When the Brewers left New York back in April, they were sitting at .500 and buried in the middle of the NL Central. The Mets were 12-2 and perched atop the NL East with a three-game lead. Fast forward a little more than a month and it’s the Mets who seem buried in a surprisingly deep NL East and the Brewers with a little separation in the NL Central. Milwaukee has seen contributions all over the field, but one of their key offseason acquisitions leads off this edition of the stat preview.
Cain is Paying Off: Some may have questioned the Brewers’ decision to bolster their outfield this offseason, an area of strength in 2017, when other areas, like their rotation, seemed a little thinner and more injury prone. The investments in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have looked good so far, though, especially in Cain’s case. The former and now current Brewer leads the team in WARP at 1.9 and has a walk rate that’s double his career average (14.7%). His defensive numbers (yeah, it’s still too early to worry) are a little off pace from previous seasons, but his offensive production would be the best of his career (.305 TAv).
Hader and History: Josh Hader is really good. That may seem obvious if you have followed Hader’s season at all, but he is putting together one of the best reliever seasons of all time. His current K/9 is 17.8, which would be the best mark of any reliever (min. 20 IP) of this century. The only relievers to post K/9 above 17 over a full season are the guys one might suspect: Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel. Interestingly, though, Hader’s GB% is the lowest among relievers this year (min. 20 IP) and his BABIP is just .182, so watch to see if his incredible season holds up.
Tight Rope Walking: Chase Anderson was a key rotation piece for the Brewers during their resurrection last season, and though his ERA is fine at 3.86, his peripherals are trending downward. While he has always outperformed his DRA, this season’s gap of nearly two runs (his DRA is 5.70) is a huge difference. His BABIP is .200 and his strikeout rate is just 5.8 K/9, so some serious regression may be in order for the right-hander.
The Good: Reliever Jeremy Jeffries has yet to allow a home run in 25.2 innings pitched.
The Bad: Milwaukee has hit just two triples, tied for the MLB worst with the Cardinals (Mets have eight).
The Ugly: Domingo Santana has just three home runs in 167 plate appearances after hitting 30 last season.
Jason Vargas’ ERA is an unbearable 9.87, and his DRA is not much better at 6.87. However, his BABIP sits at .404 and his strand rate is just 60%, so perhaps he will begin to rebound somewhat from his awful first few starts.
Photo credit: Brad Rempel – USA Today Sports