No. 25 Milwaukee Brewers
2000 Record: 73-89 (3rd in NL Central)
The Milwaukee Brewers open a new park this season, and they have a legitimate shot at finishing above .500 for the first time since 1992. That's because the beginnings of a very nice lineup are starting to take shape.
Power hitting lefties Jeromy Burnitz and Geoff Jenkins were already Brewers when Davey Lopes took over as manager last season. Since then Jenkins has continued to blossom, hitting 34 home runs in 2000, and Milwaukee traded for righty slugger Richie Sexson and signed free agent line drive hitter Jeffrey Hammonds. These four are a good mix for the middle of the lineup and should help keep Milwaukee in games every day.
The problem is a pitching staff that finished third in homers allowed and 13th in ERA in the NL last season.
The one bright spot was surprise ace Jeff D'Amico. But putting the 25-year-old In Focus shows last year's 2.66 ERA and 12-7 record were out of line with his career numbers. D'Amico will have to spend this season proving last season was no fluke.
Even if he does, I don't think the Brewers staff has enough to go around him. That's why I rank Milwaukee the 25th best team in baseball.