Odds of Each Player on Milwaukee Brewers’ 25-Man Roster to Make 2012 MLB All-Star Game

Thanks in large part to their loyal fan-base, the Milwaukee Brewers have sent a number of their top players to Major League Baseball’s mid-summer classic — otherwise known as the MLB All Star game — over the past few seasons. Last year, former first-baseman Prince Fielder stole the show with a three-run home run that propelled the National League to a 5-1 victory over the American League.  Second baseman Rickie Weeks also earned a starting spot on the NL roster while Ryan Braun was elected as a reserve outfielder.

With some of the most devoted fans in baseball who aren’t afraid to fill out as many All-Star ballots as possible, it’s almost inevitable that a number of Brewers will take the field for the National League next summer in Kansas City.  But which players have the best odds at making the trip to Kauffman Stadium? Let’s take an A-to-Z look.

Norichika Aoki

Chances he’s an All-Star: one percent

The Brewers brought in three-time Japanese batting champ Norichika Aoki this past winter to add depth and a valuable left-handed bat to their outfield. He will be forced to battle for playing time with Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez in center field, and based on that fact alone, there isn’t much of a chance he’s elected to the NL roster this spring.

I’d hate to deem it an impossible task for the former Japanese slugger to be selected to the All-Star roster. For now, we’ll keep it at a slim one percent chance.

John Axford

Chances he’s an All-Star: 75 percent

How John Axford wasn’t able to make it to the All-Star game last season is beyond me. Prior to the break last season, Milwaukee’s 29-year-old closer garnered a 2.83 ERA, notched 23 saves in 25 opportunities and boasted a 11.54 K/9 that finished second among all National League closers.  He completed his campaign with an league-best 1.96 ERA and tied for the league lead in saves (46).

Judging by how well he was able to gain continuity throughout the league toward the latter portion of last season, it’s hard to imagine him not being able to find his way on the National League roster next July.  Barring some unforeseen decrease in production, I give Axford a great shot at making the All-Star roster.

Ryan Braun

Chances he’s an All-Star: 95 percent

Ryan Braun has been named to the NL roster each of the past four seasons, and that doesn’t look to change much this season. Sure, there will be a good number of fans who will be hesitant to vote for Braun after his battle with a 50-game performance enhancing drug suspension, however, there are just as many if not more who will fill in the dot for Braun based strictly off his productivity.

At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible not to vote for a career first-half line of .306/.368/.543 with an average of 16 home runs, 54 RBI, 52 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.  Given his scintillating late-spring training successes and unambiguous motivation to silence his critics, I’d say he’s ready for another trip to the mid-summer classic.

Tim Dillard

Chances he’s an All-Star: zero percent

There was a fair number of those who doubted Tim Dillard would even make the opening day 25-man roster.  While the 28-year-old skyscraper of a pitcher managed to do that, there’s isn’t much chance he finds a spot on the National League’s roster this summer.

Since Dillard was one of the last to be named to the roster, there won’t be many opportunities for him to strut his stuff out of the bullpen.  The only way Milwaukee’s notorious clubhouse comedian will be able to make the trip to Kansas City is if he’s virtually unhittable in his brief appearances. Since there’s probably no chance at that happening, the odds of him making the NL roster aren’t too high, either.

Marco Estrada

Chances he’s an All-Star: one percent

Marco Estrada has been a solid bullpen arm for the Brewers in each of the past two seasons, and has even found success as a fill-in starter from time to time.  However, he is not going to be an All-Star in 2012.

Overshadowed by the likes of John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Kameron Loe and Jose Veras out of Milwaukee’s ‘pen, Estrada doesn’t look to have many opportunities for success this season. Ergo, it’s hard to imagine him gathering neough praise from fans to have any real shot at the NL roster.

Yovani Gallardo

Chances he’s an All-Star: 75 percent

Yovani Gallardo was simply amazing last season, leading all Brewer starters in wins (17), ERA (3.52), strikeouts (207) and quality starts (23), but his best work clearly came prior to the All-Star break. In 16 starts, Milwaukee’s 25-year-old ace went 10-2 with a 3.00 ERA, 104 strikeouts and held opponents to a .261 BA and maintained a 4.28 SO/BB.  If there was one Brewer starter most deserving to make the 2011 All-Star roster, it was Gallardo.

