There's been a lot of talk about the All-Star game lately and as of this writing the Brewers don't have any starters on the team. This is the despite the fact that Jonathan Lucroy is the best catcher in the league, Carlos Gomez is the best center fielder in the league, Ryan Braun is the best former PED user in the league and Mark Reynolds is one of the most lol-worthy picks on the ballot. There is still time for Wisconsinites to go crazy voting, but as it stands they are the team with the best record in the National League on the outside looking in at the All-Star Game. Some people care about these things, some don't. (Personally, I'd rather have Lucroy take the rest but with his batting average there is no way that is happening.) The truth is that it doesn't really matter if the Brewers have any All-Stars because they are all stars, the whole team.
It's a testament to Doug Melvin how really, ridiculously good this team is. I don't fully understand it, but they are just loaded with talent. The lineup, which isn't much different than last year's, is great. The bullpen is great. The rotation is great. Despite doing some things that make me wonder what they are thinking on a yearly basis, Doug Melvin and his staff have built the BEST team in the National League (so far). Seriously, look at these guys:
Best catcher in the league? Best catcher in the league. His pitch framing is legendary, of course, but he just seems to keep improving at everything else each and every year. Clutch isn't really a thing, but if it was he would totally be that. Braun may be the one from the commercials and Gomez may be in all the highlights, but Lucroy is the heart and soul and MVP of this team. He is amazing and if he keeps hitting like this he might have to leave catching at some point. He's that good. Some people need to wake up and realize how amazing he is. Best part? He's here for a long time.
The franchise. The showstopper. The main event. He is the Shawn Michaels to Lucroy's Bret Hart. He is everything not boring about baseball. He's got personality and swagger that doesn't veer into the off-putting Nyjer territory.. He's faster than a Fondy man running for free Culver's. He plays with an aggression and determination that pisses other people off and endears him to local fans. (Like a baseball Joakim Noah.) Do you remember the Brewers traded him for JJ Hardy? And people were mad? What he lacks in JJ's douchey good looks he more than makes up for in not sucking at baseball.
I want to believe that the 2011 MVP is still in there somewhere. That he wasn't just a PED-fueled hitting monster who, once defeated by the brave knight Lord Selig, came back to earth as a mere mortal. I want to believe he has that 10 homeruns in a month run in him, but we haven't seen it. We've only seen the mortal Ryan Braun and the mortal Ryan Braun is still a lot better than most players in this league. The mortal Ryan Braun may not hit balls to the panels, but he still hits the balls.
An underrated subplot of this season is the way that he has taken to his role as a number two hitter. The old Ryan Braun didn't want to hit anywhere in the lineup but third. He's accepting his role on this team and in this offense. He's Chris Bosh only he's the teammate that everyone hates. He'll have his moments, but it's not his show anymore and he's okay with that.
Can hit homeruns. Sometimes!
In another era, Khris Davis would be our Geoff Jenkins. The lone, pity All-Star that we try our hardest to push up among the league's elite. Now? He's the exciting young player that we don't have to put too much pressure on. He's proving the Aoki loyalists wrong every day. Heck, he's proving me wrong every day. I told someone earlier this season that I wasn't quite sure that he was worth moving Ryan Braun to right. Now? I'm all in.
Not that he didn't deserve that bit of doubt. Look at his monthly splits.
Forget his OPS, look at his strikeout numbers. That guy looked like a bum. Since then he's out hitting Ryan Braun. He's could be a future All-Star and that is why I try not to make bold declarations of players. If they are starting for Doug Melvin's team, there is probably a reason.
I was at the beach yesterday and I overheard some people talking about the Brewers. One of them said "You know, Ramirez is pretty good hitter." OH DO YOU THINK SO DOCTOR!?
Aramis Ramirez is 36 years old and in the last ten years his OPS has been below .831 once. One time, that's it. He's always been a great hitter. Not just for a third baseman, but in general. If he's healthy, he hits. If he's healthy, this team could play for a long, long time.
Last season's All Star is this season's weak link. So what's the deal with Chef Segura? Well, I have some good news and bad news for you.
BAD NEWS: He wasn't as good as he played last year and he probably never will be.
GOOD NEWS: He's probably not this bad.
MORE BAD NEWS: "This bad" is kind of historically bad.
MORE GOOD NEWS?: The Brewers always make the playoffs when they have a shitty shortstop. Well, at least they did that one time they had Yuni.
The problem with Jean Segura is that he loves to swing so he relies on hits to prop up his value. Only this season he has been hitting a lot of ground balls and that is not a good combination. His BABIP is a mere .270 so maybe a little luck will help him out going forward and he hit two homeruns the other night so maybe he'll have a taste for it now. It's not all doom and gloom for the guy who is only 24. He will probably never hit as good as he did last year, but he'll always be former All-Star Chef Jean Segura. TEAM OF ALL STARS.
Scooter Gennett/Rickie Weeks
The Team Jacob/Team Edward of Brewers fandom. (Is that a dated reference? Should it be Hunger Games related? Is that still a thing? I'm old.) If you care about Brewers baseball the odds are that you think one of these two should play more than the other while also thinking the other one sucks. (So what, you're a racist, it happens.) Despite that here's what you should realize: there are about twenty other teams in the league who would love to have this type of production from their second basemen. (The production they'd love. Rickie's contract? Probably not.) The Brewers are currently getting the fifth best in the league by 2B with a wRc+ more than double the Cardinals number.
Whatever you think about these two you should take the time to realize that they are better when they're together. Maybe one or the other does deserve more playing time and in a perfect world they would get it, but that would mean less production. Face it, they are a Jack Johnson song. Rickie Gennett is so much better when they're together and Scooter Weeks is an All-Star.
What about the pitchers?
Come back tomorrow for part two!
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