Miller Park Park Factors: Hits 98; Runs 98; HRs 110
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$3 2002: -$4 2003: $3
Sheets so far has failed to live up to the hype caused by his first round draft status and his shutout performance of Cuba in the gold medal game in Sydney. He features a sinking fastball and outstanding curve. His ratios were mixed last year; his walk rate improved 40% and his hit rate improved slightly but his K rate dipped and he yielded a lot more HRs. However, he made good progress retiring LH batters indicating he's picked up a third pitch. I'm encouraged by his progress and hope to see more this year.
Values ~ 2000: $0 2001: NA 2002: -$3 2003: -$11
Kinney has been tough to hit through the minors but has struggled with his command. He has a fastball that tops out at 95 and a slider. While the value and ratios aren't very encouraging, (he's been a HR machine during his career so far with a .157 HR rate) it's worth noting that his walk rate improved 16% last year. Like teammate Franklin, Kinney' collapsed in the second half after turning in encouraging first half; at the break the league was hitting .245 against Kinney and he had a 4.72 ERA; afterwards the numbers were .311 and 5.93. I think Kinney has a chance to improve but he's better suited to be a bench/expanded roster pick than someone you want on your active roster at this point.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: -$1 2003: -$6
A second-round pick, Obermueller's career has been slowed by injury. He's posted good numbers in the lower minors, but has had a low K Rate since a midseason promotion to AA in 2002. When I saw him, he was relying on pitch movement to try to get hitters out. His fastball topped out at 89 and his offspeed stuff was in the low 80s. However, everything he threw had some movement - sinker, slider, tailing fastball. Wait until he shows more.
Values ~ 2000: -$3 2001: -$2 2002: -$1 2003: -$1
Drafted in the 10th round, Davis doesn't throw hard. His fastball mostly is in the 86-88 range, but gets up to 90 when he reaches back for extra. However, he has dominated at the minor league level. Davis is a lefty and sets up on the third base side of the rubber. He steps a little toward first on his delivery, throwing across his body. This enables him to hide the ball better from batters and helps compensate for his lack of a dominant fastball, but it made it difficult to get the ball in on RH batters until Texas helped him develop a cutter. Both Texas and Toronto gave up on Davis last year, but he salvaged his season with 8 good starts with the Brewers. I'm going to trust the ratios here and recommend avoiding Davis.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $2
Capuano missed much of 2002 due to Tommy John surgery and although he pitched well last year, primarily at AAA (Hit Rate = .93; K/BB Ratio = 2.51; HR Rate = .063); it's worth noting his K rate dropped precipitously from the better than 1/IP rates achieved at A/AA. He's said to have an average fastball and an outstanding slider, so it's possible there was some lingering effects of the surgery. Worth keeping an eye on.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: $0 2002: $3 2003: $14
Kolb, who was released by Texas and began the season at AAA unexpectedly took over the closer job in midseason and saved 21 of 23 opportunities. He's 29 and has had an injury-plagued career. Of particular note to owners is the fact that he was diagnosed with a partially torn rotator cuff that disabled through much of 2002. Kolb averaged fewer than 30 innings from 2000-2002. When right, he has a mid-90's fastball and slider. He will probably enter the season as the Brewers closer and will be a decent buy if he goes cheaply; however owners will probably need a contingency plan given his injury history. Kolb has had a sore shoulder this spring but is expected to start the season.
Values ~ 2000: -$3 2001: $2 2002: $12 2003: -$5
Vizcaino was atrocious early last season after having something of a breakout year in 2002. However, he was hampered by a sore quad all spring and he didn't regain velocity until well into the season. He improved steadily as the season progressed and was especially effective in Aug.-Sept. Vizcaino has high 90s heat, a much improved slider and a change to keep hitters offbalance. The delivery is a little funky as he slings the ball to the plate. I think he'll bounce back and, given Kolb's injury history, Vizcaino makes a nice sleeper pick.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $2 2002: -$1 2003: NA
Like his namesake, "El Duquecito" is a Cuban defector and has patterned his pitching style on Orlando Hernandez, using a variety of arm angles to deliver an assortment of pitches. I have yet to see him pitch. He will be 29 this year and all the buzz is gone from his signing with the Yanks a few years ago. His ratios at AAA last year were the best they have been (Hit Rate = .91; K/BB Ratio = 2.10; HR Rate = .059), but he continues to have a high walk rate and will likely struggle without better command.
Values ~ 2000: $7 2001: -$11 2002: -$6 2003: $1
Burba was a serviceable reliever for Milwaukee last year. He doesn't have the velocity he possessed as a starter. His fastball is in the high 80s now and he mixes in a splitter, but there's little chance he'll build value at this point.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: -$4
Eleven years ago, Kieschnick was a #1 draft choice for the Cubs - as an OF/1B. He never panned out but has since tried to extend his career as a pitcher, logging 30 respectable innings at AAA in 2002. He was promoted last year despite giving up baserunners at the rate of 2/IP when he was recalled apparently because of his unique flexibility to both pinch-hit and relieve. While he didn't embarrass himself on the mound, he's not a viable fantasy option.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: NA
He throws a 90ish fastball with good running movement, change and sinker. Not likely to have value.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: NA
Bennett is a Rule V pick out if the Pittsburgh organization who is probably headed for low-leverage innings out of the Milwaukee pen. He was posting undistinguished ratios before a switch to relief work last year. He won't have value.