Friday, March 27, 2009

Who will be the unsung heroes for the Crew this year?

Brewers need a few players to really step up their games and play to their potential. Here's my picks for the players that will be the unsung heroes and the players that need to step up their game for the Crew to make it to their second straight postseason:

Players that need to step up:

1. Rickie Weeks. He will more than likely be the lead-off hitter. He has tremendous potential but is inconsistent. He'll be a free agent and needs to have a breakout season. As the lead-off role, he needs to get his average up. He does a great job of getting on base (.342 OBP last season), but needs to produce more hits (.234 BA last year).

2. Bill Hall. He strikes out way too much. Like Weeks, he could be a great player. He has proven to be a great player (i.e. 2005 he hit .290 avg., 2006 he hit for a .270 average, 35 homeruns, 85 RBI & four triples) but he has fallen off the past two seasons (2007 he hit .254, 14 HR, 63 RBI and in 2008: .225, 15 HR, 55 RBI). He was moving around to different positions the past few seasons and that could have had effects on his batting. I think he will have a much better season this year with staying put at third base. Not that Spring Training is any measure of how a player will do during a season, but Hall has batted very well in the spring and is currently hitting .333. He needs to keep his K's down and start stroking the long ball more often.

3. The entire team needs to start hitting better with men on base. They have an incredible lineup but need to start hitting for clutch especially with the losses of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. They need to bail out their pitching.

4. Jeff Suppan. He is not a strikeout threat. When he was with the Cards, he was a ground ball pitcher. Now he gives up a ton of homeruns. He needs to keep the ball down and get more ground outs. He will most likely be the ace on the staff and needs to act like an ace (even though clearly Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra are the best pitchers on the team). For the Brew Crew to be successful, he needs to have close to 15 wins on the season and be around a low four-point ERA.

Unsung Heroes this year:

1. J.J. Hardy. Should be in the number two hole and I think he will have a breakout season. He has already shown that he is a great hitter and is a strong defender. He is one of the most underrated shortstops in the game. He has put up a monster Spring Training and I think it will continue into the season. He has hit .423 so far in the preseason.

2. Craig Counsell. He will be the top player off the bench because of his versatility in the field. He will get the most playing time and is a great option off the bench. He also adds the veteran leadership and scored the winning run of the World Series back when Arizona won it. He has been there which is a much needed player with a young team. He will keep them grounded.

3. Seth McClung. I believe he will be the setup man for the Crew. Trevor Hoffman will be out for at least the first week of the season and McClung will take his duties. I really like McClung and think he will flourish in these roles. He is hard throwing and can dominate in just one inning of work for that role. He will be very valuable to the team. If Brewers wouldn't have had so many blown games last year they would have overtaken the Cubs easily for first in the division. The duo of McClung/Hoffman will help the Crew get to the postseason.

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