79.9 F
Milwaukee
Thursday, July 18th 2019
Home Brewers

Brewers

CCC covering the Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers Midseason Grades: The Pitchers

Earlier this week, I took a look at grades for each of the Brewers’ position players thus far in the season. Now, it’s the pitchers’ turn. They have received a lot of flak over the last few months for their performance, with many fans pegging them as inadequate for a team with playoff aspirations. Currently ranked 17th in MLB in ERA and 13th in WAR, the staff has been serviceable, but nothing special. Let’s take a took at their individual performances and their contributions to the Brewers’ 2019 success.

The Pitchers

Chase Anderson (57.0 IP, 4.42 ERA, 0.7 WAR) – This analysis rings true for many Brewers’ pitchers, but Anderson started strong and tailed off as of late before a strong showing in his last start. Of all the Brewers’ starters, he struggles most going through the opponent’s order for a third time, limiting his effectiveness as a starting option. Grade: C

Matt Albers (35.1 IP, 3.57 ERA, 0.4 WAR) – Despite not being too popular with fans after his 2018 collapse, Albers has quietly put together a solid season out of the Brewers’ bullpen. He’s more often than not gotten the job done. Grade: B

Jacob Barnes (19.2 IP, 6.86 ERA, -0.1 WAR) – Despite having good velocity, he has not been able to put it together as a late-inning option. Grade: F

Corbin Burnes (42.2 IP, 8.44 ERA, -0.3 WAR) – After a tremendous season out of the bullpen in 2018, Burnes transition into the rotation went less than smoothly, and his reintroduction to the bullpen has brought many of the same issues. He currently is not capable of being trusted pitching high-leverage innings. Grade: F

Jhoulys Chacin (72.1 IP. 5.60 ERA, 0.0 WAR) – The Brewers’ 2018 ace has not experienced the same success in 2019. He is allowing many more home runs and has seen a large drop in his groundball rate. Grade: D+

Alex Claudio (35.1 IP, 4.33 ERA, -0.3 WAR) – Acquired to be a lockdown option at the back of the Brewers’ bullpen, he has had a rocky season up to this point, mixing wholly ineffective outings with effective ones. His WAR takes a hit due to his low strikeout rate, but his ERA is actually better than the league-average reliever. Grade: D+

Zach Davies (91.2 IP, 3.24 ERA, 1.0 WAR) – After a rough 2018, Davies bounced back to start the year and has been a cog in the Brewers’ rotation. His performance going forward will be a large determinant of the Brewers’ success as a team. Grade: B+

Gio Gonzalez (31.0 IP, 3.19 ERA, 0.8 WAR) – Prior to his injury, Gonzalez provided much needed rotation help after being signed as a free agent. He slots in as the Crew’s #2 starter when healthy. Grade: B+

Junior Guerra (42.2 IP, 3.80 ERA, 0.3 WAR) – The results for Guerra in his first season as a full-time reliever have been solid. The Brewers have relied heavily upon him in high-leverage situations. Grade: B

Josh Hader (41.2 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1.8 WAR) – Hader has been his usual dominant self as he’s taken the reins of the closer role in 2019. He is striking out more than half of the batters he faces. Grade: A

Adrian Houser (38.2 IP, 3.26 ERA, 0.4 WAR) – Houser has been phenomenal as a reliever and subpar as a starter – his ERA in relief appearances is 1.05 in 25.2 innings. He is looking like a legitimate high leverage bullpen arm, and if he does not stick in the rotation he could fill the fireman role that Josh Hader performed in last season. Grade: B+

Jeremy Jeffress (32.1 IP, 4.18 ERA, 0.4 WAR) – After an otherworldly 2018, Jeffress has come back to earth this season. He is striking out fewer hitters and inducing groundballs at a much lower rate. Grade: C+

Jimmy Nelson (14.0 IP, 8.36 ERA, -0.1 WAR) – The results post-injury rehab have not been pretty for Jimmy, which is surely not a testament to the countless hours of training and treatment he put in to get himself back on a major-league mound. Hopefully he finds it in the second-half. Grade: F

Freddy Peralta (58.0 IP, 5.12 ERA, 0.8 WAR) – As his WAR suggests, Freddy has been much better than his high ERA indicates. While inconsistent while switching back and forth between starting and relieving, he’s shown that his ceiling is still sky high. Grade: C+

Brandon Woodruff (102.0 IP, 3.79 ERA, 2.8 WAR) – It looks like the Brewers may finally have found their ace with Woodruff. He currently ranks fifth in WAR among starting pitchers in the National League, and has led the Brewers rotation through its struggles. Grade: A

And we couldn’t forget Milwaukee’s (now-former) shutdown reliever…

Hernan Perez (2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 WAR) – His efforts provided some much needed comedic relief during two blowouts the Brewers were on the wrong end of. Grade: A for effort

Wisconsin Weekly 8/6-8/11

Green Bay Packers

Brett Favre

One of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time has finally cemented his legacy when Brett Favre was inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio Saturday night. Favre was the 24th Packer to be enshrined in the hall of fame and the first Packers player since Dave Robinson in 2013. Favre is the ultimate ironman among professional football players as he started a record 298 consecutive games. When he retired he held all-time league records in almost every passing category including attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns. His career was highlighted by winning the MVP award three times and a victory in Super Bowl XXXI, Green Bay’s first since the second Super Bowl.

Brewers draft slots provide look into possible future

The 2017 MLB Draft is just around the corner, as it kicks off on June 12th with rounds 1 and 2 as well as Competitive Balance Rounds A and B. On Day 1, the Brewers will hold picks 9, 34 and 46. Now, with a pick as high as #9, one may expect a large amount of future All-Stars and possibly even some hall of famers, right? After all, the draft has been held since 1965, and while it is true that there has been some success with players at #9, it’s not as much as you may think. In total, only eight players drafted in that slot have even played in at least one All-Star game. Those players are:

Barry Zito: Selected #9 by Oakland Athletics in 1999 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 165-143, 4.04 ERA, 2576.2 IP, 1885 K, 1064 BB, 32.5 WAR
  • Resume: 3x All-Star (’02, ’03, ’06); Cy Young Winner (’02); WS Title with San Francisco Giants in 2012
  • Best Season: 2002 (23-5, 2.75 ERA, 229.1 IP, 182 K, 78 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2001 (17-8, 3.49 ERA, 214.1 IP, 205 K, 80 BB)

Michael Cuddyer: Selected #9 by Minnesota Twins in 1997 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: .277 average, 1522 hits, 197 HR, 794 RBI, 16.6 WAR
  • Resume: 2x All-Star (’11, ’13); NL Silver Slugger (’13); NL Batting Title (’13; .331 average)
  • Best Season: 2013 (.331, 31 2B, 20 HR, 84 RBI)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2006 (.284, 41 2B, 24 HR, 109 RBI)

Preston Wilson: Selected #9 by New York Mets in 1992 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: .264 average, 1055 hits, 189 HR, 668 RBI, 6.3 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (’03); WS Title with St. Louis Cardinals in 2006
  • Best Season: 2003 (.282, 43 2B, 36 HR, 141 RBI)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2000 (.264, 35 2B, 31 HR, 121 RBI, 36 SB)

Kevin Appier: Selected #9 by Kansas City Royals in 1987 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 169-137, 3.74 ERA, 2595.1 IP, 1994 K, 933 BB, 54.9 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (’95); AL ERA Title (’93; 2.56 ERA); WS Title with Los Angeles Angels in 2002
  • Best Season: 1993 (18-8, 2.56 ERA, 238.2 IP, 186 K, 81 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1992 (15.8, 2.46 ERA, 208.1 IP, 150 K, 68 BB)

Duane Ward

  • Career Stats: 32-37, 3.28 ERA, 121 SV, 666.2 IP, 679 K, 286 BB, 10.5 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (’93); WS Titles with Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993
  • Best Season: 1993 (2-3, 2.13 ERA, 45 SV, 71.2 IP, 97 K, 25 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1992 (7-4, 1.95 ERA, 12 SV, 101.1 IP, 103 K, 39 BB)

Ron Darling: Selected #9 by Texas Rangers in 1981 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 136-116, 3.87 ERA, 2360.1 IP, 1590 K, 906 BB, 20.1 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (’85); NL Gold Glove at P (’89); WS Title with New York Mets in 1986
  • Best Season: 1986 (15-6, 2.81 ERA, 237.0 IP, 184 K, 81 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1985 (16-6, 2.90 ERA, 248.0 IP, 167 K, 114 BB)

Don Stanhouse: Selected #9 by Oakland Athletics in 1969 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 38-54, 3.84 ERA, 760.1 IP, 408 K, 455 BB, 5.9 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (’79)
  • Best Season: 1979 (7-3, 2.85 ERA, 21 SV, 72.2 IP, 34 K, 51 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1988 (6-9, 2.89 ERA, 24 SV, 74.2 IP, 42 K, 52 BB)

In addition, those selected with the 34th and 46th picks have also seen some success, as well as a high amount of name recognition, one of whom is among the best at his position of his generation.

Aaron Sanchez: Selected #34 by Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats (active): 24-11, 2.90 ERA, 341.2 IP, 267 K, 125 BB, 8.6 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (2016), AL ERA Title (2016; 3.00 ERA)
  • Best Season: 2016 (15-2, 3.00 ERA, 192.0 IP, 161 K, 63 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: N/A (Too early)

Todd Frazier: Selected #34 by Cincinnati Reds in 2007 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats (active): .248 average, 744 hits, 153 HR, 441 RBI, 19.3 WAR
  • Resume: 2x All-Star (2014, 2015)
  • Best Season: 2014 (.273, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 20 SB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2015 (.255, 43 2B, 35 HR, 89 RBI, 13 SB)

Arthur Rhodes: Selected #34 by Baltimore Orioles in 1988 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 87-70, 4.08 ERA, 1187.2 IP, 1152 K, 516 BB, 15.5 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (2010); 2011 WS Title with St. Louis Cardinals
  • Best Season: 2002 (10-4, 2.33 ERA, 69.2 IP, 81 K, 13 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2010 (4-4, 2.29 ERA, 55 IP, 50 K, 18 BB)

Mark Gubicza: Selected #34 by Kansas City Royals in 1981 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: 132-136, 3.96 ERA, 2223.1 IP, 1371 K, 786 BB, 37.8 WAR
  • Resume: 2x All-Star (1988, 1989)
  • Best Season: 1988 (20-8, 2.70 ERA, 269.2 IP, 183 K, 83 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1989 (15-11, 3.04 ERA, 255.0 IP, 173 K, 63 BB)

Yovani Gallardo: Selected #46 by Milwaukee Brewers in 2004 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats (active): 110-87, 3.85 ERA, 1641.0 IP, 1468 K, 622 BB, 23.0 WAR
  • Resume: 1x All-Star (2010); NL P Silver Slugger (2010)
  • Best Season: 2011 (17-10, 3.52 ERA, 207.1 IP, 207 K, 59 BB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2010 (14-7, 3.84 ERA, 185.0 IP, 200 K, 75 BB)

Jimmy Rollins: Selected #46 by Philadelphia Phillies in 1996 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: .264 average, 2,455 hits, 231 HR, 936 RBI, 46.0 WAR
  • Resume: 3x All-Star (2001, 2002, 2005); NL MVP (2007); 2008 WS Title with Philadelphia
  • Best Season: 2007 (.296, 38 2B, 20 3B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 41 SB)
  • 2nd Best Season: 2006 (.277, 45 2B, 9 3B, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 36 SB)

Scott Rolen: Selected #46 by Philadelphia Phillies in 1993 MLB Draft

  • Career Stats: .281 average, 2,077 hits, 316 HR, 1,287 RBI, 70.0 WAR
  • Resume: 7x All-Star (2002, 2003-2006, 2010-2011); 1997 NL Rookie of the Year; 8 NL Gold Gloves (1998, 2000-2004, 2006, 2010); NL 3B Silver Slugger (2002)
  • Best Season: 2004 (.314, 32 2B, 34 HR, 124 RBI)
  • 2nd Best Season: 1998 (.290, 45 2B, 31 HR, 110 RBI, 14 SB)

 

Brewers Week In Review: July 17-23

Well, that was fast. The bad news? The Brewers lost nearly all of a 5.5 game lead in the NL Central following the All-Star Break in just over a week. This came mainly as a result of a stretch from Monday to Sunday in which Milwaukee won just 1 game out of 7 (1-2 vs. the Phillies, 0-4 vs. the Pirates). The good news? If there was ever a time for the Brewers to go on such a stretch, doing so when you start up by 5.5 games in the standings may be that time. With critical series and tough opponents ahead, the Crew needs to start stepping it up if they hope to not let this lead completely slip away.

With that being said, it’s time for a look at the week ahead.

