From Micro to Maxi-Brew

Those of us who have virtually every Star Wars line committed to memory will remember Grand Moff Tarkin telling Darth Vader The Empire will “now crush the rebellion with one swift stroke.”

Well, with the acquisition of outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich Friday, the Milwaukee Brewers certainly made a move that could well crush the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball.

Before, however, we take a look at the Mighty Milwaukee team, in the process of shedding payroll and malcontents, this time the Fish got a pretty good return in:

  • Lewis Brinson (OF, 24): Hit .331-14-48 at AA before call-up in 2017. Will struggle as his team is young, but could well grow with them and drive them, accordingly. (#131 on Top 250 Prospect List).
  • Jordan Yamamoto (RHP, 21): 9-4, 2.51, w/113 strikeouts over 111 IP. Ready for AA. (#31 on Prospect List).
  • Monte Harrison (OF, 22): #2 pick in 2014, hit .272-21-67 at two A levels. Ready for AA.
  • Isan Diaz (2B, 21): .222-13-54 at A, but young and .334 OBP (62 BB: 121 K) bodes well.

This is indeed a nice little collection of possibilities.

But, looking at the Brewers, we are looking at a potential starting lineup of:

  • (C) Manny Pina
  • (1B) Eric Thames/Ryan Braun
  • (2B) Jonathan Villar
  • (3B) Travis Shaw
  • (SS) Orlando Arica
  • (LF) Christian Yelich/Ryan Braun
  • (CF) Keon Broxton
  • (RF) Lorenzo Cain
  • (DH) Ryan Braun/Domingo Santana

That is, my friends, some depth in this day and age, and if we add in Stephen Vogt, Hernan Perez, and Eric Sogard, the lineup is as flexible and deep as any team in the majors.

Even on the hill, the Brew Crew could prove daunting enough should repeat performances bless:

  • Chase Anderson
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Jhoulys Chacin
  • Junior Guerra
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Brandon Woodruff

Certainly, dominance does not really ring for any of these hurlers, but there is depth and effective innings among the group. And bearing in mind how much potential offense the Brewers might be able to generate, six innings from these guys and a run to the pen, and goodbye division.

So the team has both roster depth and, equally important, platoon depth for right/left pitching match-ups, making the possibility of fun at the yard just about every day for Craig Counsell.

But, if we extrapolate a little, there are even more angles that make the Yelich/Cain move to fine.

One is, as discussed with Al Melchior’s FanRag Fantasy Baseball Show (on FNTSY tomorrow at 7:00 PM, ET), Yelich’s “prospects improve per Al, because the outfielder gets a better park in which to hit.” But Yelich also will benefit from having some serious bats around him no matter where in the order.

Having good batters in front and behind any given hitter suggests more pitches around the plate and more, and better, pitches to hit. For a pitcher cannot pitch around an entire lineup, and Yelich would have been lost in a wasteland of junk hitting among the likes of Derek Dietrich and J.T. Riddle.

But the Brewers are working from a degree of talent and depth that suddenly allows the flexibility of trading out just about any position surplus the team has for something the team needs.

Finally, Milwaukee, with Braun as the elder at 34, and Arcia — a serious sleeper in just about any fantasy setup — is just 23 and the youngest, but the remainder of the team is between 26-31, meaning just about everyone is in respective peak production years.

This is, in short, a refreshing — in some ways surprisin — and all-in-all just a great move by GM David Stearns. I hope it works, for a Cubs/Brewers dog-fight down the stretch would just make the pending season all the more fun.

Tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Sunday at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT, and you can follow me @lawrmichaels.

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