Posts Tagged ‘Rickie Weeks’

The Sound of The Window and Its Effect on Fans

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

The first month of the season is over, yet nobody seems to really know what kind of team there really is in Milwaukee?

We want to believe it’s the team that put up 20+ on the Pirates and we don’t want to believe it’s the team that only scores 2 runs during a 4 game series with the Padres.

The sad part is…it may be the latter…

This team is far too inconsistant for most fans (and probably for the managers). The talent is there, but so far, the execution has not been there.

What’s worse is that the pitching staff seems like they are really trying to see if they can out-crap the 2009 pitching staff.

However it’s only one month into the long season and last year, the Angels, Rockies, and Twins had .500 or worse Aprils and they all made the Playoffs. So the question is…why is everyone freaking out?

Easy…it’s because Brewer fans hear the sound…the sound of the Window of Opportunity closing.

Let's Keep The Window Open

It was about 2004 when we Brewers fans were getting really excited about the Brewers legitimate chances. We were gearing up for the future, because fans knew that the farm system was about to produce some amazing players. There was Prince Fielder! Power hitting first baseman with baseball in his genes. There was Rickie Weeks! The second base dynamo who won 3 awards in his senior year of college. Finally, there was J.J. Hardy, hot hitting shortstop with a cannon arm. There was a lanky outfielder named Corey Hart who could run fast and smack the ball well. There were other names too, but they were either traded or became busts like Nelson Cruz and Ben Hendickson. Also in 2005, the Brewers drafted Ryan Braun and there was a quick buzz about him too!

And when they came up, the Brewers started winning again and the people came back to Miller Park. Then, every year fans would say “This is the year it all comes together!”  There has always been something standing in the way, a “but” if you will. In 2005, the team made it to .500 and that was the start. In 2006, the team had a nice showing from Prince and Rickie, but they fell out under .500 and traded away Carlos Lee. In 2007, the team was in the hunt and we saw a 50 HR season from Prince and a Rookie of the Year season form Braun, but the pitching imploded when Ben Sheets went down again and the team was error-prone. In 2008, the team made the playoffs with a solid year from Sheets, Fielder, Braun, Corey, and CC, but the team faded in the last couple months and had subpar years from Rickie and Bill Hall. The Brewers lost to the Phillies who would win the whole thing. In 2009, we thought the loss of Sheets and CC would be alright since we had Yovani and Manny. 2009 also had excellent showings from Prince and Braun yet again, but the pitching imploded, Rickie was hurt, and the team faltered.

Throughout all of it, the main focus has always been on Prince Fielder and his time as a Brewer. That time is almost out, and we know it. Even though J.J. was replaced by fairly pain-free by Alcides, there is no one that could be brought up to replace Prince. If Prince goes, then Rickie and Corey will almost surely follow him. We want to keep the faith that Prince and/or Rickie will re-sign, but what if that doesn’t happen?  People remember 2005 with excitement because it was the year that Prince, Rickie, and JJ were brought up and “the future is now!”, but what happens the year they’re all gone? We Brewers fans don’t want all this talent to only produce one small stint in the postseason, but time is slipping away.

That’s why I believe so many Brewers fans are freaking out at this awful April. That’s why we’re sick of the wasted time on wasted series because of a lack of good pitching or lack of consistent hitting or lack of decent fielding. It’s because we believe the talent is there, but the window is closing…

So as fans, let’s keep the faith we’ve had in these guys since 2005, keep cheering, and hopefully show those guys in uniforms that they need to start kicking it into gear already.

Questions Without Actual Answers Yet

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

It’s the eve before opening day and this year, there are still some important questions with the Brewers team that will need to be figured out quickly:

1) Why are the Brewers commited to starting Suppan?
The news that Parra and Narveson are both being sent to the bullpen wasn’t the bad news…the bad news was that the Brewers are still holding a starting spot for Jeff Suppan for no other reason than “We’re paying him a ton of money” and “He hasn’t pitched out the pen in a long time.” I have a question to go with my first question…Where did your stones go, Brewers organization?

From Major League 2..."You have no marbles!"

2)  Which outfielder is going to divide the fans most? Hart? Edmonds? or Gomez?
From what I’ve noticed, there are many Brewers fans that are fed up with Corey Hart already BUT he still has a loyal following. There’s another group of fans that hate Jimmy Ballgame and feel he’ll be taking valuable at bats from younger players BUT his spring training performance has turned many over to his side. There’s yet another group that hates Gomez and his lack of power BUT there are many people excited for his speed and good performance in spring. So which outfielder is going to divide fans the most? It depends on whichever one does the worst.

