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Leading the decline of Brewers blogs but with the best Junior Guerra content.

Updated: 2017-10-19T19:00:04-05:00


NLCS Game 5 Open Thread



The Dodgers just need one more win to make the World Series, while the Cubs have to win three in a row.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs | 7:00 pm, TBS
Dodgers Lead Series 3-1
Clayton Kershaw vs. Jose Quintana

Milwaukee Brewers 2017 End of Season Top Prospects


A different take on an organization prospect ranking. The purpose of this post is to provide an overall picture of the prospects that the Milwaukee Brewers have currently down on the farm. Typically this would be provided through a numbered list; I have expressed previously how I don’t believe that those types of numerical rankings help to foster intelligent prospect discussions. So my prospect list will be a little different: a tiered categorizing of players with no numerical ranking. It’s not necessarily important or meaningful whether Player X ranks third or thirteenth or thirtieth on a specific list at a specific time. What is relevant are said player’s tool grades and projected future value. In my opinion that’s what the discussion should focus on, and that’s why my list should help steer the conversation in that direction. My rankings are based on several scouting reports and tool grades from various outlets, age/risk, physical build/projection, and statistical performance. After taking all of those items under consideration I determined where I felt comfortable projecting each player’s future value to the organization, using the 20-80 scouting scale as a guide. Here’s how it turned out: Above-Average Position Players (55+ Overall Future Potential) Lewis BrinsonKeston Hiura Above-Average Starting Pitchers (55+ OFP) Luis OrtizBrandon Woodruff Everyday Position Players (50 OFP) Isan DiazLucas ErcegMonte HarrisonTristen LutzBrett Phillips Average Starting Pitchers (50 OFP) Corbin BurnesFreddy Peralta Platoon Role/Bench Role/Extreme Risk Bats (45 OFP) Pablo AbreuBlake AllemandJean Carlos CarmonaDallas CarrollTrent ClarkZack ClarkYeison CocaMauricio DubonNick EgnatukAaron FamiliaJay FelicianoMario FelicianoGabriel GarciaJake GatewoodDevin HairstonKJ HarrisonPayton HenryJesus LujanoFranly MallenErnesto MartinezChad McClanahanMax McDowellJacob NottinghamDemi OrimoloyeTroy StokesJe'Von WardLarry ErnestoCarlos RodriguezCorey Ray Swingmen/Impact Relief/Extreme Risk Arms (45 OFP) Phil BickfordZack BrownJustin BullockMarcos DiplanBowdien DerbyCarlos HerreraAdrian HouserThomas JankinsCaden LemonsJorge LopezKodi MedeirosJosh PenningtonJon PerrinCody PonceTrey SupakBraden WebbAaron WilkersonJordan YamamotoTaylor WilliamsBrendan Murphy Bullpen Arms (40 OFP) Luke BarkerAlec BettingerDaniel BrownJoaquin De La CruzBowden FrancisNate GriepConor HarberNelson HernandezMaz LazarKarsen LindellJon OlczakDrake OwenbyNick RamirezWuilder RodriguezJayson RoseAustin RubickQuintin Torres-CostaJosh UhenMichele VassalottiAngel VenturaTyler WebbDevin WilliamsNathan Kirby Organizational Depth Bats Ryan AguilarDustin HouleNicolas PierreLuis AvaloCooper HummelAntonio PineiroLuis AvilesGeorge IskenderianMichael ReedKyle BeamJulian JarrardWendell RijoCarlos BelonisGilbert LaraYadiel RiveraJavier BetancourtTyler LawrenceNathan RodriguezTyler BortnickLuis ManonRobie RojasLeugim CastilloVictor MariaNick RoscettiBryan ConnellAlejandro MarteJoantgel SegoviaKenny CoreyYerald MartinezTyrone TaylorClint CoulterPat McInernyFrancisco ThomasJean CruzAnderson MelendezLuis ValdezJose CuasJulio MendezYoel VazquezJohnny DavisCharlie MeyerCaleb WhalenDustin DeMuthJohan MojicaWeston WilsonBrandon DiazRoberto MolinaKyle WrenBrent DiazTrever MorrisonJeicor CristianFrancis FlorentinoJoel MunozLuis ValderramaRene GarciaAJ MurrayJuan FriasMitch GhelfiTucker NeuhausAndres MelendezRonnie GideonGabriel NoriegaJose RomeroJose GomezJonathan OquendoJose ArteagaElian GonzalezNathan OrfFrancis CasadoAlexandre GuennetteAngel OrtegaDaniel CastilloTyler HeinemanKelvin PachecoAlberis PerezRob HenryMoises PerezAlwinson Valdez Organizational Depth Arms Freisis AdamesMichael GonzalezCam RobinsonTristan ArcherScott GristKody RockAndrew BarbosaCameron HainesJose RodriguezNestor BatistaMatthew HardyCam RoegnerParker BeanTravis HissongJose RomeroCody BeckmanRobbie HittWilfred SalamanRodrigo BenoitLandon HollifieldJavi SalasParker BerberetAlec KenilvortBrayan SalayaSilvestre BerroaStephen KohlscheenMiguel SanchezJesus BreaBrad KuntzScott Seri[...]

2017 Most Valuable Brewer #3: Corey Knebel



He enjoyed arguably the best relief season in team history.

Despite coming off of a down year in 2016, Corey Knebel figured to play a key role in the bullpen for the Milwaukee Brewers this season. Knebel dealt with injuries while he coughed up a 4.68 ERA in 35 appearances last year, even spending some time in the minor leagues. But he entered 2017 healthy and throwing like his former top prospect self again, and he began the regular season as a setup man for Neftali Feliz.

Once billed as one of the top relief prospects in the minor leagues, Corey Knebel fulfilled that promise in 2017. When he first debuted with the Brewers, Corey featured a straight fastball that averaged around 95 MPH. He experienced a significant velocity jump in 2017, averaging 97 MPH and touching 100 on several occasions. Combine that with his plus-plus hammer curveball, and you have the recipe for one dominant late-inning reliever.

He wasn’t scored upon until his 9th appearances of the season, and allowed runs in only two of his first 24 relief outings. The aforementioned Feliz struggled mightily and ceded the closer’s role to Knebel in early May, a position that Knebel may not relinquish for as long as he stays in Milwaukee.

Corey wound up pitching in 76 games for Milwaukee this season, working an even 76.0 innings. He recorded a save in 39 games, tied for the 4th-most in a single season in franchise history, and recorded a hold in 11 others. Knebel’s ERA was a minuscule 1.78, which was the 9th-lowest among qualified relievers in 2017. His outstanding success was supported by a FIP- of 57 and DRA- of 52, meaning that according to both statistics his performance this year was between 40-50% better than the league pitcher.

The big story for Knebel this year was the strikeout. He set a new MLB record by striking out at least one batter in his first 45 consecutive relief appearances to start the season. In his 76 innings, he struck out an incredible 126 opposing batters - tied with Craig Kimbrel for the most by a reliever this season. It was the first time in franchise history that a strict reliever had achieved the 100+ K plateau, and his 14.92 K/9 and 40.8% strikeout rate were both far-and-away the best in the club’s record books.

In fact, Knebel had arguably the most impressive season that any Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher has ever posted. His 76 appearances rank tied for the 7th-most in team history, while his 1.76 ERA was the 6th-lowest and his .180 batting average against was the 8th-lowest. In terms of fWAR, Knebel’s 2.8 wins ties him with Doug Jones’ 1997 season as the most valuable relief work in the history of the organization.

