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BCB Mailbag 44: Christian Yelich vs. Sonny Gray

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Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Happy weekend, everyone! Time to drink precisely one beer and dial 911. Or just read the mailbag:

Mykenk asks:

Which of the previous 43 mailbags was your favorite, and why?

BCB Mailbag 7: Getting Mad About Miguel Diaz. That was definitely a fun one to write.

icelandreliant asks:

Is Joantgel Segovia actually good?

Segovia was a notable international signing by the Brewers back in 2013, and he made his professional debut the following summer in the 2014 Dominican Summer League. He’s drawn praise during his career for his hit tool as well as his defense in the outfield, and tore through the short season affiliates with a .384 average in the DOSL in 2014, a .331 average between Maryvale and Helena in 2015, and a .294 average for Helena in 2016. Segovia has only one professional home run, though, and a .040 ISO across 273 minor league games. He had a rough indoctrination to full-season ball last year, batting .220/.262/.254 in 444 plate appearances with the Class A Timber Rattlers. Segovia has good speed but hasn’t been a great base stealer (37 SB, 26 CS), and his present lack of power severly limits his upside. He’s still only 21 and is off to a .359/.423/.422 start in his second go-around in Appleton, but Segovia is probably looking at a future role like an OF4/OF5 at present.

BeerCity asks:

Injuries be darned

With Thames, Knebel, and Nelson hurt- Aguilar, Multiple relievers, and Guerra stepped up big time. Who has been the most important to the Brewers success?

I think Lorenzo Cain has been an integral part of the roster so far this season. As you mentioned, there’s been plenty of injuries so far and the team slumped offensively in the early going, but Cain has gone about his business and been a force atop the lineup pretty much every game since day one of the season. I dove into some of the changes he’s made at the plate earlier this week, and if Cain can keep those up he’ll wind up having the best year of his career. I obviously can’t ignore my man Junior of course, who you mentioned. Baseball Prospectus released their first Deserved Run Average totals for 2018 yesterday; guess who DRA says the best starter on the Brewers is?

#JuniorGuerraDay
#2018BrewersAce

cjsever asks:

Revisiting this: Why Christian Yelich over Sonny Gray? Last year the Brewers were leading the division at the all star break. The evil cubs went out at got quintana. The Brewers were going to counter with Sonny Gray. But Slinger didn’t want to part company with Lewis Brinson. So the Crew traded for bullpen guys instead. Of course, they fell behind the evil cubs and missed the post season by one (1) game. Then the Crew traded Brinson and three other good prospects for an outfielder which they clearly did not need based on their depth. Now a couple caveats to that issue are: 1) Sonny Gray is a nice pitcher but not a shut-down ace; 2) Yelich is a great player under cheap team control for several more years; 3) The 2017 Brewers were a good team but probably weren’t going to make the World Series anyway. Time will tell how this argument will turn out.

Perhaps it’s simply a case of an elite hitter being a more safe investment than elite pitcher. I would’ve been fine with the Brewers swinging a deal for Quintana or Gray last summer, just like I would have been if they’d have gotten Chris Archer this past winter. But spending major capital to acquire a pitcher comes with inherent injury risk, with every hurler possibly just one throw away from needing a Tommy John or rotator cuff surgery. Yelich is quite a bit younger than each one of those pitchers and comes with more club control than all of them, too. His youth, track record, and offensive profile all point towards him being able to sustain a high level of production over the life of his remaining contractual control, and his defensive ability should help provide a high floor even if for some reason he tails off at the plate. The Brewers may have had ‘depth’ in the outfield, but Yelich is now arguably the best player on the team. Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz are all nice prospects and could have bright futures, but each has a highly volatile offensive profile and their success at in the majors is much less of a given than Yelich’s. (Jordan Yamamoto is an interesting arm too, and some say his future will come in relief.) Yelich looks like a much better bet to provide more surplus value than any of Archer, Gray, or Quintana, and if the Brewers as an organization believe in their ability to identify and cultivate pitching, it makes sense to shift resources towards beefing up the offense.

Brew Crew Buster asks:

Finding something to worry about #1

Should we worry about Corbin Burnes or is this just a Colorado Springs thing going on?

Burnes put up a stinker in his last outing, serving up eight hits, four walks, and eight runs in 3.1 innings at home against Omaha. Everyone has a bad start once in awhile, even one of MLB’s top pitching prospects. Prior to that game, he’d allowed only four earned runs in 17.1 innings with and 18:3 K/BB ratio. During a particularly dominant start against New Orleans, the Baby Cakes’ announcer questioned why Burnes was in the minor leagues at all. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.

Snowdarc asks:

Where can I find a Brewers podcast?

The only one I found on spotify was last updated in 2015.

I’m not much of a podcast guy, but the old Disciples of Uecker crew - JP Breen, Ryan Topp, and Steve Garczynski - put out a weekly podcast called Milwaukee’s Tailgate that is pretty popular. Matt Pauley of 620-WTMJ also does a great weekly podcast on the Brewers, typically on Sunday’s, that a few members of the BCB staff have been featured on in the past. I would recommend checking those out!


Thanks for the great questions this time around, folks! Now, let’s beat those damn Cubbies!

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus