Giving way today to Andrew Dunn Bauman,who is at Spring Training
Opening Day Predictions by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
We’re less than two weeks away from Opening Day at Miller Park. Exciting, isn’t it? With the season so close at hand, and in honor of March Madness starting this week, it’s only fitting for me to make some predictions about this Milwaukee Brewers club.
I’ve spent the past week following the Crew at Spring Training, and have learned that manager Ron Roenicke isn’t one to give away any information regarding roster decisions until it’s an absolutely certainty. But I’m going to use my critical thinking and Nate Silver-like prognosticating skills to predict the Brewers’ Opening Day active roster and starting lineup:
1. Yovanni Gallardo
2. Kyle Lohse
3. Matt Garza
4. Wily Peralta
5. Marco Estrada
Jean Segura, SS
Scooter Gennett, 2B
Ryan Braun, RF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Khris Davis, LF
Yovanni Gallardo, P
The big surprise of camp so far has been 21-year-old lefty Wei-Chung Wang. Wang, a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Pirates, hasn’t allowed an earned run in six Spring Training outings, pitching 8 1/3 scoreless innings. Roenicke has said he’s worried that he “can’t tell what (Wang) has upstairs” because he has to communicate through a translator. Regardless of what he has upstairs, he’s had an extremely effective arm this Spring for Milwaukee. It’s impossible to keep Wang off the roster with the way he’s pitched in Spring, so I expect him to be a lock in the ‘pen on Opening Day. Tyler Thornburg will be the first one to get sent down if he struggles.
The first thing that stands out: seven infielders. Roenicke said that he plans to keep two first baseman on the roster, and has strongly hinted at plans to keep both Weeks and Gennett on the roster at second base. That totals six infielders, with no one to back-up Jean Segura at short. Having no one as a second option at shortstop is a big no-no, so I expect Jeff Bianchi to be kept as the seventh infielder. Logan Schafer’s ability to play all outfield positions allows for the extra infielder on the roster.
That being said, I expect the Brewers to either deal Rickie Weeks early in the season, or send Scooter Gennett down to Nashville if Weeks is clearly outplaying him. Either move frees up space for Caleb Gindl in the outfield. In the competition for a spot at first base, I see Juan Francisco as the odd man out.
Starting Lineup Analysis:
As ridiculous as I keep saying it is, the Brewers seem to be leaning more and more towards a platoon at second base. Either this is an elaborate ploy to boost Weeks’ trade value, or he’s going to be splitting time with Gennett. But with Julian Teheran (a righty) being slated as the Braves’ Opening Day starter, I expect Scooter to be in the starting lineup Opening Day.
At first base, Mark Reynolds will win the job. Roenicke doesn’t seem sold on Francisco at this point in camp, and Lyle Overbay won’t be an everyday player at this point in his career. Despite being just a .233 lifetime hitter, Reynolds can offer flexibility defensively, playing at both first and third base as well as emergency relief in the outfield, and Roenicke likes his power numbers.
Outside of that, the starting lineup is pretty straightforward. Both the players and fans alike expect this squad to produce a lot of runs.
Next week I’ll be back with one final look ahead at the Brewer season. For now, one final prediction: Virginia wins the tourney.
For more Brewer coverage from Spring Training, follow Andrew Dunn-Bauman on Twitter @ADBinMKE