Melvin sees many positives for Brewers' future, but demands full season success
Doug Melvin. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The man in charge of the baseball operations for the MIlwaukee Brewers has found a number of silver linings in a disappointing 2013 season, but he says the team has to bring that success to the table for the entire year for his team to reach the playoff success that it can.
"I look back on our season. Whenever you're not in postseason, there's disappointment, but there were some positive things that took place," said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
"We have to improve...I can't stand here every year and say we had a great second half. We've done that two years in a row, got off to bad starts."
Milwaukee's 6-22 May doomed the team's run for October before Memorial Day, but from July 1st, the team finished 42-40.
The resurgence came from two main sources - their play up the middle from young stars and their improved pitching.
"Up the middle, when you've got (Jonathan) Lucroy at 27 years of age...Scooter Gennett at 23, Jean Segura at 23 and Carlos Gomez at 27, there's reason to be optimistic up the middle."
Particularly with Gomez and Segura, the team's all-stars, Melvin said they're "two young players, high-energy athletic players at key positions. That's something we're encouraged by."
He also discussed the long-term signing of Gomez and the game-changing plays he made this season.
"The signing of Carlos Gomez coming out of spring traning...he was at the point of taking the next step and performing the way he did," said Melvin.
His pitching staff took a mid-season step for growth - overcoming its horrible first half.
"Our pitching improved this year...we went from the worst bullpen in the league to the third best bullpen in the league," said Melvin.
"Going from the all-star break on, we were 4th in pitching, covering a 68-game stretch. Some encouraging signs there."
Now, to make sure the encouraging signs last an entire year, and don't take a month off as they did in May when they went 6-22.
"As I told the coaches, we have to make sure that we maintain that. We can't be having setbacks," said Melvin, who stressed that it has to improve from the get-go in February.
"We have to do something about having a better spring training."
Melvin understood the unusual nature of the 2013 season - combining the loss of the team's star, Ryan Braun, to a suspension, a year-long injury issue for Corey Hart and continual injuries for Aramis Ramirez.
"We also know the other circumstances that took place with Ryan, Corey, Aramis not playing," said Melvin.
"Our star power wasn't there this year...we have to get more out of our veteran players, from a health standpoint, too."
However, Melvin pointed to a bright future with youth performing better at the end of the year.
"We're still a young ball club," said Melvin. "Probably over half our roster is going to be guys 27 years of age and younger...we have a new breed of younger players coming along. I look forward to the challenge of getting this team back into postseason...I think we can get there."