The Week Ahead

 

Upcoming series: @ Washington (7/25-7/27) and vs. Chicago Cubs (7/28-7/30)

Pitching matchups @ Washington: Zach Davies (11-4, 4.76 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (1-0, 4.50 ERA); Jimmy Nelson (8-5, 3.43 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-5, 2.83 ERA); Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.26 ERA)

Pitching matchups vs. Chicago: Jose Quintana (6-8, 4.22 ERA) vs. TBD; Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 3.95 ERA) vs. TBD; TBD vs. TBD

Weekly Awards

Rollie Fingers Award for First-Team All-Swagger (player that went out “balls to the wall”)

Winner: Keon Broxton

This week in particular, when compared to other weeks, was quite difficult to come up with winners for these awards. After all, who could be considered “dominant” or who could have gone “balls to the wall” during a stretch in which a team goes just 1-6 over the course of a week? However, the show must indeed go on. This week, I went with what may be a peculiar choice, as Broxton was just sent down to AAA after a dismal hitting stretch in recent times. Despite this, Broxton continued to go all out defensively, including a great jumping catch in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh, a loss that was the Brewers’ fourth straight at the time. While Colorado Springs is the newest destination for the Milwaukee center fielder, here’s to hoping he can find his footing in Triple A and find his way back to the big leagues in the near future.

The Robin Yount Award for Pure and Utter Dominance (Most Dominant Player)

Winner: Domingo Santana

Now, this award came down to Santana or Travis Shaw, but due to his contributions to Milwaukee’s lone win in the week, this week goes to Domingo Santana. His 2-4, 2 RBI performance on Saturday proved crucial in the team’s efforts, with his 9th inning single proving to be the decisive blow in a heart-stopping 9-8 victory for Milwaukee. Going forward into the next two series, it will be very important for players like Santana to step up even more and propel the Crew to victories.

The Ben Sheets Award for Best Heat (Best Pitcher)

Winner: Brent Suter

All year long, there has tended to be a trend with manager Craig Counsell and his starting pitchers. Oftentimes, he tends to take them out one or two batters too late, and something happens that puts the reliever in a tough spot (look no further than Junior Guerra on Tuesday). However, there are occasions where he possibly takes them out too early, as some fans argued he did in Saturday’s 9-8 win. Suter was cruising through 6 innings of 1 run ball with 5 strikeouts while just giving up 5 hits. However, Counsell elected to go to the bullpen in the 7th when Suter had thrown just 85 pitches. Now, all of us armchair managers out there don’t know whether Suter would have gotten torched or not in the 7th inning, but with what ended up being an 8-1 lead by the bottom of the inning, it would have possibly at least been worth putting him back out there to save some arms. Instead, while the Crew did get the W, the bullpen proceeded to blow that lead in just two innings, with Philly scoring 4 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th to tie the game at 8 before Santana’s go-ahead RBI single in the 9th.

Prospect Update (Post Mid-Season Update)

AAA: Colorado Springs

Lewis Brinson (Brewers No. 1 Prospect; MLB.com’s #15 overall): .345, 22 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 11 SB

Brandon Woodruff (Brewers No. 4 Prospect; MLB.com’s #94 overall): 6-5, 4.79 ERA, 67.2 IP, 64 K, 22 BB, 1.33 WHIP, .259 Opponent AVG

Mauricio Dubon (Brewers No. 9 Prospect): .272, 9 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 3 SB (23 games played with CS)

Ryan Cordell (Brewers No. 17 Prospect): .284, 18 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 9 SB (traded to White Sox Tuesday)

AA: Biloxi Shuckers

Luis Ortiz (Brewers No. 3 Prospect; MLB.com’s #82 overall): 3-5, 3.79 ERA, 73.2 IP, 65 K, 31 BB, 1.18 WHIP, .211 Opponent AVG

Corbin Burnes (Brewers No. 7 Prospect): 3-2, 1.72 ERA, 52.1 IP, 53 K, 8 BB, 0.84 WHIP, .191 AVG

 

A: Carolina Mudcats/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Corey Ray (Brewers No. 2 Prospect; MLB.com’s #69 overall): .230, 20 2B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 18 SB at A Adv Carolina

Keston Hiura (Brewers No. 5 Prospect; MLB.com’s #95 overall): 6 games: .423, 3 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI at A Wisconsin

Isan Diaz (Brewers No. 6 Prospect; MLB.com’s #99 overall): .230, 18 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 8 SB at A Adv Carolina

Lucas Erceg (Brewers No. 10 Prospect): .236, 23 2B, 9 HR, 53 RBI at A Adv Carolina

Trey Supak (Brewers No. 16 Prospect): 2-3, 5.54 ERA, 50.1 IP, 42 K, 21 BB, 1.41 WHIP, .258 AVG at Adv A Carolina

Jake Gatewood (Brewers No. 19 Prospect): .275, 32 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 7 SB at A Adv Carolina

Mario Feliciano (Brewers No. 26 Prospect): .239, 12 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB at A Wisconsin

Are the Brewers a Manny Machado Fit?

David Schoenfield of ESPN recently listed the Brewers as one of his six top hypothetical landing spots for Orioles’ superstar shortstop Manny Machado at this year’s trade deadline. In his write-up, Schoenfield points out the Brewers’ lack of offensive production in the infield, especially from the shortstop position, as his primary reason for the speculation. However, in his snippet of analysis, Schoenfield misses the mark for one huge, glaring reason: a move for Machado would be completely against everything we’ve come to know about David Stearns’ philosophy.

Nearly every move Stearns has made uses controllability and price efficiency as their focal points. The Brewers’ 2017-18 offseason is a prime example of this. The acquisition of Christian Yelich brought a premier player to the Crew who is controllable through 2022 on a remarkably team friendly contract, as he will average $11.65 million annually during his time in Milwaukee. For a player of Yelich’s caliber, this is an absolute steal. While the Brewers sacrificed a bevy of top-30 organizational prospects in the trade, including their top prospect in Lewis Brinson and the quickly rising Monte Harrison, the move still proved to be an enough of an overall improvement in the eyes of Stearns and Co. given Yelich’s combination of elite performance, contract controllability, and financial feasibility.

In dissecting and rejecting Schoenfield’s speculation, we can also look to last year’s trade deadline as further evidence. In the weeks leading up to July 31st, the Brewers were connected to available aces Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana on the trade market, but ultimately could not get a deal done. One name that was absent from Brewers’ rumors? Yu Darvish. Darvish, like Machado, had only half a season of controllability remaining, while Gray and Quintana both had multiple seasons to boot. The Brewers were willing to consider “selling the farm” for one of the controllable aces on the market, yet would not approach a deal for Darvish. Why? Because trading for expensive short term pieces is against their philosophy as a small-market team seeking to find consistent success.

If in a hypothetical sense the Brewers were to approach a deal for Machado, the Dodgers’ trade for Darvish last summer could provide the starting framework for what pieces may be involved. The Dodgers needed to give up an MLB top-100 prospect (who is now top-50) in outfielder Willie Calhoun, along with two other prospects considered to be in the second half of their organization’s top-30. I would expect Machado to command slightly more, so the Brewers likely would need to give up top prospect Keston Hiura in addition to two mid-tier prospects. Given that the Crew would be giving up a combined 12-18 years of controllability for 2-3 months of Machado, I do not see the math making any semblance of sense to Stearns unless the Brewers turn into a clear front-runner for a World Series title between now and the start of July.

To further my point, just this past offseason Stearns said the following: “[We] understand we want to win for multiple years. This is a longer-term strategy. Our core focus is to create a team and organization that can compete consistently in this division, a very well-run division, and in certain cases, a very well-financed division. We want to be competitive in this division, year in and year out. So, in some respect, discipline and maybe restraint does come into play there. Making sure we are setting the foundation for long-term success is a priority of mine.”

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a smart GM that is unwilling to go all-in on a developing team, and therefore unwilling to give up pieces of significant value for 2-3 months of a superstar in Machado.

If the Brewers find themselves in contention this summer, trade rumors will be flying. However, it will be important to remember that 2018 is not yet an “all-in” year for the Crew. This is still a developing ballclub with many players yet to reach their respective primes, and with the farm thinned out from the Yelich deal, Stearns does not have the same depth from which to deal from as in the past. While anything is possible, consider it doubtful that the Brewers make a short-term splash for an expensive piece. Sorry Manny, I guess Milwaukee is just not for you.

Suter Hits the DL: What Does His Future Hold?

The injury skid continued for the Brewers on Monday as they lost starting pitcher Brent Suter for the rest of the year. Suter tore the UCL in his throwing arm during his most recent start on Sunday and will undergo Tommy John surgery. Tommy John typically requires 12-14 months for full recovery, meaning that there is a chance we will not see Suter for the rest of this season and all of next year as well.

