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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2010 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2010 Brewers Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Brew Crew Ball.

1) Alcides Escobar seems to me like a cheap shortstop that can provide steals (and obviously defense), which works for fantasy baseball (the steals part).  What’s your most realistic prediction for him in 2010?

It’s hard not to get excited about Alcides Escobar, who has developed a reputation as an absolute wizard defensively and looked very good at the plate in a brief audition for the Brewers last fall, hitting .304/.333/.368 and becoming just the second Brewer ever to collect 40 hits in his first 138 major league plate appearances. With that said, Escobar’s bat likely isn’t quite that good in the long term. MinorLeagueSplits.com has his 2009 Major League Equivalent line at .259/.301/.345, and that’s probably a fair expectation for his 2010 line.

As for steals, that will likely depend on his position in the lineup. His low OBP and power would suggest he should hit toward the bottom of the order where he could run wild, but the Brewers’ lack of better options may force him into the second spot in the lineup, where he’d have to be much more careful running in front of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. He’s stolen 80 bases in 100 attempts over the last two seasons, so he’ll certainly have some success on the basepaths if given the opportunity.

2) If you look in the dictionary next to the idiom, “You can’t steal 1st,” you’ll find Carlos Gomez, assuming your dictionary has pictures and baseball idioms.  Cheap steals can provide value in fantasy, so Gomez needs to be looked at (unfortunately).  How many at-bats do you see getting with his .230 average, .232 OBP and a man named, Jody, behind him?

Carlos Gomez has two things going for him at this point: He has a reputation as a very good defender, and the Brewers traded away a well known and moderately well liked contributor (J.J. Hardy) to get him. Those two factors will give him every opportunity to prove he can carry the load in center field, even if his bat never comes to life.

There’s clearly still plenty of room for growth with Gomez, who only turned 24 in December, and there are some reasons for optimism: He hit .275/.373/.374 during the regular season in the Dominican Winter League. However, his numbers plummeted during the postseason and he was left off his team’s Caribbean World Series roster with flulike symptoms.

If Gomez proves he’s not the answer, Jody Gerut is the likely candidate to absorb some of his playing time. Gerut looked very good in consistent ABs down the stretch last season, and is a capable defensive center fielder. Jim Edmonds also seems to think he’s coming to camp to prove he can still handle center field: if he can do so in an acceptable fashion, it’s possible he could see some starts out there.

3) Corey Hart’s 2009 was obviously the part of the Behind of the Music where he’s washed up and sniffing glue in the back of the Arby’s parking lot.  Can 2010 be the uplifting turnaround or will he hit rock bottom, turning tricks for glue money?

I’m not very optimistic about Corey Hart, who has done very little over the past season and a half to prove he’s the same player that hit .289/.327/.504 and earned a spot on the All Star Team in the first half of 2008. His .263 second half OBP was one of the factors that nearly cost the Brewers their 2008 playoff appearance. Before the 2009 season, he said all the right things about taking pitches and showing more patience and improved his OBP to .335, but lost over 40 points on his slugging percentage and still looked absolutely lost at the plate in key situations.

For a very gifted athlete, Hart’s defensive abilities are also below average, and he frequently relies on his good speed to cover the fact that his instincts aren’t good at all. As age slows him down, his defensive abilities will likely shift from “below average” to “intolerable.”

Finally, Hart has done himself no favors by saying negative things publicly about Brewer fans and taking the team to arbitration this season. His declining performance, negative attitude toward fans and escalating salary have combined to make him one of the team’s less popular players.

4) Casey McGehee screams to me “platoon player,” which is pretty annoying if you’re hungover.  Can Gamel work his way into the lineup or is his glove just too ugly?

Casey McGehee was one of 2009′s great surprise stories and earned the opportunity to play every day in 2010. He’s certainly a candidate to regress, but he’ll be given every chance to prove his performance in 2009 was not a fluke. With third base occupied, Mat Gamel will likely open 2010 in AAA, and when he returns (and where he plays) will likely be determined by McGehee’s health and performance.

