Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Brewers Projected Starting Line-up

In the final piece of the puzzle, it is time to take a look at arguably the easiest element to predict out of the three sectors of the team. I have already covered the bullpen, as well as the starting rotation. You can find those blogs here and here. Today, we will be looking at what our "Go-To" line-up will look like as well as our depth on the bench plus I'll be doing some 2013 statistical projections for the Brewers. Let's first take a look at what our line-up will likely look like on opening day.

Andrew's projected 2013 Brewers Opening Day Line-up

1. RF - Norichika Aoki
2. 2B - Rickie Weeks
3. LF - Ryan Braun
4. 3B - Aramis Ramirez
5. C - Jonathan Lucroy
6. 1B - Mat Gamel
7. CF - Carlos Gomez
8. SS - Jean Segura
9. SP - Yovani Gallardo

It's going to be interesting to see what the Brewers do as far as their strategy is concerned for how they set their line-up. From what worked the best last year, Aoki leading off was extremely effective last year. He's got speed. He's a smart base runner. He hits for average to get on base. He's exactly what you want in a lead-off hitter. I can't see Gomez in the spot unless he changes his hitting style. Weeks was given the opportunity last season to lead off and that didn't work out too well as it led Weeks on a downward spiral for the first half of the season. Segura may get a couple looks as the lead-off guy, but not to start the season unless he starts out hot. If Segura can become our lead-off hitter later in the year, our line-up could look something like this...(assuming Corey Hart is back by the time of this potential move)

Andrew's Alternate Starting Line-up

1. SS - Jean Segura
2. RF - Norichika Aoki
3. LF - Ryan Braun
4. 3B - Aramis Ramirez
5. 1B - Corey Hart
6. 2B - Rickie Weeks
7. C - Jonathan Lucroy
8. CF - Carlos Gomez
9. SP - (Starting pitcher)

With Segura and Aoki hitting one and two, it eliminated the worry of getting the lead off man on and having the two hitter grounding into a double play, as we see Weeks do quite often. Yes, Aoki would do it too, but I'm confident that it would happen a lot less.

After Aoki and Weeks in the one and two spots, the core is very easy to place. Braun will continue to bat third and Ramirez will follow as the clean-up hitter, just as we seen last year. After Ramirez, it gets really up in the air as far as who falls where. It's going to depend on who has the hot bat during spring I would assume and how they're hitting the ball. I envision Lucroy gets the five hole for starting the season, but if Gamel can smoke the ball in spring he might get that look as well. However, once Corey Hart returns, the line-up will look totally different. It it might not be long until we see Corey Hart after the season starts as he is reportedly ahead of schedule.

After Lucroy and Gamel/Hart, you have the seven and eight spots which would be filled by Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura. Coin flip? Maybe. Both are very fast base runners who are very nice weapons to have at the bottom of the order, especially if they are leading off an inning. Knowing that Ron Roenicke will continue to bunt in any situation that calls for it, Having either of them on base with a pitcher coming up means their wheels will be spinning. Those two at the bottom of the order could easily combine for seventy stolen bases this season, not to mention Aoki, Weeks, and Braun could combine for another seventy or eighty. No matter how it is mixed up, the Brewers have a very strong line-up heading into this season. And, it doesn't stop there. Our bench will provide great depth for days a regular needs a day off. Our bench will likely look something like this...

Andrew's projected 2013 Brewers Opening Day Bench

1. SS - Alex Gonzalez
2. C - Martin Maldonado
3. OF - Logan Schafer
4. IF/OF - Taylor Green
5. IF - Jeff Bianchi

Post Hart Return Bench

1. SS - Alex Gonzalez
2. C - Martin Maldonado
3. OF - Logan Schafer
4. IF/OF - Taylor Green
5. 1B/OF - Mat Gamel

Much like our starting rotation, setting our bench is going to involve a lot of sacrificing as many players are out of options. Donnie Murphy and Jeff Bianchi will fight it out in spring for a spot of the bench. The other could likely be cut, as neither have any minor league options left. Logan Schafer is a lock in my eyes as our fourth outfielder for the Brewers. Gonzalez and Maldonado are also locked as well. Throw is Taylor Green as a lefty with some pop and there you have our bench. Green can play infield and outfield. Gonzalez, Green and Maldy all might see time at first base while Hart is out. Jeff can play any infield position but first. When Corey Hart comes back, my guess would be that Bianchi would be designated for assignment.

Andrew's projected 2013 Brewers Opening Day 25 Man Roster

C - Jonathon Lucroy, Martin Maldonado
1B - Mat Gamel
2B - Rickie Weeks, Jeff Bianchi
3B - Aramis Ramirez, Taylor Green
SS - Jean Segura, Alex Gonzalez
OF - Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Norichika Aoki, Logan Schafer
SP - Yovani Gallardo, Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Mark Rogers
RP - John Axford, Jim Henderson, Michael Gonzalez, Tom Gorzelanny, Burke Badenhop, Brandon Kintzler, Michael Olmsted
15 Day DL - Corey Hart

Andrew's projected 2013 Brewers Individual Player Stats

Jonathan Lucroy - .281, 57 R, 21 HR, 67 RBI, 7 SB

Martin Maldonado - .241, 23 R, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 1 SB

Mat Gamel - .269, 30 R, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 4 SB

Corey Hart - .274, 79 R, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 6 SB

Rickie Weeks - .258, 99 R, 22 HR, 64 RBI, 16 SB

Jeff Bianchi - .223, 10 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 4 SB

Jean Segura - .275, 67 R, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 23 SB

Alex Gonzalez - .235, 32 R, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 10 SB

Aramis Ramirez - .294, 91 R, 32 HR, 98 RBI, 5 SB

Taylor Green - .232, 23 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 2 SB

Ryan Braun - .319, 107 R, 39 HR, 114 RBI, 31 SB

Carlos Gomez - .265, 82 R, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 37 SB

Norichika Aoki - .291, 74 R, 11 HR, 56 RBI, 22 SB

Logan Schafer - .248, 16 R, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 4 SB

Yovani Gallardo - 14-9, 3.56 ERA, 213 SO

Mike Fiers - 12-10, 3.20 ERA, 160 SO

Marco Estrada - 11-12, 3.41 ERA, 174 SO

Chris Narveson - 7-10, 3.90 ERA, 89 SO

Mark Rogers - 8-7, 4.10 ERA, 106 SO

Wily Peralta - 10-9, 3.84 ERA, 136 SO

John Axford - 3-4, 2.89 ERA, 87 SO, 43 SV

Jim Henderson - 3-2, 3.56 ERA, 49 SO

Brandon Kintzler - 2-3, 3.91 ERA, 33 SO

Michael Gonzalez - 2-2, 3.29 ERA, 47 SO

Tom Gorzelanny - 5-5, 3.76 ERA, 89 SO

Burke Badenhop - 3-3, 3.62 ERA, 46 SO

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

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