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BCB Mailbag 13: A New Miller Park?

Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

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Okay, let’s get started:

Junbug11 asks:

Hindsight is 20/20, but couldn't the Brewers have offered more to the Dodgers than they received from the Rays for De Leon?

Seemed like a pretty light return, even if De Leon is overrated.

Logan Forsythe has actually been pretty damn good the last two years, and it didn’t really seem like the Dodgers were interested in dealing any of their prospects beyond De Leon. De Leon by himself wouldn’t have been enough for me to trade Ryan Braun, and it seemed pretty clear that LAD was targeting an upgrade at second base and Forsythe is clearly superior than Scooter Gennett (I wouldn’t have done De Leon for Villar, either). I’ve long thought that this idea of near-certain trade to Los Angeles was a bit overblown, and given what ended up happening it doesn’t appear that there was really much of a match.

drezdn asks:

When do you think the Brewers will start to ask for a new stadium?

Man...publicly funded stadiums are a scam. I personally think Miller Park is a pretty great place to watch a baseball game (and I’ve been to a few other stadiums) and it seems like ownership is willing to spend money to keep it that way, given the big upgrades they’re undertaking this winter. If Mark A. ever said he needed tax-payer money to build a new facility (which, given the way thing are going, may conceivably even be within the next ten years), I might rather see the team leave. I’ve got and it would even give me an excuse to travel somewhere with the family.

krieden asks:

Colorado Springs

So we talk a lot about Colorado Springs having an effect on our pitchers and wanting our best prospects to skip Triple-A and go straight to the bigs.

Has there ever been a demonstrated disadvantage to our hitters going there? In theory, this would also stunt their development as well, given that they’re looking at subpar breaking stuff, right?

Actually, when I was researching my premature overreaction to the Brewers almost having to sign a PDC with Lancaster for BP Milwaukee, I came across this interesting study from The Crawfish Boxes. The data collected by the author supports the idea that playing in a hitter-friendly environment in the minor leagues can ultimately lead to more strikeouts and less power in the big leagues. There’s no real developmental positives to playing in an environment like Lancaster or Colorado Springs.

Noah Jarosh asks:

I'd like to hear your best prediction on what you think the Brewers' outfield will look like in 2019.

By that time many of the outfield prospects should be ready or have been ready, Santana and Broxton and Braun are all under contract/team control through then. I want a prediction on which three players start, who’s the fourth outfielder, who flamed out, etc. Bold predictions!

Oof, that’s a tough one. I’ve just got this feeling that Braun isn’t going anywhere, so I guess we’ll say him in left (unless he’s already at first base, of course). I think Brinson is the real deal, so we’ll say him in center field. So that leaves right field. I think Domingo Santana might get traded by then due to his service class and the prospects coming behind him, and it doesn’t sound like Corey Ray will have the arm to play in right field everyday and may not be able to stick in center. Brett Phillips has the arm to be out there, for sure, and I think I can still by into him as a regular so I’ll stick him out there. I like Keon Broxton a lot and think he could still be around as the fourth outfielder who gets 350+ plate appearances, with Corey Ray probably the top prospect who may have already debuted by that time but could still use some seasoning in AAA.

Lance123 asks:

Mauricio Feliciano

I know Jacob Nottingham is considered the Brewers top catching prospect, but I just don’t see it. I think he’s basically Clint Coulter 2.0 (power bat, big arm, strikes out way too much, and is basically lost behind the plate). I think it’s doubtful that Nottingham even makes it to the majors, and even more unlikely that he’d make it as a Catcher (or Coulter ever makes it to the majors at all).

However, even though he’s a long way off, I think Mauricio Feliciano has a much better chance to make it as a Catcher, and can possibly become one of the better overall Catchers during his career.

Nottingham may remind me of Coulter, but Feliciano actually reminds me of a young LuCroy. (Bear with me for a moment). Both had a similar scouting report when the Brewers drafted each of them (even though LuCroy was coming out of College, versus Feliciano coming out of HS). Both had scouting reports that called them highly intelligent, athletic for a Catcher, very hard worker, and great ability to make contact and drive the ball to all 3 fields. But the scouting reports also said they didn’t have much power, they had below average arms for a Catcher, and they were still a work in progress learning the position.

Just like Nottingham and his power bat currently gets the press as the Brewers future Catcher, throughout the minors LuCroy also got 2nd billing to Angel Solome and his power bat. We know how that turned out, and I think the same thing is going to happen again.

"Intelligence, athletic, very hard worker, and good contact". I’ll take that any day over "power bat and big arm".

What’s your thoughts? Am I wrong? Is there some important points that I’m missing?

I assume you mean Mario Feliciano, of course, and I’ll admit he’s an interesting prospect. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #28 guy in the system on their non-updated list and praise him for some of the same reasons you do. Comparisons to Lucroy at this stage are incredibly premature, however. A collegiate catching prospect is usually quite a bit ahead of a high-schooler in terms of overall development. The hit rate on catchers drafted out of high school is much lower than it is on collegiate guys, and realistically Feliciano is still probably 4+ years away from being big league ready. A lot can happen in that time. He’s certainly a got tools that are fun to dream on, but due to his age and position there’s pretty substantial risk there. As far as Jacob Nottingham goes, I think I buy into Andrew Susac as a more realistic long-term cog behind the plate than Nottingham is. Nottingham really needs to improve his receiving if he wants to stick behind the dish.

selvington02 asks:

Do you think Jimmy Nelson Finally pulls it all together this season?

It seems like we have been waiting the last two seasons for Nelson to turn the corner, is this the year is finally happens. If not, with all of the current starters we have on the team, would this spring be a good time to make his a change of scenery trade candidate. Maybe to a team like Atlanta for Sean Newcome (or another talented but not complete pitcher/prospect).

I’ve talked to Nelson a few times and the guy has a great makeup. I have little doubt he’s been doing his best to try and work through the mechanical issues he battled last season and I want to hope that there’s still a competent #4 pitcher in there somewhere. But he’s got work he needs to do, and given his performance last year dealing him before he gets the chance to re-establish some value would be selling low on him. I highly doubt anyone would be willing to pony up a player in the caliber of Sean Newcomb, who is still highly thought of by most of the various ranking outlets. The better play, in my opinion, is to go into the season and hope Nelson can perform closer to his purported talent level. The club may have a short leash with him if he struggles though, as he still can be optioned to the minor leagues and guys like Jorge Lopez, Josh Hader, and Brandon Woodruff (among others) will be trying to earn a look in the starting rotation.

Thanks for all the great questions everyone, some really interesting topics this week! Let’s do it again next week.