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Braun, Lucroy anchor Brewers' projected lineup

Busy offseason for Milwaukee provides several new faces to complement veteran duo
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

This is the fifth installment of a series of stories previewing the 2016 Brewers. It culminates Friday, when pitchers and catchers formally report for the start of Spring Training.

MILWAUKEE -- A year ago, Ron Roenicke settled into the manager's office at Maryvale Baseball Park with few decisions facing him. His team was returning almost entirely intact, and Roenicke essentially could write out a starting rotation and a batting order on Day 1.

This is the fifth installment of a series of stories previewing the 2016 Brewers. It culminates Friday, when pitchers and catchers formally report for the start of Spring Training.

MILWAUKEE -- A year ago, Ron Roenicke settled into the manager's office at Maryvale Baseball Park with few decisions facing him. His team was returning almost entirely intact, and Roenicke essentially could write out a starting rotation and a batting order on Day 1.

Now, in his first Spring Training at the helm, Craig Counsell faces many more questions. Center field is wide open, with waiver claim Kirk Nieuwenhuis leading a pack of newcomers that also includes young Rymer Liriano and Keon Broxton. Third base is up for grabs between at least three players: Former Red Sox prospects Garin Cecchini and Will Middlebrooks and veteran Aaron Hill. And even the Brewers' returning starters are not written in stone as camp opens, since general manager David Stearns already has made nine trades this offseason and could always make more.

• Prospects | Newcomers | Position battles | Bounceback candidates

With that remarkable wave of change as the backdrop, here is one guess of how the Brewers might look on Opening Day:

2015 record
68-94, fourth in the National League Central

Projected batting order
1. 2B Scooter Gennett:
.264 BA, .294 OBP, .381 SLG, 42 runs scored in 2015
2. C Jonathan Lucroy:
.264 BA, .326 OBP, .391 SLG, 7 HR, 43 RBIs in 2015
3. RF/LF Ryan Braun:
.285 BA, .356 OBP, .498 SLG, 25 HR, 84 RBIs in 2015
4. 1B Chris Carter:
.199 BA, .307 OBP, .427 SLG, 24 HR, 64 RBIs for Astros in 2015
5. LF/RF Domingo Santana:
.231 BA, .345 OBP, .421 SLG, 6 HR, 18 RBIs in 38 games in 2015
6. 3B Garin Cecchini/Will Middlebrooks/Aaron Hill:
Hill: .230 BA, .295 OBP, .345 SLG for D-backs in 2015
7. SS Jonathan Villar:
.284 BA, .339 OBP, .414 SLG in 53 games for Astros in 2015
8. CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis:
.195 BA, .270 OBP, .375 SLG in 74 games for Mets and Angels in 2015

Projected rotation
1. RHP Matt Garza: 6-14, 5.63 ERA in 2015
2. RHP Wily Peralta: 5-10, 4.72 ERA in 2015
3. RHP Jimmy Nelson: 11-13, 4.11 ERA in 2015
4. RHP Taylor Jungmann: 9-8, 3.77 ERA in 2015
5. RHP Chase Anderson: 6-6, 4.30 ERA for D-backs in 2015

Projected bullpen
RH closer: Jeremy Jeffress: 2.65 ERA in 2015
LH closer: Will Smith: 2.70 ERA in 2015
Setup man: Corey Knebel: 3.22 ERA in 2015

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milwaukee Brewers