The Brewers Competitive Start

Brewers Report Card

Almost 20% through the six month journey that is the Major League Baseball season, it seems like a good time to stop and take a look around.  The Brewers have the same number of wins as losses and are just 1.5 games out of 1st place in the NL Central.  Better than expected…and here’s how.

The record:  16-16

The Brewers could quite easily be 3-or-4 wins better than the current mark—but as they say—“you are who your record says you are.”  The Brewers have been consistent, which is a hard thing for young teams to do.  The longest winning streak is 4-games…the longest losing streak is 3-games.  If you want to view it through Brewers colored glasses, the Crew has gone 14-11 since their season opening 2-5 home stand.  You can also look into their run differential, which at +8 is indicative of a team that could be even better than 16-16.

The Pitching:

While the Brewers have ranked near the bottom of the NL in most pitching categories for the first 5-weeks, the most recent trip through the starting rotation might make you a touch more optimistic.  Wily Peralta allowed just 2-runs in 5.1 innings at St. Louis and looked sharp.  Chase Anderson was just “okay” in a loss at St. Louis—but has been the team’s most reliable starter in the first 5-weeks.  Jimmy Nelson only went 3-inning in Pittsburgh on Friday because of rain—but he was impressive in not allowing a hit and featuring his best “stuff” of the season.   Matt Garza has been better than almost anyone could have hoped, and allowed just one run in 7-innings at Pittsburgh, lowering his era to 2.55. Zach Davies in his last two starts, has gone 10.2 innings and allowed just 4-runs in looking like the very good pitcher from the summer of 2016.  Add in opening day starter Junior Guerra—slated to return soon—and the rotation that has struggled at times, looks more competitive.

The bullpen has been hit and miss, but with high velocity situational late game pitchers, Jacob Barnes, Corey Knebel, and Neftali Feliz.  Not to be ignored, as a team, the Brewers pitching ranks in the bottom 1/3 of the National League in almost all of the statistical measurable’s.

 

The hitting:

The Brewers lead the National League in strikeouts and Home Runs.  “Counsell’s crushers” are near the top of the NL in all power categories and in the top 1/3 in runs scored and OPS.  Eric Thames, Ryan Braun (when healthy), Travis Shaw, and the Catching platoon have all met or exceed expectations.  While Jonathan Villar, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana have been well below what was anticipated.  With the deeply talented outfielders in the Brewers system—it could create some interesting decisions from GM David Stearns over the next couple of months.  For now, whatever offensive production you get from Shortstop Orlando Arcia is a bonus.

The Brewers offense may not continue to bash at the pace they have in the first 32-games, but it’s certainly been good enough to carry the load so far.

 

The Defense:

The Brewers are tied for last in the National League with 27-errors.  There is a grow-in period for Villar at 2nd base, but I think most believe that the Brewers are better than solid up the middle—with Arcia and Villar.  The Catching position has been better than advertised even after the departure of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado.  Manny Pina and Jett Bandy have been really good.  Defense has been better recently—and should continue to improve.

 

The future:

In each of the last two seasons, Brewers fans were robbed of a competitive summer.  The Brewers were irrelevant by June.  2017 has played out much differently –so far.  If Milwaukee can stay around .500, they will be relevant in the Wild Card race for quite a while.  The Brewers are entertaining and should leave you feeling optimistic about the summer…for now.

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