The Brewers are “going for it” in 2011, according to all reports. They signed no free agents of note, but traded for Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum (and took Yuniesky Betancourt as part of the deal). They have also somewhat reworked their bullpen.
Hitters 2010 C- 2011 B-
This is the same bunch as last year, and my analysis expects similar results. That said, why was this bunch rated C- last year? The Brewers had FIVE regulars with an wOBA of .368 or better (Fielder, Braun, Weeks, Hart and Edmonds) and a sixth (McGehee) at .346, OPS 801. Their 8 regulars totaled 18.5 bWAR in 2010 (projected for 20 in 2011). By contrast, the Red Sox had only three such hitters (and one of them, Pedroia, was hurt half the year), and yet Boston was rated A-. In fact, the Brewers hitters were pretty unlucky in the way they put together their elements to make runs, and their runs to make wins. I expect a much better offense, even though the players and projections are very much the same.
Rotation 2010 C+ 2011 A-
2010 was not kind to the Brewers rotation, at least in the bWAR evaluation. While their rotation was pretty decent by my metric (game scores), they had two starters (Bush and Parra) who came out below replacement and a third (Narveson) at replacement. They replaced the first two with Greinke and Marcum, and Narveson figures to improve. Overall the rotation is much stronger, though not as much as the WAR analysis seems to suggest.
Bullpen 2010 C 2011 C+
Here the Brewers did not do so well. Their revamped bullpen should be a slight improvement over 2010, but even that is no guarantee.
Overall 2010 C- 2011 B
I see this as the team to beat in the NL Central (sorry, Reds). Projecting them to win 90 games, they look like the NL’s most improved team. A much better rotation, plus a return to form of hitters who individually did OK but as a team underperformed, should put them in the thick of the race.
|Prince Fielder||First Base||26||4.8||3.8|
|Rickie Weeks||Second Base||28||2.5||3.7|
|Casey McGehee||Third Base||28||2.3||3.5|
|Ryan Braun||Left Field||27||5.3||4.8|
|Carlos Gomez||Center Field||25||0.7||0.0|
|Corey Hart||Right Field||28||2.4||3.6|
|Zack Greinke||Starting Pitcher||27||5.4||-1.1||Bush|
|Yovani Gallardo||Starting Pitcher||25||2.2||2.1|
|Shaun Marcum||Starting Pitcher||29||2.4||-0.7||Parra|
|Randy Wolf||Starting Pitcher||34||2.0||1.9|
|Chris Narveson||Starting Pitcher||29||1.0||0.0|
|Takashi Saito||Relief Pitcher||41||0.9||-0.9||Coffee|
|Zach Braddock||Relief Pitcher||23||0.4||0.7|
|Kameron Loe||Relief Pitcher||29||0.4||0.8||Hoffman|
|Manny Parra||Relief Pitcher||28||0.0||-0.8||Villanueva|
|LaTroy Hawkins||Relief Pitcher||38||0.4||-0.1|