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NL Central: Brewers in Good Hands
It's a few hours before a recent game at Miller Park, and the giddy Brewers fans are starting to waltz into the ballpark. The grills are being fired up at Gorman's Corner, and in the home dugout, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is gazing up at the ballpark scoreboard as it flashes through baseball's league leaders. Melvin sees the current home run frontrunners ("Ian Kinsler -- nine home runs, how 'bout that," he says) to the game's K kings ("Aaron Harang is so underrated -- all he does is keep leading the league in strikeouts").
When the list of rookie leaders appears, Melvin takes note of a conspicuous absence. "Alex Gordon, he's really struggling, huh?" says the GM. He turns to me. "You see, that's the thing about calling up [Ryan] Braun," Melvin says, referring to the Brewers' top prospect, who, a day earlier, went 6-for-8 at third base and stroked his eighth homer in a doubleheader at Triple-A Nashville. "You make a trade, call the kid up, and he hits .130. Then what? You just never know with rookies."
The Brewers faithful are clamoring for Braun's promotion, but Melvin made it clear last week that a move isn't imminent, not with the Brew Crew off to their best start in franchise history. Brewers fans, trust Melvin: the man clearly knows what he's doing. Here's a glimpse at how one of the most underrated GMs in the game has masterfully put together this year's Milwaukee Brewers:
According to Clay Davenport over at Baseball Prospectus, the Brewers' playoff odds are at 64 percent -- second in the National League only to the Mets (68 percent). On Tuesday night, Milwaukee beat the Nats for a second straight day, and the folks at Brew Crew Ball came to this realization: the defense is as good as it's been in a long time . Part of the reason has been the vast improvement of Rickie Weeks' glove work, which the second baseman has been working hard to change.
Around the division:
Labels: NL Central
posted by SI.com | View comments |
"Here's a glimpse at how one of the most underrated GMs in the game has masterfully put together this year's Detroit Tigers:"
I hope he didn't put together this year's Detroit Tigers with that those moves--they are all Brewers...
Once the calendar flips to June and the service time issue is out of the way, I just can't agree with Melvin's conclusion that "well you just don't know what's going to happen." The fact is that even in the extraordinarily unlikely event that he hits like Gordon has so far, it wouldn't be all that much worse, if at all, than the current 3B production. Since it is so much more likely that his production will surpass theirs, it seems worth it.
Keep in mind that the pressure will be a lot less on Braun if he comes up while the Brewers are winning. Gordon has to carry the Royals.
John Donovan is a gutless wonder. Leaving the Brewers with the best record in baseball in fifth place in the Power Rankings? Publish the column yearly, because if it is not based on current performance, your words have no value.
What's worse, the Brewers at 5th place in the power rankings, or SI publishing Nate Silver's "top 50" most valuable players rankings with only one Brewer (Fielder at 47) in the top 50 or honorable mention categories on the same day it publishes Tom Verducci's "top players under 25 list" without a single Brewer in the top 10, honorable mention, or "needs more time" categories? If they sweep the Mets this weekend, will the national media finally wake up?
The problem is, short of the Brewers taking 2 of 3 from the Mets, the national media will say, "see, told you so." But the facts are there...24 of 34 to start the season is about as good as it gets. Clearly they will not keep up this pace, but even with bumps in the road they have established themselves as a team to be cognizant of. At first I was a little disgusted, but now I kind of like the fact that they're flying under the radar!
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