Continuing on…the 3rd and 4th most important questions facing new Brewers’ manager Ken Macha and the 2009 Brewers (in my humble opinion):
#4. Will Bill Hall keep his starting role at third base…or will he wind up in a platoon…and, if so, with whom?
Also #4 on Tom Haudricourt’s list on JSOnline.com–and #2 on Adam McCalvy’s list for MLB.com released earlier on Wednesday–is will Bill Hall be able to re-claim his job as the everyday third baseman…or will he be platooned, again, with a left-handed option that can hit right-handed pitching better? Mike Lamb, a veteran that joined the Brewers late last season that bats lefty, is the odds on favorite to make the 25-man come opening day…but hot prospect Mat Gamel–also a lefty–is a candidate for a June call-up if he has success at Nashville early on. Hall’s dismal .225 BA last year was skewed by his anemic .174 BA versus righties (Hall hit .306 vs. southpaws). Macha will be watchin closely to determine who will play at third this year.
#3. What changes to the batting order will Ken Macha try?
Haudricourt alluded to this in his #2 question, “How will life change under Macha?” While some spots seem fairly easy to predict, e.g. Braun will probably hit third, while Fielder will bat fourth, Macha may want to try Mike Cameron or even Corey Hart in the leadoff spot; Macha may want to establish one batting order for left-handed pitchers, and another for right-handed pitchers. Macha will tinker with the batting order in Cactus League, and will likely try a few different options to find the right recipe…and you can pretty much bet that he won’t try Braun as clean-up, or Jason Kendall batting ninth and J.J. Hardy seventh.