Legends On Deck

Milwaukee Brewers: How They Were Built

2015 Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers finished the 2014 season with a record of 82-80 which was up from the 74-88 record they had in 2013.  It was a fairly quiet winter for the Brewers, but like every other team some moves were made.  Milwaukee did more on the trade market compared to free agent signings, but General Manger Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke seem content entering the 2015 season with what they have in place.

Starting Pitchers

Matt Garza – Signed a four-year $50 million free agent deal with the Brewers in 2014.  Garza is entering his 10th year in the major leagues, and holds a 75-75 career record with an ERA of 3.81.  2014 was his first year in Milwaukee and went 8-8 in 27 starts.  Garza hasn’t made 30 or more starts since the 2011 season when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs but will need to return to that if the Brewers have any shot at postseason play.

Kyle Lohse – Signed a three-year $33 million free agent deal with the Brewers in 2013.  One of the more durable of starters, Lohse made 30+ starts for the fourth season in a row and has done that 10 out of his 14 years in the major leagues.  He is 142-128 in his career, and is 24-19 in his time with the Brewers so far.  Lohse fields his position well with a career .988 fielding percentage, making just one error in 2014 which was the first one he made since 2010.

Wily Peralta – Signed with the Brewers in 2005 as an amateur free agent.  Milwaukee has to be thrilled with what they have seen out of Peralta over the past two seasons.  The 17-game winner in 2014 has made 32 starts in each of the past two seasons and has just gotten better.  His innings pitched went from 183.1 in 2013 to 198.2 in 2014.  The same trend happened with strikeouts (129, 154), ERA (4.37, 3.53), and WAR (-1.1, 2.7).  Milwaukee has a star in the making if these trends continue in 2015, and Peralta should be a player to keep on your radar.

Mike Fiers – Drafted in the 22nd round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.  After the trade of Gallardo to the Rangers, Fiers appears to be penciled in as the Brewers number four starter.  He made 10 starts in 2014 and recorded a record of 6-5 with an ERA of 2.13.  In the 71.2 innings of work last season as a starter and reliever, Fiers managed 76 strikeouts.  The Brewers do have a few arms in their system that could make their way to the major league level at some point.

Jimmy Nelson – Drafted in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.  Nelson didn’t have the best of showings in 2014 for the Brewers.  He appeared in 14 games while starting 12, and posted a record of 2-9 with an ERA of 4.93.  Last season didn’t provide many with a large sample size, but obviously his numbers are going to need to improve if he wants maintain a spot in the Brewers rotation.

Bullpen

Jonathan Broxton (CL) – Acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in 2014.  Broxton, a two-time All-Star, will be closing games out for the Brewers in 2015.  After have a struggles at the end of his time with the Dodgers, Broxton looked to have turned things around.  He seems to have an on-year off-year type of consistency which the Brewers hope is not the case.  In 11 appearances in 2014 with Milwaukee, Broxton was 0-1 with an ERA of 4.35.  He has a career record of 35-30 with an ERA of 3.07 and 118 saves.  Broxton will remain in this spot unless Milwaukee signs Francisco Rodiguez who they have been linked to for the last couple of days.

Will Smith – Acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals in 2013.  Smith led the league in appearances in 2014 with 78.  The big lefty is entering his fourth season in the major leagues.  His 86 strikeouts in 65.2 innings last season gave him a 11.8 K/9 which has to make the Brewers happy.  As one of two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen, Smith will act as a setup man to Broxton to try and shorten the game up for Milwaukee’s starters.

Jim Henderson – Signed as a free agent with the Brewers in 2010.  After shoulder surgery cut his season short last August, the former closer appears to be close to 100% which is good news for the Brewers.  Henderson recorded 28 saves in 2013 and an ERA of 2.70.  He could be a candidate to take over the closer role again if the Brewers fail to sign K-Rod and Broxton struggles.

Neal Cotts – Signed a one-year $3 million free agent deal with the Brewers in January.  The 35-year old left-handed pitcher is entering his 10 season in the major leagues.  He missed several years in the middle of his career with Tommy John surgery and various hip surgeries.  He seems to be back to form as he made 73 appearances in 2014 with the Texas rangers.  He could be a nice left-handed option out of the pen in the middle innings.

Jeremy Jeffress – Signed as a free agent with the Brewers in 2014.  The former first round pick of the Brewers back in 2006, Jeffress returned to the team that drafted him in 2014.  He appeared in 29 games with the Brewers posting an ERA of 1.88 which reminded them why he was drafted so high in the first place.  He did struggle a bit in his time away from Milwaukee but could be a welcomed addition back to the bullpen.

Starting Lineup

Jonathan Lucroy (C) – Drafted in the third round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Brewers.  Lucroy is possibly the face of the Brewers.  The 28-year old catcher made the All-Star team in 2014, and finished fourth in MVP voting for the National League.  The backstop hit .301 with 13 home runs, 69 RBI, and 53 doubles which led the league.  Behind the plate he posted a fielding percentage of .996.  If it weren’t for some guy named Yadier Molina in the same division, Lucroy would get plenty more accolades.  Certainly a guy worth keeping tabs on in 2015 and beyond.

Adam Lind (1B) – Acquired in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason.  As one of the only moves the Brewers have made up to this point, Lind will be looked to to take over the first base position although he hasn’t played in over 100 games there since 2011.  The 31-year old had a good season at the plate in 2014 with the Blue Jays hitting .321.  He has the ability to hit the ball out of the park if given the opportunity, which he will have in Milwaukee.  Lind has 146 career home runs which includes a season of 35 that he hit back in 2009.

Scooter Gennett (2B) – Drafted in the 16th round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Brewers.  The 24-year old second baseman, played in his first full season in the big leagues and didn’t disappoint, with a line of .289/.320/.434/.754 with 31 doubles.  The Brewers have a young middle infield, but it could be an exciting one.

Aramis Ramirez (3B) – Signed a three-year $36 million free agent contract in 2011 plus an option with the Brewers.  The oldest player on the Brewers, the almost 37-year old third baseman is entering his 18th year in the major leagues.  The three-time All-Star and former Silver Slugger recipient has continued to produce.  In his career, Ramirez has collected 2,186 hits, 369 home runs, 1,342 RBI, and has a career batting average of .285.  It is unsure what will become of him after this season, but you can be sure there will be a market for him somewhere if not in Milwaukee, if he continues doing what he has for so long.

Jean Segura (SS) – Acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Angels in 2012.  To say the Brewers were disappointed with the followup to his All-Star season in 2013 would be an understatement.  Segura struggled and saw an enormous decline in his offensive production in 2014.  After hitting .294 in 2013, Segura hit just .246 in 2014.  His on base percentage dropped from .329 to .289, slugging went from .423 to .326, and OPS dropped from .752 to .614.  Obviously he will need to return to that form for the Brewers to get back into contention in the National League Central.

Khris Davis (LF) – Drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Brewers.  The 27-year old became an everyday player in 2014.  Although his batting average saw a dip, he was able to hit 22 home runs with 69 RBI in 144 games.  He will once again get the nod to play left field on a regular basis in 2015.

Carlos Gomez (CF) – Acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins in 2009.  Gomez has had to enjoy his time in Milwaukee and his production has to be the reason.  He has made the last two All-Star games and won a Gold Glove.  Gomez gives the appearance that he really enjoys playing the game and his smile seems infectious.  He is entering his ninth season in the major leagues, and in 2014 he hit .284/.356/.477/.833, with 23 home runs and 73 RBI, which was almost identical to his 2013 numbers.  Gomez is just 29-years old and there is no reason the production over the last couple seasons won’t be signs of what to expect in 2015.

Ryan Braun (RF) – Drafted in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft by the Brewers.  The hardest thing to figure out with Braun is what to actually expect.  The PED suspensions have clouded everything he has done up until last season.  He was certainly on the fast-track to be one of the best in the game which quickly turned after the suspension.  He hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI in 135 games.

Projected Bench

Martin Maldonado (C/1B) – Signed as a free agent with the Brewers in 2007 after being released by the Angels.  Maldonado appeared in 52 games in 2014 and recorded a .234 batting average with four home runs.  He will most likely appear in the same amount of games depending on days off and injuries.

Gerardo Parra (OF) – Acquire in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the trade deadline in 2014.  The two-time Gold Glove winner will serve mainly as a backup outfield option in 2015.  With all of the positions solidified, Parra’s best asset is his ability to play all three outfield positions.  He is entering his seventh season in the major leagues.

Logan Schafer (OF) – Drafted in the third round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Brewers.  Schafer is another outfield option off the bench for Milwaukee, as he like Parra, have the ability to play all of the outfield positions.

Luis Jimenez (3B/1B) – Selected off waivers by the Brewers from the Angels.  Jimenez mainly plays as a third baseman but can play first and also have experience albeit one game at short stop.

Luis Sardinas (IF) – Acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers this winter.  The switch-hitting Sardinas projects as more of a middle infielder but can also see time at the hot corner.  He made his major league debut last season with the Rangers appearing in 43 games batting .261 with five stolen bases.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com