Forecast: National League preview

4. Milwaukee Brewers

Jerry Crasnick: The Brewers are an intriguing team for a bunch of reasons. They're strong up the middle with catcher Jonathan Lucroy, shortstop Jean Segura and center fielder Carlos Gomez. Ryan Braun swung the bat with authority in the Cactus League, and, if anyone is resistant to the abuse that a lengthy PED suspension will invite, it's the Hebrew Hammer. Braun and Aramis Ramirez combined for only 529 at-bats last season. If they can give manager Ron Roenicke 1,200 or so ABs this season, it will provide a major boost to an offense that was middle-of-the-pack in most categories a year ago. The big questions, as usual, revolve around pitching. The Brewers spent $50 million on Matt Garza this winter, and his performance this spring didn't exactly advance the narrative that he's a great fit as staff leader. It's imperative that Garza, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada eat innings so the bullpen isn't overtaxed again this season. The Brewers could challenge the Reds and Pirates for second place if a lot of things go right. More likely, they'll have to settle for fourth in a challenging NL Central.

Jim Bowden: For the second year in a row, owner Mark Attanasio got personally involved in landing significant free agents. Last year it was Kyle Lohse, and this year it was Matt Garza. The Brewers suddenly have a solid rotation led by Yovani Gallardo, who should have a bounce-back year, and Wily Peralta, who is due to finally break out. The middle of the diamond for the Brewers is one of the best in the National League, with underrated Jonathan Lucroy at catcher, Jean Segura at shortstop and Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez. Ryan Braun should have another MVP type season with the PED issues behind him, and the Brewers should be in a tight race with the Reds and Pirates for second place in the NL Central as well as a wild-card berth.

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