MLB Team News & Rumors: Milwaukee

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Milwaukee Brewers

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Milwaukee Brewers Team Projection

To get you ready for your fantasy baseball draft, here are my 2014 player profiles of the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff.

1. SP Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo fantasy baseball

This guy will make you bang your head against the floor. After having 200+ K's over the previous 4 seasons, the writing was on the wall with the drop in his first pitch strike % (56%). He continued to not throw strikes in 2013, which led to his worst season in the majors (4.18 ERA). His K rate (7.2) was a career low and his command (3.3) still hasn't improved. Furthermore, his AFB (90.7) was a career low and it has lost 2 mph over the last 2 seasons. His slider is still his #2 pitch, followed by a plus curveball and a weak changeup. Yovani has become more of a GB pitcher (49.2% - career high) over the last 3 seasons. This led to career low FB rate (27.6%), but his HR/FB rate (11.9%) invites downside in HR's. Most of his decline in K's was to LH batters (67 in 317 at bats - 102 in 371 at bats in 2012). Gallardo pitched better over his last 8 starts of the year (4-1 with a 2.41 ERA), but his K rate (7.4) remained shorter than his career resume (plus he missed a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury). Batters still struggle to hit his slider (.247) and curveball (.236), but his sinker has become a lot more hittable (.322 with .546 SLG %). Overall, Yovani has never made the step forward to be a fantasy ace due to a high WHIP (1.304 - career). His fastball is declining and he can't throw first pitch strikes. While he has a long enough resume to have a bounce back season and his price point will be more than fair, his trend tells me to stay away. Tough to past up a possible 200 K arm, but there are enough signs where he might not bounce back all the way. We really need to see more life on his fastball plus one of those best shape of your life stories. Possible free agent in 2015.

2. SP Matt Garza

Matt Garza fantasy baseball

Garza ended the 2012 season with a elbow injury and developed a left lat strain in mid February that ended up costing him the first 7 weeks of the season in 2013. Other than a disaster start on June 11th (9 runs in 5 innings), Matt pitched very well when he returned with the Cubs. He allowed 2 runs or less in his 9 of his 13 starts with Chicago before getting traded to the Rangers. Garza then allowed 4 runs or more in 7 of his first 9 starts with Texas. His command (2.4) was the lowest of his career, while his K rate (7.9) has declined over the last 2 years. His skill set was the same in the NL as the AL, but he was a much better pitcher with the Cubs (3.17 ERA and 1.141 WHIP - 4.38 ERA and 1.316 WHIP with Texas). Matt had better command against lefties, but they hit .271 against him. His AFB (93.1) was his lowest since 2009. His slider is still his #2 pitcher, followed by a declining curveball and show me changeup. Garza signed a four-year deal with the Brewers for $52 million. The move back to the NL is a plus, but I'm still concerned about his elbow issue in 2012. Matt doesn't have an elite resume (3.84 ERA) and has struggled with injuries in back to back years. Decent SP3 with possible upside in K's. It's pretty bad when a fantasy player is a afraid to commit a mid teens pick on a pitcher that is making $12+ million a year. I say avoid the risk and look elsewhere for a more stable arm that has more upside.

3. SP Marco Estrada

Marco Estrada fantasy baseball

Estrada didn't appear to be healthy over his first 12 starts of the year (5.32 ERA). He allowed 11 HR's in his first 7 starts (38.3 innings) before suffering a hamstring injury in early June that led to a 2 month stint on the DL. When Marco returned, he was a much better pitcher (2.15 ERA with 56 K's in 58.7 innings). Batters only hit .165 against him over his last 9 starts, compared to .275 over his first 12 starts. Estrada had more success against LH batters (.214), but he held his own against righties (.242). His AFB (89.2) was a career low and it has lost about 2 mph over the last 2 seasons. His #2 pitch is a changeup followed by a solid curveball. Marco is a FB pitcher (44.3%) with a rising HR/FB rate (11.9%). Estrada doesn't have a great minor league resume (3.89 ERA), but he has shown growth in his command (2.0) over the last 2 seasons in the majors. This has led to a higher K rate (8.3) than his minor league career (7.8). Last year, batters only hit .185 against his changeup. His sample size of success in the majors is short, but he does have a plus changeup with developing command. HR's tend to be a problem when he isn't keeping the ball down. Possible 175 K upside with 200 innings, but I fear the declining fastball.

4. SP Kyle Lohse

Kyle Lohse fantasy baseball

Lohse has pitched his best ball over the last 3 seasons (41-21 with a 3.19 ERA). His command (1.6) has been elite in back to back years, but his K rate (5.7) still remains short. Last year, Kyle was drilled in May (0-4 with 6.51 ERA). Over the other 5 months, he had a 2.84 ERA. Lohse didn't dominate RH (.262) or (LH (.256) batters, issuing 25 of his 36 walks to lefties. His AFB (89.6) remained short, while his slider is his #2 pitch (has gained value over the last 2 years). Kyle also throws a changeup as his 3rd pitch followed by an improving curveball. Overall, Lohse is a steady backend starter with a short K rate. With enough starts, he may deliver 130+ K's.

