As we have time to reflect now over this All-Star break, let’s review the Brewers past several games. A slugfest and crushing sweep against the Orioles, a blowout game in Wrigley, and finally a deciding series take in Yankee Stadium against one of the MLB’s hottest teams. The Brewers, despite criticisms that their first place lead is very temporary, continue to push forward. A team that was expected to win around 70 games all season has already 50 at the break, and controls the NL Central by 5.5 games. These astounding results show just how quickly the Brewers rebuild has been able to take place and how it still has so much room for improvement. As a result, even if the Brewers do fall out of first-place, or even contention, they are still winners in the long run.
Very few sports fans would have predicted the Brewers would be more buyers than sellers by the trade deadline. David Stearns told the press recently that the Brewers were looking for starting pitching. This announcement now comes as no surprise as the Brewers continue to show why they are legitimate contenders. Stearns, whose moves have continued to pay off, will look to add controllable players such as Sonny Gray, and Jose Quintana that will not only aid the Brewers in this year’s run, but also further down the road.
Stearns quest for young, controllable players continues to pay off with the massive improvements made by prospects since joining the Brewers. Young players such as Orlando Arcia, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, Zach Davies, and Manny Piña are anchoring a team full of surprising depth. Several of these young players were not expected to contribute so soon at such an efficient rate. These soon to be well-known names will represent the future of a Brewers organization on the rise.
Free Agent and Waiver Moves
In addition to prospects, Stearns, and the Brewers front office have done an excellent job-adding players off of the waiver wire, as well as through interesting moves in free agency. Jesus Aguilar, Hernan Perez, Junior Guerra, and most recently, Stephen Vogt are all major contributors that came at minor prices for their levels of production. Vogt a two-time All-Star had a poor start to the season before he joined the Brewers, but he has been a steady source of power in Milwaukee. Vogt is only 30 years old and still has time to show he can return to All-Star form and become a reliable catcher for the Brewers.
In terms of free agency signings, Eric Thames, from Korea, despite dropping off since the beginning of the season has been a major face of the rebuild, and shares time with Jesus Aguilar who continues to prove he could be an everyday first-basemen. This was most recently seen with his grand slam against the Yankees.
Besides the excellent off-season moves and trades that have occurred over the past two years of rebuild, the Brewers coaching staff must be praised for their strategy, especially with pitching. Pitching prospects continue to show flexibility in where they come up in Milwaukee as they are coached to come in from both starting and relief roles, and continue to be placed whether is best seen fit for the time being. Top prospects such as Josh Hader, and Brewers starting pitcher Brent Suter, are both very flexible players who can excel at pitching no matter where they are placed in the rotation or bullpen.
Chemistry and A Look Forward
While the second-half of the season approaches and fears of the Brewers holding on in the Central continue to be discussed, let’s remember how far the Brewers have come and how much better they still can get. This is not a one and done season, this is part of a process that can still reach a much better product a number of years down the road. The Brewers excellent chemistry, home run power, and speed highlight its new characteristics. While, strikeouts and errors are still high, this is natural for a young team and will definitely be improved upon for years to come. The Crew have controllable things to fix, and have numerous attributes that are only natural that will continue to aid this team such as their bonds, and ability. Look forward to the Crew continuing to prosper in the second-half, and keep in mind this is far from a finished product.
(Statistics per ESPN.com)