Milwaukee BrewersOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Milwaukee Brewers Team Projection
The Brewers have been on a negative progression over the last 2 seasons. Last year, they scored 138 less runs (640 - 8th in the NL) than 2012, finishing 6th in HR's (157) and 1st in SB's (142). The Brewers were 9th in the NL in ERA (3.84) and allowed the 2nd most HR's (175). Furthermore, the Brewers pitchers finished 14th in the league in K's (1,125). In terms of offseason moves, they lost OF Corey Hart and IF Yuniesky Betancourt. Their 2 key signings were 1B Mark Reynolds and P Matt Garza. Milwaukee's starting lineup has a chance to be much better if OF Ryan Braun plays at a high level. Overall, their starting rotation doesn't have a true ace and their bullpen doesn't look elite. If this team plays well, it may finish around the .500 mark.
1. SS Jean Segura
Segura was one player I misread last season. Jean ended up being a difference maker from a middle infield position. He was a complete beast over the first 3 months of the year (.327 with 11 HR's, 32 RBI's, and 24 SB's). Over the 2nd half of the year, his play declined dramatically (.255 with 1 HR and 17 RBI's). However, his speed remained intact (20 SB's). Segura was a very good against LH hitters (.317 with a .507 SLG %), and he also hit well against righties (.287). His K rate (13.5%) is in a good area, but he doesn't take many walks (4.0%). Jean missed the last couple weeks of the season with a hamstring injury. Segura has been a high GB hitter (58.7%) early in his career with a short FB rate (23.3%). He was a .313 hitter in the minors with 26 HR's, 207 RBI's, and 139 SB's in 1,570 at bats. Jean really doesn't have the right skill set to bat lead off, but he is the best option the Brewers have. Overall, Segura is a lot stronger than many fantasy players think. He has enough size to be a 20+ HR hitter down the road and has already shown he has 40 SB ability (which was supported by his minor league resume). He has the type of skill set that sets up well when building a fantasy team. The Brewers are going to score more runs this year, so Jean has a chance at a .300, 100/15/55/35 season. As well as he played last year, he could still be undervalued on draft day.
2. OF Carlos Gomez
Gomez had a breakthrough season in the majors in 2013, setting career highs in almost every category. The only negative was a high K rate (24.8% - tied a career high). His walk rate (6.3%) also tied a career high, and Carlos crushed LH pitching (.315 with a .622 SLG %). He ran into an outfield wall 3 times that resulted in him missing time due to a shoulder and knee issue. His knee injury cost him the most time, and it led to a poor August (.197 with 1 HR's and 3 RBI's in 84 at bats). His HR/FB rate (16.4%) was a career high last season, and has improved in each of the last 4 years. However, his FB rate (38.3%) declined after showing growth over the previous 2 seasons (43.8% in 2011 and 43.2% in 2012). Last year, his biggest change was the ability to hit a slider (.315 with a .577 SLG %). This led to a 3.1% drop in the number of sliders he saw. Gomez has had a low RBI rate (13%) during his entire career, which means he isn't built to be a middle of the lineup hitter. His K rate is too high to bat 2nd, but he may provide the most value to the team by hitting there. He pretty much has a similar skill set to B.J. Upton, but his price point will be a 2nd round pick in 2014. He has upside in speed and his power is developing, but his K rate does invite batting average risk. The growth in his HR/FB rate gives him a chance at 30 HR's. Gomez did have minor elbow surgery in the offseason.
3. OF Ryan Braun
It's official. Ryan Braun wins the Roger Clemens award for being the Major League dick of the year. Braun had a strong month of April (.286 with 7 HR's and 21 RBI) and also hit well in May (.324). He tried to play through a thumb injury, but he started to lose power. He went on the DL for a month and was ineffective when he returned. He then decided to take his 65 game suspension and walk around with egg on his face for the rest of the season. Ryan still claims that he didn't inhale :). Braun has had an elite skill set for almost his entire career. He had his best season in 2012 when he supposedly wasn't on the juice. His K rate (22.1) has spiked over the last 2 seasons, while he had a career high walk rate (10.7%) in 2013. Overall, his value in drafts is more than fair. His injury last year did hurt his power. I'd love to say he is still a .300, 30/100 hitter with speed, but I just fear him this season. Ryan has never been an injury prone player, so he should get enough volume to be a productive outfielder. Let's lower the bar slightly to .280 with 30/100/20.....He still looks like a solid major league player, but he will be riding with a monkey on his back in 2014.