In limited major league opportunities in 2010, Gamel did not look as bad as advertised defensively. He may never win a Gold Glove out there, but I would argue against the common perception that he *needs* to be moved off third base. With that said, McGehee is under team control for five more seasons, so if he produces Gamel will have to be moved to another position or another team to spend significant time in the majors.

5) What would be the most fitting pun-nicknames:  A) Prince “Not A Good” Fielder B) Rickie “On the DL 6 to 8″ Weeks C) Manny “My Control is Sub-” Parra

Fielder’s defense is actually much better than advertised. Like Gamel, he’ll likely never win a Gold Glove, but Fielder was close to league average defensively last season, and for a player of his build and offensive talent, league average defense is pretty impressive. He also seems to display good instincts and make the occasional great play.

As for Rickie Weeks, I’ve heard all the jokes (and made some of my own) about his durability, but the injuries he’s best known for (his wrists) have been season enders, not 6-8 week bumps in the road.

That leaves Manny Parra, and if I have to choose one of the three, I’ll go with him. 2010 could be a pivotal year in his career: At 27 years old, he could still bounce back, have a nice season under Rick Peterson, and become a pitcher a team depends on for another 5-10 years. If he posts another season like 2009, though, he could end up getting non-tendered and scouring the market for a minor league deal.

Parra is almost a lock to win a spot in the rotation in spring training, and his long term success or failure will go a long way towards determining the kind of season the Brewers have.

  1. Fresh says:
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    Lol! Love the pun-nicknames. Good stuff, Grey

  2. GTS says:
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    What spot does Granderson hit in? I’m trying to decide between him and Youk and Morneau…

  3. quimmy says:
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    @grey: i grabbed alot of those guys who brought my power down to bring my avg up as i was looking at around a .265-.269 ba w/o them.

    thx for the advice as always grey, much appreciated

  4. Tony says:
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    grey to guzman you say hmmmm? is that a hmmmm take him over peralta or a hmmmm WTF guzman is bleh….

    his .300 average (if playing) is solid in my league, like i said 10×10 we count singles, dubs, trips, etc…..

  5. Tony says:
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    @GTS: i’ve seen him projected in the 6 hole. If you need a 3B you gotta take YOUK…. rank wise i’d put them youk, grandy, then morneua anyways.

  6. sean says:
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    @GTS: Depends on your needs. If Youk/Morneau would be corner guys for you, you may want to take a longer look at Grandy, whether he hits 2nd, 7th, or some combination of the two.

    Clearly, the trend in the past couple of years for both the Yanks an Sawx has been to slot high OBP guys in front of the sluggers. Hard to argue with Johnson in the two hole when he’s got a career OBP of .402. Still, if he struggles, or gets injured, and Granderson is back around his .365 from ’07-08, I think he could rise in the lineup.

    I know this is a bit like leading the league in doubles in Tuesday games played at night indoors, but I could see Granderson toward the top of the lineup against tough RHP. Granderson is much better against RHP (.292 vs. .210). Johnson kills lefties (.292 v. .246), meaning that it would make sense to DH Posada against tough RHP, keep Johnson on the bench, and move Granderson up.

  7. Tom Reale says:
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    @sean: It’s not like hitting 7th for the Yankees hurt Cano’s #’s last year (100+ runs). Plus Grandy will probably be stealing more often batting 7th.

  8. Tom Reale says:
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    Lugo to the O’s…looking like Roberts concerns could be justified?

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tom Reale: Yeah, Roberts has real concerns.

  10. Nathan says:
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    @Tom Reale: The biggest impact has to be that Red Sox fans get treated to 19 games of Lugo striking out menacingly for the other team.

  11. GTS says:
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    Would you take V-Mart before Youk, Morneau, or Grandy?

  12. ThreeFingersBrown says:
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    @Grey: What’s the over/under on PA’s for Randy Ruiz? Any chance of The Overfiend finally losing the starting 1B gig to Ruiz or would Brett Wallace get consideration first, since they’re high on him. Did a search for Ruiz and only found a few mentions of him from last year.

    Sorry if you answered this already but I couldn’t find a response.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GTS: Nope

    @ThreeFingersBrown: Blech. Maybe he gets a sporadic 250 ABs. He needs an every day job outside of AL-Only leagues I wouldn’t bother.

  14. Tom Reale says:
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    @Nathan: Ha! The O’s have real concerns too, if Lugo plays more than 19 games total.

  15. sean says:
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    @ThreeFingersBrown: the sake of my razzball team hopes that overbay continues to suck monstrous dong while keeping his spot in the lineup again this year.

  16. ThreeFingersBrown says:
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    @Grey: Thanks. Just getting creative.

    Roberts is a big concern. Without his basestealing, he’s Crapolanco! To quote Sir Smoke A Lot: “I need a backeotomoty!”

  17. Ashley says:
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    Sorry, posted this on an older entry…. I know it upsets you when people do that.

    Another manager is willing to trade me Gordon Beckham and a good draft pick for Kinsler once Beckham gains 2b-eligibility..

    I have a ton of speed, so I wouldn’t be missing Kinsler’s SB (even though I don’t think he’ll get more than 20 this year).

    Sound like a good trade to you?

  18. ThreeFingersBrown says:
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    @Sean: You’ve got a beast there! He must be blackmailing Cito to get himself penciled into the lineup every day.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tom Reale: Ha!

    @ThreeFingersBrown: Ha!

    @Ashley: Doesn’t upset me, just hard for me to search through older posts for where a comment is. Seems too panicky, I’d want Kinsler.

  20. Fuzzy Dunlop says:
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    I drafted Gregg in reserve round as flier for saves. It’s a 4 RP league and i already have Wagner, Valverde, Gonzalez. Do I keep Gregg active or drop him for one of Motte, League, Gregerson? Thanks.

  21. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    @Fuzzy Dunlop: The Blue Jays aren’t keeping Gregg active… why should you feel obligated to do so? :P

  22. stynyr says:
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    Anyone have any idea if/when Yahoo! will make Reyes availble for the DL. I want to grab Latos so I can observe his first start but I’m afraid to drop Harang…

  23. PaddyTwoTimes says:
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    @ Gray

    Texas has claimed Garko off waivers.

    This affect Davis’s ceiling? Still hold onto Davis, I mean I got him late.

  24. PaddyTwoTimes says:
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    @ Gray;

    Basically posting this so I can be notified of your response.

    But, did I just see you suggest League…you dissing Aards?

  25. uncdrew says:
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    Pftt… Carlos Gomez, SAGNOF.

  26. Steve says:
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    Grey – assuming you don’t get a too one at great value, do you have any broad rules of thumb for drafting a CI? Last round you’d wait until, specific tier of guys etc?

  27. Steve says:
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    @Steve: EDIT: top one.

  28. Chicago Mike says:
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    @Grey or anyone

    So I drafted last night and ended up trying to wait on Alcides Escobar till the last round. My brother is in the league and got wind that I was going to target Escobar. He ended up knabbing him a few picks before mine as a bargining chip since he only has 2 closers (I grabbed 6). I settled for ev. cab. in the last round. I really want Esco who do I offer in a trade? The closers i would trade are: Matt Lindstrom, Chris Pérez, and Franklin Morales (I’m also tossing in Ev. Cab).

  29. PaddyTwoTimes says:
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    @ Chicago

    Why you want Alcides that much compared Ev. Cab.? Pretty much the same player except Alcides may have a little better average.

    I would stay where you are right now. And tossing in Ev. Cab + a closer is a terrible trade for Alcides.

  30. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    @Chicago Mike: I’m with Paddy2x… what’s the point? But if you really want Alcides over Cab and your brother is desperate for a closer, throw in something extra for your end (like upgrade an SP… give him Cab/closer/SP for Alcides/better SP). You’re the one with the bargaining chip… not him.

  31. Mikie says:
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    I’ve just named my team “Cry Me a Rivera” in honor of my late draft steal Juan.

  32. Tom Reale says:
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    @Chicago Mike: @Chicago Mike: I’ll third that. Escobar minor league BA is pretty similar to EverCab too and if he bats 2nd probably won’t run as much.

