Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Should the Brewers Sign Josh Hamilton?

Recently, speculation has begun to surface on the topic of whether or not the Brewers will sign Josh Hamilton. A lot of people have different feelings on the situation but I feel there is a more important question to ask: SHOULD the Brewers sign Josh Hamilton? I feel that the answer to this question is a very simple:

Yes, a Brewers lineup with Hamilton hitting between Braun and Ramirez could be deadly, and yes the crew could use his left handed power bat. There are a lot of good arguments one can make for why it would be valuable to have Hamilton on the team. I don’t think anyone could logically argue that Milwaukee wouldn’t be a better team offensively with him on the roster. However, one must consider the financial situation that a Hamilton signing would put the team in. We are greatly in need of a number 2 starter. Yes, I realize that I have myself argued that Brewers fans should appreciate what they have in Mike Fiers, but that still doesn’t make him a number 2 starter in my eyes. I see Fiers as a number 3 at best. This means that the Brewers need to go out and get a quality starting pitcher to pair with Yovani Gallardo atop the rotation.

Doug Melvin has already stated that the team plans to add starting pitching in the offseason and most believe that this will come via free agency given the team’s upcoming flexibility with payroll with the salaries of Zack Greinke, Shawn Marcum, and Francisco Rodriguez, among others, coming off the roster.

So one might ask, what do I think the Brewers should do with any free agency dollars that they have to spend? In looking at this question I can come up with the following: Go for Greinke. Go all in for Greinke. The guys is an ace. We have all seen first-hand what Zack can do as a starting pitcher and, even better, we have all seen that he can do it in Milwaukee. I think that adding a guy like Greinke to the rotation will do more for the team than adding a bat like Hamilton to the lineup.

Hamilton’s primary position is center field. This would pose a problem as Carlos Gomez has just recently started to show why many regarded him as a future star early on in his career. After hitting .260 with 37 stolen bases, 19 home runs and 51 RBI in just 137 games, Gomez is finally proving he can be a the team’s regular center fielder going forward. On top of his progress at the plate, Gomez also remains one of the top defensive center fielders in the game. I simply don’t see much value in “upgrading” from Gomez to Hamilton considering what is certain to be a considerable price difference between the two.

Some have argued that Hamilton could play in right field, allowing Gomez to remain the everyday center fielder. This poses a problem as well, however, as Norichika Aoki is on a very team friendly deal, making just $1.25M in 2013 with an option for the following season. Aoki surprised many in 2012, batting .288 with 10 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and 50 RBI while also playing above average defense in right field. I make the same argument here: I don’t see much value in upgrading from Aoki to Hamilton considering the payout needed to bring Hamilton to Milwaukee.

When looking at the rotation, the Brewers are in a great place in terms of quality young arms in the system. Guys like Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers, Chris Narveson, and Tyler Thornburg could all reasonably command at least a decent look at a rotation spot next season with budding stars Hiram Burgos and Jimmy Nelson arguably not far behind. While it is certainly comforting to have so many quality young arms in the organization, I really believe that the Brewers need to add a top of the rotation starter if they want to contend in 2013.

The reality of the situation is that if the Brewers are able to sign Josh Hamilton, there will be little to no money left over with which to acquire a top flight starting pitcher (unless Mark Attanasio were to give Doug Melvin the green light to significantly add to the payroll – an unlikely scenario). I simply believe that the upgrade from Mike Fiers to a guy like Greinke atop the rotation is greater than what the team would get in upgrading from Gomez/Aoki to Hamilton in the outfield.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Joe Norton (@JoeP_Norton)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @Brandon_BFP, @SMahon2Go. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

Is the Pack, Back?

Packers fans were down after their team’s 30-27 loss to the Colts in week 5. Really down. And heading into Houston, the home of the 5-0 Texans, and without Greg Jennings for a second straight week, things weren’t looking much better.

Injuries to other key players including Cedric Benson and B.J Raji were sure to limit the Packers and hinder their chances of beating arguably the NFL’s most complete team. An offensive line that gave up 8 first half sacks to the Seattle Seahawks was sure to struggle in protecting their star quarterback from J.J Watt, the league’s top pass rushing defensive end.

