Today as I tore into the wrapper of one of America’s favorite breakfast delicacies, the Kellogg’s Pop-Tart, I was surprised to observe that my typically white-coated strawberry pastry dotted with signature sprinkles was missing its sprinkles, but had in its place an MLB team’s logo! As a superfan, I was delighted to examine the box and find that Kellogg’s is partnering along with the MLB to produce toaster pastries with licensed MLB logos! As you can see, today’s logo was the retro Milwaukee Brewers insignia. And if I may add, the Pop-Tart was as delicious as always.
Now most would not make much of this fun coincidence, but we here at Overtime have creative minds. Therefore, it is my pleasure to announce the “Pop-Tarts Series”, a 30 or more part series devoted to the search for each team’s individual Pop-Tart. A running checklist will be kept. Each day that I find a new team Pop-Tart, I will post a brief synopsis of the team in focus. For example, today we will focus on the pride of Wisconsin, the Brew Crew themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers have had it tough this year; their record stands at a subtle 22-37, the 2nd worst in the entire MLB. Milwaukee has had some tough injuries offensively, and their pitching staff has been subpar. With no help on the way, it would not be a surprise to see Milwaukee look to sell some veterans this trade deadline, shedding salary and offering opportunities for young stars. With that out of the way, let’s break it all down.
As previously stated, the injury bug has a big hand in the Brewers’ ineptitude so far this year. Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy was recently activated from the DL, and his bat has not caught up to his standards yet. Stud outfielder Ryan Braun battled an oblique injury, and Scooter Gennett, an upcoming second baseman, was injured and ineffective before being demoted to AAA Colorado Springs. This constant disappointment has plagued the Brewers this year. On a positive note, Braun has been stellar when healthy, and others like Adam Lind and Jean Segura have picked up the slack. However, it is a weak bench that constantly hurts the Brew Crew. Gerardo Parra is a good fourth outfielder, but has had to be pressed into more at-bats than expected and is struggling a bit. The backup infielders have rotated all year; Luis Sardinas, Luis Jiminez, and Elian Herrera have all been sent packing over the course of the year, while the current backups include Hernan Perez, Jason Rogers, and Hector Gomez. None of these aforementioned players make any impact on offense or defense, and it is the fact that the Brewers are way too dependent on star power that sinks their offense time and time again.
The Brewers’ pitching isn’t much better than their offense; in fact it may actually be significantly worse. Their starting rotation begins nicely on paper with Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse, but in reality, the pair have each pitched to ERAs over 5.00. Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta, and Jimmy Nelson are serviceable as back-of-the-rotation starters, but are overwhelmingly average as a whole. The rotation will certainly not produce any Cy Young Award winners this year, or probably within the next 5-10 years. The bullpen is somehow even more disastrous. Closer Fernando “K-Rod” Rodriguez and prime lefty setup man Will Smith (no, not that one) are plus bullpenners, but the rest fall flat on their respective faces. All 300+ pounds of Jonathan Broxton have failed this year, Jeremy Jefress and Neal Cotts are merely average at what they do, and the last two spots are usually filled by a revolving door of callups and veterans; none have worked this year. The Brewers’ pitching as a whole is an embarrassment right now, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a worse group anywhere in the entire Major Leagues.
Boy, oh boy are the Brewers all shades of bad this year. There is little solace to be found anywhere on this train wreck of a roster. Having already fired their manager to begin the year, other front office suits along with any veterans on the roster themselves are all on short notice. The Brewers are treading water, and the rebuild is in full swing. It is a shame that the Pop-Tarts Series had to begin with such a dud of a team, but that’s the luck of the Pop-Tart wrapper I suppose.