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @stynyr: No idea.

    @PaddyTwoTimes: I’d hold tight.

    @Lava: Probably cause I drafted him in their Friends and Family League, they’re eyeballing me. I see you, Funston!

    @uncdrew: Hehe

    @Steve: Maybe Davis now, Headley, maybe Kouz, etc.

    @Mikie: Nice!

  34. polczek5 says:
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    5×5 Keeper, just got this trade offer:

    I’d get A-Rod and Stubbs for Cruz and McCann.

    A-Rod is far and away the best player, but I don’t think much of Stubbs and I like Cruz and McCann. Too good to pass up? Or counter with A-Rod/Span?

  35. Lava says:
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    @Steve: I’m curious about this too. I know he has said that he likes to wait for MI for an EverCab type who’s great in one or two cats, but it’s tougher to gauge CI without thinking about yawnstipating players. The guys I would normally think of as good CI players (Lee, Butlers, et al.) are being drafted as primary position players.

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @polczek5: Span? You want to make the offer better for the other guy? Maybe I’m confused as to what side you’re getting.

    @Lava: LaPorta’s another late CI name.

  37. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    @polczek5: Click the “Accept” button before the other guy changes his mind.

  38. ichirosan says:
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    @polczek5: Do it now and hope your league won’t veto it

  39. Tom Reale says:
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    @Grey: ***********Youk broken wrist…60 day DL********************

  40. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    “Vance Wilson has decided to retire after not making the Royals this spring, according to the Kansas City Star.”

    Honestly, isn’t retirement the ONLY option when you don’t make the Royals?

  41. Tom Reale says:
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    @Grey: S
    omebody had to do it.

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Awesomus Maximus: That’s very funny.

    @Tom Reale: Youk kidder! Honestly, I was really hoping that was true because I don’t own him anywhere. Alas…

  43. Lava says:
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    @Tom Reale: Aww, I was just about to gloat to my leaguemates about not drafting him.

    Good one!

  44. Tom Reale says:
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    @Grey: @Lava: Nice! Don’t get me wrong I would love it to be true.

  45. john murn says:
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    sorry to crash this topic guys, but the filler i had for our razzball league hasn’t come through. we need one for the razzball 12 team roto draft tonight, 9 eastern,. reply to this message ASAP for league invite!

    grey/rudy, might you stand in and draft the team in case we don’t find one?

    AND (something on topic), while this was a good little brewers chat, the boys over at brewerfan.net deserve a nod for their leg work and blanket coverage of the minors and majors.

  46. Euroalien says:
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    @Tom Reale: That’s not funny…. I have him in my $$$ league!! :-)

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @john murn: I have a draft at 8 PM EST tonight. Try the forums too for recruitment.

  48. Tom Reale says:
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    Kinsler to open season on 15 day DL………..for real.

  49. Tom Reale says:
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    @Tom Reale: and of course everyone already knows because you already posted it today…woops…got Friday off…getting my drink on!

  50. Tony says:
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    @Tom Reale: wow i almost crapped my pants, i took him in my RCL… LOL

    YOUKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

  51. Jo says:
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    Hey, I just got slotted in the 5 spot in a 10 team cbs draft.. I was thinking of going with conventional wisdom and taking Utley, but I’m now being tempted to take Prince and save 2B for another player (beckham/stewart). I’d love to hear everyones opinions on this. Thanks

  52. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jo: Can’t go wrong either way. I’d take Utley.

  53. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    Was Granderson’s projected line made with the thought of him hitting 7th or 2nd?

  54. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: I figured he’d get 150 ABs in the 2 hole, Johnson’s not making it the whole year.

  55. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    Can u rank, Sean Rod, Freese Action Jackson? for a Util spot

  56. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    forgot to add one more, Jackon or Brandon Wood? Keith will be buying you a Margarita soon……

  57. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    @Grey: Gracias

  58. Jo says:
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    Ted Lilly is looking like he could come back huge… and being drafted in the last rounds. Are you buying?

  59. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jo: I don’t know if I buy he’ll come back huge, but as a DL stashee it can’t hurt.

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