From Robin To Rickie

March 20, 2006

Monday Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jamie Herbst @ 3:29 pm

Some notes on an otherwise uneventful Monday….

  • Looks like Ben Sheets will be missing at least one start at the beginning of the year.  As I’ve stated previously, I’d definitely err on the side of caution here and make sure he’s absolutely 100% before putting him out there.  The Crew may not be quite ready to contend yet, but they certainly won’t without Sheets.  What I wouldn’t give for 33 Ben Sheets starts at full strength in 2006.  On the bright side, it would seem Doug Davis will be getting the opening day start.  Doug’s more than earned that, throwing 440 very effective innings for us over the last two years.
  • The vaunted Brewers medical staff could very well be put to the test in 2006.  Already this spring a variety of aches and pains have afflicted our young infielders, the latest being J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks.  Hardy looks to be back tomorrow, but it’s times like these when I’m grateful to have Bill Hall.  The luxury of giving guys rest when needed and being overly cautious with injuries without a dropoff in production is something the Brewers have not had in years past.  Looking around the league, only Anaheim (Los Angeles) seems to have such a supersub advantage with Chone Figgins.
  • From my perspective, David Bush seems to have locked up the 5th starter’s role (I suppose you could call that 4th if Sheets has a setback and starts the year on the DL).  He had another strong outing on Sunday and is now sporting a spring ERA of 1.29.  I’m very happy to see this- you can’t have enough young starting pitching.  It now seems the plan would be for Rick Helling to start in the bullpen and be a swing man as needed.

Lastly, with all small sample size and “spring training stats mean nothing” considerations taken into account, here are some spring hitting numbers that have jumped out at me.  Overall, the Brewers have been knocking the cover off the ball this spring.

Bill Hall– .318/.423/.636, with 7 walks in about 50 plate appearances.  I’ll admit I have not been the biggest Bill Hall fan during his time with the Brewers.  However, I feel he can be very valuable and his current role of utility man extraordinaire maximizes his value.  If the guy can continue to display the power he flashed in 2005 and continues to improve his plate discipline, we may have a star on our hands.

Gabe Gross– .163/.265/.256- ouch.  Again, though, look at the sample size.  I hope the Brewers keep him around so he finally gets an opportunity to show if he can be productive at this level.  Gross is significantly better than Chris Magruder as a 5th outfielder.

Nelson Cruz– .387/.457/.806.  Yep, he’s slugging .806 this spring.  With Corey Hart hitting as well, I just don’t see the Brewers breaking camp with both Hart and Cruz as reserves.  This likely makes Cruz the odd man out.  If he keeps pounding the ball in Nashville, though, he’ll force the Brewers’ hand.

No game today- WBC championship tonight.  I was hoping for a Dominican win, but it should be compelling baseball nonetheless.




  1. Do you think Gross gets the spot over Cruz because he is a lefty?

    I don’t think spring training stats have any effect on the roster, especially hitting. pitching, it can be an indication that somebody needs more work, but spring training hitting stats are worthless.

    Otherwise Cruz will make the team (which he won’t)

    I’d bet the 13 position player roster was set before spring training began.

    Comment by jacob — March 20, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

  2. Well, I’m not sure if Gross has options left, but I’m thinking not. And yes, I think his leftiness makes a difference.

    I was possibly quick to assume both Hart and Cruz wouldn’t make the team. I suppose that is a possibility. I also agree that spring stats mean nothing, but sometimes can when they’re extreme. I’d say Gross is hitting extrememly badly and Cruz is hitting extremely well. This could make more of a difference than you think.

    And yes, I also agree that the roster was probably set beforehand. Cruz is likely inked in to a starting outfield slot in Nashville.

    Comment by Jamie Herbst — March 20, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

  3. Oh, and by the way- Welcome Jacob!

    Comment by Jamie Herbst — March 21, 2006 @ 12:13 am

  4. Thanks, i think i was the first one to post a comment, no?

    I think you are definitely right that the Brewers won’t head north with both Cruz & Hart, but I think it is simply because Hart and Gross are locks and Cruz is the odd outfielder out.

    Given that, I predict Cruz will be the first postion player recalled.

    Also, do you think that Bush has surpassed Ohka on the depth chart? Not that it matters much since Sheets will probably miss the first two weeks of the season, but when it comes time to skip starts i won’t be surprised is Ohka gets a break before Bush.

    I have high hopes for Bush, i think he will post Doug Davis type numbers this season.

    Comment by jacob — March 21, 2006 @ 9:02 am

  5. At this point, the Brewers are still talking about possibly playing Cruz in center field, so the AAA time there would help him a lot.

    I don’t think order of the rotation matters at all, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate which order Yost will use. I’m guessing the last week of spring training he’ll announce the order, and my early bet is on Davis, Capuano, Ohka, Bush 2-5 (or 1-4 depending on Sheets’ status).

    Yes, I like Bush a lot as well.

    Comment by Jamie Herbst — March 21, 2006 @ 9:15 am

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