MLB Teams: Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Season 2012
The reigning National League Central champions had a painful off-season. Many baseball fans and experts expected All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder to leave the team via free agency and he did signing with Detroit.
What nobody saw coming was the positive performance enhancing drug (PED) test of the 2011 NL MVP outfielder Ryan Braun. Milwaukee was facing a start of the season without Braun, for fifty games, and trying to adapt to the loss of Fielder. Braun has since won the appeal he filed basically throwing out his positive sample and avoiding the suspension so he will be playing come opening day.
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The 2012 regular season for the Brewers can be viewed here: schedule
Norichika Aoki – outfielder
Yuniesky Betancourt – shortstop
Alex Gonzalez – shortstop
Craig Counsell – infielder
Aramis Ramirez – third baseman
Frankie De La Cruz - right handed pitcher
Jose Veras – right handed pitcher
Jerry Hairston – infielder
LaTroy Hawkins – right handed pitcher
Mark Kotsay – outfielder
Casey McGehee – third baseman
Takashi Saito – right handed pitcher
Who Will Win the National League Central Division?
Brewers Lineup: Opening Day
It appears that things might finally be settling down for the Brewers franchise right in time for them to begin their defense of their Central championship.
As I mentioned above the loss of Fielder was expected but they also said good bye to a few other players that contributed heavily to their success in 2011.
Betancourt was a solid player for them at shortstop and McGehee was one of their most reliable hitters, especially in those critical game is on the line moments. Also gone is Hairston who was such a clutch player for them in the division series against Arizona.
They have brought in Gonzalez to replace Betancourt and Ramirez to replace McGahee. Honestly I think they are downgrading themselves a little bit at short and improving at third base. One thing they will miss from McGahee is he could also play other positions while Ramirez cannot.
The offense is still going to be driven by second baseman Richie Weeks, outfielders Nyger Morgan and Braun. The other outfielder Corey Hart will also have to step up to help contribute to the loss of Fielder’s production.
The starting pitchers are pretty good with Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf. They have other starting options but, after their subpar performance in the League Championship Series last year, it remains to be seen how they round out the rotation.
Closer John Axford is one of the best in the NL. I do not understand the team re-signing Francisco Rodriguez as a setup guy. If the team didn’t have a shutdown corner the move makes sense but with Axford in the bullpen the move is odd. As it is now your closer is making about eleven and a half million dollars less than your setup guy. Rodriguez can be a little bit vocal if he doesn’t get what he wants so we will have to see if this becomes an issue for the team.
The cards are stacked against the Brewers winning the division again, and by cards I mean the St. Louis Cardinals. While both teams lost their All-Star first baseman the Brewers lost other main members of their team while the Cardinals got back their ace pitcher.
The Brewers will miss Fielder no doubt but I think the loss of Betancourt and McGehee will hurt just as much, if not more. I didn’t see Fielder as much of a leader in the clubhouse but the other two seemed to be in that role, and it will take some time for that to be replaced.
The Brewers have the disadvantage of playing in a division that has some pretty good teams and one that is getting better every year. I think the Cardinals will win the division and the Cincinnati Reds will take second but it will be by only a few games. The Brewers will probably fall to third with the Chicago Cubs in fourth and the Pittsburgh Pirates taking fifth; I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs and Brewers switched places. The Houston Astros will probably be the worst team in the NL again and will bring up the rear.
Miller Park Milwaukee
Miller Park Map
Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers