Cleat Geeks

Milwaukee Brewers First Half Review

Milwaukee Brewers First Half Review

First Half Record: 38-49

Position in Standings: fourth in National League Central, seven games in front of last place Reds, seven games behind third place Pirates, 14.5 games behind first place Cubs.

Home Record: 23-22

Road Record: 15-27

First Half Observations:

Chris Carter producing as expected: Carter is doing preciously what the Brewers had to figure he was going to do when they signed him this off season – striking out a lot and hitting a lot of home runs. That’s is what Carter has done throughout his career. He has 112 strikeouts in 296 at bats but he is also the team leader in home runs at 22. The thing that is surprising is that Carter has done almost all of his work on the season at home. He has hit 16 of 22 home runs at Miller Park and also has scored 36 of his 51 RBI from Miller Park.

Ryan Braun continues to be productive: Braun was in contention for a National League All-Star roster spot until the roster was formally announced. He hit .312 in the first half with 13 home runs and 44 RBI. Braun struggled in the early portion of July hitting just .212 with no home runs or RBI thus far in the month.

Lucroy is All-Star worthily: Jonathan Lucroy was the Brewers lone All-Star representative and he was certainly deserving of selection. Lucroy missed a significant portion of last season with a broken toe from a foul tip followed by a concussion latter in the season. Lucroy was never able to get his season track. He has come back healthy and in a big way this season. He is currently hitting .304 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI. Those numbers rank him near the top of the league in all of those respective categories among catchers.

Jonathan Villar position player surprise of the first half: Vilar has been a largely pleasant surprise. He has spent the majority of the first half hitting over 300. He also does a good job getting on base drawing 43 walks in the first half. That is factored into his on base percentage of a healthy .380. That is by far the highest of his career. He also the national league leader in steals at 31 Villar has his issues to be sure as he has already committed 10 caught stealing’s and 12 fielding errors. But in season where the Brewers are searching for keepers, Vilar has shown he is one. The position he will play can be discussed but he has shown he has the talent to be part of the Brewers future.

 Junior Guerra pitching surprise of the first half: Guerra was the first move of GM David Sterns over the winter. Guerra has pitched in almost every possible location of organized baseball where a person can pitch yet a solid argument can be made he was the Brewers best pitcher of the first half. He went 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA including victories over the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals – three of best offenses in the national league.

Starting pitching: A common problem for Brewers pitchers this season is high pitch counts in the early and middle part of games not allowing the starting pitchers to regularly get into the 6th and 7th inning of games. This has resulted in the bullpen having to cover significant innings and wearing down in some cases. This rotation was never intended to be a playoff caliber rotation but people in the Brewers organization thought the rotation could be a surprise strength to the club. That has not been the case. Between poor performances, lack of innings coverage, two starters from the opening day roster being sent to the minors for poor performance, the rotation on the whole is a disappointment to the Brewers first half.

Fundamental and Execution problems lead to losses: The Brewers team batting average is .245. The Brewers team batting average with runners in scoring position is just .238. When you have a batting average in both of those categories that low added weight is placed on being able to execute when necessary so those batting averages are not brought into consideration. That means converting situations with men at third and less than two outs into runs. Yet far too often in the first half leadoff triples have not moved an inch, leadoff doubles have been stranded and on several occupations in the first half where the Brewers did not score from a bases loaded no out situation. Failure to execute offensively is one of the biggest reasons for the Brewers first half record.

Looking ahead: The Brewers are firmly entrenched in the standings in fourth place. This team has played hard and kept most games reasonably close. That can’t be questioned and this young team deserves credit in that area. The execution and decision making are lacking but that has to be somewhat expected with a young team. There are rumors of many players being on the trade block. The fan base needs to continue to trust David Sterns and his staff as this rebuilding process continues to move forward. If trades result in additional losses that can be beneficial towards continued growth of the farm system that can hopefully lead the Brewers back to contention over the next few years. The fan base has to remember that rebuilding a team correctly takes patience and time. Those items can be clouded when losses mount in a rebuild but as organizations like the Cubs and Astros have shown they can be very much worth it when completed properly.

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