April Record: 13-13 (Home: 7-10 | Road: 6-3)
Colorado Rockies (4/3-4/6): 1-3
Chicago Cubs (4/7-4/9): 1-2
@ Toronto Blue Jays (4/11-4/12): 2-0
@ Cincinnati Reds (4/13-4/16): 3-1
@ Chicago Cubs (4/17-4/19): 1-2
St Louis Cardinals (4/20-4/23): 1-3
Cincinnati Reds (4/24-4/26): 3-0
Atlanta Braves (4/28-4/30): 1-2
The Milwaukee Brewers played 26 games in April and finished with a .500 record. 13 wins is a significant number because this equals their win total from the past two April’s combined. This start to the season has caught many people by surprise and is a great sign for a young and developing team who find themselves tied for second place in the NL Central division. The grades for the offense, defense, starting pitching rotation, and bullpen are down below after one month of baseball.
|Milwaukee Brewers Batting Stats 2017|
The Brewers are a game behind the first-place Chicago Cubs thanks to their record-breaking offense. Milwaukee has crushed a franchise record 45 home runs in April which leads the MLB. Also, they rank in the top five of the NL in many offensive statistical categories including at-bats, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBIs, stolen bases, walks, slugging percentage, and OPS. The offense has carried the team to begin the season by overcoming the shaky defense and giving plenty of run support to an inconsistent starting rotation.
First baseman Eric Thames was voted Brewers player of the month and rightfully so. Thames has taken the MLB by storm and has been one of the top storylines of the 2017 season.
Thames has launched 11 home runs which are tied for first in the MLB, drove in 19 runs, scored 28 runs, and has slashed .345/.466/.810 in 24 games. His 11 home runs set a Brewers franchise record for home runs in April. Amidst speculation of performance-enhancing drug use for his blistering hot start to the season, Thames has maintained a great attitude when faced to address the rumors.
Eric Thames was drug tested again tonight. "If people keep thinking I'm on stuff, I'll be here every day. I have a lot of blood and urine." pic.twitter.com/De1smFWVj7
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 26, 2017
Left fielder Ryan Braun has had an outstanding start to the season as well, but has somewhat flown under the radar due to the national attention Thames has received. Braun has seven home runs and has a .960 OPS. Additionally, the pair of catchers Jett Bandy and Manny Pina have been productive. The backstop duo has a combined batting average of .351 and 34 hits for the month. Second baseman Jonathan Villar has scuffled throughout the month of April by striking out 37 times and batting .206. However, the switch-hitting Villar, double play partner Orlando Arcia, and outfielders Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana have shown signs of improvement lately. Overall, the Brewers possess a dangerous lineup which should be the strength of this team moving forward, and they’ve received an “A” for their performance in April.
Offensive Player of the Month: Eric Thames
Honorable Mention: Ryan Braun
Needs Improvement: Jonathan Villar
|Milwaukee Brewers Fielding Stats 2017|
The Brewers led the MLB with 136 errors last season, and have shown no signs of improvement in the first month of the 2017 season. With the subtraction of Chris Carter, full playing time for Orlando Arcia and Keon Broxton, and the additions of Eric Thames and Travis Shaw this past offseason, the defense became more athletic and was expected to improve coming into the season. However, the Brewers have committed 24 errors in April which leads the MLB. Jonathan Villar leads the team with five errors, but Travis Shaw is right behind him with four. The collective struggle defensively has cost the Brewers wins and has put pressure on the pitching to overcome the defensive lapses. One bright spot defensively has been 22-year-old shortstop Orlando Arcia. The former top prospect has unlimited range and a cannon for an arm which has been on full display this season.
The defense consists of players with speed and athleticism in the infield and outfield, and most of the 24 errors that have been committed are related to a lack of concentration. Yet, it’s expected that this group cleans up the mistakes heading forward. However, the defense receives a “D” for their terrible performance in April.
Defensive Player of the Month: Orlando Arcia
Honorable Mention: Manny Pina
Needs Improvement: Jonathan Villar
Starting Pitching Rotation: B-
|Milwaukee Brewers Starting Pitching Rotation Stats 2017|
The Brewers starting pitching rotation in April has been inconsistent as expected. Opening day starter and “ace” of the pitching staff last season, Junior Guerra, was forced to the DL on opening day after injuring his right calf in his first start. Guerra’s loss was a huge blow to the rotation, but Chase Anderson has stepped up in Guerra’s absence. In his five starts this season, Anderson has tossed 30 innings while posting a 2.10 ERA with 24 strikeouts. The right-hander has done an excellent job of mixing and commanding his pitches, throwing strikes, and attacking hitters. Anderson was voted Brewers pitcher of the month because of his success.
Zach Davies, Wily Peralta, and Jimmy Nelson have been inconsistent, to say the least in April. Davies, coming off a strong 2016 season, has shockingly struggled to begin the year. Overcoming his small frame, Davies relies solely on location and staying on the outside of the strike zone, and his failure to do so this season is shown through his 6.57 ERA and 11 walks. Wily Peralta began the month well, throwing 17 innings in his first three starts while only giving up five earned runs. However, Cincinnati and St. Louis roughed him up in his last two starts of the month, and his ERA ballooned to 5.19. Jimmy Nelson, like Davies, has struggled to begin the year. In his five starts this season, Nelson has thrown 28.2 innings and posted a 5.34 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.
Matt Garza returned to the rotation recently after he was sent to the DL at the beginning of the season due to a strained right groin. Garza made two starts at the end of April and pitched successfully. He lasted four innings in his season debut and received little help from his defense. In his second start of the year, Garza fired 6.2 innings and allowed three earned runs while punching out seven and walking nobody. With Guerra expected to return to the rotation in May after a couple of rehab starts, it’ll be a much-needed shot in the arm that the starting rotation needs. The starting rotation receives a “B-” for their performance in April.
Starter of the Month: Chase Anderson
Honorable Mention: Matt Garza
Needs Improvement: Zach Davies
|Milwaukee Brewers Bullpen Stats 2017|
The Brewers bullpen in April has seen superior performances from some, but rough performances from others. Brewers manager, Craig Counsell, would like for his starters to pitch six innings. Then, they can turn it over to his bullpen to finish the final three innings. Jacob Barnes usually handles the seventh inning, and he has been dominant in his role. Barnes made 13 appearances in April, but only allowed three earned runs and struck out 15 batters.
Corey Knebel commonly handles the eighth inning, and he has been effective in his role too. Knebel made 13 appearances in April and allowed two runs while striking out 17 batters. Barnes and Knebel combined have an 11.54 K/9 and have been one of the best one-two punches in the MLB. Brewers closer, Neftali Feliz, has converted six of seven save opportunities but has an ERA of 5.91 in 10.2 innings pitched.
Brewers GM, David Stearns, has shown a willingness to move on from relievers if they aren’t performing. Tommy Milone was designated for assignment, and his stay in Milwaukee was a short one. In April alone, 11 different relievers were used at some point, so the bullpen has been a revolving door. Relievers such as Jhan Marinez, Jared Hughes, Carlos Torres, and Brent Stuter need to improve. If they don’t, they might be on the way out. The success of Barnes and Knebel has made up for the struggles of the other relievers. This is why the bullpen receives a “C+” for their performance in April.
Reliever of the Month: Corey Knebel
Honorable Mention: Jacob Barnes
Needs Improvement: Jhan Marinez