Milwaukee Brewers

Manager: Ron Roenicke
Stadium: Miller Park
2008 Record: 90-72 (2nd in NL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

08: Batting | Runs (7th in NL)
PLAYER B POS
Rickie Weeks R 2B
J.J. Hardy R SS
Ryan Braun R LF
Prince Fielder L 1B
Corey Hart R LF
Bill Hall R 3B
Mike Cameron R CF
Jason Kendall R C
OFF THE BENCH
Alcides Escobar R INF
Craig Counsell L INF

PITCHING

08: Pitching | ERA (2nd in NL)
ROTATION T POS
Yovani Gallardo R SP1
Jeff Suppan R SP2
Dave Bush R SP3
Manny Parra L SP4
Braden Looper R SP5
BULLPEN
Carlos Villanueva R Setup
David Riske R Setup
Trevor Hoffman R Closer
 
In 16 seasons with San Diego, Trevor Hoffman carved out a Hall of Fame-caliber career on the strength of a vicious changeup that helped him set the career saves record. And even though the Padres let him walk in an awkward divorce based mainly on money, it's not like the 41-year-old righty can't pitch anymore. Hoffman, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with Milwaukee in January, had 30 saves in 34 chances last year and averaged better than a strikeout per inning. "A couple of bad innings inflated my numbers and made the Padres skeptical," he says. Two early blowups accounted for seven of his 19 total runs allowed; he posted a 1.59 ERA after the break. That looks good to the Brewers, who watched Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres cough up many late leads in 2008, as the team finished third in the NL with 26 blown saves. Although Hoffman has pitched more than 60 innings just once since 2001, Milwaukee needs him to bring some stability to the bullpen. After all, CC Sabathia isn't around anymore to throw complete games on three days' rest.
-- Tim Kurkjian

ESPN The Magazine's Brewers preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Alcides Escobar is the heir apparent at shortstop but is being blocked by J.J. Hardy; if Hardy or second baseman Rickie Weeks is injured, Escobar could step in right away and provide a defensive upgrade.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

The closest prospect arm in the Brewers' system is right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who can touch 99 mph and reached Double-A last year but is probably a full year to a year and a half from being ready for the big leagues.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

ESPN Conversations

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

AL
NL
 

SPORTSNATION

CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets are gone. So can Yovani Gallardo come through as the ace and become one of the best pitchers in the National League? With Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart, do the Brewers have the best lineup in the NL? Register your vote.

NL poll page

Featured Comment

Everyone on the team, even Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, has something to prove this year.


brewdude15

National League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

In a way, when manager Ken Macha ripped Carlos Villanueva during spring training, it helped depress his draft price tag, but the fact remains that with Trevor Hoffman starting the year on the DL, Villanueva is the most appropriate short-term choice at closer.

BUST

Fitting that if Carlos Villanueva is the sleeper, then Trevor Hoffman is the bust. He's having oblique problems that forced him to the DL, and he's 41, meaning he might not bounce back as quickly as a younger pitcher might.
--Tristan H. Cockcroft

INJURY TO WATCH

Trevor Hoffman. Yes, he might be older than a couple of his teammates combined. Sure, he's starting the season on the DL with a strained oblique. But don't count this guy out. The all-time saves leader appears to have a relatively minor version of this injury and has already returned to playing catch. As a closer he needs fewer innings to prepare for the season, so he could join the club within the first two weeks. Baseball years do add wear and tear to the arm, however, and oblique injuries can recur. Hoffman will be consistent when present; the Brewers just hope he can be consistently present.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Will Yovani Gallardo be an ace?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 14 overall
    (2nd in
    NL Central)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 18 overall
    (3rd in
    NL Central)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 20 overall
    (4th in
    NL Central)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 16 overall
    (2nd in
    NL Central)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 14 overall
    (2nd in
    NL Central)