4. C Jonathan Lucroy
Lucroy is a nice major league catcher. He has been very good driving in runs over the past 2 seasons (20% RBI rate in 2012 and 18% in 2013). His K rate (11.9%) was a career best and it has improved a lot since 2011 (21.2%). His walk rate (7.9%) was also a career high and it has improved during every season in the majors. Jonathan played at a high level against LH pitching (.312 - .496 SLG %). His approach showed growth in July and August (20 walks and only 16 K's), but his K rate (18.6%) spiked in September. His FB rate (38%) was a career high, while his HR/FB rate (10.3%) has been in a tight range over the last 3 seasons. His speed was a bonus last year and it was somewhat supported by his 2008 season at A ball (8 steals). Overall, his skill set is improving and he still has upside power. While his success is strong enough to where he can be a middle of the order hitter, his improving walk rate may work well as the #2 hitter for the Brewers this season. Gomez is too much of a free swinger, even with plus speed to bat 2nd, and I'm not solid on any of their other options. Lucroy will even have some added value be playing some games at first base. I see him as a possible .300 hitter with a 20/80 skill set with upside. His RBI production will take a hit if Milwaukee does give him a shot at batting 2nd, but he will score more runs.
5. 3B Aramis Ramirez
Ramirez struggled with a knee injury last season that forced him to go on the DL twice. He initially injured the knee sliding into 2nd base in a game I was at in spring training. His K rate (15.7%) has declined over the past 2 seasons, while he had the second highest walk rate (10.3%) of his career. Aramis did play better in August and September (.301 with 7 HR's and 23 RBI's in 123 at bats). I know he is getting long in the tooth, but he does have a solid major resume. Ramirez has hit 20 or more HR's in 10 seasons in the majors with 100 or more RBI's 7 times. His knee injury didn't require surgery, which is somewhat of a strike to me as the problem may still be lingering. Overall, Aramis is a solid major league bat with a 25/90 skill set and some injury risk.
6. 1B Mark Reynolds
Reynolds came out of the gate smokin in 2013 (.301 with 8 HR's and 22 RBI's) and even had an improved K rate (23.2%). Mark played well early in May (5 HR's and 19 RBI's for the whole month), but his swing and miss ability blossomed to a staggering 38.4% in June. This led to less playing time and a trade to the Yankees. After this, his K rate (30.6%) fell below his career average (32.3%), and his walk rate (10.1%) declined. Reynolds struggled against both RH (.218) and LH (.225) pitching. His skill set has more value against lefties (8 HR's and 30 RBI's in 160 at bats - 26.3% K rate). However, his HR/FB rate (16.9%) was his lowest since his rookie season in 2007. Overall, Mark is a dead red hitter that is extremely streaky. He is a .215 hitter over his last 1,935 at bats, and his production has regressed over the past 2 seasons. Reynolds has three 30 HR season on his resume, but he won't get an opportunity for full time at bats with his declining skill set. This year, he should be in a lefty/righty platoon with Juan Francisco, but he is the better player. Possible 20 HR's with extreme batting average risk.
7. OF Khris Davis
Davis may be an attractive fantasy player in 2013 if he can get full time at bats with the Brewers. He had plus power (11 HR's) during his 136 major league at bats and it is supported by his minor league resume. Khris was a career .288 hitter in the minors with 69 HR's, 253 RBI's, and 41 SB's in 1,426 at bats. His K rate (22.2%) was a bit higher in the majors, but it was only slightly lower during his minor league career (20.5%). His walk rate (7.2%) came in short with the Brewers, but it has shown upside in the minors (12.7%). Davis is extremely slow with no range and a weak arm. He needs to play in left field, but Braun has called that home for the last few years. Milwaukee has talked about moving Braun to right in 2014, which will open the door for regular at bats for Davis. He has a possible 20/80 skill set with upside in power, but he is worthless if Braun doesn't change positions.
8. 2B Scotter Gennett
Last year when Rickie Weeks was hitting himself out of the Brewers lineup, Gennett was there to take advantage of the opportunity. Scooter showed surprising pop (6 HR's in 213 at bats) with Milwaukee. He is free swinger with line drive power and average speed. Gennett hit .297 during his minor league career with 26 HR's, 172 RBI's, and 46 SB's in 1,892 at bats. His K rate (18.3%) showed more upside in the minors (14.2%), while his walk rate (4.4%) has been low during his entire career (5.2%). Scooter had all of his success against RH pitching (.362 with 6 HR's and 21 RBI's - .552 SLG %), and only had 39 at bats against lefties (6 singles - .154). His approach doesn't work well as a #2 hitter, but he is one of the few LH hitters on the Brewers. He may be able to take advantage of the hole on the right side of the infield created by Segura being on first base. Overall, Gennett isn't a high upside player. He can't lefties at this point of his career, which means Weeks will be on the field at least 1/3 of the time. Plus, Weeks has a higher overall skill set with the exception of his contact rate. Possible 15 HR upside down the road with double digits steals. This year, he won't be an everyday player with Weeks still on the roster.
9. 2B Rickie Weeks
Weeks has been on a downward spiral over the last couple of seasons due to his inability to make contact (26.3% K rate - career high). However, his walk rate (10.0%) remains in line with his resume. Last year, he only hit .183 over the first 2 months of the season with 3 HR's, 10 RBI's, and 4 SB's (29.5% K rate). His lack of contact led to him losing playing time to Gennett. His season then ended in early August after he suffered a bad hamstring injury (required surgery). Overall, he struggled against both RH (.201) and LH (.226) pitching. His GB rate (49.4%) was a career high, which led to a career low FB rate (32.7%). Furthermore, his HR/FB rate (12.5%) has declined in each of the last 4 seasons. Prior to last season, Rickie had hit 20+ HR's in 3 straight seasons with double digit speed. He clearly wasn't the same player and maybe he was a juicer. His AVH (1.712) was in line with last season, so he did hit the ball hard when he made contact. The road won't be easy in 2014 as Gennett is steady enough to block him. Weeks still has talent, but he needs to refocus on improving his overall performance. He will most likely be a free agent in 2015 (club option based on at bats in 2014), so a fantasy player can't dismiss him totally. For now, he will only get 50% of the playing at 2B at best. Rickie may gain value if he is traded.
10. 3B Juan Francisco
Francisco may not have a strong enough skill set to supplant Reynolds at 1B. His K rate (35.8%) has been brutal during his entire career (33.6%), and it is trending upward. On the flip side, his walk (8.3%) was a career high. He is terrible against LH pitching (.156 - .206 SLG %). Juan hit .234 against righties with 18 HR's, but he had 125 K's in 316 at bats (35.6% K rate). He has a huge HR/FB rate (23.1%) over the past 2 seasons and had a career high FB rate (37.0%) last year. Pitchers just eat him up with curveballs (17.7% seen - .178 batting average against) and he can't hit a slider (.120). Some fantasy players may be tripped up by his power, but he doesn't have a high enough skill set to beat out Reynolds for the full time first base job. Francisco will see at bats against some righties and will provide depth at 3B. He has no fantasy value in mixed leagues.
11. C Martin Maldonado
He is a career .223 hitter in the majors with 12 HR's and 52 RBI's in 417 at bats. This year, he will be the backup catcher with no chance at more at bats with Lucroy on the team.
12. MI Jeff Bianchi
He has a chance to get solid at bats (236) in 2013 with the Brewers, but he only hit .237 with no power (1 HR) and short speed (4 SB's). Jeff was a career .286 hitter in the minors with 37 HR's, 283 RBI's, and 90 SB's in 2,220 at bats. He is the favorite to win the utility infield and will provide speed off the bench.
13. OF Caleb Gindi
He will compete with Khris Davis for playing time in the outfield. Gindi hit .293 during his minor league career with 82 HR's, 415 RBI's, and 57 SB's in 2,808 at bats. Caleb has struggled to move past AAA over the past 3 seasons (1,382 at bats). Low upside player with no speed.
14. OF Logan Schafer
The Brewers gave him 298 painful at bats in 2013 (.211 with 4 HR's, 33 RBI's, and 7 SB's). He has the best all around skill set to be the 4th outfield. Schafer is a career .294 hitter with 24 HR's, 170 RBI's, and 53 SB's in 1,567 at bats in the minors.