Results tagged ‘ Trevor Hoffman ’
Brewers PR man Mike Vassallo must have had plenty of coffee on the team’s charter flight to Washington DC because today’s game notes are particularly chock full of tidbits. Cutting and pasting at will here…
Michael Brantley CF
Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman told me this morning that he is still a week or so away from appearing in his first Cactus League contest. Hoffman has been working closely with the team’s medical staff this spring on a plan to avoid a repeat of last spring, when Hoffman developed a rib-cage strain that sent him to the disabled list for the start of the season.
Just got an e-mail from stat guru Bill James‘ publisher and thought I would pass it along. It includes a positive prognostication for Mat Gamel — if he plays — but not so much for Rickie Weeks. Another 200-strikeout season for right-hander Yovani Gallardo but only 12 wins, and another struggle for lefty Manny Parra.
They key “if” in these projections is playing time. For example, the release offers projections for Gamel, Weeks and Casey McGehee assuming at least 425 at-bats for each, but it’s difficult to envision that scenario. James explains in his quote below.
Here’s the text:
In the recently-released Bill James Handbook 2010, baseball guru Bill James projects the 2010 seasons for players on the Milwaukee Brewers — and predicts a potentially solid year from third baseman Mat Gamel.
“In any season, the vast majority of players play in a manner that seems a natural extension of what they had done before,” James says in his new book. “When that happens, our projection should be reasonably accurate.”
Although he’s been in the projection business for almost twenty years, one thing James has no control over is playing time. “It is always my argument that we have no chance of figuring out, in October 2009, who will get playing time in 2010,” James says. “But what we should do is try to answer this question: If this player plays, how will he play?”
With this in mind, here are the five key Milwaukee hitters for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:
Key Brewers Hitters (by OPS)
Player At-bats R HR RBI SB Avg. OPS
Ryan Braun 615 112 39 119 17 .315 .972
Prince Fielder 601 103 44 124 3 .286 .967
Mat Gamel 455 65 17 73 3 .277 .817
Rickie Weeks 425 80 16 48 14 .259 .807
Casey McGehee 492 63 15 76 0 .272 .757
Projecting stats for pitchers is very different from projecting offensive stats for hitters. “We used to believe that pitching performance was much, much less predictable than batter performance,” James says. “This is probably still true…due to injuries and other factors. Sometimes a pitcher gets hurt, and when that happens our projections for him are knocked into a cocked hat.”
Here are the three key Milwaukee pitchers for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:
Key Brewers Pitchers (by ERA)
Player IP W L K SV ERA
Trevor Hoffman 63 4 3 57 39 2.43
Yovani Gallardo 186 12 8 205 0 3.53
Manny Parra 147 7 9 130 0 4.59
The complete projections for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers can be found in the Bill James Handbook 2010.
For further information on the Bill James Handbook 2010 go to www.actasports.com.
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Happy birthday to Trevor Hoffman, who blew out his candles on Tuesday and will become the Brewers’ first 42-year-old pitcher when he steps on the mound next season.
In fact, he’ll be Milwaukee’s second-oldest player, period. Hoffman, who last week agreed to a one-year contract to return, will be 42 years, five months and 24 days old when the Brewers play their 2010 opener on April 5. The only member of the Crew with more gray hairs was Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who was 42 years, seven months and 28 days old when he played his final game in 1976.
The only other 42-year-old Brewer was catcher Rick Dempsey, who celebrated on Sept. 13, 1991, and played 10 more games that season, his last on Oct. 5 when he was 42 years, 21 days old.
The way Hoffman pitched in 2009, it looks like he could go on forever.
“I just go one day at a time,” Hoffman said during the season. “I was fortunate to catch some breaks when I did and was able to weather some ‘activity’ with some low pitch counts.”
For more on Hoffman’s place among the game’s most “experienced” players, see my story on Brewers.com.
The discussion about whether the Brewers would trade Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder was the most interesting part of general manager Doug Melvin’s year-end wrap-up with the media, but here’s a taste of the other topics discussed:
- The Brewers officially announced their new deal with closer Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for one year plus a mutual option for 2011. The contract guarantees $8 million and could pay as much as $16.5 million over two years.
“By signing Trevor Hoffman, that was a big splash for us,” Melvin said. “If our pitching is going to improve, we have to keep the success we had at the back end of our bullpen. And also, to attract free agent starting pitchers, one of the first questions they always want to know is, ‘Who is the closer?'”
- Melvin hinted that the focus on pitching could make it difficult for the team to re-sign its key free agents, including center fielder Mike Cameron and catcher Jason Kendall. Rickie Weeks is the second baseman, Melvin reiterated, making it likely that free agent Felipe Lopez will also be let go.
Assistant GM Gord Ash conceded that it’s difficult for teams to win with unproven players up the middle but insisted it can be done. He mentioned Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer as the team’s top center field prospects and said Jonathan Lucroy was the team’s top catching prospect. Interestingly, Angel Salome’s name was not brought up.
- Jeff Suppan, the Brewers’ 2009 Opening Day starter, is not guaranteed a spot in the 2010 starting rotation despite his $12.5 million salary. It will be the final season of his four-year contract, and he projects as the team’s highest-paid player for the second straight year.
“I think Jeff is a professional and he knows that he will come into camp and [compete],” Melvin said. “You have to give him some credit for the fact he’s been given the ball a lot of years. He’s very seldom injured. … I don’t think there will be very many guarantees about who will be in the rotation. We probably have to make it more competitive to get better.”
- Free agent righty Ben Sheets, who missed all of 2009 following elbow surgery, is still on the Brewers’ radar.
“Ben is somebody who would have to be on anybody’s list when it comes to improving your pitching staff,” Ash said. “We’re not up to date with his physical condition right now since he’s no longer in our care, so that would have to be Step 1. But from our point of view, we enjoyed Ben as part of the Brewers and there’s been, ‘once in a while’ conversations with his agent to remind him that we still have that ongoing interest. It hasn’t been followed-up yet.”
- Melvin already interviewed one potential pitching coach on Monday and was to travel with Ash on Thursday to interview another candidate. He wouldn’t say whether he had already spoken with former A’s and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, an early favorite for the position because of his past working relationships with Brewers manager Ken Macha and bench coach Willie Randolph.
“We don’t want to advertise who we’re looking at,” Melvin said. “The cat’s out of the bag on one guy. I interviewed him on Monday and another team interviewed him the next day.”
- Ash shed more light on the options that faced third baseman Casey McGehee, who underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. McGehee has a lesion in his knee, Ash said, that causes fragments of bone to break away. He could have had a more intensive procedure to inject healthy cells into the knee to promote re-growth but it was a riskier procedure that could have sidelined McGehee weeks or even months into the 2010 season.
“He elected, after consulting with a couple of surgeons, to have kind of the intermediary procedure done, and that was to take out all of the fragments and hope that area of his knee remains intact,” Ash said. “We don’t have 100 percent guarantee on that. What we do know about Casey is that he’s an excellent worker and he’s motivated.”
- Melvin did little to dispute the notion that shortstop J.J. Hardy will be traded this winter to make room for Alcides Escobar. Hardy’s value is down both because of his poor 2009 season (he batted .229 and was optioned to the Minors in August) and because the rest of the league knows that the Brewers are ready to install Escobar.
“It might be down a little bit,” Melvin said of Hardy’s value. “But there are still clubs that have interest in him. Shortstop is a big hole to fill.”
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