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BCB Mailbag 14: A Brewers vs. White Sox World Series

Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Thank God it’s Friday! Let's get to your questions:

Duhawk Steve asks:

Arcia's peak on Top 100 charts was higher than where Brinson, or Ray, or Hader are now

But it seems like his mediocre 2016 has people a little down on him. If you had to pick one of Arcia, Brinson, Ray or Hader to become a perennial All-Star who would you pick and why?

I’ve been trying to temper optimism on Arcia for a little while now. Yes, he was a “top-10 overall prospect” at one time last year, but his profile is built more around defense and speed than it is offense. Arcia has the capability of being a three or four win player, but if he is going to reach that level of production it’s going to be built around a strong defensive profile, 20+ steals, and something like 8-12 home runs with a ~.700 OPS. He may be able to post high batting averages, but his below average power and inability to draw walks serve to greatly limit his offensive upside.

If I had to pick one of the four names you listed to become a perennial All-Star, I suppose I’ll go with Brinson. He also may have a bit of an issue with getting on base at a high clip, but he’s got the plus power to knock 20+ balls over the fence annually and should be just as much of a stolen base threat as Arcia can be. A 20/20 guy with plus defense in center field should net a few All-Star appearances.

Aaron128 asks:

What can we expect, or in a best-case scenario, hope for from Travis Shaw?

The left-handed hitter has had mixed success against same-handed pitching during his career, doesn’t walk a ton, and strikes out a bit more than average. He’ll get an opportunity to play everyday, and I’d be pretty content if he can churn out something along the lines of his .251/.312/.442 career slash line and hit 15-20 home runs. That’d be about a league-average bat, and if Shaw can continue to put up strong defensive numbers at the hot corner the overall package should be about a 2-3 win third baseman.

great198 asks:

Based on similar projected "windows of competitiveness"...

What AL team would be the most satisfying for the Brewers to beat in the World Series and why?

I wouldn’t mind meeting up with and defeating the White Sox in a future Fall Classic. They just embarked on their own rebuild but have gotten some pretty strong near-MLB prospects in their return packages, so they may not be down for too long and could start getting pretty good around the same time most people expect the Brewers to. They were considered a rival back when Milwaukee was in the AL, and it’s always nice to beat a team from Chicago.

drezdn asks:

Have you tried a naked chulupa yet?

I have not. The last time I went to Taco Bell, I was pretty stoked to find out about that $5 big box combo they’ve got right now with the burrito, Cheesy Gordita Crunch, hard shell taco and soda all included. I forgot to order the burrito without sour cream though, of which I’m not a huge fan, and they just pile that crap on there.

Sinister Mister asks:

All these waiver claims

Does this take place on other MLB teams that have a couple spaces to fill out? Would Stearns get a poor reputation among other GMs for grabbing every 41st man, or is this commonplace? Just when I finished knitting my Scahill jersey, then crossed it out to read Adrianza, I have to change it again.

It sure does feel like Stearns sort of treats the Brewers as his own personal OOTP simulation sometimes, doesn’t it? While David does do an above-average amount of working the waiver wire, it’s not all that uncommon around the league. A few years ago, Ken Rosenthal published a story about Alex Anthopoulos’ waiver wire fetish while he was GM of the Blue Jays. In one offseason from October 2012-April 2013, Anthopoulos and the Jays claimed 20 players (!!!) off of waivers. I don’t expect Stearns to get to that outrageous level of player movement, but I wouldn’t anticipate him letting up on the strategy anytime soon. The Brewers have gotten good production from guys like Hernan Perez, Junior Guerra, Jhan Marinez, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis after they were acquired in waiver deals and David clearly values the ability to cycle through freely available talent in order to see what value he can mine at this point in the Brewers’ rebuilding process.

chrisdurb asks:

A lot of the projections for this year on other publications/websites seem to have Jimmy Nelson in the bullpen

And I feel like that’s gone way under the radar. Time and time again I’ll come across different Milwaukee Brewers preview articles and a consistent theme has been no Jimmy Nelson in the starting rotation. Is that really the way it’s going to play out? I find it hard to believe he’s not one of the 5 best pitchers heading into the year.

My gut says that the club will continue to give him looks as a starter, just as they have with Wily Peralta. I like Nelson a lot and also find it a bit hard to believe Nelson won’t have a rotation spot to start the year. At this point I’d guess Tommy Milone goes to the bullpen as a lefty and someone (Garza?) will probably get hurt again this spring to bring the rotation down to five.

The more I think about it, though, wouldn’t Jimmy Nelson be a prime candidate to move to the bullpen for all the same reasons that folks want to see Wily as a reliever? A hard, moving fastball to go along with a slider that can be dominant when he’s feeling it, but an inconsistent third pitch (where’d the curveball go in the 2nd half last year?) and a some issues with commanding the baseball.

My best guess is Nelson will start in the rotation but may have a bit of a shorter leash this season, like Wily did last year. If he struggles again, he has options remaining and could go down to the minor leagues. But given the now plethora of starting pitching options the Brewers have in the upper minors, I don’t think exploring a bullpen role for Jimmy would be out of the question.

Thanks for the great questions this week, everyone! IT'S ALMOST TIME FOR BASEBALL AGAIN!!!

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs