Organizational Rankings: #12 – Milwaukee

I will admit to being more bullish on the Brewers than anyone else I know that is not from Milwaukee. I realize that the projection systems have them as about a .500 team, but I’ve got them closer to 86 or 87 wins.

I may be the world’s last remaining believer in Manny Parra, who I still expect some pretty good things from. I’ve been a Rickie Weeks fanboy forever, and I’m still high on his abilities if he can stay healthy. I love watching Carlos Gomez play defense. And those guys are just the role players around a really good young core. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Alcides Escobar, and Yovani Gallardo form a tremendous quartet of young talent, and give Milwaukee some of the best building blocks in the game.

Given the talent already in Milwaukee, I think they’ve got a legitimate shot at contending for at least the next two years and likely beyond. Whether they can retain Fielder is an open question, but even if they can’t, they should be able to get a significant return in trade for him that will include some major league ready guys. With the roster they’ve put together, I don’t see Milwaukee dropping off any time soon.

Part of that belief is faith I have in Doug Melvin and his crew, who don’t get enough credit for the job they’ve done. The Brewers aren’t loud about their integration of scouting and statistic analysis, but they’re one of the more forward thinking front offices in baseball. Melvin might not have an Ivy League pedigree, but he runs a really good organization.

Milwaukee is a good young team that should remain a contender for years to come. Their payroll limitations and mediocre farm system keep them out of the top 10, but it’s definitely a good time to be a Brewer fan.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

23 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #12 – Milwaukee”

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  1. FanGraphs Supporting Member

    You know people from Milwaukee?

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  2. Omar says:

    What do you expect Escobar to slug as a major leaguer?

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    • Luke in MN says:

      Related question: Who’s a better all-around MLBer this year and next, Escobar or Hardy?

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      • Omar says:

        I’d say Hardy, I think he hit 20 HRs, play great defense and get on base at about a .335 clip…that’s better than I expect from Escobar.

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      • grandbranyan says:

        Hardy is going to cost 5.1 million smackaroos this year, Escobar 500k. I think Hardy will have a better overall year, but not by 4.5 million $$$.

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  3. Omar says:

    Probably a story to tell when the Twins get ranked, but: Speaking of Carlos Gomez, I was at a bar and a Twins fan was tending, and I was talking and asking “How do they not blow completely after giving away Sanatana?”. He talked about Minnesota’s ‘incredible farm’ to which I ask “who have they developed lately?” Knowing full well that while they have developed good players, this guy won’t know who they are. He lists Carlos Gomez, and ignoring the fact that he was acquired through trade in the Santana give away, I pointed out that he’s a lead off man who doesn’t get on base. He responds, as you would imagine, “He just scores runs.” I pointed out, in the rate event that he does get on base, the reason he scores is because players like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer drive him in…and he said and I remember this exactly because it was so hilarious:

    “When he gets on base he scores at a higher ration than ANYONE ELSE in baseball”

    Not sure if this adds anything to this discussion, but it’s a fun anecdote that I thought I’d share.

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  4. glassSheets says:

    I’m willing to bet I love watching Carlos Gomez play defense more than you Dave Cameron. If there is one thing I know I do at a higher level than Dave Cameron, it’s love Carlos Gomez.

    It is an unhealthy mancrush. There is the healthy kind, then there is what I have for Carlos Gomez.

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  5. glassSheets says:

    Speaking of Carlos Gomez, I have a question about UZR.

    Does UZR weight where defenders catch balls outside of their zone? Gomez plays deep so he doesn’t catch as many of the balls short of his zone, but he catches more balls deep of his zone. Does UZR account for the fact that the deep balls (2b and 3b) he catches are worth more than the short balls (1b) that drop in? I believe John Dewan looked at this in his book and found that according to the +/-, if Carlos caught the same balls shallow as what he caught deep he wouldn’t have scored nearly as high (i would write the exact numbers, but i don’t have the book by me).

