This past week the Milwaukee Brewers found numerous ways to pull off wins. Whether it be via walk-offs, Eric Thames designating the month of April an extended/personal homerun derby or the bullpen giving up zero earned runs; the wins have come.
Last week featured a homestand that saw the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins come to town. A series win and a series sweep later and the Brewers have stumbled into a six game win streak.
The return of Christian Yelich to the lineup after a stint on the DL has brought alive an offense that was stagnant much of the opening weeks of the season.
As for the Week 2 reactions, it seems I was wrong about one. Josh Hader may very well be the best relief pitcher in all of baseball before this season is out. He is a huge reason why the Brewers bullpen is in the midst of a 21.2 scoreless innings streak.
He has upped his K/9 to a wild 17.80, and held opponents to a .176 batting average for balls in play.
The 56.9 percent K% is absolutely absurd and a shining example of how bullpen arms across the league have trended to relying on strikeouts more than anything.
My other reaction was that the Brewers would continue on their maddening, winning ways by playing and winning close games. A couple of 2-0 wins over the Reds and a Jesús Aguilar walk-off bomb (after the prettiest at bat you will ever see) later and my reaction seems to be holding up.
The Brewers will be in competitive, stressful, exhilarating games more nights than they are not. My head has been ready to explode for most of the season already.
Now for Week 3:
The Brewers will be unable to trade Domingo Santana
General Manager David Stearns traded for all-star outfielders Yelich and Lorenzo Cain this offseason. Instantly people looked to which outfielder the Brewers would try and trade away for pitching or infield depth.
Domingo Santana was the easy target. A breakout year of 30 homeruns, a .278 batting average and 85 RBIs moved his trade value up. Santana survived the offseason still wearing a Brewers uniform.
Since then things have not gone well.
His value is all but gone at this point. A .219/.313/.233 hitting line, zero homeruns and only nine walks to his team high 25 strikeouts.
Maybe the Brewers never wanted to trade him in the first place, but if they were, would there be any team even looking for at him?
Santana’s upside is and always will be his slugging. Last year he was a homerun and extra base hit machine. Two big reasons were his ability to push the ball to the opposite field and hit the ball hard.
Both stats are down for him so far. Santana has only had an opposite field percentage of 18.8 percent (down from 28.0 percent in 2017) and only hits balls hard 31.7 percent of the time (down from 39.7 percent in 2017).
With his upside factors regressing and regressing fast, the market for the right fielder is closing fast if it hasn’t completely closed already.
Verdict: Perfect reaction
An infielder will be called up from the minors
Second base has been a position of question for the Brewers since last season. With no free agency acquisitions except for bringing Eric Sogard, those questions remain.
Jonathan Villar and Sogard, however, have proven capable in their early season appearances.
Villar seems to be hitting for contact instead of swinging and missing aiming for beyond the fences. But his low .304 on base percentage is rough considering his .273 batting average. If he wants to maintain a more consistent spot on the roster, drawing more walks will be key.
Sogard’s hitting has been horrendous posting a .159/.213/.250 hitting line. Of his seven hits though, four have been doubles. And Sogard was not kept around for his bat but for his glove. Having a guy you can rely on defensively late in games is always a plus.
Obviously there is room for improvement. So to the minors we look.
Infielder Lucas Erceg has dominated minor league pitching ever since being drafted by the Brewers in 2016.
He owns a career .286 batting average and a .790 OPS. Last season he drove in 83 runs, hit 15 homeruns and drew 36 walks. A natural third baseman, he could transition to second, but it might be a reach pushing him from Double A straight to the majors even though he is crushing the ball (.318 batting average and a .818 OPS so far).
Mauricio Dubon, who came over with third baseman Travis Shaw, has also shown a lot of promise in the minors. Currently the number 11 prospect in the Brewers top 30, he has posted a .311 batting average to go along with a .831 OPS.
There is a plethora of young infield talent in the Brewers organization. But is it worth it at this point to rush any of their developments when the players manning second are doing a capable job? Probably not. Dubon is the closest to being ready, but he still needs to prove some at the Triple A level before playing in Miller Park.
Brent Suter has worked his way out of the rotation
Suter started his major league career late last season after being called up by the Brewers and showed promise as a consistent and quick pitcher who could eat five innings.
He has gone five innings in all of his starts, but none of them have been consistent or good.
With an ERA sitting at 5.75 and only having one start out of his five in which he gave up less than three runs, he could be on the chopping block.
Wade Miley is on the mend in his rehab assignments in the minors. Miley, a veteran MLBer, impressed during the spring showing increased velocity. He was likely to have a spot on the rotation before his injury.
Even if Miley was not on his way back, Suter may have been on the way out.
Minor leaguers Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes have made hay in Triple A Colorado Springs. Peralta owns a 1.29 ERA over 21 innings pitched and has struckout 27 while only allowing nine walks.
Burnes, the Brewer’s highest ranked pitching prospect, owns a 2.29 ERA over 19.2 innings but has only struckout 11 to his 10 walks.
With Miley on the mend and dominant performances down on the farm, Suter may have not just worked himself out of the rotation, but possibly out of the majors. The only thing that could keep him in the majors is if management moves Oliver Drake down to the minors and moves Suter to the bullpen.