Some things to read while finally figuring it out.
After months of speculation, guesses, second guesses and corrections, we now know one more member of the Brewers' opening day rotation: the schedule and rotation plans would suggest Dave Bush will open the season in the #4 spot, behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. As for the fifth spot, Ken Macha says it might not be solved coming out of spring training, and Jeff Suppan still doesn't want to talk about it.
Suppan and Manny Parra might have opened the door yesterday for Chris Narveson to win the fifth spot in the rotation. Suppan was knocked around in the first inning again yesterday, and Manny Parra allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in 3.2 innings of relief. The only bright side to their performances was the fact that Suppan seemed to settle in after the first inning (he didn't allow another run in the next 3.1 innings), and neither pitcher allowed a home run.
After the game, Ken Macha didn't hold back his thoughts on Parra, telling Tom Haudricourt, "Most of the hits came off fastballs over the middle of the plate." Parra struggled to keep runners off the bases last season, and the issue seems to have followed him to camp this spring: He's allowed 25 baserunners (20 hits and five walks) in 15.2 innings, good for a 1.596 WHIP.
Then, there's Jeff Suppan. Yesterday's appearance was actually the best of his last four spring starts. As Cute Sports noted, John Perotto of Baseball Prospectus was recently quoted as saying the following:
Scouts who have watching (Jeff) Suppan pitch in Arizona this spring say he is completely cooked and no longer able to get major league hitters out.
Verb tense issues aside, that's a pretty damning confirmation of what many of us have been observing for most of the spring. I know I've mentioned this stat before but it's worth repeating: There's only one pitcher in Brewer camp who's allowed more than one home run this spring. It's Jeff Suppan. He's allowed six.
Even if you don't agree with Ken Macha's rotation decisions so far, at least we can all be happy that Jeff Suppan isn't starting on Opening Day this season. You might be surprised to discover that Suppan didn't even make the top ten on Wezen-ball's list of the Worst Opening Day Starters of the Last 50 Years.
One camp roster battle reached its final conclusion yesterday, as Jim Edmonds was added to the major league roster (FanShot). I had been assuming the Brewers had one open spot on their 40 man roster, but there were actually two: One was opened up when Hernan Iribarren was claimed off waivers by the Rangers, and the other opening came when Chuck Lofgren was removed after the Brewers were able to work out a trade to send him to the minors. So, if a team attempts to waive an interesting player during the last two weeks of camp, the Brewers do have one roster spot available.
I'm well aware of the danger of getting too excited based on spring training stats, but virtually every aspect of Gregg Zaun's game has been impressive this spring, and Ken Macha said he's been the team's best hitter in Cactus League play. Meanwhile, Zaun will probably be happy he doesn't have to face the Blue Jays this season: Jordan Bastian noted that Jays pitchers hit Zaun three times last year, more than they hit any other opponent.
In the minors:
- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announced yesterday their annual Fan Fest will be held on April 6. There's free food, a practice and simulated game will be played, and it's your first chance to check out the results of their winter-long construction projects.
- The Rattlers also need your help selecting a reliever for their 15th Anniversary Team.
Yesterday I mentioned the new Brewer license plates. Miller Park Drunk has a look at the existing plates of some notable Brewers.
In projections/predictions: Team Wisconsin thinks the Brewers will win the Wild Card, Prince Fielder will be NL MVP and Alcides Escobar will win the NL Rookie of the Year.
Giants: Are expected to announce a contract extension for closer Brian Wilson today. Also, infielder Emmanuel Burriss is out at least ten more weeks after undergoing surgery to replace a screw in his foot. (h/t Baseball Musings)
Mariners: Re-signed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit.
Red Sox: Released Brian Shouse.
White Sox: Signed Scott Elarton to a minor league deal.
Some other former Brewer notes:
- Earlier this spring, I noted a clause in Ronnie Belliard's contract with the Dodgers that guaranteed the full value of the deal only if Belliard could get to 209 pounds or less before Opening Day. It was close, but he met the deadline.
- I didn't realize he was still playing, but Baseball America reports that the White Sox have released Keith Ginter.
It's not spring training without a few freak injuries: Derrek Lee injured his back when a chair collapsed underneath him yesterday.
If you were watching TV yesterday afternoon, you might have witnessed this: Baseball Tonight brought David Appelman of FanGraphs on for several minutes to discuss WAR and WPA, what they mean and what they tell us about players. New ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra, showing many of the qualities we've come to expect from a former player-turned-ESPN analyst, responded by saying, "There's no stat yet that measures heart." As one might expect, this drew a little reaction around the internet: here are tweets from Craig Calcaterra and Rob Neyer and roughly 1000 words from Joe Posnanski.
If you're looking for a new way to consume 10,000 calories at the ballpark this season, then you might be interested in the Toledo Mud Hens' new offering: An ice cream sundae served in a real batting helmet.
Happy birthday today to: