MLB Milwaukee Brewers

Top 5 Most Important Players On Milwaukee Brewers Roster in 2013

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Top 5 Most Important Players On Milwaukee Brewers Roster in 2013

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers have high expectations for the 2013 MLB season despite taking a 20 percent pay cut in salary. The team fully expects to compete for the National League Central division crown with its talented group of players.

Milwaukee had the top ranked offense in the NL last season but the pitching staff is what prevented the organization from reaching the postseason for the second consecutive year. The bullpen in particular was a sore spot and a huge reason why the Brewers did not meet their ultimate goal. Milwaukee recognized this and added several pitchers to the roster that can make a difference in relief.

The Brewers will also have a new look in the starting rotation in which only two starters from last year will reprise their role. Ace Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada are expected to be the No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers while Michael Fiers, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta make up the rest of the rotation. It is certainly a big gamble to bet on three pitchers who each have less than a year of experience in the big leagues. However, Milwaukee feels they can win with these capable prospects.

It is quite obvious that in order for the Brewers to be get to the promised land this season they will need several key players to perform at the same high level they did last year. With that being said, Milwaukee will also need other players who were below average to step up.

The following slides are the top five most important players on the Brewers roster.

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5. Jonathan Lucroy

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Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was off to an incredible start last season and would have been voted an All-Star if a bizarre incident involving a suitcase that broke his wrist never occurred. There is no question Lucroy is a huge part of Milwaukee’s offense and plays a critical role behind the plate. That defensive role will be even more crucial now that Milwaukee will have several different pitchers on the squad. With Corey Hart out at least a month of the regular season, Lucroy will be required to play a bigger role behind Aramis Ramirez in the batting order.

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4. Aramis Ramirez

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Speaking of Ramirez, the third baseman will be asked to try and repeat his very successful 2012 season. He led the NL with a career-high 50 doubles and did an outstanding Prince Fielder impression by providing slugger Ryan Braun with solid protection. The 34-year-old will once again play a big role in the Brewers offense in 2013 and will have to try to top what he did last year. Without another top notch performance from Ramirez, Milwaukee will simply not be successful on offense, which would mean their chances of clinching a playoff berth would dwindle fast.

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3. John Axford

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Closer John Axford definitely falls in the category of players that need to step their game up in 2013. The argument can be made that if Axford had saved half of his nine blown saves last season the Brewers would have had another shot at a World Series berth. The 29-year-old, who recently received a big pay day thanks to his performance in 2011, must find a way to record the necessary outs to win games. There is no question Axford has one of the most important roles on the team and his success is critical to the overall success of the Brewers. Another down year from Axford means another missed opportunity for Milwaukee.

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2. Yovani Gallardo

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It goes without question that Gallardo will not only play a big role on the mound in which the Brewers expect him to win at least 16 games this season, but he will also be a role model for the other four starters in the rotation. If for whatever reason Gallardo does not pitch well in 2013, there is a good chance the other pitchers will falter and the entire season will be at risk. The 26-year-old is certainly someone that can handle the pressure but it will be interesting to see how he handles being a mentor to Fiers, Rogers and Peralta.

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1. Ryan Braun

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Braun is hands down the most important player on the Brewers for the 2013 season and beyond. Simply put, if Braun does not have another MVP-like performance as he has been able to do the past two years, Milwaukee will finish nowhere near the top of the division. Braun led the team in every single offensive statistical category and topped the league in many as well last season. He is largely what makes the Brewers compete at a high level on a nightly basis and has no problem putting the team on his shoulders and swinging his way to victory. If anything were to happen to Braun or if he has the first down season of his career, Milwaukee can kiss their high hopes for 2013 goodbye.