Handing out the Halftime Grades

on 07/03/2001

Tyler Houston has exceeded expectations this year.

Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals will officially mark the halfway point in the roller-coaster season for the Milwaukee Brewers. So, how does the team look after we break down the first 81 games? Here is a peek:


Ben Sheets A Staff ace for years to come
Jamey Wright B+ Has been burned by poor run support in the past month
Jimmy Haynes C Inconsistent - the way he has been most of his career
Paul Rigdon C Once promising season hampered by arm troubl
Allen Levrault C Did the best he could in the role he was forced to pitch in
Will Cunnane D+ Recent improvement has postponed demotion/release
Chad Fox A Is better than ever; could be a big-time closer
Ray King B Solid season overshadowed by BS and loss in Pittsburgh two weeks ago
Curtis Leskanic B Makes the ninth interesting, but usually gets the job done
David Weathers A Get a good look at him now, because he likely wont be here much longer
Mike DeJean B+ Is head and shoulders better than Juan Acevedo
Kyle Peterson: Inc. Solid in return from surgery, but questions remain long-term
Mike Buddie F Former Yankee prospect just called up


Henry Blanco C- A couple of Brewers starting pitchers hit better than Blanco
Raul Casanova B With improved defense, could take over full-time job

Richie Sexson

B Has resurrected himself from a dreadful beginning
Ron Belliard C The Brewers are expecting a lot more; patience running thin
Jose Hernandez B Best all-around year of his career; stellar with the glove
Tyler Houston A- Breakthrough season for Houston, both at the plate on in the field
Mark Loretta C+ Is he an infielder or a relief pitcher?
Luis Lopez D- Not sure why Lopez is on the team


Jeromy Burnitz B Failure to deliver clutch hits late in close games has hurt the team
Geoff Jenkins B Injured hand has hampered his hitting for a few weeks
Jeffrey Hammonds C Slowed by injuries - again. Bust? Too early to say
Devon White A Aquired to cut salary; instead, he has proven he has plenty left in the tank
Angel Echevarria D He is on this team because???
James Mouton C- The only things keeping him in Milwaukee are his legs
Alex Sanchez Inc. Former Tampa Bay minor league player of the year getting a look
Robert Perez Inc. Another youngster getting a look with the injury situation

Davey Lopes: B-

Like all managers, some of Lopes decisions have caused some head-scratching. But for the most part, you have to say that Lopes is doing his job fairly well, considering 3/5 of the starting rotation and 1/3 of the regular lineup has been hurt on a consistent basis. It seems like every game Lopes has to march out a different starting lineup, something that is hard for any manager to take, much less a rookie manager. One thing that Lopes has done well is getting the respect of the players.

Dean Taylor: B

Taylor has done nothing short of a magnificent job turning around a minor league program that was in shambles after Sal Bando left. The trades he has made involving Devon White and Mike DeJean have both worked out very well, as the signing of Tyler Houston has. He is drawing some heat for the Hammonds signing. Taylor seems to be doing a good job of bringing the Brewers top prospects along at a pace comfortable for them. At first glance, it also appears that Taylor got some steals in Junes amateur draft as well. As Miller Park continues to provide more flexibility as far as economics are concerned, we will be able to better judge the job Taylor is doing.

Overall: C+

I think most educated Brewers fans expected what they are getting from this team; inconsistency, but a positive upside. The sweep over the first place Cubs has shown Brewer fans that they have a team on the rise, but the subseqent 7 losses out of 8 games to the Pirates and Astros has shown that there is still more work to be done. The Brewers still have areas to shore up on the rotation, which could be taken care of as early as next spring with the expected arrival of Nick Neugebauer. Taylor will have some big decisions to make over the next few weeks regarding David Weathers, Devon White, and Jose Hernandez, who have all been rumored in trades. The way the National League is shaking out this year has many fans feeling that this season is, so far, a missed opportunity, but the Brewers brass has said all along that there are no quick fixes and that this rebuilding process will take time to develop. Look for the Brewers to swing a deal near the deadline to acquire a young player or two that can help the club next year or in 2003. Right now, the lineup and starting rotation are both too inconsistent to seriously contend for the playoffs, and the injuries involving key members of the everyday lineup are just too much to overcome. But the Brewers have some great young talent that should make the next few years of Milwaukee baseball fun to watch.