brewerfan.net header
About Us    Power 50    Link Report    Daily Brew    Draft    FAQ    Links
Transactions    Player Index    Login    Fan Forum
Lambeau Leap 1250 WSSP  
 
Brewerfan Features
Toby's Power 50
Link Report
Draft
Milwaukee Brewers
Nashville Sounds
Huntsville Stars
Brevard County Manatees
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Helena Brewers
Arizona Brewers



  Minor League
Player Search
 
 
 
Powered by
Baseball America

  Major League
Player Search
 
 
 
Powered by ESPN

  Poll
Should Tommy John be in the Hall of Fame?
1. Yes
2. No











 
Feature
 
 
A Midseason Report Card: The 2003 Milwaukee Brewers

Batterman
on 07/17/2003

 

Overview

The All-Star Break provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate the first half of the baseball season. While the Brewers have now played 93 games, the three-day respite nonetheless presents a reasonable milestone for the halfway point of 2003. This analysis will take the form of a report card, a simple concept that has been used for these purposes many times before. Each player on the Milwaukee roster will be evaluated and given a letter grade ranging from A to D. In addition, a few midseason awards will be handed out and each player's production will be investigated more thoroughly.

Before continuing, please remember that no evaluation of baseball players is 100% objective. As a result, this analysis should be taken for what it is: an educated opinion based on the factors considered. What are those factors? In large part, the grades for position players are based on three criteria:

First, offensive production. This takes into account all of the relevant hitting metrics and places priority on Value Over Replacement Level, or VORP, as determined by Baseball Prospectus. Second, defensive play. This is a much more difficult thing to measure but fielding percentage, range factor, and zone rating are each considered. Finally, value and expectations. On a small-market club in a rebuilding year, the economic impact of a player cannot be ignored. As a result, players' performance relative to their salaries is considered and those players who present the organization with more value are given added weight. Players who have met or exceeded expectations are also given a boost over those who have not played up to their expected levels.

For pitchers, the third criterion remains relevant but the first two are replaced with pitching metrics. Of primary importance are earned run average, walks plus hits divided by innings pitched, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and Value Over Replacement Player.

Without further ado, the 2003 Midseason Report Card.

Position Players

As expected, sluggers Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins have had excellent seasons at the plate but perhaps the most valuable hitter has been Scott Podsednik. The 27-year old who grabbed a spot on the roster only because of a Spring Training injury to Geoff Jenkins, Podsednik has put up league-leading numbers and is among the frontrunners for NL Rookie of the Year.

THE REPORT CARD

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

Richie Sexson

23.8

A-

Scott Podsednik

22.0

A-

Geoff Jenkins

18.1

B+

Wes Helms

15.3

B-

Eddie Perez

14.0

C+

Eric Young

13.2

C+

John Vander Wal

13.0

B-

Brooks Kieschnick

8.2

B

Keith Ginter

5.3

C

Brady Clark

-1.4

C-

Royce Clayton

-2.7

D

Keith Osik

-3.7

C-

Enrique Cruz

-9.0

D

Pitching Staff

On the pitching side of things, it becomes clear why the Brewers' winning percentage has fallen under .400. The top three starters - Ben Sheets, Matt Kinney, and Wayne Franklin - have all been solid and Rule 5 selection Matt Ford has been a very pleasant surprise. Leo Estrella and Brooks Kieschnick have each been better than expected out of the pen but the good news stops there. Glendon Rusch, Luis Vizcaino, and Ruben Quevedo have been horrible and Mike DeJean has struggled mightily. If the Brewers hope to get back on track in the second half, it will be the pitching staff that determines their fate.

THE REPORT CARD

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

Leo Estrella

12.4

A-

Ben Sheets

12.0

B

Matt Ford

7.8

B

Valerio De Los Santos

5.7

C

Wayne Franklin

5.2

C+

Matt Kinney

5.2

C+

Brooks Kieschnick

4.3

B-

Danny Kolb

3.1

B

John Foster

2.1

C

Dave Burba

0.9

D

Mike DeJean

-1.3

D

Shane Nance

-4.2

D

Ruben Quevedo

-4.5

D

Jayson Durocher

-4.6

C-

Luis Vizcaino

-9.8

D

Glendon Rusch

-25.4

D

The Midseason Awards

Most Valuable Position Player: Scott Podsednik.

He leads the team in average, OBP, stolen bases, and triples. A spark-plug at the top of the lineup, the 27-year old has given Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins more opportunities to drive in runs and his defense has been solid. Honorable Mention: Sexson, Jenkins.

Most Valuable Starting Pitcher: Ben Sheets.

While he hasn't pitched up to expectations, Sheets is quietly putting together another solid season. He is second in the rotation in ERA, first in strikeouts, first in innings pitched, first in WHIP, and second in opponent batting average. Honorable Mention: Wayne Franklin, Matt Kinney.

Most Valuable Relief Player: Leo Estrella.

The sinkerballer came out of nowhere to lead the relief corps in ERA. After Vizcaino's early-season struggles, the 28-year old was vaulted into the setup role and is second in innings pitched, second in WHIP, and second in batting average against. Honorable Mention: Brooks Kieschnick, Danny Kolb.

Most Valuable Role Player: Brooks Kieschnick.

No question about it. Kieschnick has posted a solid ERA out of the bullpen and is hitting .333 with 4 homers and a .984 OPS in 45 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, DH, and pitcher. He has already equalled his career home-run total... but this time he is a pitcher, not an outfielder. Honorable Mention: Keith Ginter.

Least Valuable Player: Royce Clayton.

It would seem like finding the worst player on a last-place team would be difficult. Not so with the 2003 Brewers. Clayton, who is making $1.5 million, is hitting .210 with a .289 on-base percentage. He is playing average defense at best and his rally-killing abilities are unprecedented. With runners on base, he is hitting .162; with runners in scoring position, he is hitting .123. He has also managed to ground into 17 double plays. Honorable Mention: Glendon Rusch.

Position Breakdown

For the purposes of this report card, only players who are currently with the team will be considered. The following breakdown by position goes into more detail about each member of the club.

CATCHER

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Eddie Perez

14.00

C+

A pleasant surprise at the plate and above-average defensively. Lots of power compared with his career numbers.

Keith Osik

-3.7

C-

A solid defensive catcher who has been terrible at the plate. Inexpensive but below average rent-a-player.

The Brewers' have employed a platoon system behind the plate with veterans Eddie Perez and Keith Osik splitting the signal calling duties. The 34-year old Osik has appeared in 48 games while the 35-year old Perez has played in 62. Both were acquired during the off-season as free agents and their combined salary is just under $1 million.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Keith Osik    .226   .315   .288   .603    1   10 
Eddie Perez   .311   .338   .485   .823    9   37

While Osik is producing at nearly his career average, Perez has definitely been a pleasant surprise. The former-Atlanta backstop is in the top-half in OPS among NL catchers and is sixth in home runs.

Defensively, both Osik and Perez have been merely serviceable.

              FPCT   SB   CS    CS%   
PB   CERA 
----------------------------------------------- 
Keith Osik    .991   27   10   .270    3   4.40 
Eddie Perez   .989   37   11   .229    5   5.55

The Bottom Line

While neither has been spectacular, the platoon system has been more than adequate. On a rebuilding team that has placed its emphasis on the future, however, it would seem advisable to give a younger player an opportunity. Otherwise, the Osik/Perez duo is living proof that serviceable catchers can be purchased cheaply in the off-season.

FIRST BASE

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Richie Sexson

23.8

B+

The best player on a bad team. Good numbers at the plate and solid defense.

As has been the case for the last several seasons, Richie Sexson has dutifully occupied the first-base slot for Milwaukee. The 28-year old has played in each of his team's 93 games this year and his numbers earned him a spot to the All-Star Game. The slugger ranks fifth in the NL in home runs and runs batted in and eighth in walks.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Richie Sexson .263   .376   .513   .889   25   70

In addition to his power production, Sexson has played adequate defense en route to a solid .992 fielding percentage. While his range factor and zone rating are near the bottom of the first-base pack, the Big Man continues to improve and he has been responsible for quite a few highlight-reel plays.

               FPCT     ZR     RF 
--------------------------------- 
Richie Sexson  .992   .804   9.28

Sexson is the best player on a below-average Brewers team and his numbers continue to put him near the top of the NL list. While it remains to be seen how much longer he remains with the club, Richie is a capable of putting up huge numbers in the second half if his health and his teammates cooperate.

SECOND BASE

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Eric Young

13.2

C+

Bad defense but better-than-expected hitting. Great power numbers compared to his career marks.

Keith Ginter

5.3

C

Hasn't gotten much of an opportunity to play but has been solid in limited action.

The 36-year old Eric Young has gotten the majority of playing time at second and, thanks to a power surge, he has been a quality bat at the top of the Brewers' lineup. His 19 stolen bases rank him second on the team and his 12 home runs are fourth behind Sexson, Jenkins, and Helms. In limited action, 27-year old Keith Ginter has also produced well, including 5 home runs and a .337 on-base percentage.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Eric Young    .251   .332   .423   .756   12   27 
Keith Ginter  .265   .337   .389   .726    4   19

Ginter has played in 24 games at second, 14 at third, 2 at shortstop, and 2 in left-field. He is an adequate defender at the latter three positions and a solid second-baseman. Young, on the other hand, is arguably the worst fielding second-baseman in the Major Leagues.

               FPCT     ZR     RF 
--------------------------------- 
Eric Young     .964   .803   4.58 
Keith Ginter  1.000   .778   4.17

The zone rating and range factor numbers seem to preference Young but that is the result of a small sample and not an accurate measure of their defensive prowess. Ginter has only 94 total chances compared with 329 for EY.

The Bottom Line

Eric Young has been a solid hitter but his age makes a trade likely. Keith Ginter has spent most of the season on the bench or as a pinch-hitter and therefore the jury is still out on the 27-year old. Regardless, the first-half totals for Brewer second-baseman are very solid.

THIRD BASE

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Wes Helms

15.3

C+

Surprisingly effective at the plate. Very streaky with good power numbers and a poor OBP. Solid defensively.

Despite a proclivity for streaky hitting (and non-hitting), Wes Helms has been a solid third-baseman. The 27-year old import from Atlanta has gotten a chance to play everyday for the first time as a big leaguer and has proven Ned Yost's patience justified.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Wes Helms     .256   .327   .454   .780   16   51

Helms has appeared in 85 games and is third on the team in home runs, runs batted in, and total bases. He is making only $575,000 and has likely earned himself the starting job for the rest of 2003. Defensively, Helms has been reliable but his range is below-average.

               FPCT     ZR     RF 
--------------------------------- 
Wes Helms      .939   .759   2.59

All three metrics rank Helms in the middle or below among MLB third-baseman but his strong arm has been able to make up for some of his shortcomings.

The Bottom Line

Keith Ginter probably deserved the third-base job this Spring but Helms' production has been better than expected. He strikes out too much, walks too little, and doesn't play stellar defense... but he is an adequate stopgap until a superior option surfaces.

SHORTSTOP

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Royce Clayton

-2.7

D

One of the worst players in the league offensively. Average but declining defense. Doesn't deserve to start.

Enrique Cruz

-9.0

D

Has struggled mightily in very limited opportunities. Needs more playing time but will head back to the farm next season.

The off-season featured two shortstop acquisitions. Royce Clayton was signed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal and 21-year old Enrique Cruz was selected as the first pick overall in the Rule 5 Draft. To put it bluntly, neither has been worthy of a Major League roster spot. While Cruz' struggles were to be expected given that he spent the previous season at Single-A, Clayton has been anemic at the plate. If it wasn't for a hot start in April, there is a real possibility that he would be hitting under .200.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Wes Helms     .210   .289   .338   .626    9   26 
Enrique Cruz  .086   .159   .103   .262    0    2

Clayton has appeared in 90 of the team's 93 games while Cruz has accumulated only 58 at-bats in 44 games. Clayton's batting average is last in the Major Leagues among shortstops and his OPS is better than only Jack Wilson and Cesar Izturis. He is in the bottom ten in all of baseball in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

In the field, Clayton is supposed to earn his money. Unfortunately, the 33-year old is merely an average shortstop at this stage in his career and he has made his share of miscues this season.

                 FPCT     ZR     RF 
----------------------------------- 
Royce Clayton   .974    .853   4.41 
Enrique Cruz   1.000    .909   3.54

Clayton's fielding percentage puts him 10th in the majors while his range factor and zone rating are each in the bottom half. Cruz has not gotten much of an opportunity to play but his defense appears to be very good.

The Bottom Line

Royce Clayton has been the worst position player on this year's club. His defense is no longer spectacular and his hitting has been abysmal. While it is unlikely that any other team would be interested in his services, GM Doug Melvin should do everything he can to move the 33-year old. Enrique Cruz, on the other hand, has been signed to a contract extension and will likely spend next season at Double-A Huntsville.

LEFT FIELD

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Geoff Jenkins

18.1

B+

Having a breakthrough year, Jenkins has played excellent defense and is slugging at an All-Star clip. Strikeouts are still a problem, however.

The oft-injured outfielder is in the midst of what could be a breakout season. Jenkins was voted into the All-Star Game as part of the 32nd man contest and his numbers at the plate are excellent. A series of swing changes have helped him cut down on his strikeouts but the 28-year old is still among the league leaders in punch outs.

               AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS 
   HR  RBI 
------------------------------------------------- 
Geoff Jenkins .275   .352   .515   .867   20   68

Defensively, Jenkins has not made an error and he leads all left-fielders with 10 assists. His range factor and zone rating are each in the top half of the league as well.

 
                  FPCT     ZR     RF 
----------------------------------- 
Geoff Jenkins   1.000   .903   2.04

The Bottom Line

Coming off a gruesome ankle injury that cut his 2002 season short, Jenkins is an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. He has arguably been the best offensive player on the team and, along with Richie Sexson, has provided most of the run production.

CENTER FIELD

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Scott Podsednik

22.0

A-

The biggest surprise of 2003. One of the best first halves by a Brewers rookie since Pat Listach in 1992. An on-base machine who plays serviceable centerfield defense.

At 27 years of age, Scott Podsednik is getting his first chance to play every day in the big leagues. To put it mildly, the Texan centerfielder has made the most of the opportunity. He leads all MLB rookies in just about every offensive category and is in the top ten in stolen bases and batting average among all Major Leaguers.

                  AVG    OBP    SLG    
OPS   HR  RBI 
---------------------------------------------------- 
Scott Podsednik  .320   .393   .437   .830    3   25

Since taking over for Alex Sanchez in mid-May, Podsednik has put together a 43-game consecutive games reached streak that he looks to extend in the second-half. In addition to his offensive prowess, the speedy left-hander has played good defense in center and has been an upgrade over departed Alex Sanchez in nearly every way.

                 FPCT     ZR     RF 
----------------------------------- 
Scott Podsednik  .986   .916   2.38

The Bottom Line

The Brewers likely had little idea what they were getting when they picked up Podsednik off waivers from Seattle. Regardless, he has been one of the lone bright spots for the team and his "gamer" reputation has earned him many accolades from fans. Whether the club picks it up in the second half or not, watching Podsednik continue to mature will be enjoyable for Brew Crew fans everywhere.

RIGHT FIELD

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

John Vander Wal

13.0

B-

At 37 years of age, Vander Wal can still hit. He has been everything the Brewers expected and more. Likely to be traded.

Brady Clark

-1.4

C-

Getting a chance to platoon, Clark has put up poor numbers against mostly left-handed pitchers. A valuable utility player but not deserving of a starting job.

As they have done behind the plate, the Brewers have utilized a platoon system for most of the year in right. John Vander Wal, the veteran "professional hitter," has gotten the majority of the starts mostly against right-handed pitching. The Crew also picked up Brady Clark in the off-season and the journeyman utility player has started frequently against left-handed pitchers.

                  AVG    OBP    SLG    
OPS   HR  RBI 
---------------------------------------------------- 
John Vander Wal  .283   .372   .489   .861    9   31 
Brady Clark      .271   .296   .361   .657    2   23

Despite his age, Vander Wal is actually producing at a level higher than his career average. He has only 28 at-bats against left-handed pitchers, however, something that has no-doubt contributed to his offensive numbers. Brady Clark has played all three outfield positions and has been a reliable right-handed pinch-hitter for Ned Yost. While his numbers are well-below average, Clark could be a useful utility player.

In the field, Vander Wal's age and injured knees have severely limited his range. Nonetheless, the Michigan-native has not been much of a liability. Brady Clark, too, has not been much of a defensive player. Still, his ability to play all three outfield positions adequately is valuable given his $312,500 salary and the Crew's insistence on keeping 13 pitchers on the roster.

                 FPCT     ZR     RF 
----------------------------------- 
John Vander Wal  .981   .867   2.15 
Brady Clark      .986   .918   2.58

The Bottom Line

Scott Podsednik and Jeffrey Hammonds were each part of the right-field picture in April but Sanchez' trade and Hammonds injury and subsequent release left only Vander Wal and Clark. While the two are by no means an elite duo, they are both inexpensive and Vander Wal's bat will likely net the club a few prospects come the end of July.

STARTING PITCHERS

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Ben Sheets

12.0

B

The ace-by-default of the Brewers' staff, Sheets has been ravished by the long ball. He still hasn't been the dominant #1 starter that the organization hopes he will become.

Matt Ford

7.8

B

The 22-year old Rule 5 pick has been outstanding out of the bullpen and earned a spot in the rotation. He battles the base-on-balls and has struggled as a starter.

Wayne Franklin

5.2

C+

If it wasn't for a few poor outings, Franklin could easily be the highest-rated pitcher on the staff. He has kept his club in the game without overpowering the opposition but walks are a problem.

Matt Kinney

5.2

C+

Kinney began the year as the Crew's most consistent starter but has struggled as the season progresses. Has a tendency to give up one big inning and his record has suffered as a result.

Dave Burba

0.9

D

The fact that he is even on the team is proof enough of the Brewers' struggles. Hasn't shown anything to justify his placement in the rotation and was promptly moved to the pen.

Ruben Quevedo

-4.5

D

The youngster from Venezuela has been very bad in limited action. He was sent down to Triple-A but is now on the DL with shoulder problems. Velocity is way down, earned runs are way up.

Glendon Rusch

-25.4

D

Quite simply, the worst pitcher in all of baseball. Lost confidence in his curveball. Sent down to Triple-A to work out mechanical problems. Showing promise since return to bigs.

The number one reason that the Brewers are below .400 is their starting pitching. While no one expected great things coming into the season, injuries and complete meltdowns have plagued the staff. Glendon Rusch and Ruben Quevedo had trouble getting outs and free-agent pickup Todd Ritchie went down with a season-ending shoulder injury after making only five starts.

