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  1. Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (102 pitches, 61 strikes (59.8%) Home Runs: Hunter Renfroe 2 (27), Rowdy Tellez (33) Top 3 WPA: Hunter Renfroe (0.328), Corbin Burnes (0.147), Omar Narvaez (0.141) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Hunter Renfroe Provides the Power Things were pretty quiet in the first three innings. The Reds scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 1st inning on an Alejo Lopez single. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Hunter Renfroe came to bat with Rowdy Tellez on base. He launched his 26th home run of the season to give the Brewers the 2-1 lead. The Crew kept adding on that inning. Omar Narvaez later singled to score Andrew McCutchen, and then Luis Urias scored on a Tyrone Taylor single to make it 4-1. One is terrific but twice is really nice. In the fifth frame, with Rowdy Tellez again on base, Renfroe came to the plate again and hit a second, two-run homer to give the Brewers a 6-1 lead. It was the 27th home run of the year for Renfroe. Both teams went scoreless in the 6th inning. The Reds didn’t score in the top of the 7th and then the Brewers added on. Christian Yelich scored on a Willy Adames double. Soon after, Renfroe drove in his fifth run of the game to score Adames on a single. Renfroe later scored on a single by Urias. Through seven innings, the Brewers held a 9-1 lead. The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the 7th inning. The 8th inning was scoreless for both teams. Rowdy Tellez led off the top of the 9th inning with a solo home run off of position player Alejo Lopez. That brought Renfroe to the plate again. He was 4-for-4 to that point, and of course, the one “pitcher” to get him out was Lopez who started the game at second base. Burnes Comes Through With the Brewers needing to win at least eight of their final 11 games, they really need to be able to rely on Corbin Burnes. It’s fair to say that Burnes wasn’t at his absolute best on Saturday in Cincinnati, but he was certainly good enough on this night. Good enough to earn his 11th win of the year. He struggled with his control a little more than he usually does. His strike percentage was just under 60% He gave up just the four hits, but he also uncharacteristically walked three batters too. However, he worked into the 7th inning and kept the Crew in control. He had eight strikeouts in the game. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Burnes gave up the first-inning run and then didn’t give up a run until the 7th inning. He left the game with one run in and a runner in scoring position. He was relieved by Trevor Gott who got the next two batters out. Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless 8th inning before Brent Suter struck out two batters in a perfect 9th inning. That’s got to hurt! Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning despite a lack of control. Just six of his 16 pitches were strikes. He walked the leadoff batter of the inning on four pitches, but he also hit Reds’ rookie infielder Spencer Steer. It is interesting because the two were teammates and went to spring training together in 2021 and 2022 with the Minnesota Twins. Rogers was traded to the Padres on Opening Day, and of course, the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in the Josh Hader deal. Rogers got the opportunity in a low-leverage situation. In his previous outing, he gave up four runs on one hit and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning. And before that, he gave up a run on two hits in one inning against the Yankees. However, in his previous four appearances, he worked four scoreless, hitless, walkless innings that included eight strikeouts. It has certainly been a roller coaster season for Rogers. What’s Next? The Brewers will play their final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Reds one more time. Freddy Peralta will come off of the Injured List to try to keep the team’s hopes alive for a playoff berth. He is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA. The Reds will counter with former first-round pick Nick Lodolo who is 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA. Game time is 12:40 central time. Wild Card Update The Brewers won. The Padres beat the Rockies 9-3. The Phillies lost to Kyle Wright and the Braves 6-3. The Brewers made up one game on the Phillies. Postgame Interviews
  2. Needing to win as many games as possible over their final 11 games, the Brewers got a 9-2 win in Cincinnati on Saturday. Image courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (102 pitches, 61 strikes (59.8%) Home Runs: Hunter Renfroe 2 (27), Rowdy Tellez (33) Top 3 WPA: Hunter Renfroe (0.328), Corbin Burnes (0.147), Omar Narvaez (0.141) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Hunter Renfroe Provides the Power Things were pretty quiet in the first three innings. The Reds scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 1st inning on an Alejo Lopez single. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Hunter Renfroe came to bat with Rowdy Tellez on base. He launched his 26th home run of the season to give the Brewers the 2-1 lead. The Crew kept adding on that inning. Omar Narvaez later singled to score Andrew McCutchen, and then Luis Urias scored on a Tyrone Taylor single to make it 4-1. One is terrific but twice is really nice. In the fifth frame, with Rowdy Tellez again on base, Renfroe came to the plate again and hit a second, two-run homer to give the Brewers a 6-1 lead. It was the 27th home run of the year for Renfroe. Both teams went scoreless in the 6th inning. The Reds didn’t score in the top of the 7th and then the Brewers added on. Christian Yelich scored on a Willy Adames double. Soon after, Renfroe drove in his fifth run of the game to score Adames on a single. Renfroe later scored on a single by Urias. Through seven innings, the Brewers held a 9-1 lead. The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the 7th inning. The 8th inning was scoreless for both teams. Rowdy Tellez led off the top of the 9th inning with a solo home run off of position player Alejo Lopez. That brought Renfroe to the plate again. He was 4-for-4 to that point, and of course, the one “pitcher” to get him out was Lopez who started the game at second base. Burnes Comes Through With the Brewers needing to win at least eight of their final 11 games, they really need to be able to rely on Corbin Burnes. It’s fair to say that Burnes wasn’t at his absolute best on Saturday in Cincinnati, but he was certainly good enough on this night. Good enough to earn his 11th win of the year. He struggled with his control a little more than he usually does. His strike percentage was just under 60% He gave up just the four hits, but he also uncharacteristically walked three batters too. However, he worked into the 7th inning and kept the Crew in control. He had eight strikeouts in the game. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Burnes gave up the first-inning run and then didn’t give up a run until the 7th inning. He left the game with one run in and a runner in scoring position. He was relieved by Trevor Gott who got the next two batters out. Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless 8th inning before Brent Suter struck out two batters in a perfect 9th inning. That’s got to hurt! Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning despite a lack of control. Just six of his 16 pitches were strikes. He walked the leadoff batter of the inning on four pitches, but he also hit Reds’ rookie infielder Spencer Steer. It is interesting because the two were teammates and went to spring training together in 2021 and 2022 with the Minnesota Twins. Rogers was traded to the Padres on Opening Day, and of course, the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in the Josh Hader deal. Rogers got the opportunity in a low-leverage situation. In his previous outing, he gave up four runs on one hit and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning. And before that, he gave up a run on two hits in one inning against the Yankees. However, in his previous four appearances, he worked four scoreless, hitless, walkless innings that included eight strikeouts. It has certainly been a roller coaster season for Rogers. What’s Next? The Brewers will play their final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Reds one more time. Freddy Peralta will come off of the Injured List to try to keep the team’s hopes alive for a playoff berth. He is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA. The Reds will counter with former first-round pick Nick Lodolo who is 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA. Game time is 12:40 central time. Wild Card Update The Brewers won. The Padres beat the Rockies 9-3. The Phillies lost to Kyle Wright and the Braves 6-3. The Brewers made up one game on the Phillies. Postgame Interviews View full article
  3. Even if the Milwaukee Brewers slipped into the playoffs, most would see 2022 as a disappointment unless they made a miraculous run to the NLCS (at least). Either way, there are a handful of free agent decisions the front office needs to make for next season. Image courtesy of © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports A vast majority of Brewers are under team control in 2023. Eighteen players are in their arbitration years, with a number in pre-arbitration. David Stearns, President of Baseball Operations, could decide to cut ties with any of those guys, but most are staying put. Stearns and GM Matt Arnold have tremendous flexibility with the roster, though, as only three players have guaranteed contracts in 2023: Christian Yelich, Freddy Peralta, and Aaron Ashby. So some critical decisions will need to be made when dealing with the Brewers' potential free agents. Four players, in particular, provide some choice from the club to determine if they offer more value to Milwaukee versus what is available on the market. With all due respect to Andrew McCutchen, his performance this season doesn't warrant a discussion about his return. It hasn't worked out. With Cutch off the list, here are four potential free agents who may or may not return to Milwaukee. 