After a blistering hot month of May, the Brewers struggled in June posting a 12-13 record. Injuries have been very unkind to the club, as Lorenzo Cain has found himself on the 10 Day DL with a groin issue. Travis Shaw has been in and out of the lineup with a wrist issue. Christian Yelich has had a nagging tightness in his back as well as Ryan Braun. Zach Davies hasn’t been able to get back on the mound as he is dealing with a bad rotator cuff. Matt Albers is also dealing with a shoulder issue. Despite all of these injuries, there are more glaring issues facing the club. I will start with the bad, and lead into the positives.
The Middle Infield
The Brewers have not been getting consistent production from their middle infield. Jonathan Villar is known for being a wild card and continues to be a frustrating player for Brewer fans to watch. Eric Sogard, who was huge for the club last year, is batting .137. Hernan Perez has been very streaky and not a reliable source for consistent production. Newly acquired Brad Miller has been decent in a very small sample size however. The biggest issue of them all has been Orlando Arcia. Arcia was thought to be a lock at the shortstop position every day for the club this year. That simply has not been the case as he is slashing .197/.231/.251. He has since been demoted in an attempt to find his swing. Of all of these guys combined, they are hitting .221 in 723 at bats. The Brewers need to go out this deadline and find at least one everyday guy in one of these spots.
Behind The Plate
Manny Pina has regressed majorly this season and has been below average offensively at best. Getting offensive production behind the dish isn’t always easy to come by. However, Pina hit .279 last year and was a huge part of the Brewers offense. This year he is barely hitting his own weight. Erik Kratz has been good, but his career track record shows that his current pace is unsustainable. The Brewers need to find some catching help at the deadline in my opinion.
Yelich and Cain have been great and the Brewers top run producers. Unfortunately, they are both out of the lineup until further notice. Ryan Braun has started to get some luck on his side as hits have begun to fall for him. The other options have not been great to say the least. Eric Thames has found himself in the outfield due to how great Jesus Aguilar has been at first base. Thames has looked lost out there a few times (mainly in the most recent series against Cincinnati). His power numbers are still good, but his average has been hovering around .230 and the Brewers need that to go up by at least ten points. Domingo Santana got sent down a few weeks ago due to his power regression (which I VERY much disagree with). When Cain went down with injury, they gave Keon Broxton the call. Which to Broxton’s credit, he has been good in the five games he has played. The outfield situation isn’t completely hopeless, it has simply been very mediocre. It will all be okay once the Cain and Yelich Return.
Jesus Aguilar has been arguably the teams MVP and the most underrated player in baseball this season. Once thought to be simply an extra guy on the bench, he has become the best offensive player on the Milwaukee Brewers. 19 bombs, 54 RBI’s, and slashing .309/.368/.627 for an OPS of .995. Not enough can be said about how huge this guy has been for the team.
The pitching has continued to be Milwaukee’s strongest point (much to my surprise). The starting pitching ERA is at 3.93 (7th NL) and the bullpen ERA is still one of the best in the league at 3.12 (2nd NL). The staff as a whole leads the league in opponent average at .226. Chase Anderson had a much better month. Jhoulys Chacin has continued to be Milwaukee’s most consistent starter. Brent Suter has been great as he posted a 3.60 ERA in June. Junior Guerra has been above average as well. Freddy Peralta has been stealing the show for the Brewers with his impressive strikeout numbers and overall pitching performances. Besides the bad first inning he had against the Reds, Peralta has been absolutely dominant in his second stint with the club. Peralta has an ERA of 2.28, a strikeout rate over 13 per nine innings, and is holding opponents to a .128 batting average. Is it sustainable? Probably not, but we cannot send him down under any circumstances until he regresses.
The bullpen speaks for itself. Jeffress, Hader, Knebel, Barnes, and Williams have continued to be absolutely lights out for the Brewers and have arguably been their best asset (throwing away the last two games against the Reds).
Despite regression, I don’t think Brewer fans have a whole lot to worry about. Cain and Yelich shouldn’t be out too long term and the pitching staff has proven that it is one of the best in the league. We do need to see them do something about the situation in the middle infield. In an article I wrote just under one month ago, I suggested that Jed Lowrie from Oakland may be a good option.
The dog days of summer are here and in full force. The trade deadline is right around the corner and the Milwaukee Brewers currently sit in first place in the NL Central division. This month is huge for the squad and I cannot wait to see how it plays out.