The 2012 season ended up being a letdown for the Milwaukee Brewers. Through July 28, the reigning NL Central Champions were 10 games below .500 and 15 games out of the division lead. With little left to play for, the Brewers traded star pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels. Strangely enough, the Brewers took off after that trade, going 33-17 over the next 50 games and falling just a few games short of the second wild card spot.
The Brewers are hoping that surge at the end of the season will carry over into 2013 as youth is once again on Milwaukee’s minds. Unlike the mid-2000s when the offense was full of young players, the rotation will have several unproven pitchers. With a remade bullpen and the lineup still being one of the best in the NL, the Brewers have the potential to have a very good 2013 season.
OUTFIELD – In Ryan Braun, the Brewers might have the best left fielder in all of baseball. The only thing that keeps that from being definitive is the reports of the Los Angeles Angels moving Mike Trout to left field. Braun is a former-MVP that is still in the prime of his career. He’ll continue to be great.
In center, Carlos Gomez had a breakout hitting season in 2012. Gomez is a top three defensive center fielder already with great reflexes, fantastic natural instinct and top-notch speed. That speed allowed him to steal 37 bases in 2012 in his most playing time since 2007. Though Gomez still has trouble taking bases and had just a .305 OBP last year, his power numbers shone through with career highs in home runs (19), slugging percentage (.463), and OPS (.768). That puts him right around a league-average hitter. Aoki ended up being a steal for the Brewers. Milwaukee won the Japanese outfielder’s negotiating rights with a $2.5 million bid and signed him to a two-year deal worth another $2.5 million with an option for a third year. Aoki proved any doubters who said the former NPB batting champ couldn’t hit in America wrong with a .288/.355/.433 line in 2012. He also stole 30 bags while playing decent defense.
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