Last season, the Milwaukee Brewers were marred with injuries. At first base, Corey Hart and Mat Gamel, his primary backup, missed the entire season. Before his suspension, Ryan Braun battled a nagging thumb injury. Aramis Ramirez was injured in spring, and was never fully healthy all season. Rickie Weeks and several pitchers spent time on the DL due to hamstring injuries. It seemed like every week, several new faces were added to the disabled list.
This season, if the club hopes to compete in the loaded National League Central, they must remain healthy. Here are five players that the Brewers cannot afford to lose.
Although the club has plenty of pitching depth in the minor leagues, the Brewers cannot afford to lose Matt Garza for any time this season. Garza signed the largest free agent contract in franchise history this offseason, and he needs to be on the mound for them. When healthy Garza has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the NL. Over the past two season, Garza has missed time due to injury. This cannot happen again if the Brewers expect to make a playoff run.
After the PED scandal last season, Ryan Braun enters 2014 with plenty of question marks. Not only is there a question of if he will produce, but also if he can stay healthy. Throughout his career he has battled nagging injuries to his back, neck, oblique, and thumb. This year if Braun hopes to quiet critics, he not only needs to produce, but also stay on the field.
Logan Schafer has had a fantastic spring and is a tremendous centerfielder, but the Brewers cannot afford to lose Carlos Gomez. Gomez proved to be one of the biggest bargains in baseball last season. He won a Gold Glove award, had his best offensive season of his career, and finished third in the league in WAR (wins above replacement). He is set to start the year in the leadoff spot and his skills are limitless.
Jean Segura proved last season that he was worth being the centerpiece in the Zack Greinke trade. He not only became the best shortstop in the division, but one of the best in the league. He finished last season second in the NL in stolen bases and was a key performer in the Brewers lineup all season long. With Orlando Arcia, the top shortstop prospect in the system still years away, there is no available talent to fill in if Segura is out for any period of time.
Last year when Aramis Ramirez played, he was not right. After a spring injury, Aramis never seemed to bounce back. When he is healthy, Ramirez has been counted on for 25 homeruns and 100 RBIs. Like the shortstop position, there is not much behind Ramirez. Last season’s organizational player of the year, Jason Rogers, has moved to third base this season in AAA. However, he has never played a game in the major leagues and needs to continue to show he can produce before he becomes a major prospect. Nicky Delmonico, who was acquired in the K-Rod deal last season, is also in the minor leagues, but he still several years away from being big league ready.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference