Milwaukee Brewers 2006 Preaseason Predictions

on 04/02/2006


We the staff of Brewerfan.net decided to take a stab at handing out some preseason hardware to the players we feel will make the biggest difference for the Brewers and their minor league affiliates this season, while also weighing in on a few key issues. Without further ado...

Player of the Year

Geoff Jenkins
Why not a little love for Geoff in this category? Who'd have thought this prediction was even possible last May? He needs to embrace that third spot in the lineup, though. ~ Jim Goulart

Jenks was forced into a different approach at the plate last year after the hip injury. Once the switch occured, he lit up everyone and everything for the second half of the season, a trend that should continue. I expect a huge season from Jenks and this time, he will deliver. ~ Jamie Siegel

Corey Koskie
I'm partly picking him to be a little different, on purpose. However, I think that he'll have a lot of favorable matchups versus righties, and he'll put up some great numbers. ~Brian Kapellusch

Prince Fielder
While a number of players may carry the team for a few weeks at a time, Fielder will prove to be the consistent Major League player many people think he will be early on, and won't stop raking. ~ Toby Harrmann

J.J. Hardy
In only his second season, Hardy becomes the heart and soul of the Brewers. His second half surge was no fluke. ~ Patrick Ebert

Carlos Lee
Carlos is in a walk year and I don't believe the trade talk. The Brewers should be in contention in July and breaking up the lineup just doesn't make sense. ~ Michael Clifton

Pitcher of the Year

Ben Sheets
It's hard to bet against Big Ben. I don't see his injuries as nagging, and I look for Capuano to take a step back, win-wise. ~Brian Kapellusch

While Ben will start the year on the DL, he is the best pitcher on this staff. With the Brewers hopefully contending for a playoff spot, Ben should be in fine form. ~ Michael Clifton

Ben will show us that he is the best front man in the NL Central if not all of baseball. Sheeter is a battler and a gamer who will have a career high in wins this season. ~ Jamie Siegel

It's the easy pick, but Sheets will start 30 times and finally get those 15+ wins he deserves from the offense. He'll have an ERA under 3.00, pitch 200 innings, and stike out 220 guys. ~ Toby Harrmann

Doug Davis
Davis finally gets the run support that supports his own case as one of the league's best pitchers over the last two years. ~ Patrick Ebert

Derrick Turnbow
Yeah, whenever he placed runners on base last year, he inevitably stranded them at a league-leading rate. But this team doesn't reach anywhere near 90 wins without another big Turnbow season, and 90 wins is more than just a pipe dream. ~ Jim Goulart

Rookie of the Year

Prince Fielder
No question. ~ Michael Clifton

A no-brainer selection. ~ Patrick Ebert

I love Corey Hart and Jose Capellan, but hey, talk about an automatic answer. ~ Jim Goulart

While a number of players may carry the team for a few weeks at a time, Fielder will prove to be the consistent Major League player many people think he will be early on, and won't stop raking. ~ Toby Harrmann

Who else can you pick? There can be only one. ~ Jamie Siegel

By default, if nothing else. ~Brian Kapellusch

Jack Voigt Memorial Award-Unsung Hero

Dave Bush
There will be few better bottom of the rotation pitchers in the league this year and Bush will be a lynchpin in the Brewers; playoff run. He'll match up badly to few other pitchers the Crew will face, and while he may only win 10-13 games, he'll have an ERA around 4 and solidify the end of the staff like we haven't seen since... well, maybe ever. ~ Toby Harrmann

Number fives don't get a lot of accolades but Bush will be an awfully good pitcher and prove himself a guy teams don't want to face. ~ Jamie Siegel

Tomo Ohka
Hey, it's a contract year for Tomo, too! He'll surprise some folks, although the track record makes his bottom line pretty projectable. Maybe he'll bring the prospects in July instead of Carlos Lee. Oddball pick, but just watch. ~ Jim Goulart

Jeff Cirillo
Even if Cirillo stays healthy, he won't snag many ABs away from Koskie, Hall, Hart, etc., but when he does, he'll make his mark. ~ Patrick Ebert

Justin Lehr
The guy's not flashy, but he can soak up innings and may save the bullpen. ~Brian Kapellusch

Matt Wise
With all the attention going to Turnbow, Matt Wise will prove to be just as important in keeping the Crew in games late. ~ Michael Clifton

Impact callup

Dana Eveland
He'll get his stuff together and will be back contributing with the big-league club by the time the All-Star break rolls around. ~ Patrick Ebert

Mitch Stetter
I've been high on Stetter for the past year or so. I see him being very effective out of the pen for the Crew for years to come. ~Brian Kapellusch

Mike Adams
Nice to see he's back on the radar... ~ Jim Goulart

Dennis Sarfate
Sarfate should get the call sometime this year and his repetoire is perfect for the bullpen. He'll bring the closer stuff and help keep the bullpen performing at a high level. ~ Michael Clifton

