There has been at least one critic on a previous installment of this season preview...In short, he thought the writing was too negative. Well wait till you get to the "ultimate depth" of the infield and bench buddy.....
At Third Base, there is Aramis Ramirez. He will be fine. There are obviously concerns about whether his previously injured knee will hold out, but the truth is he can make BIG defensive plays and also still come up with some nice hits. Reasonable guess is he doesn't miss too many games this year. Seems to be ok on that knee and ready to go. Aramis will put up big numbers and knock in some runs.
At SS, you have Jean Segura who started the season with an injury that affects his throwing arm. Basically if you have to miss a bunch of games in a row between spring and the majors, like say 5 or 6, its kinda a big deal. At first the likely thought was there is more than soreness going on with his shoulder and everybody in the Brewers system probably knew it. There have been several times where the Brewers have referenced an injury by saying "Oh well we first noticed it a couple weeks ago." A number of guys who have had an injury acted like it was no big deal and then later admitted that the injury had been bothering them for some time before it was revealed to any Brewer fans. The prediction is that Segura will continue to be coddled with days off and protection for a while to start the season, while Jeff Bianchi gets some playing time. Bianchi had a hot spring, and the offensive production and defense out of the shortstop position as a whole will be commendable this season.
At 2nd, the options are Rickie Weeks, who has obviously been a part of the Brewers for a while, and then there is Scooter Gennett, the left handed batting phenom who wants to be an everyday Brewers player. Many will say that Rickie needs to go. Truth is, this team probably cannot continue to keep TWO guys who only play second all year. The Brewers brass is probably waiting for Weeks to either get hot so he is trade bait, or struggle mightily so they can release him. Scooter is only improving on defense and he is doing a respectable job at the plate. No way these guys BOTH are on the roster all season.
At first, Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds are at the helm. With Lyle, you get a plus defender who doesn't put up QUITE the power numbers you want at 1B. With Reynolds, you get a guy who is naturally a 3rd Basemen, but he can hit the long ball and he is younger with some upside. Look for Reynolds to get some starts at 3rd to spell Ramirez as well. At this point it doesn't seem like a good idea to keep both of these men all year, but at the same time they are going to get their looks. The production at First Base as a whole CANNOT be any worse than last year.
With the "infield roundup" completed, one thing that has to be considered is the actual weakness of the bench. In one game this season, they had an opportunity late in the game to pinch run for Aramis Ramirez in a key offensive situation. The options were not too appealing. Bianchi had already been used in the game as he had hit for the pitcher. Reynolds was already in the game at first, so what could you really do? Use Overbay to pinch run for Ramirez so that he can enter the game at first and Reynolds moves to third? Or do you use your backup catcher Maldonado or your only backup outfielder Schafer to pinch run? Point is, the options to pinch run were thin, and it would have been interesting to see who would have ended up playing third.
In the event something happens with the construction of the Weeks/Gennett scenario or the Reynolds/Overbay platoon, the first thing that needs to be done is bringing up either Herrera or Falu from AAA. Those guys can play multiple infield positions as well as cover the outfield. There is no way the team can carry their roster like this all year.
Final Prediction: The Brewers use their nice pitching depth and exceptional offensive approach to win the NL Central. Their biggest nemesis will continue to be the Cardinals, who almost always seem to have the Brewers' number of late. Final finish is 88 wins.