What we learned: March 31, 2014

USA Today Sports

Happy Opening Day! Today's lessons include why Ryan Braun's contract is team-friendly, an analysis of the schedule, and if the Brewers can improve their franchise value ranking.

This Weekend's Results

Royals 5, Brewers 4 (Friday)

Ryan Braun returned to Miller Park and was well-received, though it also helped that he had a double and a three-run home run. However, outside of Braun, the rest of the Brewers offense was stagnant, and a small-ball fourth inning from the Royals led them to a 5-4 win.

Brewers 7, Royals 2 (Saturday)

On Saturday, the offense performed much better. Led by Logan Schafer's 3-for-4 day with two RBI in the leadoff spot, the Brewers scored seven runs on ten hits. Meanwhile, Marco Estrada was on his game, pitching five shutout innings and allowed only two runs. Overall, it was also a well-pitched game, with the exception of Francisco Rodriguez, who allowed both Royals runs in the ninth inning.

Ryan Braun's deal is very team friendly.

At the end of last week, the two players that finished 1-2 in the AL MVP race the last two years signed massive deals. It started with Miguel Cabrera signing an eight-year, $248 million extension. It was followed up by a six-year, $144.5 million extension for Mike Trout. Miguel Cabrera will earn an average of $31 million a season, and Mike Trout will get $33.25 million in each of the last three years of his deal. Noah took the opportunity to look back at Ryan Braun's deal, where his max salary in a year is $19 million. Considering what recent MVPs and MVP candidates are getting, the Brewers got Ryan Braun locked into a deal at the right time.

With the regular season here, it's time to really analyze the schedule.

Game 1 of 162 is today. When you look at the schedule, game 1 is just as important as game 162. Getting a good start is important as a good finish, but the Brewers could have a tough time getting that start. The first week of the season features tough opponents with the Braves and Red Sox on the schedule. Derek analyzed these first two series and wonders if the Brewers caught a break with the matchups they will face. Some factors breaking in the Brewers favor may help their season out, and even collecting one extra win this week could be critical.

Of course, that's just 6 out of the 162 games this year. With so many games, it can be hard to plan your life so you can watch/listen to as many games as possible, and then do enough to enjoy the rest of your life. Yesterday, we posted a quick primer for the season, breaking down the schedule and how it will affect your plans. While it's not a complete look at the season, it should help you plan out which days of the week you can watch games and which days you can plan to do something else.

The Brewers will probably never be one of the most valuable franchises in MLB.

While investing in a MLB team still appears to be a good investment, the Brewers probably won't be one of the most valuable franchises anytime soon. With Forbes releasing their franchise values, Noah took the opportunity to analyze the Brewers chances of improving their ranking. His conclusion was that with the state of baseball, their ranking won't improve anytime soon. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Mark Attanasio is getting a great return on his investment.

Jean Segura avoided the DL and will start on Opening Day.

Jean Segura missed the final spring training games, and there was serious concern that he would have to start the season on the DL. The Brewers were waiting until the last minute to decide if Segura would go on the DL or not, and after having a good infield practice session, it looked like he would avoid the DL. That was confirmed on Sunday when the Brewers 25-man roster was finalized, with Jean Segura on the roster instead of the DL. Hopefully he is ready for the first game, though some rust may be expected in the first games.

As Opening Day arrives, we have some final notes for the Brewers.

Yovani Gallardo will make the start on Opening Day, and it will be his fifth consecutive Opening Day start. However, this year, his mind will be clearer as the season begins. Few people were aware as last season began that Gallardo's mom had died the previous Thanksgiving. This revelation may explain some of Gallardo's struggles last year, including his DUI arrest in April. As he enters this year, his mind is clearer and his curveball is more effective than ever. With a potential contract year here, Gallardo could be set for an improvement in 2014.

There are a few last-minute notes we have to go through as Opening Day arrives. First of all, Plunk Everyone has a list of all of the Opening Day plunks in franchise history. Not surprisingly, Rickie Weeks leads the list with six. However, if he wants to add to that, he will need to do it in a pinch-hit appearance as he is not projected to be in today's lineup. Also, in a bit of news for the site, Prognostikeggers is returning to start the 2014 season. It took the 2013 season off, but a refined version of the game is back for the new season. Go check out the first post and how you can get involved in the game.

Cram Session

Projections/Previews

Power Rankings

Minor League Notes

Other Notes

Lighter Side of Baseball

Today's Action

Nothing important today, just the first game of the regular season. The Brewers will face the Braves at 1:10 pm today. Yovani Gallardo will make his fifth straight Opening Day start, and he will face Julio Teheran. Roof status has already been announced, it will be closed today. Tom Haudricourt has the projected lineup for the game as well. For those of you who aren't going to the game, make sure to have the game going on your TV, and come to Brew Crew Ball and join us in the Gamethread. (Also, don't forget to make your predictions for Prognostikeggers.)

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