Factor all of this into the equation and most folks probably didn’t expect the Packers to escape Houston with a win on Sunday night, but there is one thing that many probably did not put enough faith into – Aaron Rodgers. A healthy Aaron Rodgers is a very dangerous quarterback no matter who he is throwing the ball to, but a healthy, angry Aaron Rodgers is a scary, scary man.

Rodgers did what Rodgers does best in carving up the Texans defense in throwing for 338 yards and tying a franchise record with 6 touchdown passes while not throwing an interception on the night. Jordy Nelson stepped up in a big way, hauling in 3 touchdown passes and role players James Jones and Randall Cobb filled in nicely to ease the pain of an absent Greg Jennings. Alex Green filled in admirable for the ailing Benson and the line managed to contain Watt enough to allow Rodgers to do his thing from inside the pocket most of the night. Arguably most promising was job of the the Raji-less defense in holding the league’s most dangerous running back in Arian Foster to a lowly 29 yards on 17 carries.

All things considered, Packers fans have to be happy with the 42-24 victory and the promise of the Packers getting back on track heading into a pair of more than winnable games against the Rams and Jaguars.

The question we must ask is: Is the Pack back?

My answer to this is to wait and see. While last week’s performance was certainly a promising one, let’s see how the team responds against a Rams team that could be the league’s worst. Jody Nelson needs to emerge as an elite wide receiver, especially if the team is going to let Jennings walk in the offseason. Randall Cobb needs to continue to prove himself as a legitimate threat out of the slot and Jermichael Finley needs to be a lot more consistent that he has over the last year and a half.

On the defensive side, Jerel Worthy needs to be a consistent presence against both the run and the pass and Dom Capers needs to fill the void left by an injured Nick Perry, whose status going forward is still uncertain.
Everyone knows the Packers are a good team, but whether or not they can overcome the adversity of a couple heartbreaking losses on top of several injured starters, as they did in 2010, remains to be seen.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Joe Norton (@JoeP_Norton)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @Brandon_BFP, @SMahon2Go. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wrongful Booing of Mike Fiers

Amidst the overshadowing issue of the Brewers elimination from the playoffs last Sunday was an instance that possibly saddened me even more. Not to downplay the disappointment in missing the postseason, but something else coming from that game irritated me more than the thought of no Brewers baseball beyond game #162. Mike Fiers, after tossing six innings and ten strikeouts, was booed by the home crowd at Miller Park. Mike Fiers, after tremendously exceeding expectations as a rookie to post a sub 4 ERA in 25 appearances, was booed at Miller Park. Mike Fiers, a 22nd round draft pick who forced himself into talks for the National League rookie of the year for much of the season, was booed at Miller Park. Yes, he got hammered on Sunday. And yes, he has gotten hammered a lot in his last ten starts. But let’s not forget the guy that posted a 1.80 ERA in his first 13 appearances on the year.

For much of the season, Brewers fans were up in arms about Mike Fiers when it came to discussions for the league’s Rookie of the Year award. “Look at his ERA,” “Look at his strikeout rate,” “Look at his home runs allowed and walk rates,” etc. The list goes on and on as far as the arguments Brewers fans were making in their backing of Fiers for the Rookie of the Year award. But oh how the tables have turned. In his last ten starts, Fiers’ ERA has blossomed to a 3.68. A 3.68. Not a 4.68, and not even a 4.0. A 3.68. In his rookie season. And after allowing six hits and five runs over six innings in his final start of the season on Sunday, Fiers was booed, at home.

Let’s take a moment to compare Fiers’ season to others around baseball. Fiers went 9-10 over 22 starts, posting a 9.51 K/9, 2.71 BB/9, and 0.83 HR/9 to go along with his 3.68 ERA, 3.11 FIP and, in today’s WAR loving world, a 3.0 WAR. Homer Bailey, who is currently being revered for his “breakout” season, has gone 13-10 in 32 starts with the Reds, putting up a 7.15 K/9, 2.29 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9 and a 3.75 ERA to go along with a 4.06 FIP and 2.7 WAR. I don’t think I have to argue much to make the point that Fiers’ season looks pretty good when compared to Bailey’s. But for further measurement, let’s take a look at Tim Hudson, a pitcher I consider to be very similar to Fiers in terms of “stuff.” Hudson pitched to a 16-7 record over 28 starts, posting 6.04 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9, a 3.42 ERA, 3.78 FIP and a 2.7 WAR. Now I know that Fiers upped Brewers’ fans expectations of him with his terrific start to the season, but I will be the first to say that if he ends up with a career anywhere close to what Tim Hudson has done, I will be one happy camper.

