By Pete Schwichtenberg @schwick26_pete on August 23, 2014
The 2011 Milwaukee Brewers were the best Milwaukee team in almost three decades. National League MVP Ryan Braun carried them all the way to the NLCS. Although high-priced stars like Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke are gone and Braun has not been an MVP, here are five positions where the Brewers are stronger in 2014.
In his first full season last year, Jean Segura became a star. This season he has struggled at the plate, batting just .232 with four home runs. However, his defense, speed and offensive potential makes him a major upgrade over 2011 shortstop, Yuniesky Betancourt.
Wtih Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum having outstanding seasons, the 2011 rotation was strong. But the 2014 rotation is better and has even more depth. Not only have the stars been good, but pitchers like Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers have stepped in and exceeded every expectation. With six reliable starters, and even Marco Estrada (the 2011 swingman) available if needed, the 2014 rotation is the team's strongest staff.
2011 third-baseman Casey McGehee had a down season at the plate. He batted just .233 and eventually lost his starting spot in the playoffs. 2014 third baseman Aramis Ramirez is one of the biggest run producing third basemen in the league in 2014. Not only does he have a batting average hovering around .300, but he has 13 homers to go along with 57 RBIs. He is one of the most feared bats in the Brewers lineup.
Jonathan Lucroy batted .265 during his first full-season in 2011. Since then he has become one of the game's best offensive catchers. This year he has risen his play to MVP caliber. He not only has a .301 average with 13 home runs, but he leads the league in doubles as well. With his strong receiving skills and ability to work with a pitching staff, Lucroy has become the Brewers' most irreplaceable player.
The platoon of Carlos Gomez and Njyer Morgan was very successful in 2011, but Carlos Gomez's development in recent years is much better. Gomez has not only become the best defensive centerfielder in the game, but he has made great strides at the plate. He is no longer just a threat to steal, but he is a power threat from the leadoff spot. In the middle of his second straight all-star season, Gomez is another Brewer deserving MVP consideration.
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