Wisconsin may be in the middle of a cold winter, but Spring Training 2017 is only a few weeks away! Here’s what you can look forward to from your favorite Cream City crew.
1. Junior Guerra Will Continue to Shine
Junior Guerra took his place in the starting rotation in May of last season and was the best surprise of a 2016 where the Brewers took 4th place in the NL Central. Guerra finished the season with an ERA of 2.81 in 20 games and was the gem of the rotation before he was shut down in September. There’s no reason to believe that Guerra’s 2016 success can’t continue as a vital part of the starting rotation in 2017.
2. Zach Davies Will Give the Rotation Stability
He’s been compared to Cy Young candidate Kyle Hendricks, not only for their similarity in stature but for his ability to locate a great pitch without the showy velocity. Davies finished the 2016 season 11-7 with a respectable 3.97 ERA. While Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta often faltered, Zach Davies was the center of a rotation that was remarkably consistent for a 23-year old who throws a fastball that tops in the low 90’s. The 2017 season gives Davies time to finesse his change-up and even establish himself as a #1 starting pitcher.
Everybody loves a shortstop! On August 2nd, 2016, after saying goodbye to Brewers mainstays/fan favorites Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers called up their top prospect, shortstop Orlando Arcia. Arcia ignited much excitement after hitting 53 RBI’s and 8 home runs in Triple-A early last season. Although his oBP and AVG to finish the season were nothing to write home about (.273 and .219), his defensive capabilities are masterful. Arcia hit .300 in Double-A with the Biloxi Shuckers in 2014 and with his first full year on the team, Arcia can find his offensive groove.
4. Lewis & Luis & Stearns, Oh My!
David Stearns was held in high esteem by top baseball minds for the haul of talent the Brewers received in their trades of Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith, and Jeremy Jeffress. Outfielder Lewis Brinson and RHP Luis Ortiz were integral pieces of the Lucroy/Texas Rangers trade. Brinson was the Rangers first pick of the 2012 MLB draft. He finished 2016 playing Double-A with Frisco and Triple-A with Colorado Springs, with 16 home runs and 60 RBI’s.
Luis Ortiz was also a first round draft pick for the Rangers in 2014. In his one season of Double-A ball, he posted a 3.29 ERA. Ortiz is a fresh 21-year old with a high ceiling that Brewers fans should be excited about as the team continues to rebuild.
5. Where In The World is Ryan Braun (Going To Wind Up?)
Trade rumors have plagued Braun since the middle of last season. When that pesky thumb is healthy, Braun is one of the top power hitters in the MLB. But when you add in his inconsistent health and the distaste that many fans and owners have for him since his PED bust in 2013, along with an owed $80 million left on his contract, a trade seems unlikely. One team that keeps fueling rumors of a trade is the Dodgers, who have the financial means and were reportedly working on a Yasiel Puig/Braun trade that fell through before the trade deadline. Losing Braun and gaining a few prospects may be at the top of some fans list, while others continue to cheer him on and reminisce a magical 2011 season.