The Milwaukee Brewers were eliminated from playoff contention yesterday when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. Their record currently stands at 77-78, which means a winning record or .500 finish is in sight for the first time since 1992, when they finished 92-70 back in the American League East. In other promising news, they also appear to be on their way to a third place finish, as long as the Cubs don't get hot and take it back. This is good news for a franchise that is rebuilding, and like the current Indians team who appears to be reaping the benefits of a rebuilding stage in the early 2000's, the Brewers look like they are setting themselves up for success in 2006 and beyond. Let's take a look at some of the positional players with Net Runs Above Average.
As you can see, Lyle Overbay is leading the pack, with Geoff Jenkins trailing right behind. These are two players the Brewers might want to keep after all. In fact, if a deal can be made to move Carlos Lee so Overbay can move to left field they should most definitely look into it. Something interesting I noticed involving the Scott Podsednik/Carlos Lee deal as I made this table: Carlos Lee inadvertently made this deal a winner for the Brewers. His presence made other things fall into place that made this trade a success. Let's take a look at what I mean. Geoff Jenkins was moved to right field from left field thanks to Carlos Lee coming over to the Brewers. In left field Genkins did not seem to be a superior defender anymore, posting Rate2's of 98 and 96 in 03-04 after four very good defensive seasons. In right field this year he has a Rate2 of 106, which was a major contributor to his NRAA figure. Also, with Podsednik going to Chicago, Brady Clark was handed an everyday job, and all he did was post the third best NRAA on the team. If Podsednik had remained, Jenkins very likely may have had another subpar defensive season, coupled with Podsednik's defensive limitations in center (Rate2's of 98 and 93 in 03-04) and Brady Clark would still be riding the pine. Carlos Lee, although the worst of the outfielders on the team, served a much bigger purpose as you can see. Now if the Brewers could trade him for another arm...
K/BB: 167/87 (1.92)
With a healthy Sheets, that is a 1-2-3 I would not be too keen on facing in a short series. Especially when the Milwaukee lineup is fast establishing itself as one to be reckoned with. We have gone from a team that set the single season strikeout record (not that it is as bad as it sounds) to a team beating its former club doubles total, hitting 313 so far this season to go along with 168 homeruns and a line of .259/.332/.422. That line is not really that impressive until you think of how much a developed Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy can change that overnight. This is a team just waiting to bust out, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the playoffs in 2006; definitely by 2007 ignoring what injuries could befall members of the team. I'll be watching if I can.