In today’s breakdown of ‘NWL Alumni in Spring Training’ we take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers of the National League Central. The Brewers have only made the MLB Playoffs three times in the last forty-two years with the last being in 2008 when they traded for lefty pitcher C.C. Sabathia. The Brewers made similar additions to the pitching staff this off-season as they traded for former American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.
The acquisition of Greinke will give the Brewers a top of the rotation starter which they have lacked for the past few years. The 2009 All-Star will provide a power arm to a pitching staff that finished the season 14th (out of 16) in earned run average. The Brewers also expect to have a very productive offense that scored the 4th most runs in the NL in 2010. One reason for their explosive offense was former Northwoods League star Casey McGehee.
McGehee, a former St. Cloud River Bat, has spent the past two seasons in Milwaukee. McGehee made his Major League debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and was claimed off waivers by the Brewers after the 2008 season. The former 10th round pick in the 2003 MLB Draft is part of an offense that features All-Stars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
The 6’1’’ 195 pound 3rd baseman is expected to start at the hot corner for the Brewers ahead of utility-man Craig Counsell. McGehee has a career .288 Major League batting average with 175 RBI, 39 home runs, and a .342 on-base percentage. McGehee played sparingly in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs, but exploded on to the National League scene in 2009 as he hit .301 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI. He placed 5th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting after his successful 2009 campaign.
Other former NWL alumni to watch in the Milwaukee Brewers organization – Erik Komatsu and Brian Garman
Erik Komatsu played for the Brainerd Blue Thunder in 2006-07 and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 8th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Komatsu has spent the past three season in Minor League Baseball and had his best season this past year with the Brevard County Manatees (Single-A Advanced) of the Florida State League. The speedy 5’10’’ lefty hit .323 with 63 RBI and 28 stolen bases for the Manatees.
Brian Garman was a member of the 2009 Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers as a left handed pitcher. Garman finished 2009 with a 2-2 record in the Northwoods League and was then drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 out of the University of Cincinnati. The 5’10’’ lefty spent 2010 with the Helena Brewers (Rookie League) of the Pioneer League where he posted a 3-1 record with 9 saves in 30.0 innings pitched.
Check back Wednesday as the Northwoods League feature another National League Central team the St. Louis Cardinals and a pair of big leaguers in Daniel Descalso and Allen Craig.