I've already covered some players in a previous post so I threw those in first. And we're off...
Prince Fielder - Had what most would consider a career year breaking the Brewers all time RBI and walk record in the process while belting 44 home runs thus far. I would say it's all but assured that Pujols will get the NL MVP, but Prince will get some votes. A very tough decision to come on what to do with Prince, but that's another post.
Ryan Braun - I will admit that I'm a bit biased on Braun being that I have a weird obsession with him that boardlines on a man crush... I love his stick. (what!? Wow) Once again I think Braun has shown why the franchise should be built around him. Back over .300 for this year with over 30 home runs, a .385 OBP and a possible 200 hit season. A few hiccups this year with his candor during interviews, but I can't fault the guy for being honest and in hindsite being 100% accurate about the pitching. I have a feeling Braun will finish his career in Milwaukee.
Todd Coffey - From the time he sprints out to the Ultimate Warrior music with his bologna tits flopping to when he stikes out the side, it's all good. Besides a slight rough patch a few weeks back he has been solid all year. He's been a work horse appearing in over 75 games and 80 innings. His nasty slider has struck out some of the best in the game this year. Drafted in the 41st round I would say he has achieved more than anyone expected.
Craig Counsell - People used to laugh at me when I would say he is the greatest baseball player to ever live, now everyone agrees... Ok, maybe not, but at least they are willing to admit that boys got some skills. He's tailed off a little bit towards the end of the season here, but he also isn't getting much playing time with Megeeneeheegeenee via for ROY. What would we have done this year with Hardy and Hall sucking and Weeks going down? We would have had to make a call to the Ham. (Ray Durham). As always he's been clutch in pressure situation, taking walks and running up the count. He was batting over .300 for a good part of the season while showing a little more pop. I do miss his high stepping batting stance, but I'll take the good at bats instead. Counsell was quite a bargain at only 1 mil this year. He is 40 now, but I'd love to see him back next year. He is for real my favorite player of all time.
David Riske - I don't think his injury really affected the bullpen that much. The main problem this year was the starting pitching and bullpen held their own. I doubt he would have come back in any kind of form to really contribute anyway. He really started to suck toward the end of 2008 before he went down. I would put him up there with the Scott Linebrink trade.
Trevor Hoffman - I love Hells Bells. I've never heard Miller park as loud as the first time I was there for Trevor Time. (I wasn't there for the playoffs or the final game last year, I'm sure those were louder) He's worth every penny. I believe he has only 2 blown saves? He came in as the greatest closer ever and he has held that moniker up nicely. Sounds like he wants to finish his career in Milwaukee and we'd love to have him. Book it.
Rickie Weeks - Before blowing out his second wrist from aggressive auto-erotic behavior Weeks was having a "good" season. He was already starting to tail off just before his injury and I can only assume he would have taken a dive back to his ACTUAL potential level. I've never drank the Kool-Aid on him and I never will. I really believe that what you've seen is what you'll get. There isn't some All-Star player waiting to break out. He's a somewhat below average player that was pushed hard because of his high draft. This offseason is the perfect time to move Dick Reeks for some pitching. I would assume even with the injury his trade value is at an all time high with his early year play.
Ring a ding ding... "Jack Z here" - Melvin - "Have I got a deal for you!"
Mike Burns - Burns gave us exactly what I would expect from a 30 year old lifetime minor leaguer... Erratic with sparks of good stuff. He was really given a shot this year and at times looked ok as a starter. I liked the way he stepped in and he did what he could to keep games close. If I remember correctly the time frame when he was starting was the same time the whole team was slumping in the way of runs. He was a servicable pitcher and ate up innings when called upon. With the retooling and general scrutiny over the pitching staff I wouldnt' expect him on the roster next year.
Dave Bush - It took a long time for Dave Bush to grow on me. When he came over in the Overbay trade I wasn't really expecting him to be in the starting rotation. I actually used to kind of hate him because Yost would refer to him as a "Scrapper". I hate that term because it basically means that someone gets into trouble all the fucking time and has to throw perfect pitches to get out of it. Over time I started to really like his work ethic, attitude and his crazy curve. The second half of last year he beat shit down and carried that into the playoffs where he was the only Brewers pitcher to beat the Phillies. He carried that momentum into this year, but was derailed by the shot off his bicep. I don't think his bad pitching after returning was due to a physical ailment, but more that he has become a head case kinda like Matt Wise and I don't think he'll be the same. I don't think he'll be in the starting rotation next year and being that he normally has a rough first inning he's no use in the bullpen.
Yovani Gallardo - I heard various views on him this year all the way from Ace to not even a 3. I think that's idiotic, without a doubt he is an ace. He had a few rough games this year, but for the most part he was very impressive. He had a pitching core around him that was sucking shit all year and got totally screwed with the Crew not able to score more than 1 or 2 runs on multiple occasions. Now, that being said I would like to see us bring in an established Ace and have Gallardo as a #2. I think that was a lot of pressure this year on a young pitcher coming off an year on the sidelines. Let him pitch his game and become an ace when he's ready. This kid has a great future and it's time to lock him up long term.
Braden Looper - Looper came out ape shit in the beginning, but came back to earth shortly there after. He had 14 wins, but gave up 39 HR's to lead the majors. The HR's were getting tough to watch toward the end. The thing I liked about him though was that you would normally know what you were getting. I'd rather know a guy is going to give up 3-4 runs than have erratic bullshit. It was going to be a game where the Brewers would have to score some runs, but he would normally keep us in the game. That's really all I was expecting from him this season. I disagree with those who compare him to Suppan. He had twice the wins and even though he also a nibbler he has much better control. I have a feeling he will be back next year in the starting lineup.
Seth McClung - I'll never forget him running around in the bullpen going nuts when Braun hit the bomb in '08 in the final game. That image is burned in my head for some reason. It just seemed so genuine. I think Seth has become a fan favorite and if you have seen any of his Twitter stuff you would know why. He seems like a really good guy and wants to stay in Milwaukee. He had an up and down season with some real rough patches, but that all seemed to come about after being thrown into the starting rotation and then removed. It seemed like that may have gotten in his head. I would rather see Seth in a reliever role as that is where I think he is best suited. I see him in pressure situations like Coffey with someone saying "Strike this mother fucker out" and blowing someones doors off with 3 straight heaters. I would love to see him back in 2010, but his forthcoming salary may prevent that. Brewcrewball.com has started a bring back Seth Facebook group if you're interested: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148397532171 (You have to be logged into your account first) If Seth goes elsewhere than I wish you luck and I'll be pulling for you no matter where you go. (unless it's the Yankees..)
Manny Parra - I don't know what to say about Parra as I have yet to figure him out. He seems to be going down the same path as Rickie Weeks whereas everyone speaks so highly of his ability, but he really has yet to prove anything. He's still young, but I honestly don't think he will get it together in Milwaukee. I think a change of teams / coaches would go a long way for his career. I think we should and probably will deal him in the offseason packaged for another pitcher. Also, His ego seems to maybe have gotten way bigger than his ability. I don't know why, but that's the way I see him.
Jason Kendall - I always have and I always will like Jason Kendall. I don't know exactly why, it's not just because I see him as a hobo in my dreams... He just seems like a no non-sense get down to business guy. His batting average was down this year as was his throw out percentage causing Mike Rivera to get more playing time. It seemed like he was pressing from the beginning and swinging a lot harder. He just wasn't the same this year as far as running up the counts and taking walks. I didn't really compare the stats, but I'm sure he struck out a lot more this year. I am one of those believers in what he brings to the team other than his hitting. I really do believe that he calls games and manages pitchers better than other catchers. I'm probably going to get stoned for this but... I want to see him back next year, but probably in a lessor capacity. We need a veteran catcher to work with our future catcher, Jonathan Lucroy who I believe will be starting next year. Plus, he's hobotastic and this blog will seriously suffer if he leaves. What the fuck am I going to post about?!
