Projecting records for MLB teams is part science, part luck and part useless task. However, most people do it with their own teams in some capacity. For the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers, it will be an enormously daunting chore, as they have the largest differential between their ceiling and floor in terms of wins.
The club’s potential win total could easily run the gamut from the low-70 range up to 90 or 91 victories and a playoff push, as they have a slew of question marks up and down the roster.
They have young guys who you aren’t sure what to expect from as they mature another season. You have breakout guys from a year ago who you’re unsure if they can continue playing at such a level. Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum, players who had a down season who you hope can come back up to their career averages.
Meanwhile, injuries could be the most pressing concern. These are guys who are All-Star level types if they can stay on the field. There’s the question of performance-enhancing drug use and its effects. There are even questions about age, consistency and durability that are prevalent across the board.
Sure, every team has question marks, but this particular Brewers’ team has very few — if any — sure things.
If Matt Garza gives Milwaukee 28 starts and Aramis Ramirez gives them 130 games, the stakes are raised high. Cut those numbers in half and the Brewers will struggle to find the 80′s in wins, unless youngsters like Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett and Wily Peralta step up their games. Can Davis and Gennett produce consistently over the course of a full season? Will Peralta take another step forward translate his high-quality stuff into a bona fide big league starter?
Kyle Lohse and Ryan Braun have been reliable veterans with All-Star level production, so if that continues, 90 wins is in sight. On the flip side, many wonder how much Braun has been aided by the “medical field” in recent years, even if it’s just to stay healthy. Meanwhile, a lot of experts have been waiting for Lohse to fall off the aging starter’s cliff. At age 35, does the bell toll in 2014?
You then have the mostly inexperienced bullpen to wonder about. From the closer’s role to the last two guys in relief, there isn’t a ton of major league history to go off of.
Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura were All-Stars last season, but it’s tough to keep up a certain level of play each season. It’s not that it can’t be done, but we’re not talking about players who have put in seven years at a consistent production rate.
So, as you can see, the pundits looking to figure out the Brewers in 2014 have far too many questions to accurately decipher the final record. When you watch Spring Training or listen to the so-called experts giving their predictions, don’t be surprised if you hear and see a huge difference of opinion.
My advice — sit back and enjoy the ride, because it could be a magic carpet ride or a roller coaster ride into the side of a mountain.
I’ll save my predictions for closer to Opening Day.