3) Will the new starters be better than the old starters?
This one has an answer…sort of…and the answer is “They better not be any worse”. Most preseason predictions I’ve seen has Randy Wolf regressing this year and Doug Davis will always give up some home runs, it’s just a matter of keeping the number down. I believe Bush will be better this year and Yo will be stellar as usual. That fifth spot is concerning

4) Will LaTroy Hawkins be more like Guillermo Mota or Salomon Torres?
All three pitchers were former closers, so where will Hawkins fall? He can still dial it up over 90 and has looked alright so far.

5) Will George Kottaras walk to the mound a lot?
While at the spring training game on Friday, I noticed that George really wanted to be on the same page with his pitchers and walked to have a talk with each pitcher multiple times. It worked, because there were no runs earned by the bullpen! Is he really going to do that during the season? Don’t fix what isn’t broken, George.

6) Is this the year for Rickie Weeks?
If he can stay healthy? Why not?!?!? I still have faith in the guy.

7) Will Macha run with this team?
Not just make a run, but actually steal bases and move runners. There’s so much speed on this team, it’s ridiculous. The 2005 White Sox think this team has a ton of speed, but will that speed turn into production on both sides?

8) When will the Narv-Dog get a legit chance at being a starter?
Not soon enough apparently. I really believe that if you make someone a reliever at the beginning of the year and try to make him a starter later that same year, it won’t work. When has it worked? I can’t think of anyone right now…

The Narv-Dog

9) Who will be the surprise player to step up this year?
Last year it was Casey, before that it was Gabe Kapler. Will Gomez step up? Will Casey prove his doubters wrong AGAIN? Will it be Rickie or even Jody Gerut? Perhaps it will be a pitcher…maybe Parra will take the next step. Perhaps it will be a surprise addition. Maybe it will be a call-up from Nashville…

10) Will this team make the playoffs?
Well, if you believe SI or ESPN, no. They have the Brewers finishing fourth behind the Cards, Cubs, and Reds. And it’s easy to be skeptical after the downer that was last  year, with Macha having his first losing season as a manager. However, I like when the Brewers fly under the radar and I believe this team will be playing meaningful ball looooong into the season.

Now it’s your turn…answer my questions if you can or post your own

Melvin’s End-of-Season Media Blitz

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Doug Melvin had his year-end press conference then he went on 620 with Bill Michaels…some highlights of both:

- Melvin basically said Braun and Prince won’t be traded. On 620, Michaels asked if they were going to look into locking up Prince and Melvin said something to the effect of when we have those discussions, it will be quiet like how we approached Trevor about an extension. Does this mean that Melvin will talk huge extension with Boras this offseason???

- Probably not, because right after that he said that he wants to figure out pitching before position players

- That included decisions on Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, and Craig Counsell he said on 620.

- He said that keeping both J.J. and Escobar would be “very difficult”, which Haudricourt basically believes (and I agree) means “OPEN MARKET ON HARDY”

- Lopez and Weeks were brought up. Listen up, everyone…no matter how many message boards you read or sports talk shows you listen to, Rickie Weeks ISN’T moving to the outfield. Rickie is considered the second base starter right now. Lopez might fall into that group of players that Melvin won’t decide on until some pitching is figured out.

- Finally, Melvin very bluntly said that the Brewers were looking to get two starting pitchers.

Melvin will also be on 620 tomorrow morning for his last Brewers 360 of the year where he will probably rehash all of this…but maybe there will be some new news

Who’s the Hack Now, Tyler?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

As a blogger, you’ll quickly find that to be even mildly interesting you have to have opinions and sometimes those opinions will make you look stupid. For example, I predicted David Ortiz would be the AL MVP last year… Well, along those same lines of epically horrible takes, I think it’s a good time to point out Tyler’s post on Casey McGehee from this spring.

To be fair, Tyler said he didn’t really have any concrete reasons to dream of a Brewers roster devoid of McGehee. The rookie just rubbed him the wrong way, wasn’t one of his irrationally adored scrubs (see: Nelson, Brad and Rottino, Vinny) and had an annoying name. No one (including myself) jumped to McGehee’s defense, save a couple overzealous fans from Casey’s hometown. But I think it’s time to give the former waiver wire addition some much-deserved props.

The Brewers have not been playing great baseball lately (not even in that three-game sweep of the Tribe), but McGehee has been shining.

In close to 100 plate appearances this season, McGehee is hitting .349 with a .414 OBP and .500 slugging (.914 OPS). Yeah, he’s not THAT good, but this is the same guy Tyler was literally begging to not make the team as Spring Training got underway. The 26 year old is proving to be more than adequate offensively, including putting up some remarkably consistent splits (.340 against righties, .345 against lefties).

Aside from his contributions at the plate, McGehee has been a solidifying defensive addition as well. The former Cub, who played exactly seven games at second base in the minors and zero in the majors before this season, has played 15 games at second this year and has more than held his own while becoming a regular in the everyday line-up. He has also played a handful of games at third base, a couple at designated hitter and even logged an inning in right field.

Does McGehee’s production make up for the loss of Rickie Weeks for the year? It’s hard to say, but unlikely. Rickie was on pace for a hell of a year. But McGehee has certainly helped ease the pain. The guy has been an outstanding addition to the team and has more than earned my respect (maybe even Tyler’s?). In fact, he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite guys on the team to root for.

In the News (5/20)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Tuesday’s Game: Brewers 4, Astros 2
Record: 25-14, 1st Place

Tuesday’s Game

- 7 in a row! This is quite a run!

- Bush had two runs scored off of him in the fourth, but that was it as the staff didn’t allow another one the rest of the night including another perfect inning by Trevor Hoffman.

- Hardy knocked in two, and Fielder and McGehee both added an RBI (McGehee’s first of the year)

Brewers News

- FanGraphs say no Rickie Weeks? No Problem… I say we’ll see. The Brewers already had problems making Rickie into a leadoff man and he finally looked comfortable.

- InBetweenHops thinks everyone should calm down too.

- Provus says that injuries are just part of the game and seems excited to see what happens next.

- The Doorman shrieks like Kerrigan from the news about Rickie.

- Eli and other rumor mills believe the Brewers should be interested in Mark DeRosa. Tyler salivates.

- Ray Durham is also staying fit and is ready for a call.

- But, the Brewers are first going to test their infield depth starting with Hernan Irribarren who was hitting very well in AAA.

- McCalvy twits or tweets, whatever, that the Brewers should let Irribarren play more this time.

- Gallardo hopes he isn’t rusty since the last time he started, it was only for two innings.

- Braun talks about Favre. He’s sick of it too, but can’t help but keep up on the news.

- The Courier Press runs a fun little article on Mitch Stetter. It’s very easy to like this young lefty.

- Vinny Rottino approves of the Mat Gamel

- Corey Hart also does an infomercial for Soup’s bar and grill on how to field in the outfield.

- Trevor Hoffman and Jason Kendall didn’t hit up the clubs after Kendall’s 2,000th hit…no…they brought out some commemorative bubbly and toasted like gentlemen.

- Quevedo at the Buffet pretty much sums it up.

- Well it’s not the mug, but Bernie’s going to be getting wet and wild thanks to the Kalahari.

Minor Leagues

- Jeremy Jeffress was demoted back to Brevard County.

- Green has done so well with the T-Rats, that he probably won’t be back with them when they come back to Appleton…but we knew that would happen already.

- Brew Crew Ball interviews Cutter Dykstra.

- A quick look at Huntsville’s manager Bob Miscik.

- Get to know Tim Dillard.

NL Central

- Piniella wants to keep playing the slumping Fontenot…maybe Theriot should just give Mike whatever he’s been using. Just kidding…don’t email me…

- Khalil Greene will be used as more of a utility player and this Padres blog celebrates their team finally winning in a trade.

- Joey Votto needs to be examined because of some strange dizziness he’s been feeling.

Other News

- Jack Z has pounced on Brad Nelson. Not surprised…and Brad’s already hitting about as much as Richie Sexson this season.

- Todd Helton has 2,000 hits now too!

Producing Under The Radar

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Certainly, it’s impossible to ignore the great start Mike Cameron has provided the Brewers in April and the early days of May this 2009 season. We shouldn’t ignore, however, the starts of three other Brewer hitters in the top third of qualified (3.1 PA/team game) NL position players by Value Wins this season.

