He is heading down to Maryvale... Andrew Dunn-Bauman has his weekly Brewers Blog
Just a couple of things to touch on from Brewers camp, as I’m en route to Phoenix today to check out the Crew in Spring Training... by Andrew-Dunn Bauman
#1: The resurgence of Rickie Weeks
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago saying that Rickie needs to be a distant silver medalist in the competition for the starting job at second base. At the beginning of the offseason, it seemed crystal clear that Scooter Gennett had won the position with his impressive performance in Weeks’ absence.
Now, it’s a far cry from a certainty. There are stories surfacing of a potential platoon between the two, or even the possibility that Weeks could win the job outright. That seems hard to grasp, but what’s most astonishing is that seemingly half of the Brewer fan base would rather see Weeks take the job and be the Opening Day starter at second.
Why? I’ve repeatedly heard fans argue that “Weeks has a higher ceiling than Gennett.” In what sense? Weeks is 30 years old. He is a lifetime .247 hitter, who has never hit higher than .279 in a season. Gennett is 23 years old, and he just hit .324 last year in 213 at-bats. Yet Weeks is considered by many fans as the more valuable asset to the Brewers, and his name is even being brought up as a potential leadoff hitter for the team this year. Am I missing something?
Fans fall in love with power numbers. It’s not just chicks who dig the long ball. I understand the excitement Weeks brings when he’s crushing the ball for a two-week period. But the consistency is just not there. Gennett is better defensively, and his “ceiling” is way higher than Weeks’.
#2: No big news is good news
So far it’s been a relatively quiet Spring Training in Maryvale. That’s a good thing. When Hank the Ballpark Pup captures the lead headlines for a couple of weeks straight, you know there’s not a whole lot going on. But that’s OK, because playoff berths aren’t earned in the Cactus League. The Crew is 6-8 so far this Spring, but wins in March are about as meaningful as Cubs victories in September.
Instead of winning games, the bigger focus of Spring Training is to prepare players for Opening Day, especially pitchers who need to slowly be stretched out in order to be ready for a heavy workload once the regular season rolls around. The Crew has avoided any major injuries thus far in camp, and that’s a more positive development than if Ryan Braun had gone yard in every plate appearance in Phoenix. True, Braun has been having himself a nice Spring so far, but those numbers are meaningless once Opening Day versus the Braves rolls around.
Moral of the story: Don’t get too excited about impressive numbers out of Maryvale, and don’t get anxious about a couple of rough performances.
Things to watch for over the next week:
I’m keeping an eye on the second base situation, and am interested to see who starts to emerge as the frontrunner at first base.
Keep tabs on Ryan Braun’s performance, as he has promised 2014 will be his best offensive season to date.
Matt Garza has gotten off to a tough start in Spring, and would like to get things figured out before it gets too close to Opening Day. Look for him to turn things around in his next start today versus the Angels.
For updates and news from Spring Training, follow Andrew Dunn-Bauman on Twitter @ADBinMKE