                  ERA   W-L   WHIP   
BAA   HR   BB   SO     IP 
-------------------------------------------------------------- 
Ben Sheets       4.19   7-7   1.16  .246   25   29  105  141.2 
Matt Ford        3.70   0-2   1.40  .247    3   18   23   41.1 
Wayne Franklin   4.81   5-6   1.37  .238   19   57   78  119.2 
Matt Kinney      4.72   6-7   1.32  .245   17   46   91  116.1 
Dave Burba       4.26   0-1   1.82  .315    2    6    7   12.1 
Ruben Quevedo    6.53   1-4   1.77  .313   11   22   19   41.1 
Glendon Rusch    7.90   1-11  1.96  .355    9   36   60   84.1

Sheets has not been the kind of ace the organization hoped for. While his WHIP is exceptional, he has given up 25 home runs to balloon his ERA over four. He has been a workhorse, logging more than 140 innings, but he will need to cut down the longball if he hopes to rack up more victories in the second half.

Ford has pitched very well out of the bullpen and the Rule 5 pick earned a spot in the rotation. While he has struggled in that role, it is likely that Yost will stick with the youngster during at least the first few weeks of the second half.

Both Franklin and Kinney have pitched well and both are better than was expected. The two have nearly identical numbers and they provide a quality lefty-righty combo. On a good team, they would be ideal 4 and 5 starters, but on Milwaukee's club, they are arguably 1 and 2.

The rest of the starters have not fared well. Dave Burba was brought up to replace the demoted Glendon Rusch, who would have otherwise racked up 20 losses quite effortlessly. Ruben Quevedo has been equally bad and, along with Rusch, formed a gaping chest wound at the bottom of the rotation. Rusch has rebounded after a trip to Triple-A, Quevedo is on the DL, and Burba has been shipped off to the pen.

The Bottom Line

The starting rotation for the Brewers is the team's biggest weakness. Look for Sheets, Franklin, and Kinney to anchor the second-half staff but Rusch and Ford are both on short leashes. The signing of Doug Davis gives the organization another left-handed option should Rusch struggle and it is likely that he (or another Indianapolis starter) will see some action in 2003.

RELIEF PITCHERS

Player:

VORP:

Grade:

The Skinny:

Leo Estrella

12.4

A-

The best reliever and arguably the best pitcher on the team. The sinker-baller is a groundball machine and his numbers are excellent.

V. De Los Santos

5.7

C

The left-hander has been serviceable. At times, he shows electric stuff. Other times, he is utterly hittable.

Brooks Kieschnick

4.3

B-

The two-way "Toolshed" has been a great story. His pitching numbers are nothing spectacular but he has shown consistent improvement. He's also the best-hitting pitcher in baseball.

Danny Kolb

3.1

B

A fireballer who has been solid in limited action since being called up from Triple-A. Has control problems but strikes out a lot of batters.

John Foster

2.1

C

Part of the Ray King-trade, Foster has been adequate but nowhere near as effective as King was in 2002. He is young and cheap, however, and will likely be given additional opportunities at the Major League level.

Mike DeJean

-1.3

D

The Brewers' closer has been a huge disappointment. The sinker isn't sinking, the splitter isn't splitting, and the hitters aren't missing.

Shane Nance

-4.2

D

Has struggled quite a bit in limited innings. Lots of control trouble but has electric mid-90s fastball. Youngster still needs more time before judgment can be rendered.

Jayson Durocher

-4.6

C-

Injuries have been omnipresent. Hasn't contributed much in his limited innings. If he can get healthy, he's likely to get quite a few innings that were vacated by Curtis Leskanic.

Luis Vizcaino

-9.8

D

Began the season and forgot how to pitch. Rumors of an injury swirled as his ERA grew. The last few outings have been better, however, and there are signs that he is turning it around and regaining his 2002 form.

The bullpen was one of the highlights of last year's dismal 106-loss season. This year is a different story. Closer Mike DeJean has struggled his way through the season while last year's setup-ace Luis Vizcaino spent most of the season trying to figure out how to get an out. Leo Estrella has been a bright spot but the rest of the relievers have been mediocre.