Supposing that he can perpetuate his impressive strikeout ratio while somewhat lowering his ERA, there’s no question Gallardo will have a legitimate shot at be selected to this summer’s All-Star game.

Mat Gamel

Chances he’s an All-Star: 15 percent

Mat Gamel had the most success of any Brewer at spring camp, managing a solid .246/.317/.596 line with six home runs and 14 RBI in 21 preseason games.  If Milwaukee’s new first-baseman can transfer his momentum from this spring to the regular season, he’ll have a puncher’s chance at a reserve spot on the National League roster.

Many of his doubters point to his career .222 BA as cause for concern. However, should Gamel’s “take nothing for granted” attitude from this spring continue well into — at the very least — the first half of this season, there’s no doubt he could vie for the NL’s final roster spot.

Carlos Gomez

Chances he’s an All-Star: two percent

No one will question what Carlos Gomez brings to the table from a purely baseball talent standpoint. He can steal bases, play the outfield with great efficiency and is willing to take one for the team. The only knock to his game would be his inconsistencies at the plate.

Unfortunately, those deficiencies will be enough for force him into a three-man platoon in center field for the Brewers. Consequently, his lack of playing time won’t give him enough opportunities to make his case to be selected to the NL All-Star roster.

Alex Gonzalez

Chances he’s an All-Star: eight percent

Alex Gonzalez has but once been selected to an All-Star roster over the span of his 13 year career, his lone appearance coming in 1999 as a member of the Florida Marlins. He’s never been known for his bat, however, he has been known for his exceptional play at shortstop. The question is, will his defensive prowess be enough to convince voters to select him to this year’s NL roster?  The answer to that question is likely a “no”.

Still, Milwaukee’s newly acquired shortstop had a tremendous spring at the plate, amassing a .440/.472/.780 line with four home runs, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored. If he can produce above expectations at the plate while rekindling his defensive proficiency of year’s past, he could find himself in a reserve role for the NL in the mid-summer classic.

Zack Greinke

Chances he’s an All-Star: 80 percent

Zack Greinke was flat out dominant in the second half of his first year in Milwaukee’s rotation and he continued his success this spring.  In four starts against Cactus League hitters, Greinke posted a feeble 1.04 ERA, 0.75 WHIP while striking out 26 in just 17.1 innings of work.

Unlike last season, Greinke comes into 2012 at full health and a ton of confidence to go with it. He missed his first two scheduled starts of 2011 due to a hairline fracture of his ribs.  This season, the former Cy Young Award winner is ready to thrive as the Brewers’ No. 2 starter behind Yovani Gallardo. If he is anywhere close to what he was toward the end of last season, not only will he compete to be the starter for the NL in the All-Star game, but he’ll gather a ton of votes to take home Cy Young honors for the second time in his career.

Corey Hart

Chances he’s an All-Star: 30 percent

Despite missing the first month of his 2011 campaign, Corey Hart was notably productive last season for Ron Roenicke. He managed a .277/.334/.487 line with 26 home runs, 63 RBI to go with 80 runs scored. If not for injury, who knows what Hart might have accomplished last season.

Though he was forced to sit this spring out after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair an torn meniscus, it looks like he’ll be a go when the season kicks off this Friday. Hart made the NL All-Star roster in both 2008 and 2010, averaging a .276/.320/.492 line with 26 home runs, 97 RBI, 84 runs scored and 15 stolen bases between the two seasons. If he is productive right from the get-go to start his 2012 campaign, there’s no doubt he can eclipse those averages and have a good shot at an All-Star roster spot this summer.

George Kottaras

Chance he’s an All-Star: zero percent

George Kottaras is everything the Brewers could possibly want out of a backup catcher. He can hit fairly well, play solid defense behind the dish and can handle a big-league starting rotation. That said, I’m not sure if a backup catcher has ever been selected to an All-Star roster.

Kottaras is a dependable second-string catcher behind Jonathan Lucroy, however, if he can’t manage to be his team’s starter, then how does he plan to beat out the best of the best for an All-Star roster spot?

Kameron Loe

Chances he’s an All-Star: zero percent

Kameron Loe pitched modestly as Milwaukee’s set-up man prior to the acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez last season, garnering a 4.23 ERA and a .236 BAA with 32 punchouts in 38.1 innings of work in the eighth inning. But with Rodriguez cemented into the setup role and newly acquired Jose Veras likely to work the seventh inning, Loe will be demoted to Milwaukee’s No. 4 arm out of the bullpen. Loe’s opportunities to find success will be limited this season and that will ultimately take away from the All-Star votes he otherwise would have received.

Loe is a solid reliever and there’s no doubt he’ll get his innings this season.  The likelihood of him making the trip to Kaufmann Stadium in mid-July just isn’t realistic at this juncture, however.

Jonathan Lucroy

Chances he’s an All-Star: 10 percent

The Brewers rewarded Jonathan Lucroy for his exceptional play behind the plate by extending his contract for five-years and $11 million last week, and by no means was it a publicity stunt.

In his first full season as Milwaukee’s starting catcher, Lucroy garnered a .993 fielding percentage, 8.99 range factor and a caught-stealing percentage of 28 percent, all of which ranked in the top 15 of all MLB catchers. He also batted .265 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI despite batting in front of the pitcher’s spot on Ron Roenicke’s lineup.

All things considered, Lucroy is one of the better all-around catchers in the game today. The only thing holding him back (and it’s a big reason) from an NL roster spot is the superior depth and talent at the position. Brian McCann, Buster Posey and Miguel Montero will have things under wraps for a very long time.

Shaun Marcum

Chance he’s an All-Star: 20 percent

Shaun Marcum was the anchor that stabilized Milwaukee’s rotation throughout last season, and it’s fairly surprising that he didn’t get more All-Star recognition. Posting a 3.39 ERA with SO/BB rate of 3.06, one could make the case that Marcum was Ron Roenicke’s most efficient starter prior to the break.

While Marcum made just one spring training appearance this spring due to shoulder soreness, reports show that he’ll be ready to take the mound as Milwaukee’s No. 4 starter to start 2012. If he can improve upon his numbers from the first-half of last season, there’s a legitimate chance he gets selected to the NL roster.  The competition will be stiff, though, so he’ll really need to put on a show in the early stages of 2012.

Nyjer Morgan

Chances he’s an All-Star: 10 percent

Nyjer Morgan was simply incredible even out of a center-field platoon role in manager Ron Roenicke’s lineup, providing a great deal of offensive production whenever asked. But with a healthy Carlos Gomez and the addition of Norichika Aoki, will Morgan get enough opportunities at success get a spot on the NL roster?

We all know Morgan will get his fair share of fan votes strictly based off his popularity, however, splitting time with two other players will significantly lower his offensive output. For that reason, it will be tough for the scrappy 31-year-old to make his first All-Star appearance.

Chris Narveson

Chances he’s an All-Star: five percent

Chris Narveson was as solid as they come as Milwaukee’s No. 5 start last season, and after a couple nice outings this spring, there’s a chance he makes even more strides during his 2012 campaign.

Unfortunately, the odds of Narveson hoarding enough votes to make the NL roster are tremendously high. Even if the 30-year-old southpaw somehow manages to put together a superb first-half, it will extremely difficult to gain enough recognition throughout the league to make a serious run at a roster spot.

Manny Parra

Chances he’s an All-Star: zero percent

Manny Parra and the Brewers agreed to terms on a one-year contract in January that was said to be worth $1.2 Million.  He followed up his new deal with a solid spring, garnering a 1.86 ERA with 11 strikeouts and three walks over 9.2 total innings. After an injury-plagued 2011 season, Parra will look to hold an important role in Milwaukee’s bullpen this season. The problem is, he’ll only be reduced to pitching in low-leverage situations, which will significantly decrease his opportunities to strut his stuff to All-Star voters. I’d hate to give him a zero percent chance to make the NL roster, so we’ll leave his odds of making the mid-summer classic at a healthy one percent.