4 - Jace Peterson The 32-year-old utility man has been the third-most valuable position player for the Brewers with a 2.2 fWAR. Part of that stems from Milwaukee's lack of star power in the lineup. However, despite sporadic playing time, his value also comes in quality defense in multiple spots and an ability to get on base at a solid clip. Peterson is the type of veteran player you find on winning teams. These types might not jump out at you statistically, but their importance is seen throughout the season. There will be multiple factors in choosing to bring Peterson back or not. What do the Brewers plan to do at second and third base? Will prospect Brice Turang have a major role in the big leagues in 2023? The third factor is cost. Peterson made $1.825 million on a one-year deal this season. He will undoubtedly get a bump up, but how much? Fangraphs' defensive metric ranks Peterson fourth on the club in that area, and its BsR stat for overall base running has him at the top in Milwaukee. Odds of a return: 65% 3 - Brad Boxberger Based on ERA (2.95) and ERA+ (135), Brad Boxberger is having a better overall season than he did in 2021. It might not feel that way as he has more blown saves this year, and many of his other numbers are worse. While he's giving up fewer home runs per nine innings, his WHIP is 1.309 (1.067 in 2022), with more walks, more hits, and fewer strikeouts this season. One major concern should be Boxberger's Whiff% where he went from the 85th percentile of MLB last season to the 33rd percentile in 2022. At 34 years old, you start to wonder what he has left in the tank. In each of the past two seasons, Boxberger has stretches when he looks cooked. Manager Craig Counsell relies on him as a stopper of sorts and utilizes him in a variety of innings - more so than any other reliever on the club. Boxberger is making $2.5 million this season, with a team option for a $3 million contract in 2023. The buyout for the option is just $750,000, so Milwaukee loses little to cut bait. Considering the sizable free agent reliever market each season, a $3 million tag for a potentially declining bullpen arm makes Boxberger less appealing than a year ago. But they could see the cost certainty of the club option as worthwhile gamble for one more season. Odds of a return: 48% (Chances increase if the Brewers buy him out and he is willing to re-sign for less) 2 - Omar Narvaez After an All-Star selection in 2021, Narvaez's 2022 offensive performance has dipped significantly. He is 22% below average in OPS+ (78) while hitting just .214 with a .324 slugging percentage. He clearly peaked in his age-27 season in Seattle when he slugged .460 with a 119 OPS+. Narvaez turns 31 before Opening Day 2023 and has appeared worn down in the second half of the last two years. Narvaez came over as an "offense-first" backstop with defensive concerns, but that has flipped in Milwaukee (or has it?). He ranks seventh in MLB in Baseball Savant's strike rate stat at 49.7%, which shows the percentage of non-swinging strikes called on the outside edges of the strike zone. However, Narvaez is 47th in "blocking runs," according to Baseball Prospectus. If you've watched enough games, you have witnessed Narvaez's struggle to block balls consistently. He is also 35th in caught stealing percentage (24%) among catchers with 300+ frames behind the plate. Those last two statistics argue against his supposed defensive prowess. Narvaez is making $5 million this season. Considering the constant need for catching, some team is likely willing to pay more on the free agent market. Milwaukee has 29-year-old catchers Victor Caratini and Pedro Severino under team control for next year at a lower cost. They also have prospect Mario Feliciano ready for MLB opportunities. The price per production for Narvaez looks undesirable. Odds of a return: 15% 1 - Taylor Rogers The left-handed reliever acquired in the Josh Hader trade has had a down year. After never posting an ERA+ below 128 from 2017-2021 (not counting 2020), Rogers' 86 ERA+ could be a sign of declining skill. He has also dealt with some minor injury concerns, so perhaps it's a one-off dip this season. Many of his numbers improved during his short time in Milwaukee, upping his strikeout-per-nine-inning (K/9) rate to 14.5 versus 10.5 with the San Diego Padres. His WHIP has also dropped from 1.113 to 1.091. The soon-to-be 32-year-old southpaw reliever is earning $7.3 million this season and will likely get a fair amount of interest in free agency. Though he got off to a rough start with the Brewers, Rogers owns a 3.07 ERA and has held opponents to a .180 average over his last 14.2 innings pitched. For a bullpen that needs help heading into 2023, Rogers should be in play to stay, but the length and size of the contract demands could be prohibitive. I'd like to see them make something work and have him spend time in their pitch lab, although it feels like a less than a 50/50 chance the Brewers pony up enough. Odds of a return: 40% Some may ask, "Why isn't Kolten Wong on this list?" Well, his situation requires further examination, so look for a more in-depth analysis soon. As for the rest of the Brew Crew, many expect plenty of roster turnover heading into 2023. Brewers fans should expect to learn new names and faces with a combination of trades and letting players go. If Milwaukee plans to ascend to the top of the NL Central again to fight it out with the St. Louis Cardinals, the front office needs to rediscover the right mix of who stays and who goes. View full article
  4. A vast majority of Brewers are under team control in 2023. Eighteen players are in their arbitration years, with a number in pre-arbitration. David Stearns, President of Baseball Operations, could decide to cut ties with any of those guys, but most are staying put. Stearns and GM Matt Arnold have tremendous flexibility with the roster, though, as only three players have guaranteed contracts in 2023: Christian Yelich, Freddy Peralta, and Aaron Ashby. So some critical decisions will need to be made when dealing with the Brewers' potential free agents. Four players, in particular, provide some choice from the club to determine if they offer more value to Milwaukee versus what is available on the market. With all due respect to Andrew McCutchen, his performance this season doesn't warrant a discussion about his return. It hasn't worked out. With Cutch off the list, here are four potential free agents who may or may not return to Milwaukee. 4 - Jace Peterson The 32-year-old utility man has been the third-most valuable position player for the Brewers with a 2.2 fWAR. Part of that stems from Milwaukee's lack of star power in the lineup. However, despite sporadic playing time, his value also comes in quality defense in multiple spots and an ability to get on base at a solid clip. Peterson is the type of veteran player you find on winning teams. These types might not jump out at you statistically, but their importance is seen throughout the season. There will be multiple factors in choosing to bring Peterson back or not. What do the Brewers plan to do at second and third base? Will prospect Brice Turang have a major role in the big leagues in 2023? The third factor is cost. Peterson made $1.825 million on a one-year deal this season. He will undoubtedly get a bump up, but how much? Fangraphs' defensive metric ranks Peterson fourth on the club in that area, and its BsR stat for overall base running has him at the top in Milwaukee. Odds of a return: 65% 3 - Brad Boxberger Based on ERA (2.95) and ERA+ (135), Brad Boxberger is having a better overall season than he did in 2021. It might not feel that way as he has more blown saves this year, and many of his other numbers are worse. While he's giving up fewer home runs per nine innings, his WHIP is 1.309 (1.067 in 2022), with more walks, more hits, and fewer strikeouts this season. One major concern should be Boxberger's Whiff% where he went from the 85th percentile of MLB last season to the 33rd percentile in 2022. At 34 years old, you start to wonder what he has left in the tank. In each of the past two seasons, Boxberger has stretches when he looks cooked. Manager Craig Counsell relies on him as a stopper of sorts and utilizes him in a variety of innings - more so than any other reliever on the club. Boxberger is making $2.5 million this season, with a team option for a $3 million contract in 2023. The buyout for the option is just $750,000, so Milwaukee loses little to cut bait. Considering the sizable free agent reliever market each season, a $3 million tag for a potentially declining bullpen arm makes Boxberger less appealing than a year ago. But they could see the cost certainty of the club option as worthwhile gamble for one more season. Odds of a return: 48% (Chances increase if the Brewers buy him out and he is willing to re-sign for less) 2 - Omar Narvaez After an All-Star selection in 2021, Narvaez's 2022 offensive performance has dipped significantly. He is 22% below average in OPS+ (78) while hitting just .214 with a .324 slugging percentage. He clearly peaked in his age-27 season in Seattle when he slugged .460 with a 119 OPS+. Narvaez turns 31 before Opening Day 2023 and has appeared worn down in the second half of the last two years. Narvaez came over as an "offense-first" backstop with defensive concerns, but that has flipped in Milwaukee (or has it?). He ranks seventh in MLB in Baseball Savant's strike rate stat at 49.7%, which shows the percentage of non-swinging strikes called on the outside edges of the strike zone. However, Narvaez is 47th in "blocking runs," according to Baseball Prospectus. If you've watched enough games, you have witnessed Narvaez's struggle to block balls consistently. He is also 35th in caught stealing percentage (24%) among catchers with 300+ frames behind the plate. Those last two statistics argue against his supposed defensive prowess. Narvaez is making $5 million this season. Considering the constant need for catching, some team is likely willing to pay more on the free agent market. Milwaukee has 29-year-old catchers Victor Caratini and Pedro Severino under team control for next year at a lower cost. They also have prospect Mario Feliciano ready for MLB opportunities. The price per production for Narvaez looks undesirable. Odds of a return: 15% 1 - Taylor Rogers The left-handed reliever acquired in the Josh Hader trade has had a down year. After never posting an ERA+ below 128 from 2017-2021 (not counting 2020), Rogers' 86 ERA+ could be a sign of declining skill. He has also dealt with some minor injury concerns, so perhaps it's a one-off dip this season. Many of his numbers improved during his short time in Milwaukee, upping his strikeout-per-nine-inning (K/9) rate to 14.5 versus 10.5 with the San Diego Padres. His WHIP has also dropped from 1.113 to 1.091. The soon-to-be 32-year-old southpaw reliever is earning $7.3 million this season and will likely get a fair amount of interest in free agency. Though he got off to a rough start with the Brewers, Rogers owns a 3.07 ERA and has held opponents to a .180 average over his last 14.2 innings pitched. For a bullpen that needs help heading into 2023, Rogers should be in play to stay, but the length and size of the contract demands could be prohibitive. I'd like to see them make something work and have him spend time in their pitch lab, although it feels like a less than a 50/50 chance the Brewers pony up enough. Odds of a return: 40% Some may ask, "Why isn't Kolten Wong on this list?" Well, his situation requires further examination, so look for a more in-depth analysis soon. As for the rest of the Brew Crew, many expect plenty of roster turnover heading into 2023. Brewers fans should expect to learn new names and faces with a combination of trades and letting players go. If Milwaukee plans to ascend to the top of the NL Central again to fight it out with the St. Louis Cardinals, the front office needs to rediscover the right mix of who stays and who goes.
  5. Milwaukee sent Omar Narvaez to Triple-A Nashville on August 16 to begin a rehab assignment. Now just three days later, he’s back in the major league clubhouse and looking to give the Brewers a boost as they angle towards the postseason. Craig Counsell’s club is locked in a race with the St. Louis Cardinals, the only other team in the NL Central trying this season. Narvaez brings a steadying veteran presence behind the plate, and that’s needed after the tumultuous tenure that Pedro Severino displayed this season. Although soft tissue injuries can linger, Narvaez and Milwaukee are both hoping the brief time off was enough to put this in the rearview mirror.
  6. The Milwaukee Brewers have been without the services of their veteran catcher Omar Narvaez since he was placed on the injured list on August 4th. Now over the left quadriceps strain, he’s back in the big leagues. He's expected to be activated by the club on Saturday. Milwaukee sent Omar Narvaez to Triple-A Nashville on August 16 to begin a rehab assignment. Now just three days later, he’s back in the major league clubhouse and looking to give the Brewers a boost as they angle towards the postseason. Craig Counsell’s club is locked in a race with the St. Louis Cardinals, the only other team in the NL Central trying this season. Narvaez brings a steadying veteran presence behind the plate, and that’s needed after the tumultuous tenure that Pedro Severino displayed this season. Although soft tissue injuries can linger, Narvaez and Milwaukee are both hoping the brief time off was enough to put this in the rearview mirror. View full article
  7. Tyler White hasn’t played in the majors since 2019, and he spent 2020 playing overseas in the Korean Baseball Organization. After a stint at Triple-A with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, White signed as a minor league free agent for Milwaukee this year. Across 75 games he posted a .788 OPS with 13 homers and a 69/50 K/BB. The Brewers decided this was depth they wouldn’t be using and sent White to Atlanta. Omar Narvaez has been on the injured list since August 4th with a left quad strain. He was signed to a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason and has played in 60 games for Milwaukee. His .687 OPS checks in at a 94 OPS+, just below league average. A veteran behind the dish, Narvaez is definitely someone that Craig Counsell would like to have back in the mix sooner rather than later. At the trade deadline, Milwaukee swung a deal for Trevor Rosenthal. After he was signed by the San Francisco Giants, Rosenthal never wound up pitching before being dealt to his new team. Suffering a hamstring injury during his showcase, the injury needed to heal before he could return to action. Rosenthal last pitched in the majors during the 2020 season, but his velocity showed well during a session for scouts earlier this summer. When healthy, he’s been an exceptional relief asset being able to contribute with strikeouts and high velocity. Milwaukee eagerly awaits the return of both veterans to the 26-man roster.
  8. The Milwaukee Brewers traded first baseman Tyler White to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. They also had both catcher Omar Narvaez and pitcher Trevor Rosenthal start rehab assignments with Triple-A Nashville. Tyler White hasn’t played in the majors since 2019, and he spent 2020 playing overseas in the Korean Baseball Organization. After a stint at Triple-A with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, White signed as a minor league free agent for Milwaukee this year. Across 75 games he posted a .788 OPS with 13 homers and a 69/50 K/BB. The Brewers decided this was depth they wouldn’t be using and sent White to Atlanta. Omar Narvaez has been on the injured list since August 4th with a left quad strain. He was signed to a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason and has played in 60 games for Milwaukee. His .687 OPS checks in at a 94 OPS+, just below league average. A veteran behind the dish, Narvaez is definitely someone that Craig Counsell would like to have back in the mix sooner rather than later. At the trade deadline, Milwaukee swung a deal for Trevor Rosenthal. After he was signed by the San Francisco Giants, Rosenthal never wound up pitching before being dealt to his new team. Suffering a hamstring injury during his showcase, the injury needed to heal before he could return to action. Rosenthal last pitched in the majors during the 2020 season, but his velocity showed well during a session for scouts earlier this summer. When healthy, he’s been an exceptional relief asset being able to contribute with strikeouts and high velocity. Milwaukee eagerly awaits the return of both veterans to the 26-man roster. View full article
  9. The news surrounding Omar Narvaez comes just one day after Milwaukee designated backstop Pedro Severino for assignment. In 60 games this year as the Brewers primary catcher, Narvaez owns a .687 OPS. Mario Feliciano has yet to play for Milwaukee this year and has just one single career plate appearance. He drew a walk for the Brewers last season and came around to score. In 58 games at Triple-A this season, Feliciano has a .728 OPS. MLB Insider Robert Murray is suggesting that Milwaukee is also set to select the contract of catcher Jakson Reetz. A 26-year-old former 3rd round pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, Reetz has clubbed 25 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season. It’s his first year with the Brewers organization, and while he had just a .613 OPS in the minors last year, Reetz owns a .984 mark this season. Reetz would become the 5th catcher on Milwaukee's 40-man roster. Alex Jackson is in the minors while Feliciano and Victor Caratini are on the Brewers active roster. Milwaukee has not yet made any move regarding Reetz official.
  10. The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that they have placed catcher Omar Narvaez on the 10-day injured list with a left quad strain. Mario Feliciano was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to take his place. The news surrounding Omar Narvaez comes just one day after Milwaukee designated backstop Pedro Severino for assignment. In 60 games this year as the Brewers primary catcher, Narvaez owns a .687 OPS. Mario Feliciano has yet to play for Milwaukee this year and has just one single career plate appearance. He drew a walk for the Brewers last season and came around to score. In 58 games at Triple-A this season, Feliciano has a .728 OPS. MLB Insider Robert Murray is suggesting that Milwaukee is also set to select the contract of catcher Jakson Reetz. A 26-year-old former 3rd round pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, Reetz has clubbed 25 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season. It’s his first year with the Brewers organization, and while he had just a .613 OPS in the minors last year, Reetz owns a .984 mark this season. Reetz would become the 5th catcher on Milwaukee's 40-man roster. Alex Jackson is in the minors while Feliciano and Victor Caratini are on the Brewers active roster. Milwaukee has not yet made any move regarding Reetz official. View full article
  11. The MLB season has reached its halfway point. With the All-Star break and the festivities taking the full front of attention, it may be time to take a break from the fun and reflect on the first half of the season. Like a teacher handing out the dreaded report card, it's time to see how the Brewers fared in half number one. Check out our stories earlier this week if you would like to see the infielders and outfielders grades. Before jumping into the grading breakdown, it's important to lay some guidelines. Grading is based on the players performance through the first 93 games of the 2022 season. Listed with the given grades is the players slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) as of July 18, and either their OAA (Outs Above Average) or percentile grades in pitch framing. The grades are also based on both the offensive and defensive value the players should have been reasonably expected to provide, and is completely subjective. The purpose of the grades are simply to reflect, and not to promote any distaste towards any certain player. Omar Narváez * .236/.327/.356 * 83rd Percentile in Pitch Framing * Catcher Grade: B- Omar Narváez made his first All-Star team last year as the Brewers catcher, and in 2022, he hasn’t had the encore fans may have hoped. Outside of one singular hot streak, Narváez has been below average at the plate, and hasn’t produced much power. His defense remains good however, as Narváez deserves a large amount of credit for helping hold the Brewers staff together thus far. Narváez should benefit from the All-Star break just as much as anyone else on the Crew, and hopefully he can ride a new hot streak to the end of the season. If not, his work with the staff should continue to be excellent. Victor Caratini * .244/.362/.441 * 62nd Percentile in Pitch Framing * Backup Catcher Grade: A- A former division rival, Caratini is putting together a career year as part of Milwaukee’s catching platoon. Caratini has arguably been the team's best offensive player, and arguably been the team's most clutch one as well. His defense, while worse than Narvaez’s, is still above league average. If anyone has passed expectations this year, it’s been Caratini. The catching tandem in Milwaukee hasn’t generated many complaints, and Caratini is a large part of that. Looking forward, it’s hard to see things change, and fans should expect Caratini to continue to thrive in his new-found role. Pedro Severino * .214/.313/.357 * Doesn’t qualify for Pitch Framing * Third Catcher Grade: F Though the sample size is small, Severino has already shown he’s practically wasting a roster spot. Suspended for the first half of the season due to PED’s, Severino has returned to little fanfare. He’s easily the worst of the three catchers defensively, as if he isn’t going to hit, he has no place on the team, especially when bats like Hiura are stuck in AAA. In all honesty, Severino’s time as a Brewer should come to an end. Milwaukee needs to cut their losses with him, because right now, they can use his spot in much better ways. Now it's your turn. Are the grades fair? Would you give extra credit or demerits to some of the players? If so, let's hear it in the comments below.
  12. Catching has been a quiet strength for the Brewers, especially after the team scrambled to address a banned substance suspension just before Opening Day. Check our grades and see if you agree. The MLB season has reached its halfway point. With the All-Star break and the festivities taking the full front of attention, it may be time to take a break from the fun and reflect on the first half of the season. Like a teacher handing out the dreaded report card, it's time to see how the Brewers fared in half number one. Check out our stories earlier this week if you would like to see the infielders and outfielders grades. Before jumping into the grading breakdown, it's important to lay some guidelines. Grading is based on the players performance through the first 93 games of the 2022 season. Listed with the given grades is the players slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) as of July 18, and either their OAA (Outs Above Average) or percentile grades in pitch framing. The grades are also based on both the offensive and defensive value the players should have been reasonably expected to provide, and is completely subjective. The purpose of the grades are simply to reflect, and not to promote any distaste towards any certain player. Omar Narváez * .236/.327/.356 * 83rd Percentile in Pitch Framing * Catcher Grade: B- Omar Narváez made his first All-Star team last year as the Brewers catcher, and in 2022, he hasn’t had the encore fans may have hoped. Outside of one singular hot streak, Narváez has been below average at the plate, and hasn’t produced much power. His defense remains good however, as Narváez deserves a large amount of credit for helping hold the Brewers staff together thus far. Narváez should benefit from the All-Star break just as much as anyone else on the Crew, and hopefully he can ride a new hot streak to the end of the season. If not, his work with the staff should continue to be excellent. Victor Caratini * .244/.362/.441 * 62nd Percentile in Pitch Framing * Backup Catcher Grade: A- A former division rival, Caratini is putting together a career year as part of Milwaukee’s catching platoon. Caratini has arguably been the team's best offensive player, and arguably been the team's most clutch one as well. His defense, while worse than Narvaez’s, is still above league average. If anyone has passed expectations this year, it’s been Caratini. The catching tandem in Milwaukee hasn’t generated many complaints, and Caratini is a large part of that. Looking forward, it’s hard to see things change, and fans should expect Caratini to continue to thrive in his new-found role. Pedro Severino * .214/.313/.357 * Doesn’t qualify for Pitch Framing * Third Catcher Grade: F Though the sample size is small, Severino has already shown he’s practically wasting a roster spot. Suspended for the first half of the season due to PED’s, Severino has returned to little fanfare. He’s easily the worst of the three catchers defensively, as if he isn’t going to hit, he has no place on the team, especially when bats like Hiura are stuck in AAA. In all honesty, Severino’s time as a Brewer should come to an end. Milwaukee needs to cut their losses with him, because right now, they can use his spot in much better ways. Now it's your turn. Are the grades fair? Would you give extra credit or demerits to some of the players? If so, let's hear it in the comments below. View full article
  13. Pedro Severino was assumed to be the backup catcher to Omar Narvaez following the departure of Manny Pina in free agency during the offseason. This plan was tossed out on April 5th, just before the season started, after the results of a PED test administered before the MLB lockout began on December 2nd showed Clomiphene in his body, a substance banned by the MLB. Reason for Suspension Severino accepted responsibility for his mistake and apologized immediately in a statement released via the MLBPA, saying that his wife and himself have been working to start a family and had been unsuccessful thus far. A doctor in the Dominican Republic, where Severino is from, prescribed him a medication which contained Clomiphene to help aid in this endeavor. Clomiphene is often used to improve fertility, but typically only in females as it is what is termed an “ovary stimulant,” as it facilitates ovulation. As such, it has only been approved by the FDA in women. The use in men has shown varying results by increasing sperm count, but will often decrease with improper dosing. Another use for Clomiphene in men is as a “downer” following a steroid cycle. This is done by rebalancing the testosterone levels within the body and hiding the usage of a steroid. There is obviously much more science involved, but this is a quick summary. Now I am not saying that Pedro used anything besides Clomiphene, and this all may be a huge mistake, I just want to explain a bit about what he was marked positive for. Career Batting The seven-year veteran started his career with the Nationals in 2015. After four years there, he was waived and claimed by the Orioles in 2019, spending the next three years there, before being granted free agency by the Baltimore club. He signed with the Brewers shortly thereafter. In his major league career, he has played in 362 games, 327 of them as a catcher. Most of these games were during his time with the Orioles, as he played in 257 games in his time there, compared to the 105 games in his four years with the Nats. He definitely had improved success with more consistent playing time, raising his batting average over 60 points, to .249, in his years with the Orioles. The twenty-eight year-old has hit 33 home runs in his time in the bigs, with 133 rbis, accruing an OBP of 0.305. Defensive Comparison Defensively, he has been consistently decent, with a career fielding percentage of 0.993. Severino has caught 28% of runners trying to steal a base on him. His pop time to second base is in the middle of the rankings for catchers at 51 percentile, averaging 1.97 seconds in 2021. For reference, this year both Victor Caratini and Narvaez have pop times of 2.01. Caratini has an exchange time of 0.75, while Narvaez has an exchange time of 0.72. Severino had an exchange time of 0.75 in 2021, and also has a slightly stronger arm. His pitch framing, however, is quite poor. By that, I mean he was ranked in the bottom 1% of the league for stealing potential strikes for his pitchers, with a strike rate of just 43.7% in 2021, and never reaching 47.5% in a season in his entire career. He is marginally better at getting strike calls on the inside or outside edges, like most other catchers, but overall it is quite poor, to the tune of an absolutely horrible -10 catcher framing runs in 2021, and -22 in his entire career. For this metric, you want to be positive. In 2021, Narvaez actually led the league with 10 catcher framing runs and had a strike rate of 49.2%, but Tomas Nido led the league with a strike rate of 53.5%. Severino is bad at getting an extra strike call. Roster Situation Due to the suspension of Severino, Milwaukee went out and got Caratini, who has formed a formidable duo with Narvaez behind the plate. Severino could look to replace Alex Jackson , the catcher who filled in while either Caratini or Narvaez were unavailable, but that would mean the Brewers would have to carry three catchers on their 26-man roster. This is due to the fact Severino has no options remaining. Despite it being unlikely either active catcher gets sent down, it is worthwhile to include that Narvaez also has no options remaining, but Caratini does have one. A quick comparison of the catchers shows that Caratini and Severino have quite similar career numbers and Narvaez leads the group, but this year he has exploded to an OPS+ of 129, which would lead all Brewers’ hitters if he were to qualify. Severino is unlikely to usurp this, as there is not a reasonable scenario where Caratini would be sent down, and Narvaez will not be moved out of the organization. Positional Flexibility There is the chance that one of these players would get some time at another position. Severino has been taking reps at first base in his rehab stint with Biloxi as he prepares to be reactivated. He has never played first before in his minor league career, let alone in the majors before his first recovery game on June 18th. Narvaez has a little bit of experience, appearing in one game at first base, playing in five innings in a game in 2017 while with the White Sox. In that appearance, he made one error in his six defensive chances. When he first became professional while within the Tampa Bay organization, he did have much more experience at first base, starting in 37 of the 42 games played there, and even started a game in left field. Caratini has significantly more broad experience on the field than either other player. He has started at first base in 23 games in the majors, playing in 59. Caratini has also been deployed at third base seven times and in the outfield in one game, though that was on an emergency basis. In the minors, Caratini played in 86 games at first base, starting 84 of those and played in 59 games at third base, starting 57 of those. He even made a start at shortstop once while playing rookie ball in 2013 while with the Braves. His last start in the minors at third base was in 2018, but has more recently during the winter in 2018-2019 and again in 2019-2020 while playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He made appearances in eight games at third base, starting seven of those. Caratini has also started six games, playing in seven at first in those two seasons. Concluding Thoughts This leads to the question, could Severino join the catching tandem and push Caratini into a corner infield spot? My guess is no. With postseason intentions, Milwaukee must consider the fact that Severino will not be eligible for the playoffs this year due to the suspension. There could be value in limiting reps for the current catchers, but Severino has horrible framing, and his hitting is enough. I expect him to be traded or designated for assignment once he returns barring all injuries. I have spoken of positional flexibility, but the Brewers will not be likely to utilize Caratini outside of catcher often. Third base, or especially first base, have been performing decently enough, with an OPS of 0.659 for third basemen and 0.789 for first basemen. The OPS at third is lower than the league average for third basemen, which is 0.719, while the overall league average is 0.705. I don’t expect him to man the hot corner at all, due to lack of recent experience there as well as the return of Mike Brosseau and rise of Jace Peterson this year. Caratini could see reps at first, but not enough to need to carry an additional catcher. Rowdy Tellez will remain the main option at first base. TL;DR Pedro Severino would be a very useful player to have within the organization despite his framing concerns due to the rest of his defense and decent hitting, but is not a better option than what the Brewers have right now. Victor Caratini filled in the void left by the suspension, and Narvaez has performed as expected. Due to not having an remaining options to the minors, I expect Severino to be leaving the Milwaukee Brewer organization following his suspension's completion.
  14. Pedro Severino is slated to come off the restricted list after the game on Saturday following his 80 game suspension for a positive PED test. What will happen when he returns? Pedro Severino was assumed to be the backup catcher to Omar Narvaez following the departure of Manny Pina in free agency during the offseason. This plan was tossed out on April 5th, just before the season started, after the results of a PED test administered before the MLB lockout began on December 2nd showed Clomiphene in his body, a substance banned by the MLB. Reason for Suspension Severino accepted responsibility for his mistake and apologized immediately in a statement released via the MLBPA, saying that his wife and himself have been working to start a family and had been unsuccessful thus far. A doctor in the Dominican Republic, where Severino is from, prescribed him a medication which contained Clomiphene to help aid in this endeavor. Clomiphene is often used to improve fertility, but typically only in females as it is what is termed an “ovary stimulant,” as it facilitates ovulation. As such, it has only been approved by the FDA in women. The use in men has shown varying results by increasing sperm count, but will often decrease with improper dosing. Another use for Clomiphene in men is as a “downer” following a steroid cycle. This is done by rebalancing the testosterone levels within the body and hiding the usage of a steroid. There is obviously much more science involved, but this is a quick summary. Now I am not saying that Pedro used anything besides Clomiphene, and this all may be a huge mistake, I just want to explain a bit about what he was marked positive for. Career Batting The seven-year veteran started his career with the Nationals in 2015. After four years there, he was waived and claimed by the Orioles in 2019, spending the next three years there, before being granted free agency by the Baltimore club. He signed with the Brewers shortly thereafter. In his major league career, he has played in 362 games, 327 of them as a catcher. Most of these games were during his time with the Orioles, as he played in 257 games in his time there, compared to the 105 games in his four years with the Nats. He definitely had improved success with more consistent playing time, raising his batting average over 60 points, to .249, in his years with the Orioles. The twenty-eight year-old has hit 33 home runs in his time in the bigs, with 133 rbis, accruing an OBP of 0.305. Defensive Comparison Defensively, he has been consistently decent, with a career fielding percentage of 0.993. Severino has caught 28% of runners trying to steal a base on him. His pop time to second base is in the middle of the rankings for catchers at 51 percentile, averaging 1.97 seconds in 2021. For reference, this year both Victor Caratini and Narvaez have pop times of 2.01. Caratini has an exchange time of 0.75, while Narvaez has an exchange time of 0.72. Severino had an exchange time of 0.75 in 2021, and also has a slightly stronger arm. His pitch framing, however, is quite poor. By that, I mean he was ranked in the bottom 1% of the league for stealing potential strikes for his pitchers, with a strike rate of just 43.7% in 2021, and never reaching 47.5% in a season in his entire career. He is marginally better at getting strike calls on the inside or outside edges, like most other catchers, but overall it is quite poor, to the tune of an absolutely horrible -10 catcher framing runs in 2021, and -22 in his entire career. For this metric, you want to be positive. In 2021, Narvaez actually led the league with 10 catcher framing runs and had a strike rate of 49.2%, but Tomas Nido led the league with a strike rate of 53.5%. Severino is bad at getting an extra strike call. Roster Situation Due to the suspension of Severino, Milwaukee went out and got Caratini, who has formed a formidable duo with Narvaez behind the plate. Severino could look to replace Alex Jackson , the catcher who filled in while either Caratini or Narvaez were unavailable, but that would mean the Brewers would have to carry three catchers on their 26-man roster. This is due to the fact Severino has no options remaining. Despite it being unlikely either active catcher gets sent down, it is worthwhile to include that Narvaez also has no options remaining, but Caratini does have one. A quick comparison of the catchers shows that Caratini and Severino have quite similar career numbers and Narvaez leads the group, but this year he has exploded to an OPS+ of 129, which would lead all Brewers’ hitters if he were to qualify. Severino is unlikely to usurp this, as there is not a reasonable scenario where Caratini would be sent down, and Narvaez will not be moved out of the organization. Positional Flexibility There is the chance that one of these players would get some time at another position. Severino has been taking reps at first base in his rehab stint with Biloxi as he prepares to be reactivated. He has never played first before in his minor league career, let alone in the majors before his first recovery game on June 18th. Narvaez has a little bit of experience, appearing in one game at first base, playing in five innings in a game in 2017 while with the White Sox. In that appearance, he made one error in his six defensive chances. When he first became professional while within the Tampa Bay organization, he did have much more experience at first base, starting in 37 of the 42 games played there, and even started a game in left field. Caratini has significantly more broad experience on the field than either other player. He has started at first base in 23 games in the majors, playing in 59. Caratini has also been deployed at third base seven times and in the outfield in one game, though that was on an emergency basis. In the minors, Caratini played in 86 games at first base, starting 84 of those and played in 59 games at third base, starting 57 of those. He even made a start at shortstop once while playing rookie ball in 2013 while with the Braves. His last start in the minors at third base was in 2018, but has more recently during the winter in 2018-2019 and again in 2019-2020 while playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He made appearances in eight games at third base, starting seven of those. Caratini has also started six games, playing in seven at first in those two seasons. Concluding Thoughts This leads to the question, could Severino join the catching tandem and push Caratini into a corner infield spot? My guess is no. With postseason intentions, Milwaukee must consider the fact that Severino will not be eligible for the playoffs this year due to the suspension. There could be value in limiting reps for the current catchers, but Severino has horrible framing, and his hitting is enough. I expect him to be traded or designated for assignment once he returns barring all injuries. I have spoken of positional flexibility, but the Brewers will not be likely to utilize Caratini outside of catcher often. Third base, or especially first base, have been performing decently enough, with an OPS of 0.659 for third basemen and 0.789 for first basemen. The OPS at third is lower than the league average for third basemen, which is 0.719, while the overall league average is 0.705. I don’t expect him to man the hot corner at all, due to lack of recent experience there as well as the return of Mike Brosseau and rise of Jace Peterson this year. Caratini could see reps at first, but not enough to need to carry an additional catcher. Rowdy Tellez will remain the main option at first base. TL;DR Pedro Severino would be a very useful player to have within the organization despite his framing concerns due to the rest of his defense and decent hitting, but is not a better option than what the Brewers have right now. Victor Caratini filled in the void left by the suspension, and Narvaez has performed as expected. Due to not having an remaining options to the minors, I expect Severino to be leaving the Milwaukee Brewer organization following his suspension's completion. View full article
  15. Just a couple of days after getting starting shortstop Willy Adames back in the starting lineup, the Milwaukee Brewers have also re-inserted catcher Omar Narvaez. Catcher Alex Jackson was played on the 10-day injured list to make room for the move. Omar Narvaez was originally placed on the injured list at the beginning of June. The issue created an immediate need for a catcher and Alex Hall was selected from Single-A to get a body on the bench. Eventually Alex Jackson replaced Hall as the team's backstop behind Victor Caratini. Narvaez returns to a .274/.364/.415 slash line for Milwaukee. His 119 OPS+ matches a career high mark he has previously held twice, but not since 2019 with the Seattle Mariners. Looking for added depth alongside Caratini, Narvaez's presence on the active roster will be much appreciated. Jackson appeared in just two games during Narvaez's absence. He was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. Jackson is not being optioned, but rather placed on the injured list himself with a left middle finger sprain. That move is retroactive to June 7. View full article
  16. Omar Narvaez was originally placed on the injured list at the beginning of June. The issue created an immediate need for a catcher and Alex Hall was selected from Single-A to get a body on the bench. Eventually Alex Jackson replaced Hall as the team's backstop behind Victor Caratini. Narvaez returns to a .274/.364/.415 slash line for Milwaukee. His 119 OPS+ matches a career high mark he has previously held twice, but not since 2019 with the Seattle Mariners. Looking for added depth alongside Caratini, Narvaez's presence on the active roster will be much appreciated. Jackson appeared in just two games during Narvaez's absence. He was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. Jackson is not being optioned, but rather placed on the injured list himself with a left middle finger sprain. That move is retroactive to June 7.
  17. Alex Hall was called up as a replacement for Omar Narvaez solely because he was in Wisconsin. A 22-year-old in High-A, the hope was that he’d have made an appearance before being jettisoned, but the opportunity never presented itself last night. Hall is replaced on the active roster by Alex Jackson, a catcher recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Coming with Jackson are infielder Pablo Reyes, and right-handed pitcher Luke Barker. They take the roster spots of Mike Brosseau and Peter Strzelecki. Brosseau hit the injured list with a right ankle sprain. Brosseau is having a solid year for Milwaukee posting a 118 OPS+ across 31 games. He has primarily played on the left side of the infield. Torres will now shuffle in to take some of those at bats while he’s out. A former 6th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves, Jackson is now on his third organization. He has played in three games for Milwaukee this year and will have a chance to rotate reps with Victor Caratini as long as Narvaez is out. Barker returns just days after previously being up taking the roster spot of Ethan Small.
  18. The Milwaukee Brewers were busy this afternoon with a host of moves impacting the active roster. Just a day after catcher Alex Hall was promoted to replace Omar Narvaez on the roster, he was designated for assignment. That was just one of six pre-game transactions today. Alex Hall was called up as a replacement for Omar Narvaez solely because he was in Wisconsin. A 22-year-old in High-A, the hope was that he’d have made an appearance before being jettisoned, but the opportunity never presented itself last night. Hall is replaced on the active roster by Alex Jackson, a catcher recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Coming with Jackson are infielder Pablo Reyes, and right-handed pitcher Luke Barker. They take the roster spots of Mike Brosseau and Peter Strzelecki. Brosseau hit the injured list with a right ankle sprain. Brosseau is having a solid year for Milwaukee posting a 118 OPS+ across 31 games. He has primarily played on the left side of the infield. Torres will now shuffle in to take some of those at bats while he’s out. A former 6th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves, Jackson is now on his third organization. He has played in three games for Milwaukee this year and will have a chance to rotate reps with Victor Caratini as long as Narvaez is out. Barker returns just days after previously being up taking the roster spot of Ethan Small. View full article
  19. Omar Narvaez has had a strong season for the Brewers posting a .779 OPS across 32 games. His .274 average is above the career mark of .267 and he's been a mainstay in Milwaukee's lineup. While landing on the 10-day injured list with Covid should not have him out long, the Brewers will have to hope there's no lingering side effects. On the flip side, it's quite the promotion for 22-year-old Alex Hall. Undrafted out of Australia, Hall is making the leap from High-A. With the Covid list not requiring a 40-man roster move, Hall is able to be added for Milwaukee without any roster shuffling. He's played in just six games this year, with a .698 OPS, but the small sample size has resulted in some of the best numbers of his career. Given the promotion likely being one of proximity, it should be assumed that Narvaez will simply miss the minimum and then tag back in. One would hope that Hall will get into a game before being optioned, however, and that would be a pretty fun opportunity for him to make a Major League debut.
  20. Prior to Thursday's game the Milwaukee Brewers made a move that didn't involve pitching for the first time in a while. Catcher Omar Narvaez was placed on the injured list with Covid. Needing to replace him on the active roster, Alex Hall was selected from High-A Wisconsin. Omar Narvaez has had a strong season for the Brewers posting a .779 OPS across 32 games. His .274 average is above the career mark of .267 and he's been a mainstay in Milwaukee's lineup. While landing on the 10-day injured list with Covid should not have him out long, the Brewers will have to hope there's no lingering side effects. On the flip side, it's quite the promotion for 22-year-old Alex Hall. Undrafted out of Australia, Hall is making the leap from High-A. With the Covid list not requiring a 40-man roster move, Hall is able to be added for Milwaukee without any roster shuffling. He's played in just six games this year, with a .698 OPS, but the small sample size has resulted in some of the best numbers of his career. Given the promotion likely being one of proximity, it should be assumed that Narvaez will simply miss the minimum and then tag back in. One would hope that Hall will get into a game before being optioned, however, and that would be a pretty fun opportunity for him to make a Major League debut. View full article
  21. Milwaukee's 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday improved the Brewers' record to 5-5 to open 2022. That's a perfectly fine record over the first ten contests, but if you listened to many fans or even watched a few games yourself, you might think they had the worst record in MLB. Much of the trepidation about the team stems from various statistical categories – individually and as a team. This is where finding a path to victory through struggle is valuable, as technically, the win is the only "stat" that matters in the end. The offense and pitching staff have their concerns through the first ten games. To look at it positively, despite the seemingly terrible struggles, the Brewers entered Monday with a .500 and lots of room for improvement. Most of the complaints early on have been pointed toward the bats. Not only has the 2022 lineup gotten off to a slow start, but the anxiety includes a carry-over effect from the 2021 campaign. Fans, in particular, clearly remember the listless offense to close out the regular season and knock the Brewers out of the playoffs. Entering play Monday, Milwaukee ranked 27th out of 30 MLB teams in runs scored at 3.10 runs per game. A more significant concern is the four games the Brewers tallied one or zero runs. Similar problems that existed last season have crept up early in 2022, namely the inability to deliver with men in scoring position and hitting against left-handed pitching. Milwaukee's .206 average with runners in scoring position (RISP) placed them 24th through Sunday's games. Few things frustrate fans more than a team putting men on second or third with less than two outs and failing to score. The success with RISP can fluctuate year to year and change as weeks become months, but that doesn't ease the minds of Brewers fans right now. The same goes for facing lefties on the hill. After scuffling against southpaws last season, Milwaukee's front office looked to address the issue with some lefty killers. After those first ten contests, the Brewers are 23rd in OPS versus left-handers (.565) with a slash line of .192/.252/.313. Milwaukee's two shutouts this year came against left-handed starters, with the team starting 1-3 when an opponent starts a southpaw. Once again, despite these two significant issues early on, the Brewers have found their way to a 5-5 record. Imagine what they could start doing across 20, or 40 games should the offense improve marginally in these couple of areas. The turnaround likely happens when some of the individual hitters find their strokes. People are focusing heavily on Christian Yelich at the plate, but many players are cold through 10 team games: It doesn't matter how bad you think any of these hitters are; these will not be the final stat lines. Willy Adames will not hit .189 or only slug .324 in a season. He is a career .260 hitter with a .441 SLG. Lorenzo Cain is at the end of his career, but a .150 OBP and 2 OPS+ (100 is average) aren't happening by the season's end. His worst numbers in those categories (65+ games) have been a .310 OBP and 80 OPS+. Not good, but nothing close to what he's at now. Omar Narvaez has never had an average below .266 in a full season Hunter Renfroe might always have a low OBP, but a .273 SLG and 59 OPS+ would be unimaginable for him. In his four seasons playing 115 or more games, he owns a .490 SLG and 107 OPS+ while averaging 29 HR. Kolten Wong with a sub-.200 AVG, .240 OBP, and 60 OPS+ will not last. His career marks are .261 AVG, .332 OBP, and 96 OPS+. Yelich's OBP is robust, but his .200 AVG and .300 SLG are well below his career-worst marks in 2021. He hit .248 last year with a .373 SLG (and he's already hitting more balls better this year). Consider all of those players underperforming in a big way through Sunday, and Milwaukee still finished with a .500 record over ten games. Only Rowdy Tellez has produced at an above-expected level, so it's not like other bats in the lineup are carrying the quiet ones. And sure, someone like Cain may not reach respectable output levels, but to think each player above will continue hitting this way into June and July – that's a giant leap of (negative) faith. So yes, as planned, the pitching is carrying the club on most nights; however, the hurlers have not been infallible. One could take that as a negative (they won't be as good as last season) or another positive, in that there is still room for improvement. The most prominent examples are Freddy Peralta and Devin Williams. Peralta owns an 11.57 ERA through two starts with a 2.29 WHIP and 12.9 H/9. Again, minimal sample size, so it could mean nothing. But Milwaukee started 5-5 despite his rough outings. Meanwhile, the Brewers somehow survived a pair of implosions by Williams and won both games he struggled in. Williams has allowed six walks, five hits, and four earned runs in his three innings (12.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP). His performance certainly raises red flags for the usual 8th-inning reliever, but the club has still found ways to win, and he's too talented to pitch THAT poorly throughout the season. Does this make you feel any better? Especially offensively, there is a ton of room between their current situation and the ceiling. They don't even need to reach the ceiling to rack up more runs, just a midway point. Everything gets blown up early in the season, and it is easy to see the problems and think of worst-case scenarios. The facts remain that these will NOT be the final statistics, and with all the ugly numbers, the Brewers started 5-5 with 152 games to play. They are still the best team in the NL Central and a World Series contender.
  22. Baseball fans and experts look to correlate "the numbers" to team success more than in any other sport. The statistical analysis over an entire season will often net expected results. However, those wins and losses don't always fall in line over shorter periods. This season, the Milwaukee Brewers' first ten games have the feel of something not adding up – and it could be a good thing in the long run. Milwaukee's 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday improved the Brewers' record to 5-5 to open 2022. That's a perfectly fine record over the first ten contests, but if you listened to many fans or even watched a few games yourself, you might think they had the worst record in MLB. Much of the trepidation about the team stems from various statistical categories – individually and as a team. This is where finding a path to victory through struggle is valuable, as technically, the win is the only "stat" that matters in the end. The offense and pitching staff have their concerns through the first ten games. To look at it positively, despite the seemingly terrible struggles, the Brewers entered Monday with a .500 and lots of room for improvement. Most of the complaints early on have been pointed toward the bats. Not only has the 2022 lineup gotten off to a slow start, but the anxiety includes a carry-over effect from the 2021 campaign. Fans, in particular, clearly remember the listless offense to close out the regular season and knock the Brewers out of the playoffs. Entering play Monday, Milwaukee ranked 27th out of 30 MLB teams in runs scored at 3.10 runs per game. A more significant concern is the four games the Brewers tallied one or zero runs. Similar problems that existed last season have crept up early in 2022, namely the inability to deliver with men in scoring position and hitting against left-handed pitching. Milwaukee's .206 average with runners in scoring position (RISP) placed them 24th through Sunday's games. Few things frustrate fans more than a team putting men on second or third with less than two outs and failing to score. The success with RISP can fluctuate year to year and change as weeks become months, but that doesn't ease the minds of Brewers fans right now. The same goes for facing lefties on the hill. After scuffling against southpaws last season, Milwaukee's front office looked to address the issue with some lefty killers. After those first ten contests, the Brewers are 23rd in OPS versus left-handers (.565) with a slash line of .192/.252/.313. Milwaukee's two shutouts this year came against left-handed starters, with the team starting 1-3 when an opponent starts a southpaw. Once again, despite these two significant issues early on, the Brewers have found their way to a 5-5 record. Imagine what they could start doing across 20, or 40 games should the offense improve marginally in these couple of areas. The turnaround likely happens when some of the individual hitters find their strokes. People are focusing heavily on Christian Yelich at the plate, but many players are cold through 10 team games: It doesn't matter how bad you think any of these hitters are; these will not be the final stat lines. Willy Adames will not hit .189 or only slug .324 in a season. He is a career .260 hitter with a .441 SLG. Lorenzo Cain is at the end of his career, but a .150 OBP and 2 OPS+ (100 is average) aren't happening by the season's end. His worst numbers in those categories (65+ games) have been a .310 OBP and 80 OPS+. Not good, but nothing close to what he's at now. Omar Narvaez has never had an average below .266 in a full season Hunter Renfroe might always have a low OBP, but a .273 SLG and 59 OPS+ would be unimaginable for him. In his four seasons playing 115 or more games, he owns a .490 SLG and 107 OPS+ while averaging 29 HR. Kolten Wong with a sub-.200 AVG, .240 OBP, and 60 OPS+ will not last. His career marks are .261 AVG, .332 OBP, and 96 OPS+. Yelich's OBP is robust, but his .200 AVG and .300 SLG are well below his career-worst marks in 2021. He hit .248 last year with a .373 SLG (and he's already hitting more balls better this year). Consider all of those players underperforming in a big way through Sunday, and Milwaukee still finished with a .500 record over ten games. Only Rowdy Tellez has produced at an above-expected level, so it's not like other bats in the lineup are carrying the quiet ones. And sure, someone like Cain may not reach respectable output levels, but to think each player above will continue hitting this way into June and July – that's a giant leap of (negative) faith. So yes, as planned, the pitching is carrying the club on most nights; however, the hurlers have not been infallible. One could take that as a negative (they won't be as good as last season) or another positive, in that there is still room for improvement. The most prominent examples are Freddy Peralta and Devin Williams. Peralta owns an 11.57 ERA through two starts with a 2.29 WHIP and 12.9 H/9. Again, minimal sample size, so it could mean nothing. But Milwaukee started 5-5 despite his rough outings. Meanwhile, the Brewers somehow survived a pair of implosions by Williams and won both games he struggled in. Williams has allowed six walks, five hits, and four earned runs in his three innings (12.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP). His performance certainly raises red flags for the usual 8th-inning reliever, but the club has still found ways to win, and he's too talented to pitch THAT poorly throughout the season. Does this make you feel any better? Especially offensively, there is a ton of room between their current situation and the ceiling. They don't even need to reach the ceiling to rack up more runs, just a midway point. Everything gets blown up early in the season, and it is easy to see the problems and think of worst-case scenarios. The facts remain that these will NOT be the final statistics, and with all the ugly numbers, the Brewers started 5-5 with 152 games to play. They are still the best team in the NL Central and a World Series contender. View full article
  23. "If the deeds of an actual historical figure proclaim him to have been a hero, the builders of his legend will invent for him appropriate adventures in depth." -- Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces In the good times, it's remarkably easy to ignore problems. When hope meets fulfillment -- Do you believe in miracles? Morgan, a smash up the middle, base hit to center! Wisconsin, we've got a room at the top of the world tonight! She said yes! -- who wants to think about the negative? Green Bay Packers fans were deluded [and this is where I could place a period] into thinking that Mike McCarthy was a quarterback whisperer and Ted Thompson a sort of demigod when in reality, the team won a single Super Bowl despite the former's buffoonery and lost many more chances at one as a direct result of it. They held onto that idea because Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers played exceptionally well for a long enough time. The generations that remembered the 70s and 80s aged out from being peak fans. Now, younger Packers fans do not remember when Lambeau Field was a simple bowl, an oval dumpster containing a fire worthy of its location. Milwaukee Brewers fans face a similar, tantalizing stupor. Now that we have arrived at a time when the club is perennially competitive and has been involved in October baseball for an unprecedented four consecutive seasons, fans -- and perhaps some of the front office -- have become convinced of some myths about their club. Compare these two players: Player A: 280 PA, .238/.307/.347, 12 2B, 5 HR, 11 GIDP, 30 RBI, 24 BB, 57 K, -0.548 WPA Player B: 258 PA, .219/.349/.381, 8 2B, 9 HR, 6 GIDP, 24 RBI, 43 BB, 57 K, 1.337 WPA They're both not very good at the plate, but one gets on base reasonably well and doesn't get more guys than himself out at once by half. Player B was Dan Vogelbach last season. Player A was Omar Narvaez from June 15 through the end of the 2021 regular season. Many of us ignored that his offensive game completely disappeared because the Brewers played very strong June-July-August baseball. There was also the fact that Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura's bats, in particular, remained MIA, and the pitching rotation was all-time great. The Brewers can develop catchers. They cannot -- and they should not -- reconstruct them. Since Jonathan Lucroy left the Brewers in 2016, the Brewers have featured Manny Piña, Jett Bandy, Andrew Susac, Erik Kratz, Luke Maile, Jacob Nottingham, and Yasmani Grandal behind the plate. Stephen Vogt spent most of his time as a Brewer injured; Pedro Severino's career reclamation project with the Crew was largely the byproduct of better yet banned pharmacology. Piña's defense was never in question. Aside from having a flair for the dramatic and being a beloved clubhouse stalwart by teammates and fans alike, his bat has always been beneath league average. In that respect, you knew what you were getting with him and could marshal resources accordingly. Bandy, Susac, and Maile were barely major league-caliber players. Kratz, a Brewer folk hero for his triumphant 2018 NLDS, was traded for C.J. Hinojosa and Hinojosa continues to bounce around the minors. Grandal bet on himself in 2019 and cashed in with the White Sox, where age would appear to be catching up to him finally. If the Brewers were truly good at catcher fixer-upper projects, they wouldn't have needed seven different catchers in the last five years, and Narvaez would have something to show for his Brewer career beyond backing into an All-Star because Yadier Molina recused himself from the proceedings. Further, if the Brewers wanted a strong defensive catcher with whatever they get from that catcher as a bonus, they should have kept Piña. Narvaez' defense may have improved by the metrics, but many of those metrics are still below average; while his skill as a receiver did improve in 2020, he reverted in 2021. There's a reason the Mariners were all too happy to move Narvaez for little more than a bucket of baseballs in 2019: the Brewers paid him to do nothing with his bat in 2020, nearly $1.5M per (BRef) win above replacement in 2021 and he's scheduled to make $5M this season. Last year, the only 5-bWAR players on the Brewers' roster were Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, which says more about the Brewer offense than anything, but expecting Narvaez to pull a Salvador Perez (5.3 bWAR in 2021) is expecting far too much. Plainly put, Narvaez represents a sunk cost. Mario Feliciano should be ready to take over behind the plate in 2023, and Jeferson Quero, the Brewers' No. 5 prospect, shows considerable promise further up the pipeline. Still, for a team that has deep October and even World Series aspirations, hope doesn't help them right now. Neither do myths. View full article
  24. Green Bay Packers fans were deluded [and this is where I could place a period] into thinking that Mike McCarthy was a quarterback whisperer and Ted Thompson a sort of demigod when in reality, the team won a single Super Bowl despite the former's buffoonery and lost many more chances at one as a direct result of it. They held onto that idea because Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers played exceptionally well for a long enough time. The generations that remembered the 70s and 80s aged out from being peak fans. Now, younger Packers fans do not remember when Lambeau Field was a simple bowl, an oval dumpster containing a fire worthy of its location. Milwaukee Brewers fans face a similar, tantalizing stupor. Now that we have arrived at a time when the club is perennially competitive and has been involved in October baseball for an unprecedented four consecutive seasons, fans -- and perhaps some of the front office -- have become convinced of some myths about their club. Compare these two players: Player A: 280 PA, .238/.307/.347, 12 2B, 5 HR, 11 GIDP, 30 RBI, 24 BB, 57 K, -0.548 WPA Player B: 258 PA, .219/.349/.381, 8 2B, 9 HR, 6 GIDP, 24 RBI, 43 BB, 57 K, 1.337 WPA They're both not very good at the plate, but one gets on base reasonably well and doesn't get more guys than himself out at once by half. Player B was Dan Vogelbach last season. Player A was Omar Narvaez from June 15 through the end of the 2021 regular season. Many of us ignored that his offensive game completely disappeared because the Brewers played very strong June-July-August baseball. There was also the fact that Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura's bats, in particular, remained MIA, and the pitching rotation was all-time great. The Brewers can develop catchers. They cannot -- and they should not -- reconstruct them. Since Jonathan Lucroy left the Brewers in 2016, the Brewers have featured Manny Piña, Jett Bandy, Andrew Susac, Erik Kratz, Luke Maile, Jacob Nottingham, and Yasmani Grandal behind the plate. Stephen Vogt spent most of his time as a Brewer injured; Pedro Severino's career reclamation project with the Crew was largely the byproduct of better yet banned pharmacology. Piña's defense was never in question. Aside from having a flair for the dramatic and being a beloved clubhouse stalwart by teammates and fans alike, his bat has always been beneath league average. In that respect, you knew what you were getting with him and could marshal resources accordingly. Bandy, Susac, and Maile were barely major league-caliber players. Kratz, a Brewer folk hero for his triumphant 2018 NLDS, was traded for C.J. Hinojosa and Hinojosa continues to bounce around the minors. Grandal bet on himself in 2019 and cashed in with the White Sox, where age would appear to be catching up to him finally. If the Brewers were truly good at catcher fixer-upper projects, they wouldn't have needed seven different catchers in the last five years, and Narvaez would have something to show for his Brewer career beyond backing into an All-Star because Yadier Molina recused himself from the proceedings. Further, if the Brewers wanted a strong defensive catcher with whatever they get from that catcher as a bonus, they should have kept Piña. Narvaez' defense may have improved by the metrics, but many of those metrics are still below average; while his skill as a receiver did improve in 2020, he reverted in 2021. There's a reason the Mariners were all too happy to move Narvaez for little more than a bucket of baseballs in 2019: the Brewers paid him to do nothing with his bat in 2020, nearly $1.5M per (BRef) win above replacement in 2021 and he's scheduled to make $5M this season. Last year, the only 5-bWAR players on the Brewers' roster were Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, which says more about the Brewer offense than anything, but expecting Narvaez to pull a Salvador Perez (5.3 bWAR in 2021) is expecting far too much. Plainly put, Narvaez represents a sunk cost. Mario Feliciano should be ready to take over behind the plate in 2023, and Jeferson Quero, the Brewers' No. 5 prospect, shows considerable promise further up the pipeline. Still, for a team that has deep October and even World Series aspirations, hope doesn't help them right now. Neither do myths.
  25. A handful of spots are still up for grabs on the big league club. With rosters officially expanded to 28 players to start the season, the Milwaukee Brewers will need to decide exactly how many pitchers they want to keep, and determine how that impacts the position player pool. The Milwaukee Brewers always dive deep with their roster decisions, often focusing on keeping depth at various levels of the organization. MLB's announcement that teams will have a larger roster until May 1 opens up more possibilities, but there are still tough decisions to make. Catchers (2): Omar Narvaez, Pedro Severino Narvaez begins his third season as the Brewers starting catcher. Coming off a solid 2021 campaign, Narvaez is a free agent after the season. The right-handed hitting Severino signed as a free agent last November. Severino hits left-handed pitchers well, a perfect complement to the lefty-swinging Narvaez after longtime backup Manny Pina signed with the Atlanta Braves. Promising youngster Mario Feliciano will be ready to make the jump from Triple-A should there be an injury. Infielders (7): Rowdy Tellez, Kolten Wong, Willy Adames, Jace Peterson, Mike Brosseau, Keston Hiura, Pablo Reyes Adames and Wong are the keystone starters, and Tellez looks to be the primary first baseman to start the season. Peterson and Brosseau will likely serve as the platoon partners at third base while Luis Urias recovers from his quadriceps injury. They can also help cover first and second base defensively. If the Brewers decide to keep 14 position players, Hiura and Reyes should both make the Opening Day roster. Hiura offers right-handed pop and a platoon option at first if his spring success carries over. Meanwhile, Reyes gets a nod thanks to his versatility, which could include backup duty at shortstop with Urias out. Outfielders (5): Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Hunter Renfroe, Andrew McCutchen, Tyrone Taylor The outfield situation in Milwaukee is rather clear. Manager Craig Counsell will utilize the three outfield spots and the DH to play the best matchups each game and provide rest for the veteran group. As a whole, the outfield quintet provides plenty of run production potential, assuming health. An injury likely means Corey Ray or David Dahl would get a call-up, assuming Dahl remains in the Brewers organization. Rotation (6): Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer, Aaron Ashby We all know who the top five starters are for the Brewers. The only questions could be the order of the back end of the rotation and if they’ll go with a sixth starter. Ashby would be the clear-cut favorite to fill the sixth spot, but if Milwaukee is comfortable with five starters, then Ashby becomes a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen. Ethan Small would also be ready to come up from the minors for a handful of starts should the Brewers need it. Bullpen (8): Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Brad Boxberger, Brent Suter, Jake Cousins, Luis Perdomo, Jose Urena, Trevor Gott Like the rotation, there are no doubts about the top five arms out of the pen – and yes, that includes Cousins. The signing of Urena gets him a spot in the 'pen, for now, allowing the Brewers to keep an extra arm down in the minors for depth. Perdomo has impressed many and provides another multi-inning option in relief, which is even more valuable now that pitchers don’t need to hit. Lastly, Gott is another intriguing reliever with upside. The 28-year-old struck out 11.4 batters per nine innings with the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A club last season. If the Brewers choose to go with 15 pitchers, Jandel Gustave likely gets the final spot at the expense of Hiura or Reyes from the position player pool. Regardless of how the roster looks to open the year, the Brewers will rotate through guys at will and as the need arises. What are your thoughts on this Opening Day 28-man projection? View full article
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