Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 23 March 2009
With Ben Sheets nursing his injuries and CC Sabathia taking big dollars to don pinstripes, the Brewers aren’t a place you are going to spend a lot of time looking for fantasy pitching help, but if you are looking for bats there is plenty here to like.The Best of the Bunch (Elite Players):
Ryan Braun (OF):
Ryan Braun does it all.
Braun is a true elite outfielder who will contribute in five categories. His average did fall over 30 points between 2007 and 2008, but if you can’t live with a .285 hitter who hits 35+ home runs then you probably shouldn’t be playing this game. Don’t forget he was battling a sore ribcage for two months of the season which could explain the drop off.
The Second Tier (Superior Players):
Prince Fielder (1B):
He’s got enough power to hit 50 home runs, but I would think that 35-40 is a more realistic. Throw in the fact that he’ll hit in the heart of the lineup and help you in every category but steals and it’s hard not to like what Fielder brings to the table.
Corey Hart (OF): Another 20-20 season seems a lock for Hart, but as he enters his prime (he’s 27) the possibility of him taking another step forward is intriguing. Still many suitors will be scared off by that .268 average he posted last year. That’s not in line with his career numbers, so a rebound to the .280s seems likely.
The Third Tier (Better than Average Players):
Rickie Weeks (2B):
The upside here is the 20-20 potential, but the question is if he’ll ever realize it. Two seasons in a row with an average in the .230s are discouraging as is his injury history. Still, that potential is intriguing; he’s one breakout away from being a top fantasy option at the position, and you’ll get him for a fraction of the cost of many players with a lot less raw talent.
JJ Hardy (SS):
What you’ve seen with Hardy is probably exactly what you’ll get in 2009. That means 20-25 home runs, a .275 average, and 70-80 runs and RBIs. There is upside here, maybe, Hardy hasn’t shown any real uptrends, but at age 26 he’s entering his prime.
Yovani Gallardo (SP):
Gallardo has the ability to turn into an ace as he’s got plus stuff, and mixes it up well. However he’s coming off a knee injury (a torn ACL which had to be repaired surgically) which makes him less than a sure thing, but he so far has had a good spring and he should be available at a discount.
Question Marks, Cheap Buys and sleepers:
Bill Hall (3B):
Hall has struggled badly against righties leaving fantasy owners wondering just what he really brings to the table. The answer to that is power, if he doesn’t lose a lot of playing time or end up in a platoon where he only bats against southpaws. He flashed that power back in 2006 when he hit 35 home runs, but he’s managed just 29 in the two seasons since then. Even worse is that his batting average bottomed out at .225 last season.Jason Kendall (C):
Kendall still has a little bit of speed and traces of the guy who hit for solid average for a number of years occasionally come to the surface, but Kendall is second catcher fodder at this point in his career, and its possible he’ll end up losing time when top prospect Angel Salome make his debut in the second half.Mike Cameron (OF):
You can call Cameron Mr. Consistent. He’ll give you roughly 20 home runs, 15 steals and a low average. His age (36) and injury history are somewhat of a concern. Oh, and lets not forget that he did serve a suspension for PEDs last year. Will that be an issue?Trevor Hoffman (CL):
Hoffman won’t be a top choice as far as closers go but so long as he can maintain his hold on the closer’s gig, he should notch the 30 saves that every closer seems to finish with. However, what he has left is very much in question. He’s 44, and has seen his ERA climb by over a run and a half in the last two years. Moving from pitcher friendly PETCO Park to Miller Park can only hurt his numbers.Manny Parra (SP):
Parra made 29 starts in 2008 and seems to be slipping into the Brewers’ rotation full-time this season. He won’t be too valuable to you, probably a late-round pick who can strike out 160 hitters, post 12 wins and put up a 4.30 ERA. Nothing great, but then again, you could do worse.Dave Bush (SP):
Bush is usually better than his record suggests and while he struggled last year, he’ll almost always help your WHIP and contribute some Ks while flirting with .500.Braden Looper (SP):
Looper might get some wins, but he won’t be better than average in any category besides that one. Think 10 wins, 100 Ks, 4.50 ERA and 1.33 WHIP and you’ve got the upside nailed.Jeff Suppan (SP):
He’s a weaker version of Braden Looper.