Aramis Ramirez

Chances he’s an All-Star: 75 percent

New Brewers add-on Aramis Ramirez will be asked to mitigate the offensive productivity lost when Prince Fielder officially departed town last January. While no one will argue that producing Fielder-type numbers will be near impossible, Ramirez will still have a great shot at putting up his gaudy numbers of year’s past. With Ryan Braun in front of him, the 33-year-old Ramirez will have an exorbitant number of opportunities to drive in runs this season, and All-Star voters should give him enough recognition to make his third appearance at the mid-summer classic because of it.

Heck, if Ramirez took home Silver Slugger honors (.306/.361/.510, 26 HR, 93 RBI) last season in a porous Chicago Cubs lineup, then it’s safe to assume he’ll thrive as Milwaukee’s cleanup man in 2012. Look for Ramirez to have a monster first-half and at the very least lock up a reserve spot on the NL roster this summer.

Francisco Rodriguez

Chances he’s an All-Star: 60 percent

Francisco Rodriguez performed magnificently after making his way to Milwaukee’s bullpen following the All-Star break. He posted a feeble 1.86 ERA and struck out over 10 batters per nine innings pitched in 29 innings as Ron Roenicke’s setup man down the stretch last season.

Rodriguez has been selected to four All-Star games over the course of his Hall of Fame-bound career, his latest coming in 2009. If he’s anywhere near as effective as he was during his abbreviated stay with Milwaukee last season, you’ve got to believe a pitching-needy team will have a handsome new contract waiting for him next winter. K-Rod is already considered to be the best eighth-inning man in the National League. But when you add in the fact that he’s due to be a free-agent next winter, there’s no doubt the added motivation will give him a great shot at another All-Star appearance.

Jose Veras

Chances he’s an All-Star: nine percent

If there’s one player that could make a “dark-horse” type run at an All-Star selection this season, it would be Milwaukee’s newly acquired reliever Jose Veras.

The 31-year-old Veras has been a strikeout machine over the course of his six-year career, punching out over nine batters per nine innings pitched while conceding just over seven hits per nine innings. He struggles with walks at times, but if he’s able to polish his command there’s an outside chance he could make a run at the NL roster as Milwaukee’s primary seventh-inning man.

Rickie Weeks

Chances he’s an All-Star: 50 percent

Rickie Weeks avoided injury and put together a terrific 2011 first-half, putting up a .278/.351/.486 line with 17 home runs, 39 RBI and 67 runs scored and was named the NL’s starting second baseman in the mid-summer classic. It was Weeks’ first ever trip to the All-Star game.

With Prince Fielder gone, Weeks will have the opportunity to put up even better numbers in 2011. The question is whether or not Milwaukee’s second-baseman can stay healthy and produce up to his capacity. Brewers fans have yet to witness Weeks at his best, but this year could very well be that year. If that’s the case, expect to see him suiting up for the NL come mid-July.

Randy Wolf

Chances he’s an All-Star: 12 percent

Randy Wolf didn’t receive much notoriety for what he accomplished as Milwaukee’s No. 4 starter last season. He led the team with 212.1 innings last season and his 21 quality starts were second only to Yovani Gallardo’s 23.

He also didn’t receive much love from All-Star voters, either, and that will in all likelihood stay the same this season.  Wolf is a solid starter that many teams would love to have at the end of their rotation, however, at 35 years old, a spot on the NL roster this summer is just a pipe dream at this juncture.

So, Who’s Going?

Nothing is impossible in baseball, especially when it comes to the All-Star selection process. Since fans ultimately have the final say in who goes to the mid-summer classic and who doesn’t, there’s always a chance that a player gets selected who isn’t actually deserving of a roster spot.

Today, we tried to remain as forthright as possible when assigning All-Star odds for each player on the Brewers’ 25-man roster. Yes, every player is fully capable of being selected to the mid-summer classic, however, which players have a realistic shot at accomplishing such a feat?

Here are the guy’s we’re banking on to make the trip to Kansas City this July:

– Ryan Braun

– Zack Greinke

– Yovani Gallardo

– John Axford

– Rickie Weeks

– Aramis Ramirez

On the fringe:

– Francisco Rodriguez

– Corey Hart

Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.  Follow him on Twitter @alecdopp and read his blog.

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