That was one heck of a first month. There's a lot more positive than negative, that's for sure, and it's time to break it down.
The Good Stuff
- The outfield corners: total production from Brewers left fielders is 370/400/630. From right fielders: 293/365/446. The latter is ok, the former is spectacular. Corey Hart hasn't gotten nearly the playing time we'd hoped for, but the results have been all to the good.
Jeff Suppan: I pretty much covered this last night; he's been incredible. Even bigger than his complete game win last night was his bullpen-saving eight-inning outing last week. Just...wow.
- The back of the bullpen: Against all odds, Derrick Turnbow has been one of the best relievers in baseball so far this year. Under one baserunner per inning, no homers allowed, and an eyepopping K rate of nearly two strikeouts per inning. One of the only guys who's been better is Coco Cordero. Double wow. 11.3 innings, two hits, and 19 strikeouts. The seven walks are little worrisome, but sometimes it looks like he's putting guys on just to give himself a challenge.
Rickie Weeks: he hasn't stood out in any one area, but he's slugging over .500, playing credible defense, and hasn't been caught stealing yet. With Rickie, no news is good news, and until he was held out of the lineup with a finger injury last night, there had been no news whatsoever.
- Prince Fielder: again, no news is good news. He's just doin' his thing, playing solid defense and slugging over .500. He's striking out a lot, too, but as long as the team is winning, we're not going to hear announcers preach about how you have to make contact, even if you're a slugger.
- Counsellino: Brewers third basemen are OPSing a craptacular .595. Sure, they're providing some veteran leadership and looking pretty good on defense, but...Ryan Braun would have to give up a lot of runs with the glove to cancel out the offensive benefit of having his bat in the lineup.
Dave Bush: I love the guy, but a couple of bad innings have made his season look pretty awful thus far. It's tempting to write those off, but it's always been the knock on Bush: some days, he leaves the ball up in the zone and gets crushed. If he's going to have a long career in the big leagues, he'll have to stop doing that--in more than half of his outings.
Jose Capellan/Greg Aquino: I had hoped one of these guys would step up and become the seventh inning version of Turnbow. Both (theoretically, anyway) have the stuff, but neither one seems anywhere close to turning into that guy. Right now, there are a half dozen guys in triple-A I'd rather see on the mound in a close situation than either of those two. I'm hoping one or both can turn things around--the potential is just too great--but I'm not putting money on it.
- Brian Anderson: I was excited to send Daron Sutton packing. Now...whatever. Anderson never misses a chance to tell you all the wonderful things opposing coaches say about their players, and he's constantly showing us just how much he's learned from Bill Schroeder. As with Capequino, there's a chance he'll turn things around, but as it stands now, I look forward to lots of effort synching up the video feed and the glorious tones of Bob Uecker.
Ben Sheets: Oh boy. The numbers aren't that bad. The strikeouts are awfully low, but he's essentially the pitcher we thought Suppan would be. He could turn it around any day now...or we could discover it's some new side effect of vestibular neuritis. I hope that when I do this exercise again in a month, he's at the very top of the first section, but we'll be watching closely in the meantime.
Ned Yost: it's easy to rag on your manager, and it's easier still when Corey Hart is sitting on the bench. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem right to criticize every move your manager makes when your team is 16-9. For the most part, Ned has pushed the right buttons at the right times, if not for the right reasons. Let's hope for one of two things: either he's craftier than we think he is, or his luck holds.
Claudio Vargas: First two times out, awesome. Last two: slooooooooooooooooooow. I hope that the home plate umpire doesn't continue to determine whether good Claudio or bad Claudio shows up. Then again, this isn't a big issue: if bad Claudio shows up too many times, good Yovani will start showing up instead.
J.J. Hardy: I really wanted to put him in the top category, but those three errors don't bode well. I hope that's just an aberration; unfortunately, his .524 slugging percentage is probably an aberration, too.
- Bill Hall: The fielding is coming around, but the bat is coming around a little slower. Let's hope that by the time Hardy and Jenkins cool down, Hall starts to go on a tear.