With Prince Fielder signing with Detroit and Ryan Braun facing a possible 50 game suspension for allegedly using PED’s, the Brewers offseason has not gone so well. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t players with fantasy value on their roster.
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Here’s a look at the DO’s and DON’Ts with regards to the Milwaukee Brewers.
DO keep an eye on the Ryan Braun situation. A resolution is expected before Spring Training. If his appeal is upheld, he could be a top 5 pick in any league. If his suspension is upheld, he could fall to the 3rd round.
DON’T overlook Norichika Aoki, especially if Braun suspension is upheld. While Aoki is likely a 4th outfielder for the Brewers, he could see some time at the beginning of the year if Braun is suspended.
I DO like the Brewers starting pitching. With Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers have a top 3 about as good as any in the NL, with the exception of the Phillies. Each of them is capable of posting an ERA under 3.50 and 15 wins.
DON’T forget about Corey Hart. After hitting at the top of the order last year, he could be asked to move down to the heart of the order this year, to help offset the loss of Fielder (and possibly Braun). Look for him to increase his RBI total of 63 from 2011 to possibly 90-100 in 2012.
DO take a chance on Mat Gamel in the late rounds. The kid can hit and is the front runner to take over first base for the departed Prince.
DON’T overlook Aramis Ramirez. Signed by the Brewers to help offset the loss of Fielder, Ramirez had a strong 2011 season and should fit nicely into the Brewers lineup and provide good protection for Braun. Third base has become a surprisingly weak position in fantasy baseball and Ramirez is still one of the best.
DO draft Jonathan Lucroy. He proved to be a decent hitter last year, at least as far as catchers go, hitting .265/.313/.391 as well as 12 homeruns. He is not amongst the upper echelon of catchers, but is certainly one who will not hurt you.
DO draft John Axford. Even with Francisco Rodriguez lurking in the setup role, John Axford is solidly locked into the closer role. He saved 46 games and had only 2 blown saves in 2011, while posting a 1.95 ERA.
DON’T go to sleep on Chris Narveson. He has a career K/9 of 7.5 and BB/9 of 3.3 in 385.2 IP. He always seems to be on the cusp of putting together a breakout season and could perhaps finally put in all together in 2012. But, at the same time…
DO keep an eye on Marco Estrada this spring. He struck out 88 while walking only 29 last year in 92.2 IP and could battle Narveson for the 5th spot in the rotation.
Finally, DON’T forget about Rickie Weeks. Despite his injury history, he is still one of the best second basemen in the majors. Last year he hit .269/.350/.468 with 20 homeruns in just 118 games, pretty much in line with his career year in 2010, in which he played 160 games and hit 29 homeruns. He no longer steals very many bases (just 9 in 2011), but there aren’t very many second baseman with his power.