Back on October 5th, I wrote this article about the big drop in SBs by Brewers hitters in 2010. I attributed the drop to manager Ken Macha who apparently did not like giving his baserunners the green light. Makes sense, I guess. Why use the speed if it results in an out 25% of the time, right?
Wrong. Well, the Brewers hired Ron Roenicke last week, and here are a few quotes from him during the press conference announcing his him as manager of the Brewers:
"At times, you're going to say, 'Why are you running so much? Why are you getting thrown out trying to take extra bases?'" Roenicke said at an afternoon news conference at Miller Park. "It's going to happen, but that's the style I like to play. I've seen it win a lot of ballgames over the years. We're going to be aggressive from third base scoring, we're going to be aggressive from first to third and, at times, we're going to get thrown out. But over the course of the season, I guarantee we will score a lot more runs being aggressive.
I assume the Brewers will also be attempting more SBs in 2011 as well. The Adam McCalvy article also includes a quote from outfielder Corey Hart who said Brewer players were "afraid to run".
As a result of the Roenicke hiring, I can see several Brewer hitters benefitting, namely Alcides Escobar, Rickie Weeks and Prince......errr....Corey Hart. All three hitters are capable of 20-25 SBs in 2010. Escobar has the speed to steal 30+ bases.
Hart had a breakout season at the plate in 2010, hitting 31 HRS and driving in 102. If he can add 20+ SBs to his stat line, which he accomplished in 2007 and 2008, he could be a top 10 outfielder in 2011. That is assuming he hits 30 HRs again.
And fantasy owners will be wondering if the breakout season we saw from Rickie Weeks was for real or not. Weeks hit 29 HRs, scored 111 runs, and drove in 83, but stole on 11 bases in 2010. Weeks is another Brewer who could outperform his draft day ranking if he can duplicate his power output, while adding 20+ SB to his stat line in 2011.