ADDITIONS: RH reliever Derrick Turnbow (off waivers from the Angels – 1
year); C Damian Miller (2 years with club/player option for 2007); RHP Justin Lehr (trade – 1 year); RHP Jose Capellan (trade); OF Nelson Cruz (trade – 1
year); RHP Alex Zumwalt (completed Dan Kolb trade); OF Carlos Lee (trade); RHP
Kane Davis (minor league contract); C Kelley Gulledge (minor league contract); C
Jeff Winchester (minor league contract); INF Tony Zuniga (minor league
contract); LHP Rigo Beltran (minor league contract); RHP Ricky Bottalico (1
year); C Julio Mosquera (minor league contract); INF Jeff Cirillo (minor league
LOSSES: INF Craig Counsell (free agent); RHP Chris Saenz (free agent);
INF Keith Ginter (traded to Oakland); OF Scott Podsednik (traded to White Sox);
RHP Luis Vizcaino (traded to White Sox); RHP Dan Kolb (traded to Atlanta).
1: CF Brady Clark
2: 2B Junior Spivey
3: 1B Lyle Overbay
4: LF Carlos Lee
5: RF Geoff Jenkins
6: 3B Russell Branyan/Wes Helms
7: C Damian Miller
8: SS J.J. Hardy
Brady Clark saw most of his playing time in right field during the 2004
season. He emerged as an effective right fielder, with five assists in 96 full
games last season. With the trade of CF Scott Podsednik, the Brewers are looking
to move Clark into the center field position and the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Injuries hampered Junior Spivey’s year in 2004, causing him to end his
season in July. When he is healthy, it is possible for him to hit 15-20
homeruns, steal 15-20 bags, and drive in 65 runs. The Brewers seem to have some
confidence that Spivey can return to form, as they signed him to a one-year
$2.125 million contact.
Lyle Overbay started the season well in 2004 with an 18-game hit streak. He
finished his first major league full season by leading the majors and breaking a
franchise record with 53 doubles. Defensively, he provides stability and
consistency at first base for the Brewers. He should continue to do just that in
the 2005 season.
New addition, Carlos Lee, had a very solid season with the White Sox in 2004.
He hit over .300 in every month except for April. In the outfield, Lee has an
average arm. He did not make an error last season and had 11 assists. Milwaukee
is looking for him to add some power to their lineup, hitting him in the
With the departure of Richie Sexson in the offseason, the Brewers looked to
Geoff Jenkins for power in 2004. The pressure must have gotten to the left
fielder, because his numbers were less than stellar. Jenkins is usually an
aggressive hitter, although he only had 19 homeruns in 2004. He is a good
defensive outfielder, with 10 assists and only one error in left field last
season. The Brewers are looking to move him to right field in 2005 and hope that
he can become the power hitter they need.
Third base is up for grabs. Among the contenders are Russell Branyan, Wes
Helms, and Jeff Cirillo (who was just signed to a minor league contract.)
Branyan added some power to the Brewer lineup in 2004, but he also struck out 43
percent of the time. He is a below average third baseman, but is working to
improve. Helms had an off year in 2004, with only 18 extra base hits. He missed
six weeks of the season to injury and his slump caused him to lose his position
at third to Branyan. Cirillo was signed to a minor league contract, but he could
make the team out of Spring Training. His defense at third is still strong,
though he has struggled offensively with the Mariners and Padres over the last
couple of years.
Damian Miller had a great 2004 season with the A’s. He hit .324 with
runners in scoring position, and .412 with 17 RBIs in 17 at-bats with the bases
loaded. Defensively, the catcher only made one error in 751 chances. The Brewers
are hoping Miller can continue his consistency as a clutch hitter, as well as
behind the plate.
J.J. Hardy received the starting role at shortstop when the Brewers declined
to offer arbitration to Craig Counsell. Hardy, 22, as great range on the field
and has a strong and accurate arm. Hardy is a contact pitcher by nature, but he
has learned to be more patient at the plate. He has a lot of promise of being a
OF Dave Krynzel
OF Corey Hart
C Chad Moeller
INF Bill Hall
The 23-year-old Dave Krynzel made his Major League Debut on September 1,
2004. Krynzel had 41 at bats in 16 games for the Brewers last season. In those
41 at bats, he managed 9 hits, including 1 double, 6 runs, 3 RBI and 3 walks.
One area that he should work on is his strikeouts (he had 15). Krynzel showed
great defensive talent in center field. He robbed a homer from Cardinal Hector Luna on September 21. With more time in the majors, he should prove to be a
great asset to the Brewers.
Corey Hart is another 23-year-old looking to bust his way into the Major
Leagues. He didn’t see much time in the big leagues with only one at bat in
2004. He has done some switching around defensively, going from first to third
and now to left field. He is a quick learner who just wants to play wherever
there is an open spot. The 6-6 outfielder’s strength is his offense. He is a
career .300 hitter in the minor leagues. In 2003, he led the Southern League in
RBIs, hits and doubles. With numbers like his, the Brewers have no choice but to
find a place for him in their lineup.
Chad Moeller was half of a catching platoon for Milwaukee last season. He
caught games for Ben Sheets, Doug Davis and Chris Capuano. Moeller has an
uncanny ability to call a game, hold runners on base, and block balls in the
dirt. However, his offensive numbers trailed off in 2004. With the acquisition
of Damien Miller as the new full-time catcher, Moeller probably won’t see many
starts in the catcher role.
Bill Hall saw time at second, third, and shortstop in 2004. Although he has
the ability to make the big plays, he had a total of 19 errors. Hall had 9
homeruns, 3 triples, and 20 doubles, but an alarming 119 strikeouts. He needs to
show more consistency and patience at the plate and improve his defense if he
wants any shot of becoming a regular infielder.
RH Ben Sheets
LH Doug Davis
RH Victor Santos
LH Chris Capuano
RH Ben Hendrickson
All Star right-hander Ben Sheets had a breakout 2004 season. He set a
franchise record with 264 strikeouts, trailing only Randy Johnson in the league.
He also had an impressive 2.70 ERA in 237 innings pitched, which was third in
the league. Sheets accomplished all this and more, despite a painful bulging
disc in his back. He had corrective surgery immediately after the season ended,
and has since felt no pain. The Brewers are hoping that their new ace can
continue his success on the mound in 2005.
Lefty Doug Davis had a respectable 2004 season. His 12 wins and 12 losses don’t
show what he is capable of. With a better offense from his teammates, he could
win more games. Davis is typically a groundball pitcher. He is good at changing
speeds and location to keep hitters off balance. He was a consistent pitcher for
the Brewers with a 3.39 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 207.1 innings. The Brewers are
looking to him to continue to be their No. 2 starter.
In 2004, Victor Santos joined the Brewers’ bullpen in April and moved into
the rotation in May. He started strong going 8-3 in his first 11 starts, but he
struggled in August. Santos has good mechanics and excellent control. He has six
pitches: a two-seam fastball, and a four-seam fastball, a slider, split-finger
pitch, changeup, and his best pitch, curveball. The Brewers are hoping Santos
can recapture his first half success and extend it over the entire season.
Chris Capuano was 6-8 in his first full Major League season with the Brewers.
He had eight quality starts in 2004, from July to early August before being
sidelined with tendonitis in his elbow. He has good movement on his fastball,
slider, and changeup. He looks to be a good No. 4 starter for Milwaukee.
Ben Hendrickson has an 11-3 record with a 2.02 ERA for Triple-A in 2004. He
made his Major League debut with the Brewers on June 2. He was only 1-8 with a
6.22 ERA in his nine major league starts. The final spot in the rotation is
pretty much up for grabs. If Hendrickson can prove that he can be an effective
major league pitcher, he will receive the No. 5 spot.
Closer Mike Adams
RH setup man Ricky Bottalico
RH setup man Brooks Kieschnick
MR Derrick Turnbow
Mike Adams made his Major League debut in May 2004, and now the Brewers have
him in contention for the Closer’s role. Adams, 26, did well in his first
Major League season, striking out 39 batters while walking only 14 in 53
innings. He feels confident that he can handle the closer job, and the Brewers
don’t seem to have many doubts about him.
If Adams doesn’t make the cut for Closer out of Spring Training, Ricky
Bottalico might be the one taking that role. The 35-year-old veteran had a
bounce-back season with the Mets in 2004. He was 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 60
relief appearances with New York and held opposing hitters to a .215 batting
average. He will either be a good setup man for Milwaukee, or a good closer.
Brooks Kieschnick converted to pitcher only three years ago, and, therefore,
is a good hitter for a pitcher. Shoulder problems hindered his performance in
the second half of the 2004 season. He doesn’t have great numbers, but the
Brewers are happy with him, for now.
Derrick Turnbow didn’t see much playing time with the Angels in 2004. He
only appeared in 4 games, giving up only two hits in 6.1 innings while striking
out 3 and walking 7. With more experience in the Major Leagues, he might be able
to become a good middle relief pitcher for the Brewers.
Justin Lehr made his debut in 2004, pitching in 27 games. He had a 5.23 ERA
in 32.2 innings pitched. His walks to strikeouts ratio was less than impressive
with 14 walks and 16 strikeouts. However, he left a good impression on the
Brewers. He could be up for a setup role out of Spring Training.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK:
Can the bullpen hold up?
The Brewers traded away their two most reliable pitchers in Closer Dan Kolb
and his setup man Luis Vizcaino. Now they are left with an extremely young and
inexperienced bullpen. They have just one veteran in the pen in Bottalico.
Milwaukee will have to hope that these young players can handle tough situations
in the big leagues.
The Brewers have a number of young, talented players, all of whom are
worthwhile to watch out for. Some of these players are: J.J. Hardy, Dave Krynzel,
and Corey Hart. However, the player who might have the most chances to breakout
is Hardy with his starting role at shortstop. At 22, Hardy is looking to add
himself to the Brewers’ list of great shortstops
It’s been 12 years since the Brewers had a winning season, and they’re
hoping that this is the year they can break that streak. They have a lot of
young talent who will have to work hard to be in contention in the NL Central.
The Brewers are in a tough division with the defending NL Champion Cardinals,
the Wild Card winning Astros and the confident Cubs. Milwaukee’s goal right
now is to just get over .500. If the Brewers are able to do that, then they
might see themselves in fourth or fifth place in the NL Central, instead of in