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2006 Brewers: Bash Brothers?

In the comments of a thread a couple of days ago, Jacob suggested that the Crew might hit 220 home runs next year. I was immediately skeptical (as I often am of ideas floated by people other than myself). Last year, the Reds led the National League with 222 dingers, way ahead of the 2nd place Cubs, who hit 194.

In other words, if Jacob's right, Milwaukee would probably be up there with the most homerific team in the league. It would also mean the team would go yard 45 more times than they did last year, an increase of over 25%. So, in response to my challenge, Jacob listed some possible home run totals, coming out well over 200. I tried to knock some of those down, but my numbers still ended up around 200.

In other words, it's time for some real analysis. Here's a table with each player I expect to make the team, along with Jacob's HR projection (if given), my HR projection, the ZiPS projection, and their '05 total. (A couple of those will include minor league totals.)

Name 2005 Jacob Jeff ZiPS
Cirillo.Jeff 4 3 3
Clark.Brady 13 15 12 11
Fielder.Prince 30 30 30 25
Gross.Gabe 7 5 10
Hall.Bill 17 20 20 15
Hardy.J.J. 9 25 18 10
Hart.Corey 19 10 8 17
Jenkins.Geoff 25 40 28 25
Koskie.Corey 11 20 16 14
Lee.Carlos 32 40 30 29
Miller.Damian 9 10 9
Moeller.Chad 7 7 6
Weeks.Rickie 25 30 25 19
TOTAL 208 230 212 193

The 2005 totals for Gross, Fielder, Hart, and Weeks include minor league totals. And Dan Symborski would probably whack me upside the head if I didn't mention that ZiPS doesn't predict playing time, so it's optimistic on Hart because it thinks Hart will play every day.

Even if somebody got hurt, it appears that the HR total will stay high: if it's an infielder, plug in Hall; an outfielder, plug in Hart; maybe Hart goes in if Fielder gets hurt, too. The only injury I could see drastically bringing this total down would be if Weeks or Hardy were hurt for a long time, such that Hall was in the lineup every day AND somebody like Zach Sorenson ended up getting playing time as a sub-supersub. Let's all hope it doesn't come to that.

The flip side of this is that we can expect, for the umpteenth year running, to see the Brewers whiff a lot. But if the Crew sends the ball out of the park more often than just about any team in baseball...I say, whiff away!