Braun’s big night bittersweet — mostly bitter.

Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but what better reason for my return to the ol’ blogosphere than to celebrate the much anticipated arrival Ryan “The Rabbi” Braun, and to call for another call up.
The Rabbi’s first major league HR and 3-for-4 night were bitter sweet as the Brewers dropped their 4th straight, 6-3 to the Padres Saturday night at Petco. He also notched his first stolen base in the majors. Notable to some, he has committed 0 errors in 2 games. It should probably be a while before Graffasell starts at the hot corner.
His .726 SLG in Nashville was just sick. Even if he had 10 errors, he’d have nothing left to prove there. Rickie Weeks played though his fielding difficulties, and that’s pretty much a non-issue now — I mean he’s no Orlando Hudson, but he’s passable. Hopefully Braun will prove the same, at least for a few years. A move to an OF corner sometime in the near future is probably inevitable.
Provided the kid sticks (and he will), I believe this means he’ll be eligible for an earlier arbitration date — after the 2012 season as opposed to after the 2013 season. Plenty of time to get some good work out of him on the cheap. It was necessary for the Brewers — there was a very simple solution for the much needed pop, and kudos to the organization for making the move. They could have waited another week in order to keep him cheaper for one year longer, but they realized that every game is important, even in May.
In the past, you might think the Brewers would have gone a different way — opting to save money. This is a team serious about winning, and whether or not I agree with all of Ned Yost’s tactics or Doug Melvin’s analyses, they have the right attitude. Attanasio and Melvin will make this team a winner at all costs, I think.
At the same time, it’s important not to see Braun as the solution. The kid went 3-for-4 tonight and they lost. Whereas the team could do no wrong just a couple of weeks ago, now they can’t catch a break. Good teams make their own breaks, I guess.
So . . . Dave Bush. He seemed poised for a break out this year after an incredible second half of last year. In his last 17 starts of 2006, he only walked 12 batters while striking out 73. His GB% for all of last year was 48.7% according to Baseball Prospectus; so far this year he’s about that again — 49% — which is slightly above average. His walk rate is in line with that of last year, as is his HR rate. So what’s the difference? Why isn’t Dave Bush breaking out?
To me the answer stems from what John Burnson and Co. said flat out in their intro to the pitching portion of The Graphical Player 2007:

Good luck shields shoddy skills, and bad luck buries good skills.

Dave Bush’s BABIP (batting average on balls in play) from all of 2006 was .289. This year, it’s .349. The league average was around .300, and it appears to be same this year so far. While Bush was a little lucky in 2006, he’s been profoundly unlucky this year. The only thing I can say is that is Line-Drive % is up this year, so maybe he’s throwing softer, missing fatter — whatever. He’s pitched worse this year for sure, but we should take heart in knowing that he’s been unlucky, too. Based on his health so far, he might be a nifty little #4 innings eater for years to come. Unfortunately, we already have Jeff Suppan for that.
In the meantime, if they want to shift Bush to the pen and let ¡Gallardo! get his feet wet one time, I wouldn’t mind.
Also in the meantime, hopefully the fans keep flocking in. On Wednesday, the Brewers reached 2million tickets sold, which is the second fastest they’ve ever done it. Ah, remember the bad old days when they barely reached 1 million. Now there’s a whole ‘nother million on top of that. And counting. Let’s keep this up, Brew Crew fans.
I’m not sure what to think of Tony Gwynn starting. I guess the team could conceivably have three OF platoons: Jenkins/Mench, Gross/Hall, and Gwynn/Hart, though that won’t happen. Instead, Gwynn starts mostly over Corey Hart. He still has no pop, and as his slugging diminishes, so will his walk rate. When that happens, he’s a speedy/glovey 4th OF.

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