J.J. Hardy - I'm not sure what happened to Hardy this year, as he came out raking the shit out of everything in spring. His swift decline offensively and subsequent trip to AAA made the decision of him or Escobar that much easier (for some). Players do have down years, but that was brutal. I still like JJ and I think he is great defensively. As we saw towards the end of the year Hardy has a much more accurate arm than Escobar. Hardy's range is also surprising given his size and speed. I don't think the decision to trade JJ is as easy as everyone thinks. Yes, Escobar has shown he is a more than viable option at short, but that was a small sampling. After the way this season went I think that both Escobar and Hardy are fair game for trade. I wouldn't put Escobar on the do not trade list just yet. let's see what's out there. Hardy is going to rebound next year where ever he plays, I give it the Clown gaurantee. If we trade him I hope he remembers to pack plenty of eye patches for the new city whores.
Felipe Lopez - The trade for Lopez really didn't get the credit it deserved, probably because we were already in the downward spiral. It may also be that the Brewers only seem to give a shit about home runs. All Lopez did was knocked the cover off the ball since the trade. He was banged up from the start, which I think was the main cause for his shoddy defense. Lopez has been a solid defensive infielder and a stolen base threat throughout his career, neither of which we really got to see. There is no way Lopez is back next year. The Rickie Weeks experiment is set to continue as long is Melvin is at the helm.
Mitch Stetter - Stetter filled the hole left by the departure of Shouse very well and was untouchable earlier in the season capturing the team record for most consecutive strikeouts. His sweeping pitches made south paws look silly early on. He seemed to tire and lose his edge after the All-Star break. I think hitters started to catch onto his different side arm style after a few looks. Mitch needs to be back next year and I think this full season in the pen gave him the experience and the stamina to be even more competitive next season.
Mat Gamel - Gamel had a rough go of it, that's for sure. He did show that he has a lot of power blasting several home runs that were Fielder-esque including one directly to center field 400. You could tell he was really pressing from the start and just wasn't swinging right. Towards the end of the season it was mentioned that his swing had changed from last season when he raked in Nashville. He has decided to go down to Winter ball to work on his swing and figure out whatever changed. As mentioned before I feel he was mis-managed this year. I don't think he should have been kept up to sit the bench while struggling to find his swing. The topper was when I found out that he had exactly 130 at bats pushing him beyond rookie status for next season.
Jeff Suppan - This could possibly go down as the worst Brewers fuck up ever. I can't believe we have to suffer through one more year of this shit. Suppan may be a great guy and do a lot for charity, but it's not enough to sway me. As bad as he's been he should give next years whole salary to charity. At least Gagne admitted he sucked, said he didn't deserve the money and bought a bunch of free seats for fans. I realize there wasn't a lot out there for pitching when we signed Suppan, but was it necessary to sign him for this damn long? I want to go eat at his restaurant, order soup and then send it back with a note:
"This soup is cold just like your arm
PS. Your crackers suck too. (by crackers I mean fuck you)
PSS. Rookie ball called, you just got cut."
Carlos Villanueva - Carlos has been up and down this year like most years in the past. He had a great second half after growing his awesome fu manchu. It seems like Villanueva has been with the Brewers forever. I'm too lazy to look, but he must be in arbitration this year. I would say he's a valuable part of the bullpen as an innings eater and I think they should stop tinkering with him as a starter. He's usually a quiet guy that gets the job done. I only remember him speaking out once in early '08 about not getting enough relief opportunities. I think he's a lock for the roster next year.
Mike Cameron - America's most average baseball player. He made some good plays this year, the jumping HR robbing catch at the wall comes to mind. Even still, he is no where near worth 10 million dollars. I was planning a different post showing other players making around 10 million and how they compare. I'm sure it will make me even more angry. It seemed to me that he was trying just a bit harder towards the end of this contract year hitting bombs and making crazy diving catches. Where the fuck was that when in counted? If he's back next year I'm probably going to have some type of aneurysm and shit myself. Go use your jedi mind tricks to fool another team. This isn't the team you are looking for, move along...