Corey also registered 3.7 bWAR and 2.3 WARP, giving him a composite WAR value of 2.93 wins above replacement in 2017. Knebel was Milwaukee’s lone representative in the MLB All-Star game this year, and there’s no doubt that he deserved the accolades. He was a workhorse out of the bullpen, shouldering a major load while shining in the closer’s role and even working more than one inning on a handful of occasions. For all of his exceptional efforts, Corey Knebel was elected by you the reader as the #3 Most Valuable Brewer in 2017.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs

Championship Series Wednesday Open Thread



Astros & Yankees fight for a 3-2 lead while Dodgers aim for their second sweep of the postseason.

Houston Astros @ New York Yankees | 4:00 pm, FS1
Series Tied 2-2
Dallas Keuchel vs. Masahiro Tanaka

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs | 8:00 pm, TBS
Dodgers Lead Series 3-0
Alex Wood vs. Jake Arrieta

What We Learned: Ignoring the results



A few report cards and a different take on the progression of the Brewers headline today’s What We Learned.

Brewers News and Notes

Links from BCB

Stay the course: the Milwaukee Brewers should continue the rebuild
eddiemathews, BCB

2017 Most Valuable Brewer #1: Travis Shaw
Kyle Lesniewski, BCB

Links from Other Sites

Prospect who suffered heart attack improving
Adam McCalvy,

2013 Prospect Class: Impact
Nicholas Zettel, Disciples of Uecker

2017 Report Cards: Jesus Aguilar
Miller Park Prospects

2017 Organizational Stat Leaders
Miller Park Prospects

Brewers' slugger Eric Thames returns to S. Korea to cheer on ex-teammmates
Yonhap News Agency

Ryan Braun says Dodgers are the only team he would approve a trade to


Trading Ryan Braun seemed unlikely all year, and now it’s looking even less likely Now that the Brewers' season has been over for a few weeks, the pretty steady stream of end-of-year interviews are starting to come in. That includes Ryan Braun, who joined Greg Matzek on the flagship 620 WTMJ earlier this week to talk about the team's near-miss with the postseason and his reflections on the season. It also included a discussion on his future with the Brewers. The possibility of being traded dominated Braun's offseason last year, after reports he was nearly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2016 season. While a trade was never truly imminent after that point, Braun says the discussions continued into the spring, and then dropped a little nugget of news in the middle of his answer: "We never really had any conversations about any of that stuff during the season. Frankly, in spring training, there were some more discussions with the Dodgers, which is in all likelihood the only team I would approve a trade to at any point, and then when the season started there were never any conversations about any of that stuff." Given Braun's ties to the LA area, it was long assumed that the Dodgers would be Braun's preferred destination -- they've always been included on Braun's list of acceptable trade partners -- but until now he's never said they're the only team he'd accept as a new home. With that said — and this was true all year — the Dodgers really, really don’t need Ryan Braun. They’re clearly doing very well without him, and trading off a top prospect or two making peanuts (when they’re paying luxury taxes out the ears) doesn’t really make sense. Chris Taylor put up an .850 OPS in left field for the Dodgers this year, they have a top prospect in Alex Verdugo, and even Cody Bellinger could step into left field in a pinch if needed. Simply put, if Ryan Braun says he’ll only accept a trade to the Dodgers, Ryan Braun isn’t getting traded. Braun went on to say now that the Brewers are winning more, he doesn't expect David Stearns to him about the possibility of a trade anytime soon. With so many outfield prospects waiting in the wings for the Brewers, the idea of moving Braun to a different position -- possibly first base -- has come up a bit more in the past year. While the Brewers haven't publicly floated the idea themselves, Braun says he'd be willing to give it a shot if that's the direction the team wanted to go, joking he'd play anywhere he's asked to -- except third base. We know how that went. "If they want me to play first, I think if it's something that's going to help our team at any point, or if it's just a few games depending on our personnel, I'm not opposed to it by any means. If they approach me with that, I'm open to it." Braun also spoke about finding other ways to contribute this past season despite injuries keeping him from playing as much as he'd hoped, like helping the team's young players adjust to life in the big leagues and developing a daily routine. You can listen to Braun's entire interview at WTMJ's site. [...]

