, SS||Potvin, SS||28||B2B Gold Gloves (CF, SS) for 25-year old. Hit 15 HRs.|
|7||Kid Gload, 3B||Gload, 3B||TIE||Among weaker 3B in league, strong fielder.|
|8||Brian Patrick, C||Patrick, C||28||Surprising Rule V pick hit 19 HR and won Gold Glove as 23-year old|
|BENCH||Francisco Cerda, RF||Freddie Cox, 1B||28||Aging Cerda was OBP machine in Chicago.|
|BENCH||Alfredo Diaz, C||Diaz, C||TIE||One of the best backup catchers.|
|BENCH||Phil Nakajima, 2B/CF||Nakajima||28||Strictly 25th-man fodder. Can run and field.|
|BENCH||TBD||Felipe Sierra, IF||TBD||Sierra couldn't hit his ass with either hand.|
|SP1||Robinzon Rodriguez||Rodriguez||TIE||30-year old won 16 games last year returning from surgery.|
|SP2||Paul Berroa||Fernando Aguilar||28||Two-time All-Star Berroa needs 15 wins from 150 innings.|
|SP3||Aguilar||Michael Yamamoto||28||26-year old Aguilar went 10-16 in 234 IP. Former 14-game winner|
|SP4||Yamomoto||Andrew Bergen||28||3.19 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 150 IP for the 29-year old.|
|SP5||Bergen||Bennie York||28||Entering 2nd full ML season, 26-year old won 9 games as a rookie in 180 IP.|
|LRA||Hipolito Palacios||Alberto Estrada||TIE||Estrada was a surprise Rule V sensation.|
|SU1||Russell West||West||TIE||Very strong bounceback season.|
|SU2||Sawyer Christensen||Christensen||28||Closer-in-waiting just 22 years old.|
|SU3||Bud Fox||Al Limon||TIE||New top bullpen LHP, Fox is 8 years younger but gives up HRs|
|SU4||Parker Mahaffey||Mahaffey||28||Now 26, has tools to be solid RH reliever.|
|SU5||Howard Edmonds||Edmonds||28||Probably LH specialist, now 27.|
|SU6||Ken Guttierez||Guttierez||TIE||Saved 28 four seasons ago. 2.65 ERA after late season callup.|
|CL||Emil Sosa||Stuart Young||TIE||39-year old Sosa has great stuff, but can he replace Young's 41 saves?|
WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS IF: The myriad Brewers in their early and mid-20s all take an incremental step forward; newcomers hold up over 162 games and balance the losses of Solano at 2B and Young at closer. The starting pitching has truly been upgraded.
WILL FINISH IN LAST PLACE IF: Too much hope has been pinned on Desi Guerrero and James Saitou. Older acquisitions break down.
PREDICTION: 88-74. 2nd place North and NL Wild Card.