The Milwaukee Brewers are currently on a historic free fall from last year’s reign atop the National League Central division. At this point, the season is over and the talents of Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Aramis Ramirez have been wasted. Many fans have to be wondering, what are the Brewers even playing for with six weeks left?
Milwaukee is having one of the worst years in recent memory for a team that was two games away from reaching the World Series. With 48 games left to play and a dismal record of 52-62, the Brewers still have a shot of getting back above .500 before the season closes out. This would be a tremendous accomplishment that would carry momentum into next season.
Obviously, even if the team was able to get above .500 the playoffs are still out of the question as the Brewers are currently 16.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the division and 11.5 games behind the wild card leaders. What a difference a year makes, especially when the team has not really changed all that much since their franchise record 96 wins last season.
The Brewers best record in their last 50 games of a season came in 2011 as they went 34-16. Currently, Milwaukee is 1-1 with 50 games to go so they could potentially beat that mark which would give them final record of 87-78. The chances of that happening are slim to none but if I were manager Ron Roenicke, it is certainly a goal I would shoot for.
Milwaukee is also playing for next season. They currently have over 20 players that will not be under contract next year so that means they have some positions to fill. The best way for the Brewers to do this is through the farm system, something they have not done in years. Milwaukee currently has several talented players in the minors just waiting for their opportunity at the professional level.
Many players will be getting their chance in the ensuing weeks as we have already seen prospects like Jean Segura, Jim Henderson, and Mark Rogers get called up. Also, prospect Michael Fiers has been in the majors for months now and has already made his case to be one of the five pitchers in the starting rotation next season.
It will mostly be pitching prospects that get the best opportunities because clearly the weakest part of the team is the bullpen. I cannot imagine a situation in which Milwaukee brings back more than two of their current relievers. This means the Brewers will be looking to their farm system first to fill in the bullpen before they check out free agency.
It is certainly unfortunate how this year turned out but there are still several reasons to keep watching Milwaukee as the 2012 seasons comes to a close. It will be exciting to see what the other prospects can do and who has a good chance of making the team in 2013.