After looking at the rotation and starting position players, today I'll see how a bunch of possible bench players project.
The rest of the projections and conclusions are after the jump.
It's creepy how similar Miller's and Closser's projections are. Obviously, Miller is going to be the backup, at least until he gets injured in mid-April, but at least the Brewers have two other relatively capable backups.
If he can hit anything like these projections, in particular the PECOTA one, he should be playing over Tony Graffanino right now. I'm starting to notice a trend of PECOTA regularly provided the highest--and, in cases like Braun and Corey Hart, far and away the highest--projection.
Who knows at this point? His health would be the most important question to the team were it not for Braun looming on the horizon.
I've only included Vinny's projections because it is somewhat conceivable that he'll make the team as a backup corner infielder if Koskie isn't ready, Braun goes to AAA and the team isn't comfortable with either Counsell backing up three positions or Hall possibly moving back to the infield in the event of an injury to Graffanino.
There's a reason Callix Crabbe, erstwhile middle infield prospect, won't be backing up for the Brewers for a few hundred grand this year while Craig Counsell will be and will make three million doing it, but I'm not sure what that reason is. You may argue that Counsell plays solid defense, which is true, but Crabbe also appears to be a good defender.
Okay, I know: no team in baseball would designate a guy like Crabbe, who hasn't even played at AAA, as their backup infielder, especially behind two fragile starters like Hardy and Weeks. But, uh, Craig Counsell is not good.
Tony Gwynn Jr:
Gabe Gross, as the only corner outfielder in the bunch, will obviously make the team. Tony Gwynn just doesn't look a whole lot like a ML-quality hitter, though his defense mitigates that somewhat. I'd still like to see him get a shot, but with Brady Clark--the Craig Counsell of the outfield--on this team, he won't. It's tough to know what the team thinks of Laynce Nix. Melvin obviously wanted him and he performed well in AAA, then sucked in Milwaukee and got hurt.
Center field is a pretty interesting situation for the Brewers. Regardless of how they view Nix, if there's not room for Gwynn, there's not room for him either. So do they both get sent to Nashville? Who starts? At least Dave Krynzel is gone.
Okay, so who makes the team? It depends on if Koskie is healthy and how many pitchers the team decides to carry. If they go with a 12-man pitching staff, that leaves 5 bench spots. Miller will be the backup catcher, Counsell the backup middle infielder, and Gross the backup corner outfielder regardless. Here's where it gets interesting: if Koskie is healthy, Graffanino takes a bench spot, leaving only one remaining spot for Mench/Jenkins and Clark.
Based on that, I forecast an 11-man pitching staff, in order to shoehorn both the Bench Brothers and their sidekick onto the roster. I'll look at the rest of that pitching staff tomorrow.