2017 Most Valuable Brewer #2: Jimmy Nelson


An outstanding season was cut short by a devastating injury. Coming into the 2017 season, only two starting pitchers were guaranteed spots in the Opening Day rotation. Beyond that, there were five pitchers competing for the other three available slots in the starting five. After a subpar 2016 season, Jimmy Nelson entered spring training as one of the arms competing for a starting role. Nelson, 28, was considered to be Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect and one of the best young arms in all the minor leagues not too long ago. Nearly three years into his big league career, though, Jimmy had yet to live up to that promise. He showed glimpses of his potential during a solidly league-average 2015 season, but took major steps back in 2016. Nelson lead the league in walks and hit batsmen, struggled to miss bats and had difficulty keeping the ball in the park. A 4.62 ERA was accompanied by a 5.12 FIP and 5.83 DRA, and Nelson’s future with Milwaukee was starting to look a bit cloudy. Jimmy ultimately won the #5 spot in the starting rotation to start the year, but through the first month of the season it looked like he might not last long in that spot. He owned a 5.34 earned run average at the end of April, doling out 10 walks and yielding 34 hits through his first 28.2 innings pitched. Once the calendar turned to May, though, Nelson seemingly flipped a switch and pitched like a true “ace” for the rest of his season. Jimmy wound up making 29 starts for the Brewers this year, tallying a career-best 3.49 ERA across 175.1 innings pitched. Jimmy worked closely with pitching coach Derek Johnson last year on some mechanical changes that wound up paying significant dividends in 2017: increased fastball velocity (94.6 MPH), a big uptick in strikeouts (199, 10.21 K/9), an immense dip in walks (48, 2.46 BB/9), decreased hard contact, a higher ground ball rate, and less home runs allowed. A change in pitch mix - a sizable decrease in sinker usage accompanied by increased sliders and, more substantially, curveballs - no doubt played a major role in Jimmy’s success on the mound in 2017 as well. Only two pitchers on the team worked at least 40 innings and had better strikeout rates than Nelson: Corey Knebel and Josh Hader. His innings pitched total was the 2nd-highest on the team behind Zach Davies, and his home run rate of 0.82 HR/9 was 4th-lowest. Among qualified MLB starting pitchers, Nelson’s 3.05 FIP ranked him as the 5th-best starter in baseball this year, behind some guys named Sale, Kluber, Strasburg, and Scherzer and just ahead of a cat named Kershaw. In terms of Deserved Run Average, Jimmy’s 3.58 DRA was 24% better than the league average pitcher in 2017. Nelson had some of the more memorable pitching moments of the season for the Milwaukee Nine, as well. He outdueled Kershaw and the Dodgers across 8 shutout innings back on June 2nd, though Milwaukee ultimately lost that game in 12 innings. He threw the club’s only complete game of the season on June 18th, allowing just an unearned run with 10 strikeouts against the Padres at Miller Park. He also tossed 7 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts in a must-win game against the Nationals on September 1, helping propel the Brewers to a 1-0 victory. When taking a look at Nelson’s year through the lens of wins above replacement, he has a good case for the Most Valuable Brewer of 2017. He accrued 4.9 fWAR, 3.1 bWAR, and 3.9 WARP, which averages to 3.97 WAR, the highest composite WAR total of any Brewer this year. Based on the voting, however, Nelson came in behind Travis Shaw as the #2 MVBrewer this season. Unfortunately, the way Nelson’s breakout season ended now casts some major uncertainty on his future. During what wound up as his final start of the season on September 8th against the Cubs, Nelson slugged a ball off the wall while batting, rounded first a little too hard and slid awkwardly headfirst w[...]

Championship Series Tuesday Open Thread



Two games are on tap for today.

Houston Astros @ New York Yankees | 4:00 pm, FS1
Astros Lead Series 2-1
Lance McCullers Jr. vs. Sonny Gray

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs | 8:00 pm, TBS
Dodgers Lead Series 2-0
Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Hendricks