Something magical is going on in Milwaukee as the Brewers have found their stroke and have been tearing the cover off the ball and winning ballgames like its going out of style.
Entering play on Sunday the Brewers sit at the top of the NL Central ahead of the Cubs by half a game. Also ahead of the likes of the Cardinals and Pirates by 4 and 5 games respectively. By no means have they run away with the division but they have definitely had an impressive season to date that were going to take a little look at.
As a team, the Brewers strike out the most in the National League by a landslide. They have 738 strikeouts as a team and the next team is sitting at 697. This stat would go to show that they maybe should not be winning games and staying successful so how do they win ball games?
Power and speed.
Yes, the Brewers have struck out a ton but they also have hit the third most home runs in the National League. They have 108 on the season which is thanks in large part to Eric Thames who has 20 bombs on the year, good enough for a 4-way tie in the NL. Aside from Thames, the Brewers have 4 other players who have hit double digit home runs this season including, Travis Shaw, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana and Hernan Perez.
On the basepaths this season the Brewers lead the National league in stolen bases and rank third in the MLB in the category. They steal bases at a 68% success rate which plays a large role into getting players in scoring positions along with causing havoc on the basepaths and distracting opposing pitchers. Jonathan Villar and Keon Broxton lead the way with 14 and 12 stolen bases and have helped become key cogs in the Brewers lineup this season.
Another key to the Brewers success is Eric Thames. Thames has spent the last few years playing baseball in Korea where he was regarded as a god belting home run after home run.
After he finished last season in the KBO with 40 home runs and wrapped up his three seasons in Korea with a grand total of 126 homeruns, he decided to make his comeback to the majors this season with the Brewers who locked him up through 2019 with an option for 2020 at $16 million.
Quite a bargain for a player with his immense power, these days there is such a premium placed on power on both sides of the ball it was good to lock him up to anchor the lineup for years to come. Thames does strike out a lot with 78 on the season however he is still batting a solid .253 which is good for a perennial power hitter.
On the pitching side, the Brewers haven’t excelled however lead the NL in save opportunities showing their pitching keeps them in ball games. Corey Knebel leads the way with 12 saves with Neftali Feliz having 8 of his own. For the starters, Zach Davies leads the way with 7 wins and behind him is Chase Anderson with 6 and Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta tied at 5 a piece.
The Brewers have undoubtedly been enjoying an amazing season. One that is remarkably uncharacteristic lately of this franchise. Now they must find a way to sustain this pace and continue to play excellent ball. They have to stay healthy and hope that the power continues. It also wouldn’t hurt if the reigning World Series Champions continue to struggle, right now however everything is going well in MIlwaukee.