Corey Hart - Fuck you, you hillbilly goat porking retard. You're dead to me. I would trade you for a pack of fruit stripe gum.
Jody Gerut - Man, did I hate on this guy when he first came on board. I even compared him to stinky garbage. In the end, he really turned it around and finally showed some of the power he was billed to have. I seriously think Gerut is the center fielder next year. I'm not saying I agree with this, I just think Melvin and others have a massive hard on for him. I would trade the shit out of him ASAP.
Corey Patterson - You're old. fuck off.
Frank Catalanotto - I very much enjoyed rocking to the Outfields 'Your Love'. It made for great non-sanctioned and underappreciated drunken karaoke. Catalanotto went above and beyond what he was brought in to do. I was glad to see him in the outfield instead of turd ferguson. I would bet what's left of my liver that he will not be back next year.
Jason Bourgeois - He's fast and seems to be good defensively, but I just can't get excited about him. Unfortunetely, trades in the past few years have left us a bit thin in the outfield prospects, so he may be forced into a role that he is not ready for. I'd rather see us pick up someone in trade than try him next year.
Hernan Iribarren - I feel bad for Hernan. He's been relogated to the role of super senior minor league guy. He's got some speed, is good defensively and has always hit well in the minors. I think the Brewers see him the same as I do, a slap hitter. I've just never been on his bandwagon. I would assume we will lose him in the rule 5 eventually if we haven't moved him already. I think that's a great rule for players to get a new start somewhere else. Hopefully, he get's a shot somewhere I just don't think it will be in Milwaukee.
Mark DiFelice - I think by now we've all heard the story how DiFelice was ready to give up in the minors when he learned the cut-fastball. The pitch saved his career and has carried him to where he is now. The problem is, when he can't throw it for strikes it gets rough to watch. In the beginning of the year he was untouchable, but like most of the pitching staff he seemed to completely lose it after the All-Star break. I hope that he can come back next year healthy and with more stamina for a long season.
Mike Rivera - Perennial backup. I could never get all that excited about Rivera. He had a good year at the plate last year, but this time around he really seemed to suffer from lack of playing time. It's a difficult position to sit the bench and then be expected to immediate offense to the catcher position when Kendall is slumping. Rivera should have been left as the starting catcher a few years back instead of getting Johnny 'load of shit in my pants' Estrada. Also, As much as I like Kendall, when it's the 9th inning and you're down one run how can you not pinch hit Rivera? This scenario played out many times this season and each time I was screaming at the tv. This was one reason I started to dislike Macha. Rivera's future will depend on if the Brewers keep Kendall. If they do, I'm sure Rivera will be out and we'll be priming a young catcher.
Casey McGehee - There were so many great stories with the Brewers this year, but Casey is probably on the top of the list. I was at the game when his son threw out the first pitch and Casey hit the grand slam to more than make up for an earlier fielding error. I'm not one to get emotional in situations like that, but it was an awesome feeling. Everyone knows what he accomplished this year with limited playing time. He deserves to be rookie of the year, but the chances of that happening are slim. With the Brewers tanking there was very little national attention on Casey. McGehee or Gamel, who's gone? One of them is getting traded unless they trade Fielder and move McGehee to first.
Alcides Escobar - I was awaiting the arrival of Escobar for many moons. He seems to make crazy diving stabs and then have trouble with routine plays. His arm, while just as strong, is no where near as accurate as Hardy's. If he works on that you're looking at many gold gloves to come. His plate presence was a lot better than most people were expecting hitting around .300 for the year. If he continues to pull crazy plays directly from his ass and swing a hot bat next year he'll be the runaway rookie of the year. Book it.
Let me know if I missed someone.
Up next: Coaching staff grades