Mike Rivera
I don't see the duo of Miller/Moller staying healthy or productive and Rivera has the chance to prove himself worthy of a #2 guy. ~ Jamie Siegel

Nelson Cruz
Not only will Cruz replace Carlos Lee after the trading deadline, he'll be called up earlier because he has no business being in AAA. Starting from August 1st on, he'll hit 15 jacks and provide an exceptional threat in the bottom part of the lineup, even if he strikes out once every 3.5 ABs. Honorable mention to Vinny Rottino, who will hit. ~ Toby Harrmann

Minor League Impact Player

Yovani Gallardo
Gallardo is set up perfectly for success. He'll be the ace of the Manatees and should be able to follow the success that Dillard and Villanueva had in Florida last year. ~ Michael Clifton

Will Inman
Inman will almost immediately become the favorite of many here at Brewerfan, and for good reason. Not a huge guy, but with the best tenacity in the system, Inman will dominate A-ball with his exceptional reportoire of pitches and finish in AA this season, and put himself in contention for a big league spot next spring. ~ Toby Harrmann

Alcides Escobar
The shortstop won't even be 20 until December, yet he's coming off an Arizona Fall League season. Already at high-A, he'll begin the process of developing the slightest bit of plate discipline -- and then watch out. ~ Jim Goulart

Charlie Fermaint
I just sense that even the Brewers feel they have something really special in Fermaint. ~ Patrick Ebert

Ryan Braun
It's very hard to not pick a guy who had a 1.036 OPS in A ball in his first year as a pro. I admit to not liking the draft pick at the time, but I think this kid is just going to keep on raking. ~Brian Kapellusch

Nelson Cruz
Cruz is the starting CF for nashville and he's going to tear the cover off the ball. Cruz is going to show the big league club that they can not over look him defensively, or offensively. ~ Jamie Siegel

Minor League sleeper

Adam Heether
The only reason Ryan Braun isn't in Huntsville is Adam, and if you heard Gord Ash this spring, you know he's delighted to have that sort of "problem". Heether's career path may lead him out of Milwaukee, but he'll build big value in 2006. ~ Jim Goulart

Brandon Parillo
I'm infatuated with groundball guys, and Parillo's one of the best in the system. ~Brian Kapellusch

Tim Dillard
Last season in almost 200 IP, his ERA was under 2.5. Dillard keeps the ball down and only gave up nine dingers all year. ~ Jamie Siegel

Steve Moss
Moss will get past his injury problems and have a very, very good AA season. He'll be promoted to AAA by the end of year of Huntsville isn't in a playoff run. He'll turn himself into the heir-apparant to Brady Clark with his exciting centerfield play and pop/discipline at the plate. ~ Toby Harrmann

Mat Gamel
Gamel won't get the big publicity with Braun ahead of him on the ladder. Needs to cut down on strikeouts a bit, but has a lot of potential. ~ Michael Clifton

Josh Wahpepah
Sure, he's a former 3rd round pick, but with his sinker he's going to put up some Carlos Villanueva-like numbers up at Brevard County. ~ Patrick Ebert

Five burning questions for the big-league Brewers:

Carlos Lee: Traded or kept?
Kept. He's younger than Jenkins, has better numbers and strikes out less. I'd imagine he gets a 1-2 year deal before July. ~ Jamie Siegel

Kept. The Brewers will be close enough come July to hold onto Lee, who will enjoy another big season as far as counting stats are concerned. ~ Patrick Ebert

Kept. Carlos will be a key part of this lineup and the Brewers aren't going to breakup a lineup to replace it with a rookie question mark. ~ Michael Clifton

Kept. Put those draft picks to good use, Jack Z. ~ Jim Goulart

Traded. The Brewers will have almost no reason to keep him (or, more accurately, his contract). He'll be traded once Hart, Cruz, and hopefully Nelson, all show they could replace him. Lee is worth more in the players traded for him than the $10+ million he'll require per year to stay. ~ Toby Harrmann

Traded. Considering that the Brewers should be in contention all year, this will receive a lot of bad press. I'm not a big fan of Carlos's conditioning, and statistically, he has somewhat of a dropoff after July. By then, either Hart or Cruz should be hitting well enough so that the team wouldn't have to take a big step back in left field, and if they can get a major league-ready missing part, all the better. ~Brian Kapellusch

Ben Sheets: Staff ace?
Yes. There's no one I want on the mound more to stop a losing streak. ~Brian Kapellusch

Ace for 32 starts instead of 35, that'll be fine for everybody. But don't look for 2004 peripheral numbers again, maybe ever. That season was scary good in everything but won-loss. ~ Jim Goulart

Unless the Brewers trade for one of the maybe half-dozen pitcher who are legitimately better than him, he's the Brewers' staff ace without question. Nothing against Davis or Capuano, but they aren't in Ben's class as a pitcher. It's not even close. As someone on the forum has in their tag line, Sheets is the new Favre. He really is that good, folks. ~ Toby Harrmann

