The Brewers have finished the second month of their rebuild. April was a tough month, but how did they do in May?
Starting Pitching: B
The starting pitching was the most improved aspect of the Brewers in May. After a 5-15 April, they finished May with a 10-8 record. They also had 13 quality starts, as opposed to just 5 in April.
The starters improved across the board. Their ERA in May was 4.11, down from 6.32 and their strikeouts were up from 85 to 133. They are averaging almost 6 innings per start and that has helped the bullpen get some rest.
Jimmy Nelson continued to lead the Brewer staff with a 2-1 record and 2.66 ERA and 34 strikeouts in May. He kept the ball in the park better, cutting the home runs he allowed in half.
Relief Pitching: B
The relievers improved in many aspects, but their record does not show it. Overall, they have been a solid unit. They finished the month at 5-5, but that does not tell the whole story.
The biggest concern for the bullpen in April was the number of home runs they gave up, but they improved that from 17 to 9. Opponents went from hitting .283 in April to .232 in May and their ERA went from 4.82 to 3.07.
Overall Pitching: B
The pitching in May showed vast improvement. One of their main issues was getting the leadoff batter out. In April, their opponents had a .480 on base percentage and that has gone down to .384 after May.
The Brewer staff ERA fell from 5.64 to 4.57, improving from dead last in all of baseball to 12th in the National League. They improved in all facets of their game.
Power Hitting: B
The Brewers started to hit for more power in May, hitting 13 more home runs than they did in April. They also drove in 37 more runs and had 136 more total bases.
Jonathan Lucroy, who did not have a home run in April, finished May with 9 home runs and drove in 22 runs. Chris Carter hit 8 home runs and drove in 16 while Aaron Hill had a 3-home run game and a 2-home run game.
Hitting for Average: C
The Brewers improved their hitting in May with a .257 average for the month. They had even more walks in May and reached base at a .340 clip. That led to more opportunities to score and score they did. They scored 40 more runs in May, finishing the month with 129.
Ryan Braun hit .364 in May with 4 home runs and 13 RBI. Braun is hitting .348 on the season which is good for second in the National League. Jonathan Villar also had a great May with a .355 average that brought his season average to .308. Lucroy scored 17 of his team-high 28 runs in May and Villar scored 18.
Overall Hitting: B-
The Brewers did a much better job at getting on base and coming around to score. They are still taking a lot of third strikes, but the balls that they are putting in play are falling more frequently.
Base Running: A-
The Brewers stole 31 bases in 43 attempts in May. They lead the National League with 44 stolen bases and are second with a 72% success rate. The Brewers have taken an extra base 45% of the time, second in the National League.
Villar has been running wild in May, stealing 14 of his Major League leading 19 bases in the month. He has run into some bad outs at third, but most of them took perfect throws. Brewer fans hope that he cuts down on those outs without losing his aggressiveness.
The Brewers improved on defense as well. They committed 8 fewer errors and they moved up 2 spots with a .984 fielding percentage. They have really cut down on the innings where they looked like the Bad News Bears, and that has helped the pitchers out tremendously.
Lucroy has thrown out 43% of the runners attempting to steal which is a huge improvement in what was once a weak spot in his game. He and Martin Maldonado have combined to throw out a Major League high of 29 runners and their 48% caught stealing rate is second only to the Royals (53%).
The Brewers finished May with a 15-14 record. They improved in every aspect of the game and were in fourth place at the end of the month. Some May highlights include a triple play, a series win against the Cubs, a road sweep against the Braves, and a season-high 4-game winning streak.
Brewer fans are getting excited as the team is starting to play better even in the first year of their rebuild. There are some really good prospects coming up in the next couple of years, and they will add to this core to create a team that will contend for years to come.