This is our series of deep dives on depth charts for each team in the MLB. I use the term ‘deep dive’ very loosely as I examine specific questions for each team because that will allow me to do as little research as possible. Thanks for reading, make sure to click on the ads or at least view them a handful of times
QUESTION: IS TRAVIS SHAW A LONG-TERM SOLUTION AT THIRD BASE?
The Brewers traded for Travis Shaw last December, giving up a relatively small amount back in reliever Tyler Thornburg. However, for those who believe this trade solidified the third base position for whenever the Brewers are relevant again, please check the numbers. Shaw, though no slouch at the plate, would widely be considered a league average third baseman offensively, and that’s being generous. He doesn’t really live up to his nickname, Mayor of Ding Dong City, given he only hit 16 home runs in a full season with the Red Sox.
QUESTION: IS THERE A TOP THREE STARTER IN THIS ROTATION?
The only pitcher that might salvage this question is Junior Guerra. Guerra had a very nice 2016 campaign through 20 starts and is pegged to be the Brewers Opening Day starter in 2017. The thing is, he’s 32 and 20 starts is a relatively small sample size.
After Guerra, you have a collection of fourth and fifth starters with a few bullpen arms sprinkled in. Zach Davies clearly has the highest upside at only 24 years old, but he struggled to maintain an ERA below 4.00 even in the minors. Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, and Matt Garza would all be great bullpen options on contending teams.
QUESTION: CAN NEFTALI FELIZ RAISE HIS STOCK BY THE TRADE DEADLINE?
It’s amazing to think the hard-throwing closer is only 28 years old. Last season he accumulated the most innings thrown since 2011 and worked his way into some save opportunities with the Pirates in 2016. However, his 4.52 FIP tells a story of a pitcher relying on a bit of luck. In all likelihood, the Brewers are hoping for a good first half so they can move his one-year deal to a contending club.
QUESTION: CAN DOMINGO SANTANA TAKE THE NEXT STEP?
Having a right fielder that you can rely on to hit a bunch of dingers would be great for the Brewers’ future. Domingo Santana is not that guy yet, but has showcased the ability to hit the ball very far. The question will remain about whether he can simply make enough contact to be a relevant MLB player.
QUESTION: ARE RYAN BRAUN AND MATT GARZA THE TWO MOST PUNCHABLE MLB PLAYERS TODAY?
QUESTION: HOW MANY WINS?