What we learned this week: August 17, 2013

Mike McGinnis

This week, we learned about Martin Maldonado's effect on pitchers, letting the young guys play, and more.

Martin Maldonado has had a better effect on pitchers than Jonathan Lucroy.

We've heard plenty about Jonathan Lucroy, his ability to frame pitches, and how he's the complete package with the offense that he also brings to the team. However, is he as good as everyone thinks? That's what Noah looked into earlier this week, when he compared Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado's ability to catch different pitchers. In terms of the statistical numbers, they tended to favor Martin Maldonado. Noah looked further into it, looking at pitch selection and other factors, and found some patterns in all of it. Whatever the reason is, Maldonado has had more success this year.

While the Brewers haven't excelled in the draft, it hasn't been as bad as we have thought either.

Many of us have criticized Bruce Seid and the drafts he has put together over the last several years. The criticism has been that Seid hasn't built a strong system and it is hurting the future of the Brewers. However, has it been as bad as we think? That's what Cheeseandcorn looked into earlier this week, breaking down the results of the draft over the last several years and how the Brewers compared to other teams. The results he found showed that the Brewers have at least been around the same level as other teams, at least in the later rounds. Is Bruce Seid better than we have given him credit for? Maybe he is.

It's time to let Scooter play.

With Rickie Weeks going on the DL for the rest of the year last week, the Brewers needed a new second baseman for the rest of the season. By default, the responsibility fell to Scooter Gennett as next up on the depth chart. He may have got the job by default, but the majority of fans agree with the choice. In this week's tracking poll, 84% of voters favored Scooter Gennett as the new full time second baseman. He proved earlier this week that he is capable of putting up some power numbers with a two home run game on Tuesday night, and also has made plays on defense that Rickie Weeks wasn't able to make. Is Gennett the Brewers second baseman of the future? He'll get the chance to prove it over the remaining 40 games.

We started the Carlos Gomez MVP watch a little too late (or maybe too early).

Last week, Kyle started a weekly look at the chance of Carlos Gomez winning the MVP this season. In this week's update, Gomez's chances were trending downward after he continued to struggle this week while other candidates continued to improve. However, the bigger challenge to his candidacy may have come later in the week, when he went down with an injury on Thursday night. Though he was in a lot of pain initially, the MRI came back with no structural damage and he is listed as day-to-day. For now, he is avoiding the DL, but a minor injury to another player or a lingering recovery for Gomez and he still may end up on the DL.

The injury wheel and roster shuffling keeps going.

It was another week of roster shuffling and injury covering, as the Brewers tried to keep themselves at something resembling full strength. The week started off with the return of Aramis Ramirez, as he was activated from the 15-day DL and Caleb Gindl was sent back to Nashville. It wasn't long before the next change came as the Brewers had to react to Carlos Gomez's injury. To compensate, they sent Alfredo Figaro to Nashville and recalled Sean Halton on Friday morning to help cover in the outfield. Finally, last night, they activated Yovani Gallardo from the 15-day DL to start on Saturday, and optioned Donovan Hand back down to Nashville.

The Brewers haven't seen a lot of stability in their roster lately, but the DL is nearly clear of non-season ending injuries at this point. The only player currently on the DL that has a shot of returning this season is Mark Rogers. He is currently rehabbing and if it goes well, we could see him in the last month of the season.

Ryan Braun is still hanging around the Brewers news.

It has been a while since we heard much from Ryan Braun, but he popped back up into the Brewers news this week. The first appearance was a picture from Deadspin, showing him hanging out with some friends back in California. It's not exactly what we want to see right now, but we didn't expect him to stay locked up in his house for several months. He came back into the news in a big way on Friday with several reports coming out around him.

The first report revealed some interesting information about how his name ended up being leaked in link to Biogenesis, that a member of Alex Rodriguez's camp leaked his name. More news came out on Friday as it was revealed that a former friend of Ryan Braun's filed a defamation lawsuit against Braun, which included allegations of him taking PEDs before 2011. Reports also came out that Braun would talk to the media next week and admit to his PED usage and offer apologies. It was a lot to take in on one day, and we will have to see how all of this new information plays out.

There is great baseball all around, you just have to look for it.

This last lesson isn't really about the Brewers, but just a note I wanted to add about teams you can support beyond the Brewers. Personally, I support a team locally here in Madison called the Madison Mallards. They are part of a summer collegiate baseball league called the Northwoods League, which gives college baseball players a place to get experience in an environment similar to the minor leagues. This includes hitting with wooden bats, using a ball at minor league specifications, and playing daily games.

I would never tell you not to go to a Brewers game if you have the chance. However, I also realize that some of you live in areas that are a good distance from Miller Park, or any MLB stadium. If you're looking for some baseball, all you need to do is look around, there's something in the area. In Wisconsin (and around the Midwest), there are several other teams that play in the Northwoods League that provide great fan experiences. There's also the Class A Midwest League, which features minor-league teams around the Midwest affiliated with different MLB teams. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (the Brewers class A affiliate) are a part of this league. I'd suggest looking around and finding what is in your area. Maybe you will find a nice side team to follow in addition to the Brewers. Most of these leagues are already finished or winding down for the season, so you may have to wait until next year to check them out.

Finally, I just want to finish by congratulating the Madison Mallards on their championship season. They won the Summer Collegiate World Series in the Northwoods League last night, defeating the Duluth Huskies to win their second championship. Keep an eye on these players; we may see some of them in the Brewers system one day.

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