As big of a blow as this is for the Brewers, it’s even larger for Suter on a personal level. Suter overcame the odds of being a 31st round draft choice to make it to the majors. Throw in the fact that he is one of the lightest throwing starters in the league, and his story to success becomes even more fascinating.

What will become of Suter now that he is on the DL? Well, the Brewers have two options: to renew his contract in the off-season (he is not yet arbitration eligible), or let him go. They are much more likely to renew his contract, but let’s explore each option and their ramifications.

Should the Brewers choose to retain Suter (which I believe is very likely), they would renew his contract at the league minimum or very close to it, as is custom for players that are not yet arbitration eligible. In doing so, they would need to carry him on the 40-man roster for the entirety of the offseason. They would then place him on the 60-day DL at the outset of the season, which would free up his 40-man roster spot and allow the Brewers to add another player. Suter would rehab with the club’s training staff and compete for a spot on the pitching staff once healthy.

The second option would be for the Brewers to not renew his contract, which would make him a free agent. I believe this to be unlikely due to Suter proving his capability as an MLB-level pitcher, but the Brewers will likely face a roster crunch this offseason as prospects in their system gain Rule-5 eligibility. It may be difficult for David Stearns to fill a 40-man spot with a player that likely will not contribute for an entire season, but that will be necessary if the Brewers want to retain him for the future.

Suter is not a true difference-maker on the mound – he is more so an innings eater. That could make him expendable in the eyes of some decision makers. However, effective pitching is tough to come by, and Suter has proven that he can produce at an adequate level. In addition, the Brewers have a true clubhouse leader in Suter. Hopefully that, and the potential for future success, provides enough value to justify a 40-man roster spot this offseason.

The Brewers Lineup for Success in Game 7

The Brewers have put themselves into a great position for game seven. With a fresh bullpen and an offense that has come alive, they couldn’t be in a better place. It seems to always be a mystery about who Counsell is going to play and in what situation. Based on what his past patterns, here is a good assumption on where the guys will be for game seven.

Lineup

Lorenzo Cain- CF

Christian Yelich- RF

Ryan Braun- LF

Jesus Aguilar- 1B

Travis Shaw- 2B

Mike Moustakas- 3B

Erik Kratz- C

Orlando Arcia- SS

Jhoulys Chacin- P

The opposing pitcher on the mound is right hander Walker Buehler. He pitched in game three when the Brewers shut out the Dodgers 4-0. Buehler gave up 4 runs on 6 hits. As for the Brewer lineup, it is one that is very familiar. All have shown fantastic offense and defense.

Out-getting

As we have all seen throughout the series, Counsell has been very creative with the pitching staff. Don’t expect tonight to be much different. Jhoulys Chacin will be the initial out-getter on the mound. Throughout the season he has been the most consistent pitcher on the staff. This is how the pitching would work out in a perfect game.

Chacin- 1st-5th inning

Knebel- 6th inning

Hader- 7th-9th inning

If the Brewers could get five strong innings out of Chacin, they can turn the ball over to a very strong bullpen. Knebel going into the game around the 6th or 7th inning is what Counsell has stuck with. With him pitching 1.2 strong innings yesterday, availability will not be an issue.  

Hader, with a couple days rest is very fresh.  In Counsell’s post game press conference last night, he joke that he would pitch Hader 12 innings. Obviously that’s not going to happen, but with Hader being as well rested as he is, expect to see a lot of him.

Having a strong lineup and great pitching, the Brewers look at a great chance of making a trip to the World Series. If they can get out to an early lead and allow the pitching to take action with a couple run lead, the Brewers will be looking at success and a party tonight.

Baseball Mockery

As the dreaded off season continues, talks have begun about eliminating the shift thanks to the baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. The reasoning lies in creating more offense so baseball can be more attractive to more people. Yes ladies and gentlemen, a pitching dual where every pitch matters is no longer entertaining enough.

With these discussions, baseball is now leaning towards the play of the offense. That sounds fairly familiar. What other sports favor the offense? That’s it, the NFL. Looks as though Rob Manfred might need to take a meeting with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to see how far baseball can go in favoring the offense.

Eliminating the shift is erasing all defensive strategy, so where do they stop. Strategy is the beauty of baseball, it’s chess not whack a mole. So here are additional rule changes to really help the offense get the upper hand.

X marks the spot- I think we need to go back to the roots of every baseball player. MLB needs to get in touch with the little league coach in themselves and create X’s on where each infielder must stand in the field. Even shading so slightly to get a head start is just too much of an advantage.

No sprinting, just jogging- Having fast outfielders like Lorenzo Cain is just too much of a “step up” for the defense. No more sprinting to a ball because outfielders may rob a double that could produce more runs for the offense.

All starting pitchers must go at least 6 innings before using a bullpen pitcher- That’s right, discount what the Brewers did in 2018. Changing the pitcher every couple of innings is too hard for the hitters because they can’t get multiple looks at a pitcher. Dang players can’t adjust!

No bullpen days- Piggybacking off the last rule, bullpen games will not be allowed. Discounting again what the Brewers used to be successful in 2018.

Don’t forget players safety, no pitches over 90 mph- We can’t forget about the gem in players safety. Pitching over 90 mph puts the batter at extreme risk of getting severely injured if they get hit. Any pitch over 90 mph will result in an automatic walk.

Just a couple after thoughts to go along with the new rules of baseball are, shrinking the strike zone, instituting a computerized Ump instead of a human (eliminate the human error).  What about going from 3 outs an inning to 5 outs?

Obviously this is just poking fun of the discussions of limiting the shift. Although it is something that could severely hurt the Brewers. They use so much strategy every game to cover up the fact that they don’t have the money to go out and get nine studs to fill a lineup like the Yankees. As said before, the beauty in baseball is the chess game and taking the chess away to result in more offense may indeed create more offense. However, let’s be honest, will adding a couple more runs a game really increase viewership or would it just take away some of the fun of baseball for hardcore fans?

A Checkup on Orlando Arcia

The Brewers are in a really good spot at the moment. It seems as though everyone that is put into the lineup is putting together really good at bats. That includes young shortstop Orlando Arcia. I wrote something before the season started, about what the Brewers needed from the young player. The issues that needed to solve were the amount of strikeouts, not making enough contact, and not taking long at bats. Besides a short slump that began his season, Orlando Arcia is starting to look good at the plate.

https://www.creamcitycentral.com/brewers/what-the-brewers-need-from-orlando-arcia/

(article from the beginning of the season)

The first thing that proved to be a big problem last year, was his strikeouts. At some times in the season, he seemed to be an automatic out in 3 pitches. That has surely changed this year. Last year he posted a 23.8% strikeout percentage, and so far this year he has brought that down to 20.4%.  Sure, it may seem like a small percentage, but that gives him an extra 4% of times that he can be making contact (we will touch on the importance of that later). Right now, according to fangraphs his percentage is right around average. Let’s be honest here, he is your number 8 hitter, for him to be around average is pretty good. Not getting out from the strike out all the time is great, but even better when he is capitalizing his time with getting hits.

Getting hits is the goal of every team on offense, more hits, more runs. Hitting last year for Arcia, at some points, was kind of a foreign subject. This year however, it is a different story. In the article I wrote in the begging of the year, I talked about his contact percentage compared to his BABIP (batting average on balls in play). I found out that last year when he put the ball in play he was a .305 hitter. The problem lied in not making enough contact, last year his contact % was at 72.6%, he simply wasn’t making enough contact to be a consistent hitter. This year so far his BABIP is down, but his contact% is up at 75.3. If you relate that to his strikeout percentage that is down 4%, he is substituting that with making contact. That is great news, and the news keeps getting better when you look at the quality of his at bats.

The quality of at bats that Arcia is having this season is one of his biggest improvements. The numbers really show this one. Last year he was averaging 3.5 pitches per plate appearance, this year he brought that up to 4. To put it into perspective, in 500 at bats last year he would have seen 1,750 pitches, this year, if he stays on track, he will see 2,000. That is a 250 pitch difference, that is huge. That is not the only thing that has significantly improved. Walks. He went from a terrible 4.1% walk rate last year to now 9%.

Something the numbers can’t show, is his comfort level in the box. To me he just looks so much better, and most importantly more comfortable. For someone who was almost painful to watch in the box last year, the comfort he has this year, is by far, his biggest improvement. Now, I do realize that these numbers aren’t “amazing”, however for your 8th hitter, defensive shortstop, can be productive, that could mean all the difference for the Brewers this season.

The Curious Case of Milwaukee Jeremy Jeffress

Jeremy Jeffress has had an interesting career up until now. Jeremy was the 16th overall pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006. However, Jeremy’s biggest struggle wasn’t on the field. He failed 3 drug tests with the last one resulting in a 100-game suspension in 2009. He’s been part of two of the biggest trades in Milwaukee Brewers history. The first trade netted the Brewers a true ace in Zack Greinke, but unfortunately for the Brewers they gave away a huge package of Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. However, Jeffress didn’t live up to his billing in KC and they DFA’d him November 2, 2012. He was traded to the Blue Jays for cash on November 8, 2012.

               His stay in Toronto was short and rocky as well. Jeremy was DFA’d on April 6, 2013 after making only one appearance for Toronto. He cleared waivers and was send down to AAA affiliate the Buffalo Bisons. He didn’t pitch a game for the Bisons before he was sent down to Class A Dunedin Blue Jays. However, less than a week later he was recalled by the Bisons before he was made a September call-up. The next season he was DFA’d again, but this time he chose free agency over joining the Bisons again.

               Jeremy made his first return to Milwaukee on a minor league contract. He was assigned to the Nashville Sounds. July 21, 2014 Jeremy donned the Brewers uniform again. He shined setting up then Brewers closer Francisco (K-rod) Rodriguez. He had an excellent 1.88 ERA and a miniscule WHIP 0f 1.186. He also curtailed his walk issues that haunted him elsewhere with a walk rate of 2.2 per 9 innings. He pitched extremely well the next season, making 72 appearances for the Crew. Boasting an ERA of 2.65 and striking out a shade under 9 per 9 innings. The next season he emerged as the Brewers closer and thrived in that role. He had 27 saves in 28 opportunities. Sadly, Jeremy was a part of another Brewers blockbuster as we shipped him and Jonathan Lucroy to Texas for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a PTBNL (Ryan Cordell).

               He made 12 appearances and posted a solid 2.70 ERA to finish of that season. Yet again the good times didn’t last, and Jeremy struggled yet again outside of Milwaukee. In 2017 Jeremy made 39 appearances with Texas and posted an abysmal 5.31 ERA and a sky high 1.671 WHIP. Not to mention another struggle off the field for Jeremy as he was arrested for DWI August 26, 2016. He then went to alcohol rehab and threw against a padded wall daily during in-patient treatment. He then vowed to stay clean for good. Later the next season Texas was falling out of contention and traded Jeremy to a surging young team in hopes of snapping a long playoff drought. He was back in Milwaukee and again returned at a very low price. David Stearns swung a deal to bring back the veteran for minor league pitcher Tayler Scott.

               He was back home 1 year after being shipped out for the second time, and I think I can speak for most Brewers fans by saying it was awesome, and borderline emotional. There’s always been a great support system for Jeremy here. He’s been outstanding in every stint he’s had in Milwaukee. Not to mention he was just what that team needed. The additions of he and Anthony Swarzak were huge for a bullpen that had struggled all year and was on the verge of making a run into the playoffs. They proved to be stabilizing forces in the pen, however the team didn’t quite have enough to make the playoffs and fell 1 game short.

               Enter this year… The Brewers made huge moves by signing Matt Albers, Jhoulys Chacin, and Lorenzo Cain. They also made a blockbuster trade acquiring Christian Yelich. The irony of all this being that we bring back Lo Cain and trading Lewis Brinson who was the centerpiece in the Lucroy Jeffress deal for Christian Yelich. This team came with a ton of expectations and that included expectations for this bullpen. With an All-Star closer, flame-throwing lefty, and several other high leverage capable relivers. At the center of all of it was Jeremy Jeffress, he was looked at as a potential high leverage reliver and potential setup man to All-Star Corey Knebel. He also added a split-change to his repertoire. A pitch that has proved lethal in Jeremy’s best season to date. He’s posted a superb ERA of 0.33 and retired 18 of 20 inherited runners. Including a no outs base loaded mess against the Marlins in which he escaped unscathed. He’s been fooling hitters all year and has escaped from the scariest of situations.

               He’s been arguably the best reliever in statistically the best bullpen in the league. Jeremy has been everything the Brewers could have asked for and more. What he’s doing may not be as sexy as all of Josh Hader’s strikeouts, but he’s been just as unhittable. No matter how you view it without yet another frugal move by David Stearns the complexion of this season would be much different without Jeremy Jeffress in the back half of that bullpen. Jeremy has pitched so well he deserves to be an All-Star, and not only that he deserves much more attention than what he’s gotten. He’s doing something special and everyone needs to take notice. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I couldn’t be happier that Jeremy Jeffress is not only back in Milwaukee, but he’s thriving too.