Do Brewers’ prospects excite you?
The weather today is sort of spring-like (though the forecast for Tuesday is chilly). The singing of a male cardinal greeted me as I stepped outside about dawn for my walk with the pup. The Brewers are back in training, so a sense of spring is indeed in the air.
While spring usually fuels great hopes for many baseball fans, I’m not so optimistic about the chances of Milwaukee’s ball club to do great things this season. Last spring, the Brewers had lost slugger Prince Fielder to Detroit, but they still had the core of their pitching staff and everyday lineup. This year, many questions surround the club, and I can’t help stealing a base, so to speak, from Tim Thompson’s “Peace and Glove” blog and asking my readers what they think of Milwaukee’s chances for success this season.
There’s the growing speculation about Ryan Braun and his links to a clinic that sold banned substances to other Major Leaguers. There’s first baseman Corey Hart’s knee surgery, which will keep him out of the season-opening lineup. Is young shortstop Jean Segura ready to play every day for a whole season? Will centerfielder Carlos Gomez go into one of his hitting funks? Will that revamped bullpen be better than last year’s relief staff?
I think the bullpen could be better than in 2012. Of course, that’s not saying much. And how well the relievers perform depends largely on how deep into games the starting staff can get. Starting pitching is the biggest question on this year’s team. The club is banking an awful lot of hopes around a bunch of young starting pitchers. Yes, they pitched well late last year, when the team made a desperate run at the playoffs. But how will they hold up over the course of a long season? At least two of these guys have serious injuries in their backgrounds. If they or one or two other starters get sidelined for any length of time, does the team have enough quality depth to compete?
Sorry, Brewers, but absent a major signing of a starting pitcher yet to come, I’m not that optimistic this spring.