This is my piece that is currently running on Baseball Digest Daily, but since I am short on time today, I'll post it here for all to see. Make sure you guys check out Baseball Digest Daily, there are some big things going on there in the near future and I should be part of them. I'm also going to get other BtB writers involved in them if I can, so check it out.
Brady Clark has finally got his chance to become an everyday player in Milwaukee, after toiling in obscurity in a crowded Cincinnati Reds outfield for a few seasons. In Milwaukee he has received much more playing time, but never like he has this season. This is not to say it is the first year he deserves playing time. Let's take a look at his significant career numbers so far:
Clark at times has been a selective hitter, and a great base stealer, and a doubles threat, and shown power potential, but never all in one season. This year is the closest he has done to blend all of these traits together (except for his base stealing, with less than a 50% success rate this season). If he can either improve his stealing or stop altogether to avoid reaching negative run value, Clark will definitely continue to be a force at the top of Milwaukee's lineup. Clark and his .385 On-Base Percentage is one of two reason Carlos Lee has as many Runs Batted In as he does this year; the other reason being of course, that Carlos Lee is slugging .554 for the Brewers. Anyone who reads my writing knows I almost never even say the word "RBI", but I just wanted to point out that Brady Clark's emergence as a viable leadoff hitter is a part of the reason the Brewers lineup works so well this year so far.
Brady Clark is not the only reason this time is making people in Milwaukee happy; the fact that Jeff Cirillo has come back from no man's land to hit successfully has been a huge boost to a lineup that I hoped would have Russ Branyan in it all season. Cirillo's last few seaons:
San Diego 2004
That looks bad, but he was actually struggling beforehand as well, as seen here:
Jeff Cirillo 2001 Coors Field
Jeff Cirillo 2001
Jeff Cirillo 2000 Coors Field
Jeff Cirillo 2000 Away
He's been free falling for a good 4+ years now, and seems to have righted his ship somewhat. I'm happy for his resurgence, but I would of course be happier with Russ Branyan in the lineup everyday:
Imagine the opportunities for Carlos Lee with Branyan's .371 and power along with Clark's .385 and double hitting. Now that is something to get excited about. Good luck to this Brewers team as they finally blend together their youth and veterans in an attempt at winning baseball. Doug Melvin has assembled a team of castoff types like Clark, Branyan, Cirillo and even Carlos Lee to an extent to form the veteran nucleus for a winning team. I don't just spew veteran love for no reason; with these players and the newly called up Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Prince Fielder in tow, this is the team to watch in the second half of the decade.