Dan Haren pitching for the Angels.
In all the talk about the Brewers needing to find a #2 starter in free agency, two names that have come up recently are Dan Haren and Anibal Sanchez. I thought we should take a look at the season lines thus far for these two guys in comparison to Fiers. First, Haren has posted a 12-12 record in 29 starts with 7.07 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 1.42 HR/9 and a 4.32 ERA to accompany his 4.30 FIP and a WAR of 1.7. Sanchez, splitting his season between the Marlins and Tigers, has posted a 9-13 record in 31 starts, a 7.68 K/9, 2.21 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 3.75 ERA, 3.80 FIP, and a 3.8 WAR. Now I am not by any means arguing against the Brewers adding a starting pitcher like Haren or Sanchez, however, let’s not get carried away in assuming that these guys have been that much better than the rookie pitcher that our home crowd is booing.

Okay, Haren and Sanchez are better pitchers than Mike Fiers, I cannot argue that, but how about a little appreciation for the outstanding year that Fiers has put up, all while tremendously exceeding expectations along the way. I for one, am looking forward to seeing Mike Fiers in the rotation again in 2013 and building on a very good rookie season.
Oh, and one last thing… #TEHFIERS!!!!!

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Joe Norton (@JoeP_Norton)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @Brandon_BFP, @SMahon2Go. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Milwaukee Brewers Offseason Outlook

The Brewers season is over, and what a great run they had at the end. No one in Milwaukee or in the baseball world expected to be talking about the Brewers in the postseason back in the summer months of July and August. However, the Crew went on a tear in September to actually come extremely close to capturing a playoff bid as a Wild Card, but in the end, came up short. The Brewers finished the year 83-79, their 2nd consecutive winning season. So, with the offseason about 3 weeks away, I'm going to go over the changes that should happen, our predicted roster, and a few free agent signing that could happen.

Obviously the main focus this offseason will be our pitching, much like how it was when we acquired Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke 2 seasons ago. Both our rotation and bullpen need serious attention. First, the starting rotation. You have Yovani Gallardo as your number one, and then after that it gets complicated. There are many who question if Marcum will return or not, and my gut feeling is no and that he will be one of the things "addressed" in discussion by Doug Melvin, Ron Roenicke, and Gord Ash. So going further, after Gallardo you have candidates of Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta, and the returning Chris Narveson. For me, even though a month ago I was against it, I think Marco Estrada should be in our rotation. He proved himself this year and I'm all for it. To top out the rotation I would grab Mike Fiers and Mark Rogers. You can start Wily Peralta in Triple A and if he succeeds right away, then you have a solid back-up starter in case injury occurs. Chris Narveson might end up being the 5th man in the rotation, however I see us grabbing a free agent this offseason. Possibly a guy like Jake Peavy, Francisco Liriano, Edwin Jackson, or Paul Maholm could fit that role. One guy to watch to will be James Shields, who has a 9 million dollar club option or a 1.5 million dollar buy out. It's likely that he will resign with Tampa, but I hope our eyes are on some of these free agent pitchers, even if we have to spend some money.

Next, let's turn our attention to our bullpen. One of the hardest things to do in baseball as an organization is to formulate a successful bullpen. You can't base last year's stats off the future success of a relief pitcher. One year, your middle innings man is mediocre. Next season, he's your closer. (See: John Axford) So, here's what I assume what will happen with our pen:

  • They will build our bullpen around John Axford (closer) and Jim Henderson (set-up).
  • Brandon Kintzler and Jose Veras will likely be included in that mix of frequently used arms.
  • Manny Parra will likely be our lefty out of the pen.
  • Fransisco Rodriguez, Livan Hernandez, and Kameron Loe will likely be gone.
  • If Narveson doesn't make the rotation, he could move to the pen as well.
  • Two or three free agents will be brought in to get looks at during spring ball.

Some top free agent relief pitchers that I would like the organization to look at consist of Brandon League, Jonathan Broxton, former Brewer Mike Adams, Juan Cruz, Chad Qualls, Sean Burnett, and Jeremy Affeldt. Mike Adams, Juan Cruz, and Sean Burnett have had pretty consistent statistics over the past five or so seasons, which is a good sign when looking at relief pitching. Qualls, League, and Broxton would probably require us spending more money then Doug Melvin wants, and Affeldt would only be looked at if Parra doesn't return next year, a decision management will have to make.

Our position players are a sound, tight knit group that I don't see us making too many changes for next season. Our starting lineup should mirror of what we seen when the season ended yesterday. Minus a few bench positions, I don't think any improvements are needed. We have a core group of outfielders in Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, and Norichika Aoki. Melvin and Roenicke spoke very highly or Gomez and Aoki and it sounds like they will start for us next season. Moving to the infield, Doug Melvin said he sees no reason why Corey Hart shouldn't be our first baseman next season. So, that settles that debate right away. Aramis will return at 3rd base. Shortstop is set with Segura, or Alex Gonzalez if we resign him. Alex Gonzalez has an option worth $4MM that would have vested with 525 plate appearances, but he missed the majority of the season with a torn ACL. Gonzalez came to the plate just 89 times before the injury, so the Brewers do not have to worry about this, but could still resign him at the right price. 2nd base is locked by Rickie Weeks. Catcher position will be a platoon of Lucroy and Maldonado. Nyjer Morgan and Travis Ishikawa are likely to not return with the Brewers. Our bench will be filled by some names we seen get called up this September. Here's all it all stacks up for me:

Opening Day Lineup:
RF Norichika Aoki
2B Rickie Weeks
LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Corey Hart
C Jonathon Lucroy
CF Carlos Gomez
SS Alex Gonzalez
SP Yovani Gallardo

INF/OF Mat Gamel
INF Jean Segura
OF Logan Schafer
C Martin Maldonado

Starting Rotation:
1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Mike Fiers
3. (Free Agent)
4. Marco Estrada
5. Mark Rogers

CL John Axford
SU Jim Henderson
MID Jose Veras
MID Brandon Kintzler
MID Manny Parra
MID (Free Agent)
MID (Free Agent)
LR Chris Narveson

Top 10 Pitching Prospects in Minors:
1. Tyler Thornburg
2. Wily Peralta
3. Taylor Jungmann
4. Jed Bradley
5. John Hellweg
6. Cody Scarpetta
7. Josh Stinson
8. Ariel Peña
9. Fautino De Los Santos
10. Santo Manzanillo

Top 10 Position Prospects in Minors:
1. Scooter Gennett
2. Hunter Morris
3.Taylor Green
4. Clint Coulter
5. Victor Roache
6. Caleb Gindl
7. Kentrail Davis
8. Khris Davis
9. Yadiel Rivera
10. Eric Farris

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@WSB_Andrew)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @WSB_Andrew @WSB_Nick @WSB_Brandon @WSB_Mike. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

My MLB Year-End Awards

I want to make this clear, because I feel many will read this and immediately go to Twitter and crucify me if I don't make this clear. If I had a vote for these awards, these are the players I would vote for. This does not necessarily mean I think they will win, but more of who I view as most deserving. I will go over NL and AL Most Valuable Player, NL and AL Cy Young, NL and AL Rookie of the Year, NL and AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, and NL and AL Comeback Player of the Year. I will indicate at the end of each category who I think will win, just to make everyone happy. Let's start with the big one, MVP.

American League Most Valuable Player - 3B Miguel Cabrera

His number are incredible this year, and they are greatly connected to the Tigers success this year on winning the AL Central back to back years. Cabrera led the AL in batting average, homeruns, and RBI, which gives him a batter's Triple Crown, the first in Major League Baseball since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 for the Boston Red Sox. Cabrera is batting .330, 44 HR, and 139 RBI. He is four points ahead in batting average, one ahead in homeruns, and eleven ahead in RBI. He trails his MVP running mate, Mike Trout by twenty runs scored in that category. Besides that and stolen bases, Cabrera has Trouts number as far as production is concerned. Trout has struck out more and has a lower OPS than Cabrera. I think this vote, although will be very close, really should be a simple selection for many.

