Hello friends and welcome to the third edition of Brew Crew Ball's Mailbag feature where I solve the ancient riddles of the multiverse. We're jumping right into the deep end today!
Nullact asks the big one: Taking a look at our talent depth, what can we agree is an honest target timeframe to field a team that can compete for a pennant?
It's a very difficult question to answer right now because I imagine this offseason will provide us with at least one or two trades. Who goes and what the Brewers get back could have a large impact on the answer to your question.
With what we do know now though I think 2018 is probably the first season they'll have a real chance to bound back into the playoff scene. By mid to late-2016 it's possible we could see Orlando Arcia, Brett Phillips, Jorge Lopez, and Josh Hader on the major league squad.
But I think there's no real reason we should see them by Opening Day 2017. You might even add Clint Coulter to that mix. Give them a year to season and add the potential for guys like Cody Ponce, Kodi Medeiros, Devin Williams, Monte Harrison, Jacob Gatewood and a handful of others that might be ready at some point in 2018 and I think that's the year we see the next truly competitive team emerge.
I will say that I do think there is an outside chance they do something special in 2017 but I think the safer money is 2018.
Drezdn asks: What sort of package would be enough to convince the Brewers to move Braun?
I think they're plenty convinced to move him. They just can't right now. He's got the PED stink which makes things hard because any acquiring team can always use that as leverage. Then there is the thumb thing which I think he still needs to show he can manage. He had a flare up mid-2015 and he needs to show he can manage that better--which I think he will prove. Then there is the back surgery. Because of all that he can't be moved right now and he'll probably have to show he can play next year.
If the Brewers ever can move him it'll be after next season. Then he'll have 4 years and $80 million left on his contract. That sounds big but in context of this era of free agent dollars it's not that bad. If he can show he is still at least a 3-4 win player next year teams will be interested. It'll be that much further away from the PED suspension and he'll have shown he can manage the back and thumb.
As far as what it will take to get him I'm not sure. There isn't a lot of precedent for this type of player. In broad terms I'd suggest fair value would be something like two 50 grade prospects and a throw-in type with some potential. I'm not sure if the Brewers would find a team willing to part with that though and I just don't see them trading him to get rid of him.
Drezdn also asks: What parts of baseball aren’t effectively measured by current statistics?
I think fielding statistics still need a lot of work. But now that StatCast and Field F/X or whatever it's called are around I think we'll start to see improvement there.
Catchers I don't think are well represented by some advanced metrics. I don't think framing has been incorporated into a lot of WAR calculations for example. Also it's hard to assess them for their pitch calling skills. How much credit should they get versus the pitchers. And how do you derive a value to begin with? I don't know.
People really want there to be this intangible club house guy/leadership quality that can't be measured and greatly matters. I do think something like that can exist and it can't be quantified. I just don't buy that it has a real impact on how a team plays. You can have the bad player with a good attitude. I'll take the talented player instead.
Of course there are extremes. I'm sure adding Jonathan Papelbon didn't help the Nationals all that much. And his shitty attitude clearly had a negative effect. I'm not sure it caused them to win fewer games though.
From the Twitters
@BrewCrewBall What would it take to get one of the Angels young 3rd basemen (Kabitza or Cowart) to fill the hole for the Brewers?— Kurt Cohen (@dtonAD) October 23, 2015
Good question. When the Angels were said to have some interest in Adam Lind I was looking at those two as possible matches. Both kind of look like failed prospects though. Kubitza is 25 so he's not all that young anymore in terms of prospect age. Kaleb Cowart is 23 but he's also been less impressive in the minors. I'm not sure the Brewers were interested in them or not. Nothing came of the trade talk so we can't be sure just how much the Angels were interested in Lind to begin with. Matt Adams got moved for a #4 starting pitching prospect. So maybe a Lind for one of those guys would make sense. Maybe one of them and an additional player? I'm not sure.
@BrewCrewBall pineapple on pizza how do you feel?— Noah Jarosh (@NoahJarosh) October 23, 2015
@BrewCrewBall you like apples?— Rubie Q (@Rubie_Q) October 23, 2015
I love Honeycrisp apples and a few others. You give me Red Delicious though and we got problems.
@NoahJarosh @BrewCrewBall Is a hot dog a sandwich?— Tex Western (@TexWestern) October 23, 2015
While I begrudgingly accept that indeed a hot dog is a sandwich I believe calling it such is the culinary equivalent of Newspeak and so I revile anyone that seeks to limit our vocabulary in such a way as that is akin to intellectual death.