Restoring the rosters: No. 27 – Milwaukee

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This is part of a series articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
Now that we have the obvious bottom three out of the way, I have a group of six teams without much separating them. I’ve decided to go with the Brewers first, figuring that their lack of pitching depth would cost the team in the end.
Rotation
Yovani Gallardo
Ben Sheets
Manny Parra
Dana Eveland
Tim Dillard
Bullpen
Mike Adams
Mitch Stetter
Dennis Sarfate
Craig Breslow
Joe Thatcher
Ruddy Lugo
Jon Coutlangus
The Brewers have used an awful lot of high picks on big-time arms with very poor results. In fact, with Sheets temporarily out of the league, not one active pitcher drafted by the team has recorded 20 major league victories.
Dillard, the fifth starter here, is viewed as more of a reliever by the club, but he’s gong 10-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts in Triple-A this year. That’s good enough.
The bullpen is very weak, but Adams, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001, might not be such a liability in the closer’s role. He has a 2.01 ERA in 89 1/3 innings for the Padres since the beginning of last year.
Lineup
2B Rickie Weeks
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Gary Sheffield
CF Corey Hart
3B Mat Gamel
C Angel Salome
Bench
1B/OF Matt LaPorta
OF Tony Gwynn Jr.
INF Ronnie Belliard
INF Bill Hall
C Robinson Cancel
The Brewers do possess a better lineup than many of the teams ahead of them on the list. Catcher is the only real problem in the lineup, and it might be that Cancel is currently a better option than Salome, who remains unpolished defensively. Jonathan Lucroy, who is a level behind Salome in Double-A, might prove to be the superior player.
Besides the obvious top-level talent in Braun and Fielder, the Brewers have a lot of depth here. Gwynn can play center, with Hart in right, when the Brewers need to put their best defensive lineup on the field. Geoff Jenkins is still just 34 and could yet be a decent enough right fielder against right-handers. Mark Loretta is another utility option and a better one than Hall at the moment, though Hall can’t be completely written off yet. Top prospect Alcides Escobar is also available.
Summary
Some spectacular misses with early first-round picks really hold the Brewers back here. Mark Rogers, Mike Jones, J.M. Gold, Kyle Peterson were all big flops, and 2006 pick Jeremy Jeffress seems on his way to joining the group in part because of a drug habit. Of course, every team has its failures when it comes to the draft. The difference is that it seems to be the Brewers’ only method for acquiring talent. Not one of the 25 players listed above was signed out of Latin America. The Brewers are trying to make up ground there now, and Escobar, who was signed out of Venezuela in 2003, could be a star. There’s a long way to go, though.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.