5. SP Wily Peralta

Wily Peralta fantasy baseball

Peralta's final stats won't make any fantasy owners feel good about drafting him in 2014. His command (3.6) remains poor and his K rate (6.3) is relatively weak. Wily has a plus fastball (94.8), but he really only has one other pitch he can lean on (slider). Last year, he threw a low level changeup as his 3rd pitch. He has been a GB pitcher (51.0%) so far during his career with a short FB rate (27.7%). Peralta didn't dominate righties (.269) or lefties (.259), but he struggled mostly with his command to LH batters (43 of his 73 walks and 12 of his 19 HR's allowed). As bad as his results looked, Wily showed growth over the last 3 months of the year (3.19 ERA with 78 K's in 90.3 innings). Over the first half, he had a short K rate (5.0) with a huge ERA (5.58 ERA). His success during the 2nd half wasn't a result of better command (3.6). Overall, Peralta had poor command (4.0) in the minors with a stronger K rate (8.5). His 2nd half suggests he should be better in 2014, but I still don't trust him as he doesn't throw enough strikes and lacks a 3rd pitch. His plus fastball will only carry him so far. I expect improvement this year, but his disaster starts will make him a tough player to own. Wily has 150 K upside with extreme WHIP risk. I'll let you beat me with him.

6. SP Tyler Thornburg

Tyler Thornburg fantasy baseball

Thornburg struggled at AAA in 2013 (0-9 with 5.79 ERA), but he had a solid K rate (10.5). Prior to last season, Tyler was 21-10 in the minors with a 2.77 ERA. Even with his poor season at AAA, he was still able to have value with the Brewers as a starter (7 starts, 1.47 ERA). Thornburg has more value against LH batters (.192 with .200 SLG % - only 1 extra base hit in 125 at bats). His AFB was 92.0 with the Brewers, while his #2 pitch is a plus curveball (followed by a changeup that has some upside). His command (3.5) was short during his entire minor league career, but he had a plus K rate (10.3). Overall, Thornburg has a live arm with upside. His fastball/curveball combination may work well in the 9th inning, and his skill set is high enough where he could press Peralta for the 5th starting job. Possible sleeper in 2014.

7. SP Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson fantasy baseball

Nelson was able to make it to the majors after a successful season between AA and AAA (.325 ERA and 163 K's in 152.3 innings). He has a career 3.52 ERA in the minors with 435 K's in 452.3 innings. His AFB was 93.7 with the Brewers (threw it 77.8% of the time). His only other pitch is a slider as he only threw his changeup about 2% of the time during his 4 appearance in the majors. His command (4.1) has been poor during his entire career, which limited the upside in his K rate (8.7). Last year with Milwaukee, he only allowed 2 hits and 1 run in 10 innings, but he had 5 walks. Nelson has had success in the minors with just 2 pitches, but his value will decline in the majors as a starter until he develops better command and a 3rd pitch. His skill set may work well as a closer if he can throw more strikes.

8. CL Jim Henderson

Jim Henderson fantasy baseball

Henderson did a good job of saving games for the Brewers over the last 68 games of the season. He converted 18 of 19 chances over that stretch and 28 of 32 on the season. As good as it looks, Jim did come away with some red flags in 2013. His first pitch strike % (48%) was one of the lowest in baseball. We all know a pitcher has a much higher chance of failing if he is behind 1-0 rather than ahead 0-1. Henderson allowed 6 HR's (9 runs) in his last 13 outings (12.7 innings). His command (3.6) remains short, but he has a plus K rate (11.3). Jim is dominant against RH batters (.165 with a .243 SLG %). While his AFB (95.3) remains elite, he throws it 77.0% of the time. His only pitch is a slider. Overall, his minor league resume (3.95 ERA with a 3.8 walk rate and 7.1 strikeout rate) has never been elite. For me, Henderson falls into the trap category as a closer. He certainly has the fastball to close and his slider is tough to hit, but his lack of command leads to HR's. Possible upside in K's and saves if he keeps the job, but I would keep my eye open for the next option in Milwaukee if the walks and HR's start to be a problem.

9. RP David Goforth

David Goforth fantasy baseball

I'm not thrilled with the mediocre options in the Brewers bullpen, so I would take a shot with a minor league arm with a big fastball. David has a mid 90's heater with upside, but his secondary pitches haven't developed at this point of his career. His command (3.4) has been short during his entire minor league career, with the exception of his first season at A ball (2.2) when he pitched in relief. The Brewers gave him a chance as a starter over the last 2 seasons in the minors, but his lack of swing and miss pitches led to a short K rate (6.5) and a switch back to the pen at AA last year. Over his last 15 innings as a closer, Goforth had 5 saves with a 1.20 ERA , 5 walks, and 13 K's. His arm will fall behind Nelson and Thornburg, so he is nothing more than a flyer if his name gets mentioned in spring training.

10. RP Wei-Chung Wang

Wei-Chung Wang fantasy baseball

Just like Goforth, I added Wei-Chung as an upside arm in the Brewers bullpen. He has only pitched 47.3 innings at rookie ball during his minor league career, but he was claimed by Milwaukee from Pittsburgh in last year's Rule V draft. Wang is an undersized lefty with fastball that can reach 93 to 94 and possible upside when he fills out. He had elite command in 2013 (4 walks in 47.3 innings) with a solid K rate (8.0). However, he did have Tommy John surgery in 2011. Milwaukee will carry him as a left handed reliever in 2014, but he will be making a big step up in competition. His future should be the starting rotation.


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