The Brewers had a better month of April than many of the experts expected. Let’s take a look at they did.
The Brewers had a mediocre batting average as a team (.244), but their power numbers were top of the line. They were among the league leaders in home runs (1st, 45), slugging percentage (2nd, .471), OPS (3rd, .788), doubles (2nd, 52), triples (5th, 6), runs (3rd, 135), and total bases (2nd, 412).
The Brewers have been getting production throughout their lineup. They have 12 players that have hit at least 1 home run, and 4 players that have hit 5 or more. Eric Thames has been the leader of the hit parade, with a Major League leading 11 home runs and team leading .354 average, 19 RBI, and 28 runs scored. Ryan Braun is second on the team with 7 home runs, 18 RBI, and 17 runs scored.
One area that the Brewers need to improve is its strikeout rate. They have struck out 253 times, second worst only to the Tampa Bay Rays. Jonathan Villar has already struck out 37 times, second most in all of baseball. Villar has had 5 games with 3 strikeouts, but he has improved of late. Over his last 8 games, he has only had 1 where he struck out more than once.
Hitting Grade: A-
The Brewers have been pounding the ball and scoring runs in bunches. Unfortunately, they have been striking out at a very high rate and bringing their average down. It is scary to think what this group could do if they made more contact.
The Brewer pitchers have been inconsistent this season, which is not a surprise to most fans. Their overall ERA of 4.43 is good for 22nd in the Majors, and they have given up the 12th most home runs in April. The Brewer starting pitchers have averaged just 5.3 innings per start, the third worst in all of baseball. Only 2 teams had fewer quality starts in April than the Brewers did.
That meant the bullpen was worked hard, and it showed. The Brewer bullpen had the second fewest wins (2) and the most losses (8) in the Major Leagues. They have only allowed 26% of inherited runners to score, which is the 12th best in baseball.
Chase Anderson has been the Crew’s best starter, going 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 5 starts. He leads the team with 24 strikeouts in 30 innings. Wily Peralta is tied for the National League lead with 4 wins, but he has an ERA of 5.19. The only other pitcher to have a sub-5.00 ERA is Matt Garza, who has a 3.38 ERA in 2 starts.
Neftali Feliz is 6 of 7 in save opportunities, but he is 0-3 with a 5.91 ERA and he has given up 3 home runs. Carlos Torres, who was a bright spot in the 2016 bullpen, is 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA and has given up 2 home runs and 8 walks in just 15 innings. Corey Knebel has had the most success out of the pen with a 1.46 ERA.
Pitching Grade: C-
The Brewers knew that pitching would be an area of concern. They lost their ace when Junior Guerra strained his calf on Opening Day, and their number 2 starter, Zach Davies, finished April at 2-2 with a 6.57 ERA. Anderson, Peralta, and Jimmy Nelson got off to great starts, but Peralta and Nelson have been roughed up in their last couple of outings.
The Brewers have made a Major League high 24 errors in April. They have turned 27 double plays, the fifth most in baseball. The Brewers have 5 outfield assists, second only to the Blue Jays’ 7. Ryan Braun is tied for the Major League lead with 3.
Orlando Arcia had gone 42 consecutive games without an error at shortstop before he committed 2 on April 24th against the Reds. Jonathan Villar got off to a rough start with an error on Opening Day and 3 in his first 8 games, but has settled down since, with just 2 errors in his last 16 games.
Fielding Grade: D
The Brewers need to improve their defense in order to help their pitchers out. They finished April with 8 straight games with an error, committing 15 of them in that time.
The Brewers finished April with a 13-13 record, good for second place just a game behind the Cubs. The 13 wins matches their April total for the last 2 Aprils combined (13-32). They have done this with 10 games against teams that are currently in first place.
The hitters are producing, but the pitching staff and defense need to improve. The Brewers are hanging around and have been competitive in almost every game this year. They have had a lead in 24 of their 26 games and they have only lost by more than 3 runs twice.