Brewers injuries piling up

With the recent losses of SS Alex Gonzalez (ACL, season) and CF Carlos Gomez (hamstring, 15-day DL), the Milwaukee Brewers are now missing 4 players from their Opening Day 25.  Gonzalez and Gomez join LHP Chris Narveson and 1B Mat Gamel (ACL).

Can Milwaukee recover?

What I’m reading around Ye Ole Interweb is that many Brewers fans are hoping that 2B Rickie Weeks and 3B Aramis Ramirez will turn around and be the big contributors that everyone expected.  Let’s take a quick look at a few things here.  I’m going to use that ole sabermetric standby, WAR (Wins Above Replacement) as defined by FanGraphs to take a look at things.  For the anti-sabermetric crowd, I’ll have a post soon that might make you happy…

Weeks is currently at -0.2.  At age 30, I don’t expect that will continue.  He will post better numbers than .174/.308/.321.  But the 6.5 that he posted in 2010 is a clear outlier when measured against his career numbers.  He fell off to 3.7 in 2011 (still a very nice number), but most projections have him as something around a 2.5-3.0 player.

Aramis turns 34 next month.  With a 0.1 WAR thus far, he is far under-performing against an expected 2.5 or so.

For the other 2 infielders who are gone for the season, Gonzalez will finish the season with a 0.4 and was projected for somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0.  Gamel finished with a nice and even 0.0 WAR for the season and was projected for just over 1.0.

Adjusting for where we are at in the season (Milwaukee has played 29 games thus far), assuming players regress back towards their pre-season projections for the rest of the way, these are the projected WAR for Weeks and Ramirez the rest of the way…

Weeks: 2.3
Ramirez:  2.1

Add those to their WAR thus far, gives us the following season totals…

Weeks: 2.1
Ramirez: 2.2

Take that away from  projected totals gives us roughly the following…

Weeks: down ~0.7 WAR from expected
Ramirez: down ~0.3 WAR from expected

Gonzalez was on pace to about a 1.8 WAR – right around what was expected from him.  But if the replacements at 1B and SS perform as 0.0 WAR Replacement Level Players, this looks like the Milwaukee infield should finish down a combined 3.4 WAR.

For a team that was projected my most to be in a 3-way hunt with Cincinnati and St. Louis for the NL Central crown, this is a potentially huge hurdle to get over.  I’m not liking the odds here…

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