The Corey Hart Dilemma In Milwaukee
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Sunday March. 10/2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @ryandana1
Corey Hart, 1st Baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, is currently on the shelf for a third straight Spring Training. In 2011 it was an oblique strain, in 2012 it was torn cartilage in his right knee, and in 2013 it is a torn meniscus in his knee. In each of the past two seasons the injuries didn’t seem to have a negative effect on his production when he returned.
Hart will be 31 on opening day, and this his second knee problem in the past two years, so it is concerning. However, seeing him come back earlier than expected from the last surgery is keeping him optimistic that he could come back early from this one too. Doctors have said Hart should be back by late May, but like I said, the hope is he can return sooner, but he’s still a little while away. That leaves the Brewers with a big hole to fill.
Corey Hart moved to 1st base from Right Field after Mat Gamel tore his ACL last season, and Hart had success there. Unfortunately Gamel has torn his ACL again this spring, so he is not an option to replace Hart. Just to give you an idea of the production they will be without while Hart is on the DL. Hart hit .270/.334/.507 in 2012 all right around his career average. Over the past 3 campaigns Hart has averaged 29 HRs and 83 RBI per season while averaging 141 Games Played per season.
Corey Hart Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:
The Brewers lost a key middle of the order bat and 1st Baseman in Prince Fielder last off-season, and now the top 2 guys on the depth chart at the position are out to start the season (in Gamel’s case for the entire season). After a 3rd place finish in the NL Central in 2012 the Brewers cannot afford to struggle until Hart returns, so they will need to find production elsewhere in the meantime. So what options do the Brewers have?
Brewer’s manager Ron Roenicke has said it is between Alex Gonzalez, Hunter Morris, Bobby Crosby, Taylor Green and Sean Halton. None of the options have the ability of Hart, and none have been overly impressive so far in a Spring Training that is still very young.
There is still a lot of Spring Training left to hash out the 1st Base battle, so we can only speculate who will get the job, it is far from earned at this point. Alex Gonzalez is a good veteran option who is far from an offensive dynamo, but is an experienced Major League player which may give him an edge since the spot isn’t a long-term one. Bobby Crosby is also a vet, although he hasn’t played since ’10, and was even less productive offensively than Gonzalez in the years he did play. Both players have also spent the majority of their time on the left side of the infield rather than the right.
Hunter Morris has the most upside of all the options, but he has only played as high as AA. He was highly productive there putting up Corey Hart like numbers, but it would be a big jump to expect him to be able to do that in the Majors. Taylor Green has been solid in AAA over the past 2 seasons, but struggled in his 78 Major League games with the Brewers.
While it may not be an ideal situation, I think the option that could be the best for the Brewers is having Sean Halton as their Opening Day 1st Baseman. He was pretty good in AAA last year, and is probably most ready to produce for the Brewers right now. He hit .274/.354/.497 in AAA last year with 17 HRs and 57 RBI.
None of these candidates is ready to replace Corey Hart right now, but the Brewers just need a guy who will help them win the most games in the meantime. For a month or two stint to start the year, I think Halton should have an edge right now, but it is a completely open competition. If we are talking longer than that, Hunter becomes a more attractive option. Obviously the Brewers hope Hart is back as soon as possible for them to make a run at the playoffs.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to our baseball writer Ryan Dana for preparing today’s featured article. Ryan is junior studying physical education with a concentration in coaching at Bridgewater State University. He has been playing baseball since he was 7 and coaching since he was 14. Ryan wants to be a college baseball coach once he graduates. Ryan is, and always will be, a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. Secondary to baseball, he is a big health and fitness enthusiast. You can find Ryan on Twitter . Follow @ryandana1
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Posted on March 10, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged alex gonzalez, bobby crosby, corey hart, hunter morris, injury, mat gamel, milwaukee brewers, NL Central, opening day, playoffs, prince fielder, ron roenicke, sean halton, spring training, taylor green. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.