With the Major League Baseball season now well under way, it is time to introduce a new weekly column. In the spirit of the average fan who overreacts and under reacts to just about anything in sports, that is what this column will address: Which over/under reactions to buy and which ones to sell.
With it being the start of the season, there will be no shortage of small sample size statistics or division leads to overthink.
Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich will be two of the best hitters in baseball
One of the biggest offseason stories was the Milwaukee Brewers acquisitions of outfielders Yelich and Cain. So far, they are making General Manager David Stearns look great.
Cain is 9-18 to start the season with a beautiful .833 slugging percentage buoyed by a homerun he leaned into in a loss against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
Yelich has started the year with hitting a slash line of .389/.421/.444. In Saturday’s win over the San Diego Padres, he went a perfect 5-5.
The two offseason additions have combined for seven of the teams total RBIs and have also scored four runs each. So can the number one and two hitters in the lineup keep up the batting clinic?
A career .423 slugging percentage hitter, Cain is not known for his power. His monster slugging percentage thus far will most likely fade away sooner rather than later. That over .500 batting average will also come back down to earth, but not drastically as the career .300 hitter has a slew of All-Star quality bats behind him baiting pitchers to throw him strikes.
Yelich’s early season slugging percentage is actually on par with his career numbers but his on-base is up from his career .369 mark. Playing in hitter friendly Miller Park should only see the slugging percentage increase with an uptick of homeruns. An increase in getting on-base would vault Yelich into a solidified All-Star status.
I’m buying into Cain due to the fear pitchers will have of having to pitch to power hitters like Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana later in the batting order. I’m also buying Yelich as the hitter friendly ballpark will only see his slugging percentage surge.
Their numbers will surely regress, but they will be one of the best 1-2 combos in all of baseball to lead off the batting order.
You get a dinger! You get a dinger! You all get dingers!
Chase Anderson started the year off on a great note for the Brewer’s starting rotation. Six innings of one hit ball with six strikeouts. Sadly, the other out-getters to start games for the Brewers have not followed suit.
Jhoulys Chacín opened up his season giving up two homeruns, struggling to locate the ball. Brent Suter and Zach Davies followed him up each giving up home runs.
Brandon Woodruff, who is currently in the bullpen but supposedly the fifth starter in waiting, also gave up a homerun.
In 2017 the Brewers gave up 177 homeruns as a pitching staff. Will this year’s staff surpass last year’s mark?
The main issue here is that the rotation as is during Opening Week will not even be close to what it looks like come season’s end. Chase and Davies are sure bets to get to the end of the year barring injury, but after that nothing is set.
Jimmy Nelson will try and come back sometime this summer and if the Brewers are contending at the All-Star break, a trade could drastically change the rotation.
With the Brewers due to contend and Nelson on pace to come back earlier than originally expected, the pitching staff will give up less homeruns than last year.
Travis Shaw will lead the league in doubles
In 2017, Shaw blossomed into an everyday third baseman. His disciplined approach at the plate also lead to 31 homeruns and 101 RBIs. He even lead the team with 34 doubles.
The league leader in doubles last season was Jose Ramirez with 56. He was followed by a number of players who had 40 plus doubles in 2017.
So far in 2018 Shaw has already amounted four doubles. He will be hitting in the heart of the batting order for the Brewers and if they’re going to contend, it will include an All-Star caliber season at the plate for Shaw.
Extra-base hits will be crucial to that success. Last season, Shaw posted a career high in percent of hits being hit hard. If the trend continues, his team lead in doubles could very quickly become the league lead in doubles.