5 Milwaukee Brewers Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
5 Milwaukee Brewers Storylines
Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in just two weeks, while the rest of the players will shortly follow. With Spring Training less than a month away, there’s plenty of reason to start discussing all of the possibilities for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Obviously, we can’t jump right into what might happen in the regular season because the Brewers have a lot of questions that they must answer in Spring Training. Along with that, there are plenty of storylines for fans and the Milwaukee media to stay focused on while we all patiently wait for Opening Day to arrive on March 31.
The Brewers have made some big roster adjustments in the offseason. The hope is that these changes will allow the team to be more productive in 2014, while also be in the running for a playoff spot, whether it is a National League Central division crown or a Wild Card.
Only time will tell if trading Norichika Aoki was a good idea or if Matt Garza is the extra piece in the rotation that will get Milwaukee over the hump. With that being said, there’s no reason why we can’t start speculating what each player will do and what the team can accomplish as a unit.
For that reason, the ensuing slideshow consists of five storylines every Brewers fan should be following during Spring Training. Obviously, there are more than five storylines to follow, but these are the main ones that can’t go unnoticed. Don’t forget to comment below what storylines you are interested in.
5. Ryan Braun Saga
Opening Day is going to be very interesting for the sole reason that the epic Ryan Braun saga will enter its third act. However, before that point can be reached, Braun must face the media, the fans and his teammates in Spring Training. Will Braun be able the pressure or will he fold before the season even begins? It’s a storyline that will certainly be magnified for several weeks leading up to Opening Day.
4. Who Will Suit Up at First Base?
After losing Corey Hart to free agency, the Brewers will face the daunting task of finding consistent production at first base. The addition of slugger Mark Reynolds and veteran Lyle Overbay will provide quality competition at the positions that will be entertaining for the fans. Personally, I believe Milwaukee will platoon these two men at first. However, anything is possible, especially if one player shows more production than the other does during the spring.
3. Rickie Weeks vs. Scooter Gennett
Fans are fed up with second baseman Rickie Weeks. So much so that they want to see him gone, especially after Scooter Gennett showed a lot of promise in 2013. There’s no question the second base starting job is up for grabs, which means it will be interesting to watch the competition between Weeks and Gennett in Spring Training.
2. Can Absence of Norichika Aoki Be Replaced?
Aoki posted the third best batting average (.296) and the fourth best on-base percentage (.367) among leadoff hitters in the National League last season. A big reason for his terrific on-base percentage is the fact that he led the league in singles (140) and at-bats per strikeouts (14.9).
For whatever reason, the Brewers decided it was in the best interest of the organization to trade him in the offseason. There are certainly some candidates on the roster for the leadoff spot, but it will definitely be hard to replace Aoki’s phenomenal production from a season ago.
1. Starting Rotation
Braun will be the biggest storyline of the spring, but the starting rotation will be a close second. The addition of Garza raises the question of who will be the ace for the Brewers in 2014. My belief is that Yovani Gallardo will take the mound on Opening Day with Kyle Lohse and Garza following behind him in the rotation. However, their performances in Spring Training could reveal a different outcome.
The other storyline regarding the rotation is who will fill spots four and five. Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg will be competing for a starting job, which could turn out to be a great showing for fans.