Rolling Out the Barrel: Welcome Back, Baseball

The calendar has finally turned to April, and the start of a new season is just one short weekend away. All the season previews are out and all of them are quite mean about the Brewers. They are all probably right, but ignore them anyway. There will be plenty of time to be realistic during the season – while all the scoreboards still say 0-0, you can feel free to dream this weekend. Dream that this will be a Brewers team that they write books about. You win one game, then you win another one, and then a third. That’s called a winning streak. It has happened before. If Lou Brown could lead Wild Thing and the Indians to the pennant, then who says Craig Counsell can’t do the same with our boys? Let’s roll it out:

The Hardball Times || A Taxonomy of Fifth Starters (March 30, 2016)
Emma Baccellieri (@EmmaBaccellieri) has an excellent piece talking about the fifth starter, the choosing of which is an annual Spring Training affair upon which far too much importance is placed. There wasn’t much of a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation, despite the headlines one might have seen when Zack Davies was optioned to minor league camp earlier this month. Counsell said that Chase Anderson would be in the rotation approximately 12 seconds after the trade with Arizona was announced, and there was never much chance that Davies or rookie Jorge Lopez was going to replace any of the incumbent starters barring an injury – the rotation remained intact despite a combined 5.54 ERA that was actually pulled down by Jimmy Nelson’s stellar spring (1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings) and by the whopping nine runs Wily Peralta allowed that were unearned.

FanGraphs || Colin Walsh: Brewers’ Rule-5 Stanford Success Story (March 30, 2016)
Brewers infielder and Rule 5 draftee Colin Walsh spoke at length with David Laurila (@DavidLaurilaQA), the FanGraphs Q&A man, earlier this spring about his intriguing path to the majors and his approach at the plate. Walsh is a sabermetric darling with an impressive on base percentage boosted by a sky high walk rate, and perhaps the most interesting part of this chat is what Walsh has to say about his mindset in the batter’s box: “On a 3-2 count, I’ll probably take a borderline pitch. There’s a a 50/50 chance the umpire won’t call it a strike, and if I swing at it, I’m probably not going to hit it hard. If I swing at 20 of those, I’m probably going to go 2 for 20.” I highly encourage you to click through for the rest.

SB Nation || What Every Team Would Look Like If Trades and Free Agents Didn’t Exist (March 31, 2016)
The return of the Official Good Writer of Rolling Out the Barrel sees Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) doing an interesting and probably extremely time consuming experiment: sending every player back to the team that originally drafted or signed them and seeing what he league what look like in a world without trades and free agents – you know, like in the good old days when baseball players were little more than indentured servants. Here is a spoiler alert: the Brewers would be extremely better than they are now in a world where they had both the ability to see the future and the unlimited funds needed to keep all those players.


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