Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the MLB. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Milwaukee Brewers fans and fans across the country.
Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Following a dismal 18-1 loss on Monday, we’ve decided to ask Brewers fans which NL Central team is the toughest competition for the division title. While the Pirates and Brewers have held the division lead for the majority of the season, the Cubs and Reds have stayed somewhat close while the Cardinals have seemingly gotten hot after a rough start.
Baseball Reference still gives the Cardinals 43.6% chance to make the playoffs, including a 19.5% chance to win the division, as of the start of the Brewers-Cardinals game Tuesday night. That’s the third-best odds in the division, barely behind the Cubs (43.7% and 23.1%, respectively) and the Brewers (75.3% and 53.3%, respectively).
To make it back to the postseason, the Brewers are going to need some help from the newbies, which is why we’re asking which new Brewer has impressed the most so far.
While Jesse Winker was arguably the biggest name to join Milwaukee in the offseason, Wade Miley (0.5 WAR), Joel Payamps (0.3 WAR), William Contreras (1.4 WAR), Brian Anderson (0.4 WAR), and Owen Miller (0.3 WAR) all have higher marks than Winker’s -0.2 WAR at this point in the season.
Miley had a 2.31 ERA prior to his May 10 start against the Dodgers, when he allowed seven earned runs over five innings, ballooning his ERA to 3.60. Despite the tough start, Miley has still been one of the strongest and most consistent pitchers in Milwaukee’s staff, tossing at least five innings in all seven starts and allowing three or fewer runs in all but one of those appearances.
Payamps has been quietly good out of Milwaukee’s bullpen, appearing in 18 games (third-most) and pitching to a 2.79 ERA across 19 1⁄3 innings, including his first career save in San Diego in April. While he isn’t the flashiest pitcher, striking out just 19 hitters, he’s been great at limiting damage, with a 1.09 WHIP and just three walks to his name.
Contreras is arguably the overall team MVP thus far, consistently getting on base while adding three homers and a team-high seven doubles across 32 games (113 at-bats). He’s also become one of the best pitch framers in the big leagues, which has turned him into one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
Anderson got off to a red-hot start this season and has five homers and 21 RBIS through 39 games (136 at-bats). He’s slashing .243/.323/.404 and his strong defense and versatility as both a third baseman and an outfielder have helped the team navigate through injuries.
The hometown kid Miller is also having a quietly good season, slashing .324/.347/.451 with 23 hits in 71 at-bats across 26 games. He’s been especially valuable considering Milwaukee’s struggles against lefties, as Miller has a .357/.387/.393 slash line against lefties (28 at-bats) compared to .302/.318/.488 against righties (43 at-bats).
Answer the two questions below and stay tuned for results later this week!