roguejim asks, "The Brewers are chock full of players we're hoping will take the "next step." Who are you most concerned about losing a step, or not living up to expectations?"
I'll take one position player and one pitcher. The ceiling is rather high for Domingo Santana. In my mind it looks something like Khris Davis but with good defense and a plus throwing arm. That's not entirely dissimilar to Yoenis Cespedes either. In other words something like a 3-4 win player. However he does have pretty extreme contact problems. And I'm not really sure he's improved in those areas in recent seasons despite having a pretty looking stat line. He does have good power, but if he's striking out 30% of the time or more, and not making a lot of contact, it's really going to limit his ability to get to his power in-game. The downside might be Mark Reynolds in right field with good defense. That's more of a platoon/4th outfielder than a starting player. I honestly don't know which is more likely.
Wily Peralta was once the top pitching prospect in the Brewers entire farm system. But that had just as much to do with the poor health of the farm as it did his potential. Still, he looked like he had the makings of a solid mid-rotation innings eater. But he was terrible last year and even his best season (2014) was just okay. He hasn't developed his change-up like we'd hoped and his command can waiver. If he can incorporate a third pitch more often, he's going to be limited to the back end of a rotation. And he might even be better suited to the bullpen where he might legit be able to hit triple digits on his fastball.
Brew Angel asks, "These days there are too many states. Please eliminate three. (p.s. I am NOT a crackpot). Which two states (in addition to Missouri - anything from Missouri has a taint about it) should be eliminated?
Bonus question: In addition to the Simpsons reference(s) above, name the movie reference from my parenthetical."
See I'm looking at this from a different angle. Let's remove Wisconsin (because I live here and Brewers, duh), Minnesota (some of my best friends live there and it seems to be a progressive state), and California (because Mike Trout yo!) from the rest of the US. We'll make an island somewhere and live happily. I think that would be good.
Unfortunately I do not get the Simpsons reference(s). I never really got into the show and I didn't want to cheat and look it up online. Sorry.
Southern Fried Badger asks, "Any status updates on the bevy of relievers on the DL (Barrios, Jones, Nolin, Smith and now Knebel)? And what happens to the bullpen when(if) these guys start returning?"
At this point I believe the only update we've received is for Barrios and Nolin and neither is good news. Barrios had rotator cuff surgery and I'm going to guess he's out the entire season. Sean Nolin reportedly has a UCL tear. I believe he's going to try to rehab it and reassess in 6 weeks. He may eventually undergo Tommy John surgery making it unlikely he would pitch again until mid-2017.
For the others we're still waiting on news. Knebel's isn't a serious injury, but oblique strains can sometimes take months to return from. Smith is waiting 3-6 weeks until seeing a doctor again to decide if he can rehab the injury or if he'll need surgery. If rehab is an option, he'll pitch again this year (not sure when). If he needs surgery he's out the whole season.
What happens when relievers start returning will depend on which reliever we're talking about and when their return occurs. But guys like Chris Capuano, Blaine Boyer, and Carlos Torres (maybe Sam Freeman too) have no long term value to the club. So it could be a simple matter of designating one of these players to make room. Or a trade could be arranged.
@BrewCrewBall will scooter walk more than 30 times this year— Vollmer Tavern (@vollmertavern) April 7, 2016
Good question. The most he's had at the major league level is 22. But in 2013 when he split time between MLB and AAA his combined total was 31. So it's possible. He says it's something he's been working on. Sometimes when players say stuff like that it's true, sometimes it's just talk, and sometimes it just doesn't matter either way. But he looked good in ST (for what that's worth which is pretty much nothing) and he's looked good in his first three games (which is super small sample size territory). And I know the Brewers are going to be running him out there a lot. He's either going to prove to them he's worth keeping for their next competitive cycle or he's going to prove a worthy trade target. If he gets traded though, I imagine a team will platoon him more than the Brewers are going to. So I'll actually say, yes he does exceed 30 walks this year with the caveat that if he's traded he'll likely come under that total.