2011 MLB Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers 2011 MLB Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers 2011 MLB Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers
 

2011 MLB Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

Whether things are good or bad in Milwaukee, the Brewers have a devout and loyal fanbase that shows-up.

Heading into 2011, the Brewers look the best they have in years but the fans are used to getting excited but know that their team is famous for being the kings of almost.

Could 2011 be the year of the Brew Crew?

Maybe, let’s take a look at the Brewers heading into the season:

The Positives:

The Brewers had a great off-season, fixing up an ineffective pitching staff to match their potent offense by adding two ace arms in Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

The Brewers 1-4 starters are good enough to rival the Phillies for best in the NL.

Offensively remaining one of the most feared line-ups in the games with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. Weeks and Fielder can hit the open market at the end of 2011, so regardless if they stay or go their numbers will determine their paycheck, so expect big years from both. Ryan and Braun need to get on base a lot because these to can steal 20+ bases in 2011.

Look for an MVP season form Braun, who is in my top five list of possible players to win the award in 2011. Braun will be hitting clean up in a potent line-up and with the team being in the hunt for October and the above factors my bet is the team will produce, which Braun will benefit from.

New manager Ron Roenicke was a coach with the Angels for the last 10 seasons. The Brewers are hoping he follows in his old ex-Angel colleagues’, Joe Maddon and Bud Black’s footsteps. Roenicke will surely bring the Angels base-stealing mentality as that is inevitable after being under Mike Scioscia for so long. Hey it does work and the Brewers have the players to be a threat, so let’s see if he can bring some energy back to the Brew Crew.

The Negatives:

The pressure is on in Milwaukee, as all the off-season moves have depleted the team’s farm system.

Add that to Fielder and Weeks both in contract season’s makes 2011 a do or die situation in Milwaukee.

The improvements could be short lived if the team misses the playoffs. This is no secret and inevitably will weigh on the players shoulders and Milwaukee’s loyal fanbase will make sure they don’t forget it.

Neither will new skipper Roenicke, as he has made it clear that he has one set of rules for every player and that the team is always playing as a contender, with the World Series in mind.

As positive as Roenicke has been as the Brewers are showing some life again in Spring Training…could he be to overwhelming for a group who is used to never living up to expectations?

It is too early to tell, but it is the last six weeks that Roenicke’s effectiveness will be judged.

Players To Watch:

2B Rickie Weeks is what makes this Brewers offense so deadly. Weeks is in his prime at age 27 and just watching him play is enough to realize that he is a superstar. Problem is Weeks cannot stay healthy long enough to transform into a household name, but he did manage to start to display consistency in 2010. Last season, Weeks’ bat posted 29 home-runs, 32 doubles, 83 RBIs, 175 hits and four triples. He needs to lower his strikeout numbers, as Weeks he had 184 in 2010. The Brewers rewarded Weeks with a four-year, $38.5 million dollar contract with a fifth year option in this off-season, so he is being paid like a star.

SP Zach Greinke has to pitch like he did in 2009, the year he won the CY Young award with a 16-8 record and a 2.16 ERA. Greinke’s first Spring Training with the Brewers has not started well at all, as he broke some ribs playing basketball with some teammates and his return will be based on how quickly he heals. Expect to see him by end of May latest.

Greinke has had mental issues to the point of needing a leave of absence while playing in Kansas City. I think this was more about the place than the game itself, and Milwaukee fans fill Miller Park every game, something he was unfamiliar with as a Royal.

2011 NL Central Prediction:

With recent injuries to Greinke (ribs), Hart (oblique strain), Lucroy (pinkie) and now Marcum causing concern after leaving the game early in his last start due to tightness in his shoulder, the Brewers are having some bad luck this Spring.

It will be hard for the Brewers to pass the Cincinnati Reds, but since Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright went down for the season, the NL Central will be a two-team race. My bet is if the Brewers can get healthy by end of May again they can win the NL Central by two-three games maximum over the Reds.

Now the poor Brewer fans will be on injury watch because if players keep getting sidelined than it will be a struggle to take the Wild Card. If they have to go without their two new aces it will déjà vu of 2010 all over again in Milwaukee.

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