Monday, March 3, 2008

2008 Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Team Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers success is a testament to the value of a strong farm system. Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun are all homegrown products and key cogs in a powerful Brewers lineup that makes them one of the favorites to win the NL Central. Let's take a look at the 2008 Brewers and see what this young club has to offer fantasy owners.
Projected Starting Lineup


2B- Rickie Weeks
SS- J.J. Hardy
3B- Ryan Braun
1B- Prince Fielder
RF- Corey Hart
CF- Mike Cameron/ Tony Gwynn Jr.
3B- Bill Hall
C- Jason Kendall

Starting Pitching Rotation

Ace- Ben Sheets
2- Jeff Suppan
3- Dave Bush
4- Carlos Villanueva
5- Yovani Gallardo (DL) Manny Parra, Claudio Vargas

Bullpen

Closer- Eric Gange
Setup- David Riske, Derrick Turnbow, Guillermo Mota, Brian Shouse, Salomon Torres

Hitters to Draft

Prince Fielder, 1B - A true slugger, who should hit .280 with 45-50 HR and well over 100 RBIs in a strong Milwaukee offense. He is much younger than Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols with the ability to hit for a better Average than Howard and is much less of an injury risk than Pujols. Being younger than those two also means he has the best upside and room to grow as a hitter, whereas we have probably seen the best that Howard and Pujols have to offer.

Ryan Braun, LF - Will be a LF with eligibility at 3B. If your league counts errors, he's a 3B stud. If errors don't count as a stat, he is still a stud. He should wind up being one of the top 10 players taken in your fantasy draft and will reward owners by the end of the season. He can hit for power, average and steal a base with the potential to deliver .300+, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI and steal 20 bases.

Corey Hart, RF - Have I mentioned how much I love 20/20 guys? He'll go 20/20 again this season, and should finish with bigger HR and RBI numbers, knowing that guys like Kevin Mench and Geoff Jenkins, can't steal at bats from him any more.

Rickie Weeks, 2B - Ignore the season numbers, and just focus on August and September. I grabbed him in August, after he returned to the majors after a stint in AAA and he was one of the players that carried my otherwise mediocre team into the finals of my fantasy league. In the season's final 2 months, Weeks hit 11 homeruns, scored 44 runs and stole 15 bases. He will never hit for high average or notch big RBI totals, however, Weeks is a legitimate 20/30 threat with the ability to score a lot of runs hitting at the front of a powerful Brewers lineup.

Pitchers To Draft

Ben Sheets, SP - The NL's version of Eric Bedard - great stuff but can't stay healthy when you need him. Sheets is in a contract year so he will have extra motivation heading into 2008. If he can stay healthy he is an excellent contributor across the major pitching categories and backed up by a potent offense. Of all the injury prone pitchers out there save for possibly Francisco Liriano, Sheets might be the best to roll the dice with come draft day.

Eric Gange, CL - Gagne is the closer on a team that should win plenty of games and in turn offer ample save opportunities. Ignore what happened in Boston, Gagne won't be that bad in the NL and appears to be one of those guys who just perform their best when pitching exclusively in the closer role. If he can remain healthy (big if with Gagne) 30 saves is a definite possibility.

Yovani Gallardo, SP - Young fireballer who turned an excellent rookie campaign in 2007 going 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA while striking out nearly a batter per inning. Gallardo will be the 5th starter in Brewer's staff and will get plenty of favorable matchups this season which should help his cause. Unfortunately, Gallardo had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee which has forced him to miss time in Spring Training and may push his 2008 season debut back a few weeks. For more information on Gallardo's injury and 2008 fantasy value check out our previous post.

Players to Avoid

J.J. Hardy, SS - Hardy possesses the two attributes I hate most in fantasy players. 1) He is injury prone 2) He is inconsistent.

Jason Kendall, C - Can't believe I really need to put him here but there are still people who draft him thinking he is a decent fantasy option. The one good thing about Kendall is that he is an absolute beast as far as playing everyday and being a gamer. Thats it really. Kendall can't hit for average anymore, could never really hit for power, and has lost whatever speed he had, Please avoid him and look at some of the sleeper picks we made for this category.

Sleepers

Bill Hall, 3B- A fine defensive 3B who will go under the radar because he we so mediocre last season.

David Riske, MR - Love him to get a ton of holds if your league counts them, and is probably the first in line if/when Gange gets hurt.

Mike Cameron, CF - One of those guys I don't like, but must acknowledge as being someone who can put up very good numbers. He had 21HR and 18SB playing in San Diego, one of the worst hitter's parks in baseball. In Milwaukee he will play in a better hitter's park, surrounded by a much better line up. I really think Cameron could go 20/20, despite the fact he will miss 25 games due to testing positive for stimulants.

2 comments:

Steve Berg said...

Good article.

I would put Carlos Villanueva as a pitcher to draft, but he might start the year in AAA because he has minor league options left. Villanueva definitely has the talent to be the #3 SP for the Brewers in the 2008 season.

Check out my Brewers Blog at:
http://brewersbaseballblog.blogspot.com/

Ben said...

I actually like Villanueva a good amount and think he will help fantasy owners as both a starter and reliever. He just needs to secure a role first.

Thanks for the comment.