Some things to read while raising the bar.
Like some of you, I watched every pitch of the final game of the 2013 season yesterday and at one point wife noticed I was feeling a little melancholy about it. "Come on," she said, "you're not really going to miss this team, are you?" She was right. In a way, the end of the 2013 season feels a little bit like coming out from under a dark cloud. The Brewers wrapped up a dreadful campaign with a 3-2 loss to the Mets, and Noah has the recap if you missed it. Noah is also counting down the days to Yuniesky Betancourt's pending free agency.
The Brewers certainly had some opportunities to win yesterday's game, where they made two outs at the plate in the fourth inning (h/t @AdamMcCalvy) and allowed the game-tying and winning run to score on a pair of errors in the eighth. Ron Roenicke summed the performance up nicely in our Tweet of the Day:
RRR, as reporters filed in one last time: "Do we have to talk about this one? My gosh. That's not the way you want to end the season."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) September 29, 2013
Marco Estrada, however, finished the season on a strong note. He pitched seven innings on Sunday and allowed a single run on just two hits, wrapping up a second half where he posted a 2.15 ERA over his final nine starts. Before the game Ron Roenicke told reports that he's got Estrada penciled into the 2014 rotation. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
Despite the loss yesterday, the Brewers finished the season with baseball's eleventh worst record and will be rewarded with the first unprotected pick in the 2014 MLB draft, #12 overall. The Brewers could lose the pick if they sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer from his 2013 club, but Jaymes Langrehr notes on Twitter that the list of players likely to fit that distinction doesn't really mesh with the team's needs.
Other notes from the field:
- Sunday's game started about half an hour late following a ceremony to induct Mike Piazza into the Mets Hall of Fame.
- The Brewers' 74-88 record was their worst since 2004 (h/t @AndrewGruman), but also reflects a 68-66 season outside of the month of May (also h/t @AndrewGruman) and a 33-32 mark after Ryan Braun's suspension.
- Mark Attanasio talked to reporters over the weekend and referred to the 2013 season as "disappointing."
- Carlos Gomez was picked off first base but beat the throw to second in the second inning, becoming the first 20 homer-40 steal Brewer in franchise history. (h/t @AdamMcCalvy)
- Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. stole his 45th and 46th bases of the season on Sunday, passing Jean Segura for the NL lead.
- Khris Davis sat out Saturday and Sunday's game after suffering multiple leg injuries on Friday.
- The Brewers used their 125th different lineup of the season on Sunday.
- Adam McCalvy documented a clubhouse garbage can full of shower shoes.
Let's wrap up the Mets series and the season with a look at the weekend's home runs, with help from Hit Tracker:
|Friday||Martin Maldonado||406 feet|
|Friday||Khris Davis||382 feet|
|Friday||Norichika Aoki||367 feet|
|Saturday||Carlos Gomez||404 feet|
|Sunday||No home runs|
Looking back another day, Saturday's game featured the first MLB start for Jimmy Nelson, who pitched five innings and allowed a run on a single hit and three walks. After the game he mentioned that he's struggling to adjust to the major league ball, which is a little "slicker" than the minor league version (h/t @AdamMcCalvy). Nelson probably faces an uphill battle to make the Opening Day roster, but it's always nice to have depth.
Speaking of Opening Day, Adam McCalvy has the first shot at predicting the first lineup of 2014. He has Norichika Aoki (whose contract option will be exercised), Scooter Gennett and "Joe Firstbase" in and Khris Davis, Rickie Weeks and all of 2013's first basemen out. Kyle Lohse is also projected as the Opening Day starter, and he was 2013's final Brewer of the Week.
Jean Segura is in that projection, of course, and may be for a long time. The Brewers are expected to discuss a possible long-term extension for Segura this winter. If the framework is something like Jonathan Lucroy's deal, I'm all for it. The Brewers, by the way, are blocking Segura from playing winter ball.
Ryan Braun is also expected to be back in left field and batting third, and if the Brewers are going to compete they'll likely need a big season from him. Aramis Ramirez told reporters the Brewers will be counting on the 2011 NL MVP to be back in full form next season.
The above lineup will be coached by largely the same group that led them to 74 wins in 2013. The Brewers announced that the coaching staff has all been invited back for another year, with one addition: longtime Brewer minor league manager Mike Guerrero will join the team as an infield coach. Guerrero has managed 1213 minor league games over parts of ten seasons in the organization.
On Saturday Jimmy Nelson became the 12th pitcher to start a game for the Brewers this season, and most of the pitchers who did so in the second half performed pretty well. @AdamMcCalvy notes that the Brewer rotation had a 4.86 ERA before the All Star break but a 3.36 mark in the second half.
Carlos Gomez went 1-for-3 with a walk and the aforementioned stolen base Sunday to finish the season with a .284/.338/.506 line. All three numbers in that slash line are career highs, to go with new personal records for hits (152), runs (80), doubles (27), triples (10), home runs (24), RBI (73), walks (37) and stolen bases (40). He's also likely to receive MVP votes for the first time: Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk has him fifth on his ballot while Jeff Passan of Yahoo has him among those who "just missed."
Yuniesky Betancourt started at third base and went 0-for-3 with a walk Sunday in what had better be his final Brewers appearance. Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk notes that Yuni's .595 OPS was the worst by an MLB first baseman since 1978 and only the third worst of the expansion era.
Of course, not everything was bad this season. Enrique Bakemeyer of The Brewers Bar has a list of the season's ten best wins.
In the minors:
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report suggests that 2013 Huntsville manager Darnell Coles could move up the organizational ladder and replace Mike Guerrero with Nashville in 2014.
- Kevin Kimmes of Cream City Cables has an interview with 2013 Huntsville first baseman and Brewers minor league player of the year Jason Rogers.
- Jason Arndt of Brewers Farm Report has an interview with 2013 Huntsville pitcher David Goforth, and a recap of Huntsville's 2013 season.
- No members of the 2013 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers made Baseball America's list of the top 20 prospects in the Midwest League. This morning I took a look at some of the players they passed over.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has a look at some of the top 20 prospects from the Pioneer and Arizona Leagues that could be Timber Rattlers next season.
- The Cub Reporter was in attendance and has a recap from the Brewers' 4-3 win over the Cubs in Arizona during instructional league play on Saturday. Tyler Roberts homered as the Brewers overcame a 3-0 deficit.
If you weren't around the site this weekend, you might have missed JP's look at what we learned over the previous week. There's a lot in there from the season's final full week.
Cubs: Fired manager Dale Sveum
Giants: Signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five year, $90 million contract extension.
Mariners: Manager Eric Wedge has resigned.
Marlins: Fired team president Larry Beinfest and promoted former general manager Michael Hill to team president, nameing Dan Jennings general manager.
Mets: Are expected to sign manager Terry Collins to a two-year extension.
White Sox: Fired hitting coach Jeff Manto.
The Pence move is an interesting one, as the Giants have laid a lot of money on the table pretty early in the offseason. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes that Pence got a year and over $30 million more than Indians outfielder Nick Swisher a year ago. The deal also made me wonder what Corey Hart might have been able to get if he'd been healthy this season, as their career numbers are pretty comparable:
Hart (age 31), in 945 MLB games: .276/.334/.491. Pence (age 30), in 1056 games: .285/.339/.476.— Brew Crew Ball (@BrewCrewBall) September 30, 2013
Let's take one last trip around the NL Central:
- The Cardinals clinched the NL's best record with a 4-0 win over the Cubs yesterday. Jake Westbrook pitched a scoreless inning before giving way to Joe Kelly, who threw 5.1 scoreless innings in relief.
- The Pirates and Reds had nothing on the line but Pittsburgh picked up their 94th win by a 4-2 margin in Cincinnati. Jordy Mercer and Garrett Jones homered in the game.
- The Brewers, as you likely know, lost to the Mets.
Here are the final NL Central standings for 2013:
The Pirates and Reds will play a single game to determine which of these 90 win teams advance in the playoffs on Tuesday, while the Cardinals wait to host the winner on Thursday.
Odds are most of us will be rooting for the Pirates tomorrow night and hopefully again on Thursday. Ted Simmons Speed Camp took to the FanPosts to help us decide which teams to hate (and love) this postseason.
Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter was held hitless yesterday, finishing the season with an MLB-high 199. This is the first time since 1990 that no major leaguer has had 200 hits in a full season.
Today in former Brewers:
- Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation noted a moment between Prince and Cecil Fielder before Friday's Tigers game.
- LaTroy Hawkins wrapped up his 19th MLB season with the Mets over the weekend, and they're interested in bringing him back for another year.
The Brewers' season is over, but the 2013 MLB regular season will actually go on for one more day. The Rays and Rangers will play a tiebreaker game tonight for the final AL Wild Card spot, and Brian Anderson will have the call before heading to Boston to cover the ALDS for TBS.
Speaking of broadcasters, today's sabermetrics note deals with the way they handle statistics as part of their broadcasts. Mark L. Smith of Talking Chop argues that broadcasters have a responsibility to have a basic understanding of statistical concepts, even if they disagree with their use or relevance.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Mets had a $95 million payroll in 2013 but are expected to reduce that number slightly for next season.
- CSN Houston, a regional sports network partially owned by the Astros, has filed for bankruptcy.
It was a rough weekend all around for the Astros, who finished the season with a 15-game losing streak. That's the longest in all of baseball this season and over twice as long as the Brewers' longest streak (six games). The Astros also set an MLB record by striking out for the 1530th time, passing the 2010 Diamondbacks. Not that long ago the 2001 Brewers held that record with 1399.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to climb out through the ceiling.