COMMENTARY | It's hard not to be sadistic towards the Milwaukee Brewers when you plop down on your couch and flip on FOX Sports Wisconsin every evening.
Sure, there are the few bright spots -- Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura reaching the All-Star game and being all-around awesome, Kyle Lohse living up to his billing and the incredible turnaround of the bullpen.
Unfortunately, when there are only a handful of positives, that means there are a boatload of negatives. Injuries to star players, under-performance, unforced errors, mental lapses, the worst starting rotation in the National League, one of the worst farm systems in baseball, and of course, Biogenesis.
Those negatives in turn led to the arrival of five players on the Brewers' roster this season. Five players that never should have walked in between the lines at Miller Park.
2B: Scooter Gennett
The calls for Ryan "Scooter" Gennett grew louder and louder over the first few months of the 2013 season. For the second straight season, Rickie Weeks was off to a brutal start. On May 21, the one-time second overall pick was hitting .167 with just 3 HRs and 10 RBIs.
About two weeks later, Gennett was in the starting lineup with Milwaukee after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville. The only issue, however, was that Gennett was coming off a rough month of May (.244 AVG) after a red-hot start, and Weeks was starting to get back on track, raising his average nearly 30 points in that two-week span.
If the arrival of Gennett was ever going to happen, it should have come earlier, before Weeks had figured it out at the plate. Instead, Gennett hit just .214 with Milwaukee, impeded Weeks and the platoon was over before it ever began as the 23-year-old was shipped back to Nashville on June 26.
RHP: Johnny Hellweg
Just as with Gennett, fans beckoned for 6'9" fire baller, Johnny Hellweg to get the call to Milwaukee after going 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA with Nashville this season. But again, if Hellweg was ever going to receive a promotion, it should have come earlier or in September.
Hellweg, 24, needs more time to develop in the minors. His 1.14 K/BB ratio at Triple-A signals that he needs to work on control, and a low K/BB ratio has been a concern with other young prospects like Ariel Pena (1.71 with Double-A Huntsville) and Taylor Jungmann (1.43 with Huntsville) despite encouraging numbers otherwise.
Instead, Hellweg was called up in late June, is 0-2 with a 12.79 ERA in three appearances and is slated for another start with the Brewers this week. Pena, Jungmann, Hellweg and Jimmy Nelson all have a chance to contribute positively at the big league level if developed correctly, and right now, Milwaukee is obstructing Hellweg's process.
What a start to the season it was for Yuniesky Betancourt, the target of so many insults heaved by Brewer fans. At the end of April, Betancourt was hitting .280 with 6 HRs and 21 RBIs, and Milwaukee was 14-11. In the past two-plus months, Yuni B has a .167 average, 3 HRs and 12 RBIs, and Milwaukee is 21-41.
Apparently, as Betancourt goes, so do the Brewers. But if hadn't been for preseason injuries to Corey Hart, Mat Gamel, Jeff Bianchi and Taylor Green, Betancourt never would have found his way onto this roster. While "The Month of Yuni" was fun while it lasted, Betancourt is an extremely inefficient player (his -1.1 WAR is the worst on the team via Fangraphs) and has no place on the Brewers' roster.
RHP: Hiram Burgos
Injuries played a role in Hiram Burgos' arrival to the big leagues back in April, and ironically, it's Burgos who's currently on the disabled list. To Burgos' credit, he had a pretty good spring and flourished in the World Baseball Classic, but before landing on the DL about a month after his promotion, Burgos was 1-2 with a 6.47 ERA with Milwaukee.
The fact that Burgos was the first starting pitcher to get the call from the minors says a lot about the status of Milwaukee's farm system as well as how injuries have played a big role in the Brewers' woes.
RHP: Mike Fiers
Ideally, the Brewers would have loved to have Mark Rogers, a former Top 5 draft pick, in the opening day rotation, but shoulder fatigue and setbacks have kept him out all season. That made Fiers the No. 5 starter by default, and many hoped he would regain the form that made him one of Milwaukee's biggest surprises in 2012.
There was also the fear that Fiers would start the season the way he had ended 2012, and that's what the Brewers got. Fiers doesn't throw hard, and that was combined with poor location, resulting in a 1-4 record with a 7.25 ERA. As if that wasn't bad enough, Fiers was struck by a line drive in Nashville and broke his right forearm in June. His days in a Brewer uniform might be over.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Yuniesky Betancourt