Good morning, Brewers fans. Welcome to Rolling Out the Barrel, a new weekly roll call (do you get it. DO YOU GET IT!?) of good and/or important articles from around the web with which the Brewers are at least tangentially associated. I’m your host Travis Sarandos, and I’ll help you find the articles you might have missed this week while you were out hunting the Milwaukee Lion. With the trade deadline just one week away, we’ll kick it off by looking at a couple of outfielders who have been drawing interest around the league and who may not be with us when I see you again next week.
Tom O’Donnell (@Od_tommy) takes a peek into why Gerardo Parra, a former Gold Glove winner, seems to have regressed and is ranked among the likes of Prince Fielder and Pedro Alvarez as one of the worse defenders in baseball in 2015. According to FanGraphs, Parra ranks 49th out of 55 left fielders with at least 150 innings played according to their Defense stat this year. Parra, who is almost certain to be traded before next Friday’s non-waiver deadline, has seen his defensive numbers decline precipitously even while enjoying his best offensive year. O’Donnell concludes that small sample bias and a slightly decreased ability to make difficult plays are to blame, though he fails to mention why this has dropped Parra to among the league’s worst and not simply dropped him to league-average levels.
Baseball Prospectus || The Trade Game: Carlos Gomez (July 22, 2015)
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I’ll try to keep articles that are behind a paywall to a minimum here, but this one is too good to pass up. In this fun bit of role-playing, several of BP’s staff assume the role of General Manager for teams around the league that could be interested in Carlos Gomez. R.J. Anderson (playing the role of Doug Melvin) finds the price of prospects steep early, as Jonathan Judge (@bachlaw), acting as Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan, demands one fifth of the Brewers 25-man roster for Miguel Sano and Lewis Thorpe. However, he is able to find three offers he can bring to a meeting with ownership, one of which he accepts. Spoiler alert: You will not like where Gomez ends up.
Two days ago, 32,588 fans showed up to a Wednesday afternoon game to watch the 42-52 Brewers play an interleague game against an also-ran from the AL Central. A big part of those solid attendance numbers for a bad team in the league’s smallest market is Milwaukee’s large season ticket holder base, which is bolstered by A) putting a dang roof on your house so that the games are never rained out and B) as the unnamed author points out in this interesting piece, analytics, which is no longer just for people who love Tim Raines.
FanGraphs || Evaluating the Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates (May 16, 2014)
As you may have heard, the Brewers traded veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez back to the Pirates yesterday, on the 12th anniversary of the trade that sent him out of Pittsburgh to the Cubs. In return the Brewers received 23-year-old Yhonathan Barrios (pronounced like Ron Burgundy pronounces ‘jogging’), an infielder-turned-reliever whom the Brewers assigned to Double-A Biloxi. There’s not a ton to be excited about with this deal, though Barrios does sit mid-90s with his fastball, but Ramirez is 38 and the return was never going to be anything that would blow you away. This article from a year ago highlights Barrios as one of the hardest throwers in the minors. Our own Jack Moore also had the transaction analysis for this trade yesterday, in case you missed it. Thanks for the memories, Rami.
A bit of a mouthful in the headline department, but Jason Paczkowski at Brew Crew Ball takes a look at the impending decision Doug Melvin will need to make regarding Kyle Lohse when Wily Peralta returns from the disabled list. There’s no reasonable case to be made for keeping Lohse—who was shelled again on Wednesday and is the worst qualifying starting pitcher in the bigs—as a starter, save a move to a 6-man rotation to save the Brewers young arms from overuse. Paczkowski notes that sending Taylor Jungmann back down to Triple-A Colorado Springs is a non-starter after the blistering start to his major-league career (5-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, 0.7 PWARP in just 8 starts). In all, a fine read, though there’s a bit of a sentimental vibe to this piece for a player who spent way more time as a Brewer killer in St. Louis than he did as a useful pitcher in Milwaukee.
Brewers.com || prospect Harrison suffers broken ankle (July 22, 2015)
From the Absolute Bummer and In Case You Missed It departments, Monte Harrison suffered a gruesome season-ending ankle injury while running the bases on Tuesday night, reports Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy). The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Harrison, ranked by MLB.com as the #3 prospect in the Brewers’ system, who was starting to put things together at Helena after a tough start at Low-A Wisconsin this spring. There is not yet a timetable for Harrison’s recovery, who is heading to Milwaukee for surgery soon according the Director of Media Relations for the Helena Brewers:
Looks like Monte Harrison will head to Milwaukee for surgery in the coming days and then fly to Arizona to begin rehab.
— Dustin Daniel (@dustin__daniel) July 22, 2015
Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) takes a look at how an expanded strike zone has aided former-Brewer Zack Grienke’s recent run of dominance. Grienke, who hasn’t been scored upon in over a month, will own the longest scoreless streak in the expansion era if he can get through the first 3.2 innings of his next start unscathed. Originally scheduled to pitch Friday, Grienke will miss that start to be with his wife as the couple are expecting their first child. Come for some nice analysis of how umpires help make top pitchers even more dominant, stay for the Grienke quotes. In his weekly power rankings posted Monday to Grantland, Keri predicted Ramirez being traded to the Pirates, because he is a wizard.
ESPN Insider || Top 50 MLB Prospects (July 16, 2015)
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Keith Law (@keithlaw) came out with a mid-season update of his top 50 MLB prospects list last Thursday, from which we learned two things: he really likes Orlando Arcia, whom he ranked 17th; and he really doesn’t like anyone else in the Brewers system, as he specifically notes that he believes only Arcia and 2015 1st round pick Trenton Clark have “grade-60 or better” potential. It is, of course, widely known that Law hates the Brewers and also hates everyone else’s favorite team. Also of note: there’s only one Cub higher on the list than Arcia, and he’d no longer qualify if it were redone today (recently recalled catcher Kyle Schwarber sits 10th). This would be wonderful news if the reason the Cubs had all cleared off the top of the list was anything other than, “They’re all playing in the major leagues now.” Oh well.
Lead photo courtesy of Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports