Ranking the Roster (20 to 16)

20. Craig Counsell, SS/3B

The two-time World Series champion has bounced around the majors throughout his career. After a one year stint with Milwaukee in 2004, Counsell has been with the Brewers since 2007. The Whitefish Bay native is a solid contributor in spot starts in the infield and is a great asset for Ron Roenicke off the bench. He seems to always put together good at-bats and is sure-handed on defense.

19. Mark Kotsay, OF

Kotsay and Counsell could swap spots on this list, but I give the edge to the veteran lefty outfielder due to the number of at-bats he’s accumulated so far in 2011. Kotsay started many games for the Crew during Corey Hart’s absence early in the season. He’s got a strong arm and still shows some pop at the plate.

18. Kameron Loe, RP

The 6’8″ Loe certainly has an intimidating presence on the mound. He was a major contributor out the bullpen for the Brewers last season, posting a 2.78 ERA in 58.1 innings. His 4.18 ERA so far this year may seem a bit alarming, but his 1.18 WHIP is the same as it was in 2010. His opponent batting average is actually lower this season (.229) than it was last (.245).

17. Marco Estrada, RP

After a horrendous 2010 with the Brewers when he posted a whopping 9.53 ERA (12 earned runs in 11.1 innings), Estrada has turned it around in 2011. He’s a valuable piece of the roster, already having made 4 spot starts and 14 appearances all together in 2011. This season he’s 1-2 with a much improved 3.68 ERA to go along with a 1.12 WHIP (compared to a 1.76 WHIP last year).

16. LaTroy Hawkins, RP

The 38-year-old veteran has been stellar so far this year for Milwaukee, boasting a sparkling 0.64 ERA in 14 innings. He was injured to start the season but has looked unhittable since his return from the DL. He struggled with the Crew in 2010 (8.44 ERA in 16 innings), but looks to have put those woes behind him. He continues to be a reliable option in the late innings for the contending Brewers.

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