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BCB Mailbag #14: I can't think of a subtitle

MOAR QUESTIONS!!! Welcome to another addition of the BCB Mailbag. If you have any questions you'd like answered, please leave them in the comments.

Jeff Carlick/Getty Images

AKBrewfan asks, "Is the St. Crispin's Day speech the best speech ever written? (this one)"

It's a good one, but it's second to this one*

Zneitzel asks, "What's your ideal lineup for the team? Assuming a RHP and Lucroy stays a Brewer through spring. McCalvy seemed to think Scooter would bat lead off, but I can't think of why."

To be honest, I'm not really concerned about lineup optimization anymore. I think the most optimized lineup projects to add something like 10 runs across a whole season and that really doesn't change anything. But if it were up to me I'd want the guy with the best OBP potential leading off followed by the all around best offensive threat. Anything else I don't care about. With the Brewers we're probably talking about Jonathan Lucroy leading off with Ryan Braun batting second.

Scooter Gennett leading off vs RHP probably wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. For his career he has a 307/339/458 slash line. Last year was a bad season for him: 279/310/403. But he did much better his previous seasons: 362/395/552 in 2013 and 307/338/464 in 2014. Obviously that 2013 slash line isn't going to be reproduced, but I think he can get close to his career average. And you can lead off with that.

I keep telling people "platoon" is not a dirty word. But supporters and dissenters--not assigning either viewpoint to you Zneitzel, just speaking generally--alike seem to ignore that. Supporters want to believe Gennett is better than that and dissenters seem to think he's not a major league caliber player. But he's actually been very successful vs RHP. He simply cannot handle LHP, but if utilized properly he can be one of the best offensive second baseman vs RHP.

Snowdarc asks, "Since Stearns is more focused on guys getting on base than "DINGERZ!!" Is CC a good small ball manager? Can you discuss the relative merits between small ball and the go for it all?"

I think it's too soon to tell what kind of manager Craig Counsell will be. We've only seen five months of him and he was probably operating under directives to maximize trade potential (e.g. Playing Gerardo Parra as much as possible while sitting Khris Davis; continuing to play Aramis Ramirez;continuing to use Jonathan Broxton in high leverage situations, etc). So we probably can't glean too much information from last year.

I guess it depends on what you mean by small ball. If you mean bunting a lot, then really there are no merits. Sometimes a situation might call for the right kind of player bunting for a hit. But I don't think that tactic is exclusive to small ball. It really just depends on the situation and roster construction.

Maybe you're talking about hitters who don't shorten up with two strikes. I think sometimes that can be an issue, but I also think it's okay to let guys play to their strengths. And when we're talking about guys that have been developed in one way their entire career, they can't just change. The solution might be to start teaching batters differently, and maybe that will happen. Baseball is always changing--though perhaps too slowly for people to notice. I'm sure if it needs to happen, batters will start adapting to a new run environment or pitching era.

It also depends on what you mean by "go for it all." I suspect--and correct me if I'm wrong--you might mean "being okay with striking out" because a batter is trying to hit a home run. If that is what you mean, then you realize that no one is "okay with striking out." It's just that some of us have come to the understanding that striking out isn't all that different from other outs--it's no worse than lining out/popping up and not advancing a base runner, and it's less detrimental than a double play, for example. You could have a guy who strikes out just 4% of the time with an on-base percentage lower than a guy who strikes out 20% of the time. The guy with the lower strike out rate is still making more outs. So context matters.

Also, I'm not sure Stearns is necessarily more concerned with OBP than HR. The Brewers may very well hit more homes this year than last year. Chris Carter, for example, might hit 30 home runs, but have a .300 OBP--more home runs but lower OBP than Adam Lind. Domingo Santana and Rymer Liriano could hit 20 home runs, the former perhaps more. Jonathan Villar can probably hit a few more than we could have expected from Segura. Also looking at a recent trade he made, Jacob Nottingham doesn't draw a lot of walks, but he makes contact and can hit home runs. He might be another guy that hits 20 home runs but doesn't put up an OBP better than .320. That's not bad by any means. In fact it's really quite good from the catching position. It's just an example of Stearns not eschewing home run power for OBP.

Overall it is clear that Stearns values on-base percentage. But I don't think he's ignoring home run power.

SANDYTOLAN asks, "Any reports on Ramon Flores's rehab progress? And, if he's ready relatively soon, could you envision a R/L platoon with Liriano?"

From what I've heard he is good to go. My best guess if that Rymer Liriano is the starting CF and Ramon Flores is the 4th OF. So in a way the answer to your question is yes. But I don't think it will be an actual platoon. I think Liriano will get the majority of starts with Flores just serving in regular back-up duties. If Liriano hits his ceiling he could be a 20 HR, 20 SB guy who provides fringe average defense in center or above average defense in right. That's an above average starter. Flores might make more contact, but it won't be as good. He might be a 12-15 HR and 12-15 SB guy who provides average defense in a corner--his arm isn't as strong. That's a fringe average to low-end average regular--or a really good 4th OF.

In short, Liriano's ceiling is much higher than Flores' and therefore I believe he'll be getting the majority of starts, but I do think they both make the roster.

From Twitter:

So far I've heard nothing, which is probably a "no news is good news" kind of thing. I did hear that he won't have another cryotherapy procedure done before the season starts. I don't know what that means for him though. He needed a maintenance procedure done mid-season last year and at that time it was my understand that might be something he will always need. But this is the first and only time that type of thing has been performed on a baseball player, so we don't really know what to expect going forward. Hopefully he's just fine now and never needs another one. That's something I'm going to be paying attention to this season though.

They might be pretty slim, yeah. When they were acquired it looked reasonable they could stick. But since then the infield has added Aaron Hill and the bullpen has added Sean Nolin. It might still be pretty reasonable for Colin Walsh to stick. Teams usually use two middle infield back-ups which could be Yadiel Rivera and Walsh. But Zack Jones' place with the team is more precarious. Ariel Pena and Sean Nolin are out of options so they have to make the team or be placed on waivers. Since Jones needs to stick or be offered back to his original team, that makes three relievers that essentially have to stick and there are only two spots open. One of them isn't going to make the cut. My gut tells me that's Ariel Pena, but I really don't know and it could just as easily be Jones.


Okay that's it for today! Thanks to everyone that asked a question. Sorry if I didn't get to yours, but just keep asking. And if anyone has any questions about the two Fan Post promotions (onetwo) feel free to ask questions here too. Happy weekend everyone!

(*Just kidding. That movie sucks. I can't believe they're making more of them. Wait...yes I can. sigh)