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BCB Mailbag 31: Get that pension, Paolo!

Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

TGIF! Only 16 games remaining for our beloved local nine to make up a 3.0 game deficit in the NL Central, so every game is a must-win. That said, big props to all the fans that bought up tickets to this weekend’s series with Miami, which was moved to Milwaukee due to Hurricane Irma. These extra home games could really play into the Brewers’ favor, so make sure it’s a great atmosphere down at Miller Park.

Now, on to your questions:

Bolson32 asks:

What’s the deal with Woody? Shouldn’t he be up for a start Friday? But the starter is listed as TBD. You’ve gotta think he’s the 3rd best starter in the rotation at this point.

Woodruff actually last started on Monday the 11th, so if he was to take his next turn on regular rest that would technically line him up for tomorrow’s game. Today “should” be Zach Davies’ turn to start, as he last took the ball on the 10th. But if Zach starts tonight, that means that assuming regular rest that he wouldn’t line up to pitch any of the games against the Cubs during their final series together from the 21st-24th. So with the way Counsell has shuffled the rotation, it looks like Davies will be taking the ball in game one of the upcoming Cubs’ series with Woodruff getting the start in game two.

SamCam99 asks:

Brewers already won 1 more game than I predicted at the start of the season

Is this season a success?

Or are you of the mentality that it is post-season or nothing is a success?

Do you ever look back at the bullpen we started with and cry a little and think "what if…"?

If/when the Brewers finish over .500, I would say this season was a success, yes. I will be disappointed if they don’t make the postseason, though. I understand where the Brewers are as an organization and as an analyst, I get how the rebuilding process works and that there should be incremental goals and all that jazz. But as a fan, it sucks anytime that your team isn’t vying for the title in the postseason, whether that’s the Brewers or Packers or Bucks or whoever.

As far as the bullpen goes, I was critical of the front office at the start of the season for not spending a little bit more to add depth. I didn’t mind that they gambled on Neftali Feliz, I wish they had taken more chances on veterans like him. The Brewers had the lowest payroll in baseball this year; I don’t think spending an extra $10 mil or so to add a couple more arms like Santiago Casilla and Drew Storen (both of whom have been useful relievers this season) would have been of great detriment to the bottom line. Oh well.

icelandreliant asks:

Why not call up a couple more guys from the 40 man

Like Jungmann, Webb, or Rivera? Even if they hardly play, does it hurt the team? We could have a 15 inning game where we need everyone or something. Does it reach a point of just too many guys in the clubhouse and dugout? Is there a financial reason?

Personally, I’m all for bringing up a bunch of guys. That’s more service time and MLB pay for those players, and gets them their insurance and closer to a pension if they haven’t already vested. The club does already have 33 players on their active roster (with #34 on the way in the form of Aaron Wilkerson), and from what I understand it can indeed get a bit crowded in the dugout and especially the clubhouse when rosters expand like that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple more call-ups along the way if the need arises, but I don’t think Counsell wants to have any more additional guys than necessary taking up lockers in the clubhouse and space on the bench while receiving sparse playing time.

The Dane asks:

Did Paulo #getthatpension yet?

Our old friend Paolo Espino was traded to Texas last month and was part of the Rangers’ first wave of call-ups back on September 1st. That means another 15 days of MLB service time so far, which should have pushed him over the threshold for his pension. He’ll be way past the minimum 43 days of service needed by the time the season ends in a couple weeks.

Congratulations to Paolo!

Infield Fly Rule asks:

I know this is premature since 2017 isn't even done yet...

But make a case for who will be the 2018 Brewers minor league player and pitcher of the year.

For 2018 player of the year, I’ll go with Keston Hiura. He was incredible during his professional debut, posting a 1.033 OPS in 187 plate appearances between Maryvale and Wisconsin. He’ll probably start in Carolina next season, which can be a tough place for hitters, but I really like what Hiura brings to the table. After we’ve seen the stock of Trent Clark and Corey Ray tumble (both selected by Ray Montgomery), it’d be nice to have a 1st-round pick show he’s capable of flying through the system and making good on the expectations.

For pitcher of the year, two names I’ll float out are Jordan Yamamoto and Josh Pennington. Yamamoto was terrific en route to winning the Carolina League ERA title, posting a 2.51 ERA/2.80 DRA across 111.0 innings pitched. He’ll likely head to Biloxi next season in a good league for pitchers and should start receiving some top-30 prospect consideration. As for Pennington, he got a late start to the year recovering from an injury but logged a nifty 2.97 ERA/3.50 DRA in 30.1 innings for class-A Wisconsin this season. No one in the system receives a higher scouting grade for their fastball than the flame throwing Pennington, and if he’s able to stay healthy next season with Carolina we could see some big numbers from the 22 year old.

drezdn asks:

What's the prognosis on Nelson recovering from his injury?

Nelson flew out to California for a 2nd opinion on his ailing right shoulder this week, the results of which we have not yet been made privy to. There’s a chance he may not need surgery. From what I understand, too, the doctors told Nelson that based on where his labrum is torn, even if surgery is necessary the success rate for it is greater than that for a typical labrum tear. Still, Nelson mentioned to teammates that he may very well miss some time to start next season. Labrum tears have been called “baseball’s most fearsome injury” and “the career-ender”. When the rotator cuff is involved, as it is with Nelson, a Yankees team doctor once said “that has a much worse prognosis and influences velocity and ability to pitch.”

Until it becomes clear whether or not Nelson needs surgery, there’s reason to be hopeful. But if he goes under the knife, history says that it’s pretty likely he’ll never be the same level of pitcher again. No matter what Milwaukee’s team doctors may say to make Jimmy and us feel better.

(Can we unify the DH yet?)

Thanks for all the great questions this week, everyone! Hopefully the next time we do this, we have clinched a postseason berth and are talking about playoff rosters and World Series dreams!

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus