In glancing at the Cactus League stats for the projected Brewers' '09 starting position players, I started to notice that several players are having good springs...I mean, really good springs.
So I decided to compile the team batting average through Wednesday's pounding of the Dodgers...and, despite Ryan Braun's low contribution to the average (he's only contributed 3 of the 100 hits, and only 9 of the 307 AB's), the starters are hitting...
Now, I'll be the first to admit that these numbers aren't valid predictors of how the team will hit during the regular season, as much of the success is due to hitting AAA and AA pitchers late in the game...except, that, the Brewers' starting hitters are typically taken out before the other teams' scrubs take the hill.
Could it be the dry Arizona air? Perhaps. Something must be askew, as 6 of the 8 projected starters are hitting over .300--only Jason Kendall (.244) and Mike Cameron (.257) are not. Yup, even Rickie Weeks (.300) and Bill Hall (.348) are at or above .300.
Critics will point out that a number of traditionally mediocre hitters are also doing well in the rarified air of Arizona--I mean, Craig Counsell is hitting .432 for gosh sakes. Casey McGehee is a .391 hitter?
Of course, Counsell has a new stance, courtesy of new hitting coach Dale Sveum...and Bill Hall's vision is better, thanks to Lasix surgery. But how do you explain Weeks...or Chris Duffy's .340 average, or Brad Nelson's .391 average? Even J.J. Hardy is just four points below .400.
It is probably the dry Arizona air...but maybe...just, maybe, it is some new, thingamabob that Dale Sveum is doing...and even if a tiny bit transfers to the regular season, Brewers' fans could be in for a fun season.