Beware The 2009 Brewers

July 30, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

I will admit it...I am scared of the Milwaukee Brewers. I see them as a potential 90-100 win team.

Oh, I'm not talking about this year's Brew Crew. I'm talking about the 2008-2010 Brewers.

As far as this year goes, I don't see the Brewers as much of a threat. I mean, sure they jumped out to an incredible start, but everyone around here knows how much they've struggled since then. I know that it's taken an insanely white-hot stretch for the the Cubs to close the gap to .5 of a game, but even if the Cubs had played only average-well for the last few weeks, they'd still probably be looking at a deficit of 5-6 games in the division. And you cannot underrate the "Young team jumps out to a huge division lead and then chokes it away" factor. That kind of thing can really affect a team mentally.

The way I see things playing out, the Cubs will win the Central and the Brewers may sneak in as the Wild Card. I only say that because with 3 solid teams out West, they'll all beat up on each other and I don't see 2 of them being able to stretch out enough wins for the division winner AND have the Wild Card too. Although for personal reasons, I am rooting for the Dodgers and the Padres from now on. Being a southern California resident, if the Cubs make the playoffs along with the Dodgers and Padres, I'd be able to get Cubs playoff tickets since they'd have to play one of the California teams in the first round. And I'm sure getting Cubs playoff tickets will be a lot easier at Petco Park than at Wrigley.

Anywho, the Cubs will win the Central, smack around the Padres and Mets to get to the World Series, and beat Boston in 6 games to capture their first World Series title in 135,582 years. The Brewers will hang their heads in shame and find no solace in their "moral" victory of cracking .500 this season.

And that's where the fun ends.

Let's look at this logically...who is going to be the main competition for the Cubs in the Central for the next few years? The Cards have too many bad contracts and not enough talent in the minors. The Astros have to make the jump from older club to younger club, which I think will take a few years (although I do love me some Hunter Pence). And the Reds and Pirates...are the Reds and Pirates.

That leaves the Cubs and the Brew Crew. And the Brewers' future looks so bright, I've gotta wear shades.

And speaking of sunglasses, my fear of all things Milwaukee started with Corey Hart. I'd heard about this guy a lot when I was doing my research for my Fantasy Baseball draft this spring. I kept hearing he was a potential 20/20 guy, but I hadn't paid attention to him all year because my team's outfield was pretty stacked. Just out of curiosity, I checked in on Mr. Sunglasses-At-Night's stats the other day. Do you realize that he's hitting .280 with 16 homers, 44 RBI's and 16 steals? It may not look that impressive, but he's done it in only 314 at-bats, which is about a half-season for a typical leadoff man. So if we extend his stats out to a whole season, we get:

.280 BA, 32 HR, 88 RBI, 32 SB

That's a very Beltran/Soriano like line. And this dude is only 25 years old.

Let's not forget about Ryan Braun. I don't think he's good enough to keep up his current pace for the rest of his career. He's good, but not that good. But what if he is? His season projects him finishing with numbers around .350-35-98-94. And that's in only 114 games! Imagine what his season would look like with another 40-45 games added on?

And let's not forget about Rickie Weeks. Sure he's been kind of a bust so far, but he's still crazy-talented. Same with J.J. Hardy.

The only thing keeping the Brewers back right now is inexperience. Prince Fielder and Hardy are slowing down, probably due to their relatively young age. A number of Brewers have also been hurt, including Pansy-Hands Sheets. But as soon as he went down, the Brewers were able to replace him with Yovani Gallardo who, up until yesterday, had been fantastic. This guy is a definite stud. Add to that the fact that more people are going to Brewers games, which increases revenue, which means the Brewers may actually be able to go out there and sign some good free agents in the next few years, and these guys look scary-good starting with next season. Their pitching is slowing down from their beginning-of-the-year pace. Their bats are slumping a bit (except for Braun). But we can't count on that happening every year.

Look at the Brewers top of the lineup for the next few years, just based on their potential, and tell me you'd like to face it in a short playoff series:

Rickie Weeks
Corey Hart
Ryan Braun
Prince Fielder
J.J. Hardy

That's why the Cubs have to win the Central this year. I know the Cubs have the kids and the talent to be just as good as the Brewers, but this year is probably going to be easier than the next 2-3.

Plus, I believe that Geoff Jenkins comes off the books for the Brewers next year. You have no idea what kind of mental lift that can have for a team.

Also, while doing research for this piece, I found out that prince Fielder's middle name is "Semien". I just thought that warranted mentioning.