I don't think we're likely to see a set line-up a whole lot this year for a few reasons. One, our catcher is one of our best hitters, so 30-40 times when he's not starting that changes the line-up a ton. Two, we have 4 semi-regular outfielders who will be rotated in and out depending on match-up and, three, we have a bunch of aging veterans who are injury prone and we're likely to see at least one or two of them miss extended periods. Not really what you want to see, but there it is. So the way I'm thinking about it right now:
Byrd, Castro, Pena, Soto, Ramirez, Fukudome/Colvin, Soriano, DeWitt/Baker
Obviously, we don't have a clear lead-off guy or a ton of speed. Quade had DeWitt/Baker leading off at the end of the season but IMO they didn't really prove up to the task and I'm hoping he drops them down. Byrd was the default choice because he has experience there from his days in Texas, he gets on base at a reasonable clip, his lack of power prevents him from fitting anywhere else and he's also to some extent the leader of the team.
Some people are certainly going to complain that Fukudome is hitting 6th before Soriano, or that he's even in there ahead of Colvin, but looking over the roster I think this could be our strongest line-up. He's got good career #'s from that spot and it breaks up the order a little more. When Soto is not in the line-up I just slide the 5-7 hitters up a notch and drop Castillo in after Soriano.
Not excited about Pena as the 3 hitter as I don't expect him to bounce back to more than .240 or .250 so maybe switching he and Soto is better.
While I'm probably more hopeful about this team than a lot of BCB'ers, just looking this over I think we have a chance to be plus at the first 7 spots. Making a play for Richie Weeks has become my favorite off-season target ahead of Matt Garza and I think if the FO is serious about contention in 2011 making the Brewers an offer they can't refuse is something they should seriously consider. I think it would give the fanbase a reason to actually get excited about 2011. As it stands, I don't think this team is necessarily out of contention in a weak NL Central, but I don't think it's likely to produce more than 85-90 wins, and possibly significantly less than that. Obviously there's more moves to come but it's very possible the position players are largely set. Let me know what you think.