By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 25, 2014
With the 2014 MLB season just a week away, it’s time for some bold predictions. Many don’t believe the Milwaukee Brewers have what it takes to be anything more than a below .500 team that finishes last place in the National League Central division. Thankfully, I am very optimistic about the season ahead, as I believe the Brewers will surprise everyone outside of Milwaukee. Check out 10 bold predictions for the Brewers’ 2014 season.
It was only two seasons ago that Aramis Ramirez finished the year with 50 doubles. If he can stay healthy, there’s no reason why that number can’t be achieved once again. If Milwaukee wants to make 2014 a season to remember, they will need Ramirez’s bet to do so.
The Brewers have the luxury of having three incredibly talented pitchers at the top of its rotation. Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza all have ace potential. If all three starters can put forth a stellar performance, reaching 45 wins shouldn’t be too unrealistic. More importantly, career years from all three would put Milwaukee back on the map.
Carlos Gomez became the first member of the Brewers to be awarded a Gold Glove since Robin Yount in 1982. The last time a player from Milwaukee won back-to-back Gold Gloves was Cecil Cooper in 1979 and 1980. It won’t be easy, especially for a center fielder, but Gomez is on the right trajectory to take home another honor for his outstanding defense.
Jean Segura came in second in the NL in total stolen bases (44) in 2013. All signs point to the talented shortstop using his above-average speed on the bases to frustrate opposing pitchers once again this season. With Segura’s quickness and natural instincts, stealing the most bases in the league isn’t outside the realm of reality.
It might not get much bolder than this. I predict Rickie Weeks will break out of his slump and show signs of his former All-Star self. The competition with Scooter Gennett in spring training has awakened the second baseman to the point where he may just realize that his career is on the line this year. Expect Weeks to put forth a solid effort in hopes of resurrecting his standing with the organization.
Jim Henderson showed plenty signs of life last season. In fact, his 28 saves gave the fans hope that he’s the John Axford replacement that the fine people of Milwaukee deserve. Even though Henderson has struggled in spring training, I predict he will save at least 35 games in 2014.
The Brewers signed Mark Reynolds in the offseason to become the starter at first base. More importantly, they need him to bring the power that he’s known for every time he steps up to the plate. Playing at Miller Park should give Reynolds an edge in the power department that should increase his numbers. Expect the slugger to crush 30 home runs this season.
Ryan Braun’s epic story of redemption will conclude with a fairy tale ending. Regardless of what people think, Braun did win the NL MVP Award in 2011. When he does it again in 2014, there won’t be an asterisk next to the honor.
The Brewers will shock all of their doubters when they clinch a spot in the postseason. Playing in the hardest division in baseball will make it difficult for Milwaukee to clinch the NL Central for the second time in franchise history. However, that competitive nature will be enough to give the Brewers a Wild Card berth.
While the Brewers ride the momentum train through the playoffs, they will use Hank the Dog (the team’s mascot from spring training) to fuel the fire. Milwaukee’s “beast mode” from their 2011 campaign was a proper rally cry for that squad. This year’s rally cry will propel Hank into the spotlight and give the fans hope for a World Series berth they so desperately desire.
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