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    • Dave Cameron says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member


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      • glassSheets says:

        Do you have a breakdown of how Carlos rated in the different zones last year? I live in MN and watch most games, and at times it felt like he was taking it to the extreme and playing deep even for him. is there a way I can find out if he fared better or worse in zones from his first year in MN to last year?

        I would speculate that he did worse on shallow balls and didn’t get helped out as much on fly balls and that led to his drop in UZR from 08 to 09.

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  6. mike says:

    $22 million in bad contracts (Suppan, Riske, Hall) come off the books after this year and I hope to hell they spend it on Prince.

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  7. Brian says:

    The Brewers front office is forward thinking and doesn’t get enough credit? For what? Signing every pitcher the Cardinals don’t want anymore to bad contracts?

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    • tom says:

      Beyond Suppan, who else from the Cards? People don’t think about waiver claims, such as Mcgehee, who was 5th in ROY voting this past year. In the past, he has picked up other major contributors such as Brady Clark, Derrick Turnbow, and Todd Coffey. We have had those guys at the peak of their career. They may not be allstars, but solid contributors, none the less. He got Zaun this year, who is a better catcher for a shorter time and cheaper than Pudge, Kendell, among others. He locked up Braun for a long time for little money. The orginization drafted almost all of our core, in Braun, Fielder, Yo, Weeks, Hart, Escobar. As far as bad contracts, every team that has spent $ on players has made bad choices. At least we don’t have Zito.

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    • TWA says:

      Melvin does seem to have a weakness for “veteran” pitching, but nobody said he was perfect. Suppan/Looper were disasters but you can’t expect Melvin to have foreseen how atrocious they would end up. The team is still very well run.

      Better to make a couple (and only one remaining) mistake on Cardinals cast-offs than to be spending almost $20 million on crappy Red Sox cast-offs (Lugo/Penny)

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  8. jirish says:

    Dave, I too still believe in Manny Parra. He’s struggled with injuries and
    inconsistency in the past, but no one has ever said he didn’t have major league stuff. Word out of camp is that he has a good working relationship with Coach Rick-yeah, I think this could be the year he finally puts it together.

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  9. slamcactus says:

    The Vegas odds on the Brewers to win the world series was 40-1 when I was there in February. That put them only barely above teams like Kansas City. That dumbfounded me.

    I put down $5, just in case.

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  10. Rog says:

    Manny Parra has become Rick Peterson’s best student this offseason. I think this could be a breakout season for him.

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  11. Harv says:

    Weeks defense has improved significantly, but the core issue is that the young man’s body simply will not hold together for 130 odd games in a major league season. McGehee is the third baseman and if Casey plays 60 percent of what he did in 2009 it willl be a miracle. Which means the Brewers have a high probablility of Craig Counsell in the lineup on a regular basis and the guy may be as tough as boot leather but older than Moses. Craig also played out of his mind last season so a step back in a 76 year old player has to be anticipated.

    Also a Parra guy. Jason Kendall was a fruit loop and gave Manny the heebie-jeebies. I think Parra gets his sea legs and is a big plus this season.

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  12. DaveinEG says:

    Melvin has his weaknesses. He rarely thinks out of the box. He spends entirely too much time focusing on what went wrong the previous year and fixing that even when there are other improvements that could be made and the fact that this year’s problems figure to be entirely different. This year he’s blaming last year’s problems on lack of starter depth when the problem was really lack of starter quality. So now he’s trying to shoehorn 7 starters on to his opening day roster in the name of maintaining an inventory of starting pitching.

    That being said, Escobar is the real deal. He’ll hit close to if not over .300 and get enough doubles and triples to slug around .400. He won’t walk much but he’ll get on enough (around .340-.350). But as anyone can tell you that’s seen Hardy a lot will attest, it’s running the bases where Escobar’s value over Hardy rests. Hardy may be the slowest middle infielder in baseball in the last 20 years. He can’t run. He can’t score from first on a double. He can’t go from 1st to 3rd on base hits. He can only score from second on seeing eye ground balls and balls in the gaps.

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  13. now see, this kind of stuff really isn’t going to add up

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