A rival scout sizes up the Brewers
They're the second best team in the division behind the Cardinals.... You don't replace Prince Fielder, he's one of the best run producers in the game. The problem is that Aramis Ramirez is too much past his prime to protect Ryan Braun as a cleanup hitter. I still think he'll hit 20 to 25 home runs and hit .280 to .285. At times he'll play good defense, and at times you'll see balls go by and say, How did that go by? It's effort.... Braun won't get as many fastballs with Fielder gone, so he can't expand the strike zone and chase. His swing is a little different from most power hitters because it's not as fluid, but he's got bat speed and a lot of strength.... Nyjer Morgan is annoying to me, and he can be annoying to his teammates at times. Granted, he plays hard. I see him more as an extra outfielder on a team that's going to win the World Series. He's a slasher who doesn't have power.... Yovani Gallardo is a true Number 1. He has a good arm, good breaking ball, challenges hitters and knows how to take a little bit off his cutter so he can pitch in to lefthanded batters. He only uses his change at times. He hasn't taken the leap to being a Cy Young candidate, but I think this could be the year.... When Zack Greinke is focused and he is locked in, he is an elite starter. But I still don't see him as an ace. He hasn't proven that he can do it. I didn't like the body language and the way he pitched in the playoffs. But if he's not a 1, he's as good as you can get with a Number 2.
With 2011 Statistics
MANAGER RON ROENICKE
2nd season with Brewers
NEW ACQUISITION (R) ROOKIE *JAPAN LEAGUE STATS
Winning percentage by Zack Greinke (16--6, 3.83 ERA) in 2011; he's the first Brewers pitcher since 1992 to finish 10 games above .500. Greinke and Yovani Gallardo (17--10, 3.52) form one of two pairs of returning NL starters—with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee of the Phillies—who each had at least 15 wins, a sub 4.00 ERA and a sub .250 opponents' batting average.
Last year the Brewers benefited from extraordinarily good health, particularly among their pitchers: They used just six starters, and their top five made all but seven starts. Given that their No. 7 starter was Sergio Mitre and their No. 8 may have been Bernie Brewer, a reliable rotation was a huge factor in the team's NL Central title. Milwaukee's depth has improved in the long term thanks to 2011 first-round picks Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann, both of whom should reach the majors late next season. In the short term, however, manager Ron Roenicke should bump his fifth starter, lefthander Chris Narveson, for a prospect expected to begin the season in the minors who not only has harder stuff but is also a better fit. Wily Peralta, 22, is a 6'2", 240-pound righthander who, in his sixth professional season, walked just 59 in 1502/3 innings between Double and Triple A. As a true strikeout pitcher (21.9% of batters faced in his minor league career), Peralta is also much more likely than Narveson to prevent the ball from reaching the Brewers' porous defense.
JOHN BIEVER (RAMIREZ)
NAM Y. HUH/AP (PERALTA)