Price Fielder said he wasn’t completely happy with how 2006 went. Trying to get a jump on the 2007 season, he’s showed up to camp early after he saw several other position players reporting early. Click on the link for a nice profile on Fielder and some comments about him from Ned Yost.
Ned Yost recently stated that he’d like to see Bill Hall play centerfield in 2007. Hall spent most of his time at shortstop in 2006 but J.J. Hardy is listed as the starting shortstop on the depth chart right now. The guy who will probably get the short end is Brady Clark, who at least right now is showing up as the starting centerfielder. And with a Geoff Jenkins/Kevin Mench platoon in left, Clark may end up dropping all the way down to the fifth outfielder, if he even makes the team.
It seems like everyone thinks the Brewers will be the surprise team of 2007. If everyone thinks that, does it mean they won’t really be a surprise? Face it, the Brewers have been bad for some time so it’s for fans to expect to much but when you combine some developing talent along with a weak NL Central, it could mean the Brewers might vault over everyone and actually come home with the division title.
In this Brewer preseason preview, you can read all about the Brewers strenghts and weaknesses. A lot rides on the arm of Ben Sheets and a lot also rides on the Brewers young talent. I think this will be a fun year to be a Brewers fan, but I also think we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves. The Cubs have bought themselves a nice team and the Cardinals will be right there as well. It’ll be a tough road, but it sure would be nice if the Brewers finally made it over the hump this year.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney recently wrote up an interview he had with Bill Hall on Olney’s blog. He asks Hall about everything from what he’ll be doing with all of that money he just signed for as well as what his favorite position is on the field. There’s a lot of good stuff in the interview and it’s well worth checking out.
Minor league guru John Sickels recently wrote up a prospect retrospective on Ben Sheets. Good reading and it’s always interesting to see where these guys came from.
Beyond the Boxscore recently posted their Brewers preseason preview. It’s a great, sabermetrically slanted analysis of the team and I like the final conclusion where it says that the 2007 Brewers will be better then the 2006 Brewers. Author Jeff Sackman (a Brewers blogger) does indicate that the division should be better and while he doesn’t guarantee a playoff race, he does say the Brewers should be in the mix in the final two months of the year. I really liked how he compared how the offense performed in 2006 vs. what is being projected for 2007. Nice, thorough analysis.
Jeff Sackman recently penned a great column at the Hardball Times on the Bill Hall signing. Good stuff here and his final conclusion is that as more and more teams sign their arbitration eligible players to longer term deals, the free agent market is going to shrink, which means premiums for the players who actually hit the free agent market.
This is a little encouraging. The Brewers made a solid commitment to their slugging shortstop yesterday when they signed Bill Hall to a four year, $24 million deal. By doing this, one of the bigger arbitration cases in all of baseball has now been settled.
After a solid 2005 campaign, Hall broke out and hit 35 homeruns in 2006. He also took 24 more walks then he did in 2005 and the end result was an OPS just short of .900. While he’s a slightly above average fielder at third, he struggled in the field at short and finished with -9 fielding runs above average and 17 errors (19 total when you count the two he made at third).
PECOTA has Hall having another nice season in 2007. His weighted mean average is .278/.346/.522 with 28 homeruns. I’ll definitely take that for $6 million per.
Baseball America recently unveiled their list of the top ten Brewers prospects. The Brewers are top heavy with pitching with four of the top five being pitchers.
First on the list is right hander Yovani Gallardo, who was the team’s second round pick back in 2004. Gallardo was very good down in High A, got promoted, and threw even better in Double A. This is a kid who could compete for a spot in the Brewers rotation in 2007 and he hasn’t even turned 21 yet. I wouldn’t mind seeing him spend at least some time a Triple A before he comes up but if he can help, he’ll be in there.
Ryan Braun comes in second and he’s the best position player. He had some good at bats at Double A and did very well in the Arizona Fall League. Braun was the Brewers first round pick in 2005 and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see him on the Brewers at some point in 2007.
Right handed pitcher and 2005 third round draft pick Will Inman comes in at third. Inman was lights out at Low A and should get the bump up to High A next year. What makes his performance at Low A so impressive is he’s still very young. He won’t turn 20 until this coming week.
Last year’s first round pick, Jeremy Jeffress, comes in fourth. He was roughed up at rookie ball but he’ll get to try his hand Low A. 2004 first round pick Mark Rogers comes in at number five but it looks like he’s out for 2007 so his career will be side tracked until he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Not too bad. BA projects the Brewers starters in 2010 and while this is a crap shoot, Inman and Gallardo are on there as starters and Jeffress is on as a closer. Keep track of some of these guys because you’ll be seeing them in a Brewers uniform in the next couple of years.
The Brewers avoided arbitration with catcher Johnny Estrada today when they signed him to a one year, $3.4 million deal. Estrada is the man behind the plate this year and his career has been kind of mixed. He was very good in 2004, not good at all in 2005 then better in 2006.
PECOTA sees something similar to what Estrada hit in 2006. They have him pegged at .282/.327/.425 with eight homeruns. I could live with that.
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