3) Strikeout Pitchers
If you just take a look at some high-level statistics, you might say that the Brewers have a pretty good pitching staff across the board. They currently have a team ERA of 4.00, 12th in MLB, and a WHIP of 1.25, good for eighth. If you want to get even more granular and look at the individual players that make this possible, you’ll notice bullpen staples such as Devin Williams, Joel Payamps, Hoby Milner, and Elvis Peguero posting incredibly strong ERA+ figures, followed by starters Wade Miley and Corbin Burnes.
In fact, of the 11 active qualified pitchers, nine of them have ERA+ figures above 100, meaning that they are performing better than average when adjusting for park factors. However, of those same 11, only four pitchers have above-average strikeout rates, meaning that for the most part, the pitching staff is heavily relying on soft contact. Matthew Trueblood pointed out this lack of swing-and-miss back in mid-April.
The Brewers have been one of the best defensive teams in baseball this year, posting a team Defensive Runs Saved figure of 34, third in MLB behind just the Blue Jays and Rangers. Blake Perkins and William Contreras, in particular, have been exceptional, leading the team with eight and seven DRS, respectively.
This is great, but if the Brewers are able to get a few more strikeout-based pitchers to take some of the pressure off of the lineup. Particularly in the starting rotation, Milwaukee should look to acquire some strikeout backup to compensate for Corbin Burnes’s slight dip in performance this season--although come back later this week for more insight on that topic.
2) Contact Hitters
In this new age of baseball, batting average can sometimes be an overlooked statistic. After Moneyball, there are many who think on-base-percentage is an upgrade to batting average, but one key thing to remember is that a hit is a ball in play. A walk can only score a run if the bases are loaded, but a single can score a particularly speedy runner all the way from first.
Of the team’s eight qualified hitters, only three players (Christian Yelich, Owen Miller, and Contreras) are batting above .230. The inability to put balls in play is one of the reasons that the Brewers are currently ranked 14th in the NL and 25th in MLB in runs scored. With a pitiful team batting average of .232, getting a few contact-focused bats could pay dividends throughout the rest of the season.
1) Power Bats
Consistent singles are great, but contact hitting is a gift that not all players possess. Thankfully, one can easily offset a lower batting average by getting doubles and home runs. The whole purpose of stats like OPS and xwOBA are to properly value hitters that may bat around .240-.260 but hit 30+ home runs per season.
A good example of this is Willy Adames, who is currently batting a somewhat dismal .212, but with a decent walk rate and a slugging average of .411, his OPS of .706 is much more palatable. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, Adames is one of just three qualified position players on the team with slugging figures above the league average.
None of the Brewers are going to be hitting a Barry Bonds-esque home run stride any time soon, with Adames currently leading the team with 16, but if the team is able to bolster their hitting with a few more big hitters, it could generate more runs and improve upon the team’s greatest weakness this season, the offense.
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