Ace. He may not put up the most impressive numbers in the win total (I picked Davis as the team's pitcher of the year), but Sheets will continue to be the team's stopper. ~ Patrick Ebert

Ace. He is the best pitcher, the stopper, Olympic hero, whatever you wish to add. Ben is the most important part of this rotation and has the most talent. ~ Michael Clifton

Yup. Read my above man love for Ben. ~ Jamie Siegel

Bill Hall: Where will he get the most playing time?
Third base. Hall will see a lot of time at a lot of different positions, and the Brewers will have a hard time using him as a super-utility player in '07. ~ Patrick Ebert

Bill will see lot's of time at the hot corner. Koskie was brought in for maturity and defense, but he will not get as many starts as Hall. ~ Jamie Siegel

Third base. Bill will get starts at SS, 2b and in the outfield over the year, but his role will be more of a platoon with Koskie at third. ~ Michael Clifton

Third base. He'll platoon with Koskie there, and will get the bulk of the rest of his at-bats in double switches and pinch hitting appearances. ~Brian Kapellusch

Third base. Not because Koskie will get hurt, but because there isn't much of another place for regular PT unless someone gets hurt. And I'm not one for projecting injuries. ~ Toby Harrmann

Third base, barring injury elsewhere. Hint for 2007, though - Brady Clark will be playing elsewhere. ~ Jim Goulart

Prince Fielder: Immediate impact or on the job training?
Immediate impact. Prince is a good enough hitter that his slumps will be small. He got a taste of Milwaukee last year and that experience should help him get adjusted quickly. While he may not have the best numbers on the team at years end, he will help fans forget about Lyle Overbay and put up similar numbers. That alone would be a huge impact. ~ Michael Clifton

Immediate impact on the field and off. Shine those bright lights on Milwaukee, national media. ~ Jim Goulart

Immediate impact, without much doubt. The Brewers will be in playoff contention because of Fielder. He may even struggle a little early, but by the time July and August roll around, he'll be solid, and he'll be a reason why the Brewers will feel comfortable trading Lee. ~ Toby Harrmann

Immediate Impact. I can't very well vote him as my rookie choice and then say he's not going to be an impact player, can I? ~ Jamie Siegel

A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. I think he's prone to periods of overswinging when he's not getting pitches to hit... but when he's seeing the ball well, he could be the best hitter on the team, if not one of the best in the division. ~Brian Kapellusch

On the job training. Prince will have his fair share of highlight hits, but he's had his bouts with starting slow the past few years. Yost proved with Hardy last year that he's patient enough to work through these slumps, but some may want to temper their home run expectations, at least for now. ~ Patrick Ebert

Division Winner, Wild Card or wait until next year?
Wild card. Being the 4th best team in the National League sure beats being the 8th best team in the American League. A lot of the NL is a cess pool. ~ Jim Goulart

Next year. They will be in it till the end, but the Division still belongs to the Cards. The Wild Card could be a possibility, but that depends on a few other teams. If the NL East starts to beat up on each other, the Brewers could sneak in. Next year starts the run. ~ Michael Clifton

Next year. Hardy, Weeks, and Fielder are still in the process of ramping up. Capuano and Ohka are OK back end of the rotation pitchers, but the Brewers better middle of the rotation pitchers. ~Brian Kapellusch

Next year, but it will be close. The Brewers will get over the .500 hump, but they're not quite ready for the big-time, yet. ~ Patrick Ebert

Wait. I hope the Brewers prove me wrong, but the Cards get the division and the NL east will represent the NLWC. ~ Jamie Siegel

Next year, with a caveat: it'll be very, very, very, very close if we don't get in. Many of us Brewer fans will, in fact, be somewhat heartbroken. However, 90 wins won't be enough for us to get in, this year. That said, I'll take 90 wins from this team to see what happens, and I'm not discounting the chance we will get in. There is a definite chance. ~ Toby Harrmann

And one more for kicks:

Who will be #1 on Toby's Power 50 come October?
Ryan Braun. He's as much of a stud as Fielder or Weeks. ~Brian Kapellusch

Ryan Braun. Braun has the impact potential that a Fielder or Weeks does. With a full season under his belt, Braun should put up some good numbers while playing in pitchers leagues (FSL and Southern). ~ Michael Clifton

Ryan Braun. But Yovani Gallardo will be 1A. ~ Jim Goulart

I talked about this on a recent Woah Solvdd Audio Show and said that it will probably be Ryan Braun. Maybe Yo Gallardo or Will Inman or Mark Rogers. Why it is tough to judge this is the seven guys above Braun all could well graduate off the Power 50 this year, though probably not all will (looking at it historically). Manny Parra could be up there too if he's healthy. ~ Toby Harrmann

Zach Jackson. With leftys at a premium, very good leftys are going to be very, very hard to find. Jackson will be rated #1 even before October. ~ Jamie Siegel

Zach Jackson, although possibly by default since Fielder, Hart and Eveland are likely to graduate off of the list by then. ~ Patrick Ebert

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