Monday, May 25, 2009

The Brewers State of the Union: Infield edition.

After an embarrassing trip to Minnesota, the Brewers infield seems to be the biggest question mark going into our series with the Cardinals. Some may say starting pitching, but with the way these guys have been pitching, they were bound to lay an egg. Anyway, on my last post, I brought up the idea of trading JJ Hardy and it met with some criticism. The reason I bring up JJ as a trading chip is that his value is so high, not because I don't like him as a Brewer. He's an all-star shortstop, which is a premium position, he's still under team control for a very fair price, and his future with the Brewers is virtually non-existent with Escobar nipping at his heels and his refusal to switch positions. Calm down people, I'm just throwing a possibility out there. But I digress....

Bill Hall can't hit a right-hander if it was thrown under hand, JJ is plagued by back spasms (but wasn't lighting the world on fire before that) and Ken Macha hasn't decided whether or not McGehee is your everyday second baseman or if he's going to platoon Counsell. Believe it or not, I may have the answer. Bill Hall thrived in his super-utility role and I think his leash as an everyday player is to taught, it's time to move him back to the bench. He's able to play all three outfield position and second, third and short. His ability to hit lefties and his glove still give him value for the team. Mat Gamel has shown that he is ready to hit major league pitching and he flashed a little leather in his start. It's going to be a little rough around the edges, but Brewers fans should be remember a certain "butcher" at third, I think they've been pretty happy with the results. With a defensive liability at third, the rest of the Brewers infield will have to be solid in the field. McGehee has looked solid at second and has wielded a pretty good bat since he started getting some regular playing time. Give him a chance to be your everyday guy, see what you've got in him. When JJ is healthy, I don't think his position as everyday shortstop is in question in the least, however, if his back is bothering him, Counsell is a solid option and makes our lineup a little more left-handed, which is a good thing. Between Hall and the recently called-up Frank Catalanotto, the Brewers should be covered with backups at all infield positions as well as the outfield. That should hold the Brewers over for now, we shall see how McGehee and Gamel fair. If they struggle....

I am of the opinion that Alcides Escobar needs a full season at AAA to prove he can hit major league (almost major league) pitching, and after a mediocre start, Escobar has raised his batting average to .289. Also, he's been manning second base showing that he may be able to fill in at second should the Brewers need him. In an ideal world, McGehee becomes a serviceable second baseman (.260 avg. while playing solid defense) and Gamel becomes everything the Brewers believe he can be. But Escobar is a pretty solid insurance policy should the Brewers need something down the stretch run. 

I just got word that Gamel (3B), Counsell (SS) and McGehee (2B) are starting today against Chris Carpenter and the Cards. Hopefully, the Crew can get it done with this lineup, it is certainly something I will be keeping an eye on.

No comments: