New York Rangers

Expectations are at an all-time high in Milwaukee where the Brewers are looking to close the one-game back that stood between them and their first World Series appearance since 1982 last season.
What's New
When the Brewers convene later this week in Phoenix, they'll do so with largely the same group that finished just one game short of that goal a year ago.

That's by design; general manager David Stearns built this team around a core of young talent under team-control and that group appears to be hitting is prime. 
That doesn't mean that Stearns could sit idly by all winter, especially with the rest of the National League Central bolstering its collective roster to knock the Brewers' off their perch. For the second straight winter, Stearns stunned baseball observers by signing catcher Yasmani Grandal to a one-year, $18.25 million contract. 
The Brewers did part ways with two key contributors from last year's squad: third baseman Mike Moustakas came over in a surprising deadline deal with Kansas City. He's still unsigned so a reunion isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. 
Also gone is veteran left-hander Wade Miley, who went 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 regular-season starts then posted a 1.23 ERA in four playoff outings before signing a one-year deal ith the Astros last month.
What Could Change
The Brewers' roster leaves little room for flexibility at the moment but that's never stopped Stearns from adding talent if he sees a good fit. The thought all winter was the Brewers would add some sort of experienced arm to the rotation but Stearns has remained steadfast in the belief that Milwaukee's crop of young pitchers -- Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta -- are more than capable of holding their own. Second base remains the Brewers' biggest question mark. Whie the Brewers seem content to go into camp with Spangenberg sharing time with Tyler Saladino and Hernan Perez, Milwaukee could still make a late splash before the season gets underway.
That, though, appears unlikely because top prospect Keston Hiura is knocking on the door. Hiura. The Brewers' top prospect batted .293 with 13 home runs and an .821 OPS between High-A and Double-A a year ago then topped off that performance by batting .323 with 5 home runs, 33 RBI and a .934 OPS while earning Most Valuable Player honors in the Arizona Fall League. 
Hirua is the biggest reason Milwaukee didn't dip into the deep and talented pool of free agent second basemen. With just one full professional season under his belt, he won't be ready to go by Opening Day but the consensus is Hiura will make his debut sooner, rather than later.
Should Hiura's development stall and the Brewers find themselves looking internally for middle infield help, Mauricio Dubon is expected to open camp close to fully recovered from an ACL tear suffered last May that prevented him from a likely big league call-up.
Dubon, 23, was slashing .343/.348/.574 with a 23-game hitting streak at the time of the injury and while he, too, will need some time in the minors to start the season, the Brewers won't hesitate to give him a chance should the need and opportunity arise.
What's Coming
During the team's annual winter fan fest last month, players were cautious about adopting a "World Series Or Bust" mentality but it was clear that they saw their NLCS Game 7 loss as a disappointment and they're ready to take another step forward.
The path will be slightly harder this season; the entire division has improved and is shaping up to be the most competitive in baseball. Adding to the challenge: living up to expectations after memorable years. That's especially true for individual players like Christian Yelich, whose historic second half led to Most Valuable Player honors. 
The goal is clear: the Brewers want to get back to the World Series this year and they are confident they have the talent and hunger to make it happen.
Best-Case Scenario: The Brewers continue their progress, use last year's near-miss as a motivator and get to the World Series. 
Worst-Case Scenario: Yelich regresses. The young pitching can't live up to the hype. The Cubs finally start living up to theirs and the Brewers watch the rest of the NL Central pass them by.


Posts les plus consultés de ce blog

Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Blackhawks