                  ERA   W-L   WHIP   
BAA   HR   BB   SO     IP 
-------------------------------------------------------------- 
Leo Estrella     2.65   2-2   1.15  .232    5   10   17   37.1 
V.D.L. Santos    3.60   1-2   1.13  .219    7   11   21   30.0 
B. Kieschnick    4.35   1-1   1.34  .289    3    5   18   31.0 
Danny Kolb       3.38   0-0   1.38  .208    1    8   16   13.0 
John Foster      4.71   2-0   1.81  .341    5    8   16   21.0 
Mike DeJean      5.44   2-7   1.55  .274    9   21   40   46.1 
Shane Nance      6.28   0-1   2.30  .409    3    6   15   14.1 
J. Durocher     11.05   2-0   1.50  .300    4    2    7    7.1 
Luis Vizcaino    8.05   2-3   1.79  .315   11   16   34   34.2

With the Brewers carrying 13 pitchers for most of the year, there have been a lot of opportunities available for a reliever who stepped up to the challenge. However, only Estrella has been a reliable late-inning setup man while Kolb and Kieschnick have each been solid middle-inning guys. It is likely that Kolb will get an audition at the setup or closer spot given DeJean's struggles.

The three left-handers have left (pun intended) a lot to be desired. De Los Santos came back from an injury and has pitched well enough but he is still not the dominant arm that the Crew got used to with Ray King in the pen last season. John Foster and Shane Nance, two young acquisitions that came over in trades, have both underachieved.

Luis Vizcaino, last year's dominant setup man, has finally gotten his ERA under ten. Even if he pitches lights-out for the rest of the season, his numbers will be nowhere near those of 2002. The same is true of DeJean, who has blown 7 saves in only 24 opportunities. Durocher, too, has been disappointing both because of injuries and because of his on-field performance.

The Bottom Line

The bullpen has not pitched well. And on a team with a below-average starting rotation, that does not bode well for the club's record. Estrella, Kolb, and Kieschnick have all been unexpected positives. DeJean, Vizcaino, Durocher, Foster, and Nance have all been unexpected negatives. De Los Santos has been about what was expected, but he still hasn't fulfilled the potential he has always had. Curtis Leskanic was the staff's best pitcher before he was traded but he needed significant rest between outings. As a result, struggling relievers were given more innings than they might have deserved and the staff's numbers have paid the price.

Conclusion

This year's Milwaukee Brewers have been a much more fun team to watch than their predecessors from 2002. However, their record is not much better and the organization's commitment to several aging veterans seems to contradict their stated goals for the year. Hopefully the second half will give us more positives than negatives, but the most important thing is to give young, cheap players every opportunity to succeed. Players like John Vander Wal, Eric Young, and Royce Clayton might be better than their more youthful counterparts. However, they will contribute nothing to the franchise's future. And while those extra handful of wins might be nice, they aren't very valuable in the grand scheme of things. Go young, and at least there's hope for the future.

 




Email This Page   Printable Version  Return to Top   Return Home  
otherArticles
 
  Pitching Injuries and How To Prevent Them: A Q&A With Will Carroll
(2005-04-14)
The Ben Grieve Reclamation Project: A Postmortem Analysis
(2004-09-03)
King George: De La Rosa's Journey From Monterrey To Milwaukee
(2004-08-26)
Was Wes Helms' 2003 Season A Fluke?
(2004-08-02)
What's wrong with Jenkins? An Analysis
(2004-07-12)
Down The Stretch We Come: Ten Questions Remaining To Be Answered By The 2003 Brewers
(2003-08-02)
A Midseason Report Card: The 2003 Milwaukee Brewers
(2003-07-17)

Questions? Comments? Contact Brian Kapellusch (president, systems engineer) @
Brewerfan.net is a fan-based independent site, and is NOT affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club.
Please support the Milwaukee Brewers by visiting their site at http://brewers.mlb.com