Unsurprisingly to all Brewer fans, Ryan Braun is one of these three players. Braun’s 7.4 value runs through 25 team games projects to approximately 48 value runs for the whole season, for 4.8 value wins, eclipsing last year’s 3.9 wins. Braun’s production has come nearly entirely with the bat, as between positional adjustments and UZR, Braun has been worth -3.3 runs in the field. Thanks to 3.5 playing time runs and 7.2 batting runs, Braun still possesses a high amount of value. His value at the plate is elevated this year due to higher plate discipline (a 14.0% walk rate more than doubles his 2007 and 2008 values) and 9 extra base hits in 104 PAs.

One spot above Braun on the list is Rickie Weeks. After multiple years with multiple analysts claiming it was Rickie’s Breakout YearTM, Weeks is showing the signs of being the all-star caliber player we’ve hoped for. Weeks does Braun 0.1 better, with 7.5 value runs after 25 games and similarly projects to 48 value runs and 4.8 value wins. Weeks has made strides in all facets of his game, most notably defensively, where Rickie has been 2.9 runs above average already with the glove. Rickie’s been a bit above average with the bat (+0.6 runs), and that combined with plus defense at a premium position makes Rickie a solid player through 25 games.

Easily the most unlikely player of the three to make this list is Bill Hall, but he’s managed to do so with 6.7 value runs. Hall has been solid at defense wherever he’s played over his career, with a positive career UZR at SS, 3B, and CF. This year, Hall is at +0.4 runs at 3B, for a total +0.8 fielding number with the position adjustment. Of course, what’s been surprising about Hall this year is the revival his bat is seeing. Hall’s seen a boost in power so far, with a ISO at .198 about 30 points higher than the last 2 years, is striking out less and is walking slightly more. Hall’s fast start, however, has been powered by a .356 BABIP, and could be due for some regression. Still, it’s been an encouraging start for Billy and even with some regression, we’re still due for a much better season than last year.

These three Brewers have been integral in keeping the Brewers near .500 early. If they can keep up their production, and some of the stragglers (Fielder, Kendall) start to produce closer to their true talent level, this team could catch fire and string together some wins.

InReview - Week 4

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Weekly Record: 5-2

Current Record: 13-12

Likes:

  • Strong homestand, but let’s not kid ourselves…it was a very good thing the Brewers had the Pirates in town
  • HELLS BELLS AT MILLER! Wow, that place rocks when it’s Trevor Time!
  • Mike Cameron…besides his little gaffe on Saturday, he’s being doing it all for the Crew
  • The pitching staff going from crazy unreliable to the current quality start streak.
  • Yovani doing it all…and now he holds the record for Brewers pitcher with the most home runs!!!

Dislikes:

  • Ryan Braun missing his own bobblehead day due to injury.
  • Certain calls that are obviously terrible and should be changed, but can’t be for whatever reasons

This Week in Stats

Weekly ERA: 3.00 YTD: 4.14
Weekly BA: .242 YTD: ..248
Weekly Opponents BA: YTD: .239
Weekly Slugging Percentage: .438 YTD: .424
Weekly Fielding Percentage: YTD: .982

Quick Hitters:

If Mike Cameron’s March and April Stats from this year replaced his March and April Stats from last year when he was suspended, he would have hit around .254.

Last year the Brewers struck out 180 times and walked 88 times in March and April. With about 100 less at bats this year in March and April, the Brewers have walked 99 times and struck out 199 times, so don’t completely believe the hype about the plate discipline.

But believe the hype when it tells you that the Brewers had a .316 OBP to start out last year and this year it’s already at .337. Only one month did the Brewers have an OBP of over .337 all of last year and that was in the amazing August of 2008.

Prince is fine and J.J. is fine. They both started slow last year hitting a respective .250 with 4 home runs and .234 with 1 home run. If anything, J.J. has started the year with more power than last year and Prince is doing the same thing, but has a higher on base percentage (.368 to .408)

Players of the Month:

Mike Cameron - April Stats: .333 AVG, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R, 2 SB, 13 BB, 0 E

-

Yovani Gallardo - April Stats: 34.2 IP, 2.86 ERA, 1 CG, 34 K, 0.87 WHIP, .172 OBA, 8.83 K/9

Watch Out For:

Best in May (career averages): Rickie Weeks usually does well in May with a career batting average of .262 and a BAbip of .317

Worst in May (career averages): Braden Looper has career worst averages in ERA, W-L%, and WHIP in May

In the News (4/8)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Corey Hart Was Solid Defensively in Tuesday's Loss

Last Game: Brewers 6, Giants 10
Record: 0-1

Opening Day

- The Brewers lost their first opening game since 2003 as both teams showed problems in the pitching department. The team’s offense tried keeping pace, but the pitchers couldn’t stop giving up runs. Even though reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was chased early, Jeff Suppan gave up 6 runs in 4 innings of work and the Giants showed power that they never had last year by getting 12 hits, including 3 home runs (Randy Winn got a home run? Are you kidding me?)

- On the positive side, Rickie and Cam had a  real good start to the season. With four walks, is this a new Macha-fied or more patient Mike Cameron or is it an aberration?

- On the negative side, the pitching fears held by fans in Brewer Nation came to fruition. Every pitcher gave up at least one run today.

- Here’s recaps from MLB, JSOnline, and ESPN.

- Quote of the Day:

“That wasn’t very pretty,” Macha said. “By my count, there were 13 walks and four hit batters. We had 20 baserunners and only got five runs. If you told me we’d get Lincecum out of the game in the third, I’d be feeling pretty good. We just didn’t pitch very well.”

Brewers News

- In “It’s a Better Idea Than Leading Off With Mike Cameron” News, JJ and Corey have officially swapped spots in the batting order as seen in today’s game. If you want to read funny knee-jerk reactions, read the comments at the bottom of the story.

- Here’s an interview by OnMilwaukee.com with Cory Provous on the eve of the regular season. As much as I enjoyed Jim Powell, Cory’s been doing a good job learning and has really helped me get over it.

- After today’s performance, I don’t think too many people care about Soup’s Nutrition help.

- Casey McGehee was interviewed by his hometown newspaper and said that making the team was a dream come true.

- Prince is the cover athlete for Take2’s “The Bigs 2″.

- A short tale about a man who was so much more for a day..he was a racing hot dog!

Minor Leagues

- Brett Christopherson of the Appleton PC interviewed Cutter Dysktra and Brett Lawrie.

- Sports Bubbler also talks to Cutter Dykstra and Brett Lawrie.

- Speaking of the T-Rats, here’s their starting rotation!

NL Central

- NL Central Wrap Up: The Cards (1-1) beat the Pirates (1-1) 9-7, The Cubs (1-1) lost in extras against the Astros (1-1), and Cincinnati had the day off

- I think this is kinda funny. A power ranking after the first day. Perhaps it’s a biting social commentary on the triviality of power rankings in a long season.

Other News

- Major League is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. and the Ueck probably has still never seen it…

- Kevin Mench is sucking, just like the latest Shrek movies.

My Thoughts On Rickie Weeks, In Graphical Form

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I’ve been hearing a lot of how much Rickie Weeks sucks lately, and I wanted to lay out my personal thoughts on weeks.   I couldn’t really think of a good way to put it in words, so here’s a graph with my thoughts on Rickie’s offense.   This graph compares Rickie to the top 40 second basemen in the league by plate appearances.  So this compares him to all starters plus some platoon players or players who filled in with injuries.  The thick lines are the league averages, the dotted lines are Rickie’s stats.  To see the graph in a larger form, right click on the image and click “view image.”

He doesn't suck. Stop saying he does.

Now I realize this doesn’t address the aspect of defense, but he’s much better now than his early career (-9.1 UZR in 2006, -4.7 in 2008).   With improvement this year, we could be looking at a very good Rickie Weeks in 2009.  Even if he doesn’t improve, we still have a league average second basemen, which is more than a lot of teams (such as the Chicago Cubs) can say.

Brewers Fan Favorite Vote - Round 2 Concludes

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Braun and Gallardo blew away their opponents again. It really puts it the Looper beating Suppan in fan voting in perspective; Looper beats Suppan and Looper gets destroyed in popularity by Gallardo, hence Suppan is about as popular as Jose Hernandez’s and Glendon Rusch’s lovechild.

As far from close as those two were, the other two match-ups were the opposite. For awhile, the Cameron/Hart battle was very close, but Hart pulled away late Thursday night. Bush against Villa was decided by less than 10 votes, the slight edge to Bush. Here’s the final results:

Braun DEF Kendall 96% - 4%

Hart DEF Cameron 61% - 39%

Gallardo DEF Looper 97% - 3%

Bush DEF Villanueva 54% - 46%

Round 2 concludes already with these match-ups (including some very interesting pitching ones). Vote away for your favorite Brewers because these polls close on Monday evening.

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