Cleat Geeks

N.L. Central Predictions: #5 Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that has much rebuilding to do before they can compete for the NL Central title again.CraigCouncil

Even after switching managers from Ron Roenecke to Craig Counsell in the middle of the season after the worst start in the team’s history and picking up some steam toward the end, they still only managed to finish in 4th place in the NL Central with a 68-94 record.

The bad news for the Brewers going into 2016 is that coming out of that abysmal season, they have not been able to land any particularly huge names in the off-season to bolster their roster and give them some extra punch offensively. That being said, they have been extremely busy when it comes to trades. They got LF Ramon Flores in a deal with the Mariners for 2B Luis Sardinas. The Brewers received center fielder Keon Broxton in a trade for first baseman Jason Rogers and they also got a right-handed pitcher in Trey Supak. The Brewers got one of their best deals when they got SS Jonathan Villar from Houston in exchange for pitcher, Cy Sneed. With 10 homers, 11 RBI’s and 13 stolen bases in 2015, Villar could be a key player in the Brewers offense. The team also acquired right-handed pitchers, Freddy Peralta, Daniel Missaki and Carlos Herrera in a trade with Seattle but it cost them their first baseman, Adam Lind. Milwaukee has also claimed many players off waivers including LF Kirk Niewendheis from the Mets, C Josmul Pinto from the Padres, 1B Andy Wilkins from the Rangers, RHP Zach Jones from the Indians, and 2B Colin Walsh from the Athletics.Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros

The ones that stick out the most on that expansive list are Josmul Pinto and Kirk Niewendheis. Niewendheis played with the Mets in last year’s World Series against the Royals and Milwaukee is looking to capture some of that magic in this pickup.  He had a pretty strong slugging percentage in 2015 at .375, 4 HRs and 16 RBI’s to his name so the Brewers have good reason to believe he can deliver this year. Meanwhile, Josmul Pinto is coming off an injury that kept him in the minors and how well he does will depend on whether he can show that he has recovered well enough from it.Cecchini-Garin

The Brewers traded some cash to Boston for 3B Garin Cecchini and a new catcher in Manny Pina. They have invited a third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, three pitchers including lefty, Nick Hagadone, right-handed pitchers, Hiram Burgos and Daniel Tillman. A second baseman, Jake Elmore and a left fielder in Alex Presley to train with them in the spring.

As great as all the gains are, they do not come without off-season losses. Kyle Lohse left the team for free agency earlier on in the off season. Two of the Brewers’ biggest losses are 1B Adam Lind and 3B Elian Herrera. The Brewers will no doubt miss Herrera’s 33 RBI’s but Lind’s departure to Seattle is going to hurt as he came up big for them in 2015 with a whopping 87 RBI’s and 20 homers. Another big loss is their former closer Francisco Rodriguez who made the move to Detroit following a strong 2015 season in which he had 62 strikeouts and saved 38 out of 40 games  They also lost Daniel Fields to the Dodgers and Mike Strong to the Marlins.

Today at 4:00pm on the West and 6:00pm on the East @cleatgeeks will be doing its 1st Podcast of the new year! The MLB Headfirst Podcast will focus today on the MLB Hall of Fame balloting.

Overall, the Brewers strategy for the Central is to rebuild for the future and give some of their minor league guys a chance in the hope that they will shine and shock everyone in the Central.  However, the reality for them is that they are in a rebuild phase in a very competitive and very strong NL Central Division. Brew Crew fans should expect a better start than last year from the team because of all the new faces giving the team a boost.  A division winning miracle in 2016 is unlikely. They could be a threat in years to come if the rebuilding goes well though.


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