• 05/28/2007, 12:38AM ET

The Milwaukee Brewers have a young nucleus that MLB has not seen in years.

DJTG_2010 (83-23-4) vs Cardsox (31-18-1)

Check out this lineup:

C - Johnny Estrada, 31 years old, .278 AVG, 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 21 Runs Scored

1B - Prince Fielder, 23, .282, 15, 37, 31

2B - Rickie Weeks, 24, .252, 5, 26, 34

3B - Craig Counsell/Tony Graffanino: 36, .231, 0, 8, 9/33, .187, 1, 8, 10
Ryan Braun (23) was recently brought up and in 2 games: .500, 1, 3, 2
Triple A: .342, 10, 22, 28

SS - J.J. Hardy, 24, .308, 15, 43, 32

LF - Geoff Jenkins, 32, .298, 10, 25, 18

CF - Bill Hall, 27, .262, 6, 20, 24

RF - Corey Hart, 25, .261, 1, 9, 7

Other OFs:

Tony Gwynn, Jr., 24, .333, 0, 8, 9

Kevin Mench, 29, .263, 2, 12, 15

Gabe Gross, 27, .240, 3, 7, 9

This lineup has the proper mix of young talent and veteran leadership. Jenkins, Counsell, and Graffanino can provide the leadership needed to take this team to the next level. Counsell did win a World Series with the Diamondbacks. The next argument will provide the pitching. Baseball has not seen this much homegrown talent since the heyday of the Atlanta Braves. Many other teams have good, young talent, such as the Phillies and Braves, for which a case can be made, but not the same amount as the Brewers.

If you would like to find a young nucleus that equals the Brewers, you'd have to look all the way back to the late 2000s, more specifically, 2007. I'd like to submit the CURRENT Devil Rays team as a better, younger "nucleus" of players. We'll take a look in the same format you've used:

1B-Carlos Pena (29), .309 BA, .376 OBP, 9 HR

2B-BJ Upton (22), .309 BA, .393 OBP, 8 HR, 9 SB

3B-Ty Wigginton (29), .239 BA, 9 HR

SS-Brendan Harris (26), .304 BA, .356 OBP

LF-Carl Crawford (25), .310 BA, .380 OBP, 12 SB, 5 HR

OF-Elijah Dukes (23), .340 OBP, 2 SB, 9 HR

RF-Delmon Young (21), .246 BA, .291 OBP, 6 HR

OF-Rocco Baldelli (25), .204, .268, 2 SB, 5 HR

3B-Akinori Iwamura (28), .339 BA, .479 OBP

P-Scott Kazmir (23), 3.81 ERA, 59 IP

P-Scott Shields (25), 3.15 ERA, 74.3 IP

In all, the DRays are on average 3 years younger than the Brewers, and the visual talent packs a bigger punch. Much of the Brewers talent comes from older players and veterans. The DRays rely on their solid young talent to carry them. Although, they don???t have enough veterans to carry them, and so the suffer. However, the young core of the team has more potential than the Brewers??? to build a long lasting dynamo team.

Well, the term 'nucleus' is defined as 'a central or most important item or part that has others grouped or built around it.' Hence, for a team to be successful, they must have a young nucleus mixed in with veteran leadership. Fielder, Weeks, and Hardy are the nucleus of the Brewers, with Braun soon to join them, and maybe Gwynn eventually. The young nucleus is surrounded by leadership with Jenkins, Counsell, and Graffanino. The Devil Rays may have more young talent than the Brewers, and your argument took me totally by surprise, but they have yet to build around that talent. Four of the five starters on the Brewers are under thirty, no matter how close to thirty they are. The starters are the veteran leadership for the Brewers. A young nucleus is not a whole team, even though you make a case for the D-Rays. The Brewers have reached playoff contention sooner than the D-Rays because they have surrounded the nucleus with other talent that can be successful. The D-Rays have to do this, so they are still relegated to the cellar.

Nice turnaround there, but youre dodging the point, and I think you know it. You're saying that to be a good team you need a strong nucleus and strong veteran leadership. But you don't have to be successful to have a good nucleus. You can have the best nucleus in baseball and still have a lousy, broken down piece of c.rap team. The Rays have a great core, but the oldest guy and closest thing you could call a veteran is 29-year old Wigginton.

So I think Ill just put this throwdown to bed right now. The Brewers rotation has 4 guys under 30, but guess what, so do the Rays, and that 5th starter is exactly 30, his big birthday being just four DAYS ago (Jae Weong Seo). Too bad we didnt do this throwdown 5 days ago. In all, the total age of the Brews' starting staff (144) is 14 years older than the Rays (130). Thats almost 3 years older per starter. 2ndly, to expand on that, the Devil Rays currently have 3 (count em) guys on their active rosters that are over the age of 30. And finally, in addition to 1 player of age 30 in the staff, EVERY single player in the lineup is 29 or younger. And the one position player they have over 30, Greg Norton, is a backup DH who has had 13 ABs this year.

I am fighting to the death. Yes, the D-Rays nucleus is producing, but the definitive sign that a nucleus is producing is numbers in the win column. The pitchers are young and talented, but only 2 have winning records, Kazmir (3-2) and James Shield (3-0). Seo and Casey Fossum are 3-4 while Edwin Jackson rounds out the rotation with an 0-6 record. Four of the five Milwaukee starters have winning records, with Bush (3-5) being the odd man out. The Brewers pitching staff is giving up a .260 average to opponents, while the D-Rays pitching staff is giving up a .284 average. The Brewers' team ERA is 3.98, while the D-Rays pitching is 5.41. The young Brewers pitching is obviously superior to the D-Rays pitching.

Now for the offensive side. The Devil Rays (.261) are hitting better than the Brewers (.258). However, the Brewers (.439) are slugging better than the D-Rays (.423). The D-Rays OBP is higher (.328) than the Brewers' (.322), but for the OBP and batting average, the pitchers bring the stats down a little bit. The Brewers have struck out (333) less than the D-Rays (387) grounded into less double plays (28 to 35).

Read my comment for my closing.

The Win column is a difinitive sign that a TEAM is producing, not that the 'nucleus' is producing. When you look at the Devil Rays team as a whole, they are terrible. Their pitching rotation is not near deep enough and neither is their bullpen. However, the core of the team, or the young talent that they have, is getting recognized as a future gold mine if the team can get their hands on pitching. As far as pitching talent that they DO have, James Shields and Kazmir are highly toted around the majors as future stars.

Basically, the Brewers team is much better than that of the Devil Rays as the Brewers have all of the tools to win ??? the young stars (young nucleus), the pitching, the seasoned vets, and the bullpen (Cordero). The Devil Rays lack pitching depth beyond the front end of the rotation, any experienced veterans whatsoever other than Al Reyes, and a decent bullpen, and so they struggle as mightily as any team out there. But the one thing they do have, and oh do they have it, is a future.


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