Highlighting Brewers 2012 ZiPS projections

The 2012 ZiPS projections for the Brewers came out yesterday, so I’m a little late on this post, but I’ve been swamped with work and I wrote the Frosty Mug for Brew Crew Ball this morning.

Some of the encouraging lines:

Aramis Ramirez: .278/.340/.476, 117 OPS+
Very solid line for a guy expected to hit 4th, and encouraging since there are some questions about what his line will look like now that he’s not playing half his games in Wrigley.

Mat Gamel: .264/.341/.433, 107 OPS+
Gamel is going to be watched closely and constantly compared to Prince Fielder in his first year as the presumptive replacement at first, which isn’t going to be very fair. While this line wouldn’t provide the eye-popping offense Brewers fans are used to, nobody is going to hit like Fielder did. This would be a pretty solid and encouraging line from Gamel in his first full season, and actually not that far off from his line from 2009 (.242/.338/.422).

Norichika Aoki: .289/.338/.393, 97 OPS+
Caleb Gindl: .266/.334/.401, 97 OPS+
The Brewers will have Aoki in the States for a workout this weekend before deciding to sign him, and part of the decision-making process will be determining if he’s that much better than some of the in-house options. After raking last year, Gindl looks to be about major league-ready, and could be a valuable player off the bench. Of course, so could Aoki, but could end up costing the Brewers more than $5 million this year when you factor in salary and posting fee. Aoki is said to be solid defensively and would probably hit for better average (as shown in the projections), but Gindl is younger, cheaper, and would hit for more power.

Alex Gonzalez: .245/.282/.399, 81 OPS+
Hey, at least it’s better than the .252/.271/.381 Yuniesky Betancourt hit last year, and Gonzalez will be much better defensively. Any other year, and this would be a horrifying projection to see from the starting shortstop, but Yuni managed to knock expectations down a peg or twelve.

Brock Kjeldgaard: .201/.268/.354, 66 OPS+
Kjeldgaard is a lower-level slugger, but I’m only including this because ZiPS has him projected for 245 strikeouts if he were to get a full season’s worth of at-bats.

Zack Greinke: 31 starts, 2.98 ERA, 224 K, 49 BB, 136 ERA+
I want to print out this stat line and draw little hearts around it.

In all, the Brewers have four starters listed as above league average, with Chris Narveson finishing just below that mark. Michael Fiers and Marco Estrada are projected for some pretty solid production, but as Dave Szymborski notes in his intro, this is mostly due to expected relief roles with the occasional spot start. As full-time starters, their numbers would be expected to dip below league average, which is reasonable enough.

You can check out projections for just about every Brewer imaginable over at Baseball Think Factory. Even better, you can follow Dave on Twitter. He’s a smart, funny guy who’s well worth the follow.

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