Who I think will win: Miguel Cabrera

Runner Ups: Mike Trout, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Derek Jeter, Edwin Encarnacion.

National League Most Valuable Player - LF Ryan Braun

This is an easier vote than AL MVP, that's for sure. Ryan Braun is Top 3 in almost every offensive category. Ryan Braun is currently in 1st for runs scored, 2nd in hits, 1st in homeruns, 2nd in RBIs, T-9th in stolen bases, 3rd in batting average, 4th for on base percentage, 1st in slugging percentage, and 1st in on base + slugging percentage. Braun would be in the clear for a second consecutive MVP, however he will be faced by voters who will hold last season's positive drug test against him, which was overturned and Ryan was exonerated. Also, he has tight competition again this year, much like last year with Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki. This year, Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey are his competition. Here's my one argument. Posey had a slow start and a strong finish. McCutchen had a strong start and a slow finish. Braun really didn't slump at all and remained consistent throughout the year. Braun came up short to leading his team to the post season, however did lead them to their second winning season in a row.

Who I think will win: Buster Posey

Runner Ups: Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Yadier Molina.

American League Cy Young - RP Fernando Rodney

The last closer to win a Cy Young award was Eric Gagne in 2003. This year, Rodney is deserving of many votes and considerations. Rodney's numbers sit at 2-2, converted 47 saves in 49 chances, and in doing so has a .061 ERA, a .167 batting average against, and a .078 WHIP. Many will argue that a relief pitcher shouldn't be so highly considered for a Cy Young, but I beg to differ. They are depended on to come in and guarantee a victory in the clutch. They make more appearances than starters, however starters obviously have more innings and strikeouts etc.

Who I think will win: David Price

Runner Ups: Jared Weaver, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson.

National League Cy Young - SP R.A. Dickey

The man climbs Mount Kilimanjaro in the offseason, returns to baseball and has the best pitching season of his career. I want to know what's at the top. Dickey posted a 20-6 record with a 2.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, accumulating 230 strike outs over 233.2 innings. All this accomplished while playing for the Mets. A Mets team that finished at a dismal 73-88 with one game to play. His toughest challenger for Cy Young, and rightfully so, is Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, who has gone 21-8 on the year with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, getting 207 strike outs over 199.1 innings. Gio lead his team to a 97-64 record with one game to play. Both have great resumes for the right to be the National League Cy Young.

Who I think will win: Gio Gonzalez

Runner Ups: R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels.

American League Rookie of the Year - OF Mike Trout

Mike Trout has had this locked up since the All-Star break. You could argue even before that. His stats are of one you would see from a seasoned veteran, not from a rookie. Mike Trout has 30 homeruns, 83 runs batted in, 129 runs scored, 49 stolen bases, and a .324 batting average. He also carries a .958 OPS, the highest on base + slugging percentage by any rookie in the American League since Mark McGuire in 1987. Besides Yu Darvish of the Rangers, this really isn't that much of a competition.

Who I think will win: Mike Trout

Runner Ups: Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jesus Montero

National League Rookie of the Year - 1B/3B Todd Frazier

This is a much tighter race than the American League ROTY. Many more viable options, both batting and pitching wise. Personally, the work Todd was able to do for the Reds while Joey Votto was on the shelf for two months with a knee injury and filling in at third base for Scott Rolen as well. In 127 games, Frazier hit 19 homeruns, 67 runs batted in, 55 runs scored, with a .273 batting average and a .831 on base + slugging percentage. Frazier's play on defense also has to be considered, as he has made many incredible stops at the corners. Frazier's competition is a heavy bunch, which includes names of Bryce Harper, Wade Miley, Norichika Aoki, and Wilin Rosario. Norichika Aoki is a top performer in all offensive categories, but because he came over from Japan's pro league, writers don't see him as a true rookie. Bryce Harper was many people's predicted picks for ROTY when the season started. Granted his numbers were good, but Harper had two very significant slumps this season. Wilin Rosario has put up exceptional numbers for the Rockies this year, and will likely be their catcher of the future. Wade Miley is the only pitcher from the NL that I would consider for ROTY, as he went 16-11 in 32 starts.

Who I think will win: Bryce Harper

Runner Ups: Wade Miley, Todd Frazier, Norichika Aoki, Anthony Rizzo, Wilin Rosario

American League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year - RP Rafael Soriano

Realistically, this could go to Soriano, but also to Jim Johnson or the Orioles and Fernando Rodney of the Rays. I would give it to Soriano just because he had to replace Mariano Rivera, which is no easy task nor does it garner any less pressure as a relief pitcher. Rodney has the lowest ERA (.067), WHIP (.078), and average against (.167), while Johnson has the most saves at 51. Soriano has converted 42 of 46 saves, Rodney has converted 47 of 49, and Johnson has converted 51 in 54 tries. None of them have an ERA higher than 2.50, and none have a WHIP higher then 1.20. They all have solid numbers. It's just a matter of what the voters deem as more important, stats vs. success.

Who I think will win: Fernando Rodney & Jim Johnson (co-award winners)

Runner Ups: Rafael Soriano, Joel Peralta, Vinnie Pestano, Chris Perez

National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year - RP Craig Kimbrel

This is an easy one for me, and it should be for many. After blowing people away last year during his rookie season, he continued his success in 2012 and is still turning heads. Kimbrel has 42 saves in 45 chances with a 1.02 ERA. He also carries a league leading low WHIP of .065 and batting average against .123 for any closer in either leagues. Kimbrel has only surrendered 14 walks on 113 strikeouts over 61.2 innings of work. He only has given up 3 homeruns this season, and only had 7 runs cross the plate while he was on the mound. Although his competition of Jason Motte and Aroldis Chapman had phenomenal years themselves, Kimbrel is the clear leader of the pack.

Who I think will win: Craig Kimbrel

Runner Ups: Aroldis Chapman, Jason Motte, Jonathon Papelbon, Joel Hanrahan. 

American League Comeback Player of the Year - DH Adam Dunn

 Comeback players are really hard to judge because there are two main players that are judged for this category. One is the player who over comes a slump from the season before. Whether it's a pitcher who couldn't pitch our of a wet paper bag and now turned it around or its a batter who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and is now an offensive warhead. The second player considered is one who was seriously injured the year before or a few years before. They come back after injury and play at a level as if nothing ever happened. I'm sticking with the slump idea for the American League and I select Adam Dunn. 2011 was not only the worst hitting season of his career, but in all of baseball's history. In 2011, in 122 games, he hit just 66 times, 11 homeruns, 42 runs batted in, 177 strikeouts with a .159 batting average. In quite the turnaround, Dunn's numbers this year are 110 hits, 41 homeruns, 96 runs batted in, with a .204 batting average and 222 strikeouts. Ignoring the average and strikeouts, his numbers had a complete flip flop from last season. Dunn has played 30 more games this season, so doing the math his 177 strike outs from last year would have been around 215 this year had he played 152 games.

Who I think will win: Adam Dunn

Runner Ups: Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Edwin Encarnacion

National League Comeback Player of the Year - C Buster Posey

There are many candidates for this award for the National League this season. You have the return of Stephen Strasburg after being out 13 months. Adam LaRoche who had a dismal 2011 and had a complete turnaround. The same can be said for Ryan Ludwick and Jason Heyward. With what he had to endure during the offseason and because he exceeded many people's expectations, you could make an argument for Ryan Braun to be considered as well, but quite frankly it's very unlikely. The most deserving in my eyes in Buster Posey, who had his ankle shattered last season on a play at home and returned in 2012 to bid for the NL MVP award. Posey seems to have no repercussions of his injury and is playing like his old self, the one who won him Rookie of the Year in 2010.  

Who I think will win: Buster Posey

Runner Ups: Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Ryan Ludwick, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun

And real quick, not that they need full statements, but my AL Hank Aaron Award would have to go to Josh Hamilton with Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Cano as runner ups. My NL Hank Aaron Award would go to Chase Headley, with Ryan Braun, Adam LaRoche, and Giancarlo Stanton. My NL Manager of the Year in Davey Johnson and my AL Manager of the Year is Buck Showalter. NL Executive of the Year is Mike Rizzo and my AL Executive of the Year is Billy Beane.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@WSB_Andrew)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @WSB_Andrew @WSB_Nick @WSB_Brandon @WSB_Mike. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)