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Sunday Sundries: Week 1

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A confusing week...

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers had a 5 run win and a 5 run loss this week; the rest of the games were tight. The Crew went 1-3 in those games, but with a little better defense, a few more clutch hits, and a little bit of Cardinal luck...

But this doesn’t look like a bad baseball team. This will be a fun season.

TOP HITTING STORY: I’ll go negative to start things off. Domingo Santana is off to a poor start, and it isn’t a good time for that to happen. Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar are off to very good starts, and will demand consistent playing time as long as they produce. Thames can go to right field as well as left, and the line-up will look much better with those two and Ryan Braun in the order. Santana’s early line is .067/.263/.133, OPS of .386. It can be flipped in a week, of course, but will he get that chance?

Honorable Mention: Travis Shaw has cooled a bit in the Cubs series, but still slashed .333/.440/.714 with five doubles and a homer, with six RBI. His OPS is at 1.154. Prospect Lucas Erceg is still likely a few years away, so if Shaw can continue to produce close to this level then the corners of the Brewer infield could be set for the near to mid-term future.

TOP PITCHING STORY: The best and worst stories belong to the bullpen. The Brewers pen has now thrown 27.2 innings in 25 appearances in the first 6 games. Yikes. The top four relievers (Jacob Barnes, Jared Hughes, Corey Knebel, and Carlos Torres) have appeared in 14 games, thrown 15.2 scoreless innings, and only allowed five hits. You can win games with that!

Unfortunately, the remainder of the pen (Neftali Feliz, Jhan Marinez, Tommy Milone, Brent Suter, and Taylor Jungmann) have 11 appearances between them, throwing 12 innings that aren’t scoreless (13 runs, 11 earned), allowing 21 hits...you can lose games with that.

A consistent theme between both groups, though, is walks. Group A (the scoreless guys) have walked 11 in those 15.2 innings. Group B has walked 9 in their 12. That’s 20(!) walks the first six games...you can lose LOTS of games with that.

IMHO: Jonathan Villar remains a lightning rod for Brewer fans. Two homers the first week with five RBI, but a .192/.222/.462 slash. A steal, but a caught stealing on a pick-off. 12 strikeouts in 27 plate appearances, and one official error with several mental lapses in the field...many of the same good things as well as much of the bad that we saw last year.

Manager Craig Counsell says that he expects Villar to settle in at second base defensively, and that he is still learning the ins and outs of the position. I hope so. Villar is an aggressive player that can be very disruptive to the opponent. Unfortunately, he can be disruptive to the Brewers’ play, as well. I don’t think that he is a disruptive personality. He always seems positive on the bench, encouraging his teammates and cheering them on. And he is obviously a tremendously talented player. His mental development will be paramount to the success of this team over the next few seasons.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: The Brewers claimed Nick Franklin from Tampa Bay this week, who was at one time a highly rated prospect but now profiles as a utility player with Milwaukee. Many are confused by the addition, as they had recently waived Scooter Gennett and seen him claimed by the Cincinnati Reds, and Franklin seems to be much the same player. He does have much more experience at a wider variety of positions than Scoot, and he did crack a homer last night in his first game, but it seems a lateral move for the team.

Jaymes’ article on the claim brought no shortage of discussion - both pro and con - on the move. jorgejuliomachado opined:

Small sample but Franklin was pretty good last year.

Never been a big fan of DeJesus or Noonan and do prefer Franklin over them. I do like Orf but has yet to prove himself at AAA. Do agree that up until last year Franklin has been disappointing but but it is low risk, versatile and a switch hitter.

Posted by jorgejuliomachado on April 5th,2017|2:11 pm

A nice, concise summary.

After Zach Davies tries to pitch the Brewers into a series win against the Cubs today, the Crew has an off day Monday. Then they travel to Toronto for three with the Blue Jays before finishing off in Cincinnati (where Scooter has slashed .091/.167/.364 over five games) next weekend.