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Some Numbers to Think About

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Here's something to think about as the traditional second half of the season begins. Remember how it seemed the Brewers couldn't drive in runners to save their lives before the break? It seemed the bases were left loaded at least once every game. Whenever a team struggles to drive in runs, more attention is paid to how the team does with runners in scoring position (RISP). Where did the Brewers stand through the All-Star Break this year?

Team PA AB R H 2B 3B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
MIL 3388 2941 411 749 146 22 100 352 681 .255 .339 .421 .760
MIL w/RISP 912 746 299 187 39 5 24 117 180 .251 .350 .413 .762
MIL w/o RISP 2476 2195 112 562 107 17 76 235 501 .256 .335 .424 .759

 

With runners in scoring position, the team is more willing to take a pitch at the expense of a little power and average. But even so, the team hits just about as well with runners in scoring position as they do without.

How did the first-half Brewers stack up against the rest of the National League? I'll keep it simple with just the slash stats in order not to be overwhelming with numbers.

Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
PHI .266 .373 .454 .827
NYM .281 .377 .419 .796
COL .262 .343 .450 .793
STL .261 .360 .408 .767
FLA .263 .353 .413 .766
MIL .251 .350 .413 .762
PIT .267 .349 .410 .759
ATL .261 .358 .394 .751
HOU .262 .338 .410 .748
LAD .264 .368 .379 .747
SFG .262 .341 .392 .733
WSN .251 .348 .377 .725
SDP .237 .366 .343 .708
CIN .240 .328 .378 .706
ARI .228 .328 .377 .705
CHC .218 .326 .359 .684
NL Avg .255 .351 .399 .749

 

Despite not hitting for as much power with RISP, the Brewers still outperform the average NL squad. Their willingness to take pitches also helps put them above average in the NL in hitting with RISP. Certainly taking walks and avoiding outs is a positive outcome. With that said, taking walks only helps bring runs in when the bases are already loaded. Otherwise it takes hits to score runs. There the Brewers lag a little behind the rest of the NL in batting average with RISP.

It seems like the Brewers' struggles with RISP has been a more recent development this season. Here's a month-by-month breakdown:

Month PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
April 220 175 41 9 0 7 29 40 .234 .346 .406 .751
May 291 242 65 13 2 8 36 60 .269 .356 .438 .794
June 285 236 57 14 3 7 37 62 .242 .340 .415 .756
July 116 93 24 3 0 2 15 18 .258 .362 .355 .717
Total 912
746 187 39 5 24 117 180 .251 .350 .413 .762

 

The Brewers have suffered a power outage with RISP in July, but they've actually been picking up singles relatively often so far this month. In May, the Brewers were very good with RISP and were rewarded with an 18-10 record. The Brewers scored 136 runs in 28 games in May, good for 4.86 runs per game. Interestingly, the Brewers hit worse with RISP in June but still scored 133 runs in 27 games, or 4.93 runs per game. The key was overall hitting: while the Brewers hit well with RISP in May, they were pretty awful without. While they fell back with RISP in June, hitting in other situations got better, especially for power. Check it out for yourself.

All in all, the Brewers could certainly use a return to May's RISP numbers coupled with June's overall hitting numbers, especially given the uncertainty with the pitching staff. As it stands, however, the team is not awful with runners in scoring position. That said, July's offensive slump hasn't helped matters. Certainly last night's 7 for 14 effort with RISP (not included in the above numbers) is encouraging.