Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training: 5 Players Who Are Sure to Shine
5 Players Who Will Shine in Spring Training
Pitchers and catchers will report in just six days, which means the 2014 Major League Baseball season is that much closer. Some people don’t get excited about players reporting in mid-February because the regular season is still a month and a half away. However, diehard baseball fans know there is plenty of excitement to be had during Spring Training.
In particular, the Spring Training for the Milwaukee Brewers will be loaded with plenty to watch. There will be so many intense position battles across the board, while several prospects will be trying to show they deserve a spot on the Opening Day roster. If anything else, the youngsters will give fans a glimpse of what is to be expected in the ensuing years.
Even though watching prospects put themselves to the test to prove to the coaching staff they belong is thrilling in itself, by far the best part about Spring Training is to watch veterans show us why there’s hope for the upcoming season. On top of that, the debut of new players is one of my personal favorite things about the month leading up to the regular season. Watching Matt Garza take the mound for the first time as a member of the Brewers will be wonderful.
We’ve already talked about five storylines to follow, five prospects you must watch and five questions that need answers for the Brewers in Spring Training. Now, it’s time to check out five players who are sure to shine for Milwaukee in the spring.
5. Scooter Gennett
Scooter Gennett is in a prime position to win the starting second baseman job for the 2014 season. Rickie Weeks has done nothing but give fans and the organization enough reasons to believe his career is over.
Personally, I don’t want to believe that’s the case because Weeks truly is a tremendous talent. Not many second basemen possess the power he has. Not to mention, the guy has proven offensive game, it’s just been missing in action for the past two years. The fact that he’s essentially in a contract year, he knows he hasn’t played well and the competition with Gennett will be intense means that Weeks could break out of his shell and dominate this season.
However, this isn’t necessarily about Weeks. It’s about Gennett shining bright because he will be given the opportunity to do so. The 23-year-old didn’t perform well in Spring Training last year. However, he did excel during the regular season, which is the only thing that matters. His .324 batting average, six home runs and 21 RBI in 213 at-bats is everything we need to know to feel confident.
4. Mark Reynolds
Take a slugger who has played for five teams in four years and put him with an organization that is desperate for a consistent first baseman. Mark Reynolds will have the opportunity of his career once Spring Training starts for the Brewers.
The 30-year-old has a legitimate shot to make a name for himself. If it’s one thing fans in Milwaukee do well, it’s that they embrace their stars. Reynolds doesn’t like the situation he has been in over the past few years, which is why he will do whatever it takes to shine in Spring Training.
Brewers’ fans should be excited to get a glimpse of what he’s capable of accomplishing at the plate. Reynolds has above-average power and can knock in his fair share of runs when healthy. Unfortunately, his batting average is dismal. However, that won’t matter as long as he consistently crushes home runs at Miller Park.
3. Jimmy Nelson
In my opinion, pitcher Jimmy Nelson is the No. 1 prospect in the Brewers organization this year. For that reason, all eyes should be on him, as he will do his best to earn a final spot on the 25-man roster. As of right now, I believe he has a very good chance of appearing out of the bullpen on Opening Day. However, all of that will depend on what he accomplishes in Spring Training.
Nelson will be given a golden opportunity to shine. The groundball pitcher has three solid pitches and he’s working on a fourth. Even though the Brewers see him as a possible starter down the road, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to get his feet wet in the big leagues. Not to mention, his 0.90 ERA in four appearances (one start) in 2013 is all the more reason to expect he will successfully build on his performance.
2. Khris Davis
Milwaukee traded outfielder Norichika Aoki because they wanted to make room in the starting lineup for Khris Davis. The 24-year-old got my vote for the Brewers Rookie of the Year last season after his incredible effort.
Davis crushed it in Spring Training last year, which is why many who followed him during that time wasn’t surprised to see him have success in his first season in the big leagues. Last spring, he hit six home runs and 16 RBI, by far the most of any player on the Brewers. That transitioned into a .279 batting average, 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 136 at-bats during the regular season.
Davis understands how much the organization believes in him, especially after they moved Ryan Braun to right field in order to allow him to suit up in left. At this point, it will be up to him to shine in the spring and carry it over to the regular season.
1. Ryan Braun
It’s easy to say that Braun will be someone who will for sure shine in Spring Training. Some may even consider it to be a cop out to have him on this list. However, it’s imperative that Braun does perform well over the next month and a half because his season is riding on it.
If he doesn’t put forth a decent effort then the fans and the media will be all over him. He needs to show that he’s the same Braun, despite what happened with his suspension last season. There simply isn’t another player on the team that needs to shine more than him.
If Braun plays well, especially after the generous move to right field, then the fans will get back on his side. However, if he falters then everyone will be quick to point to the performance enhancing drugs as the only reason for his success.
Personally, I believe Braun will shine bright. He’s a superstar, regardless of what people think in regards to the PEDs. It’s for that reason that he knows he has much to prove, which will result in plenty of success for the slugger in 2014.