Archive for the 'Brewers' Category

Brewers Outslug Nationals 15-13

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

The balls were flying out of Nats Park Friday night. Sean Doolitle came into pitch with a three run lead and he threw five strikes to the first four hitters he faced. He gave up three homeruns and a double into the gap. The last homerun, the eleventh in the game, was the game winner by Eric Thames, a two run shot in the top of the 14th inning to give the Brewers a 15-14 win. The Nationals scored one in the bottom of the 14th and had the go ahead run of first, with the tying run on third, but ran out of position players and had to pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra. He struck out to end the game.

The game started out innocently enough with the Brewers erupting for five runs in the top of the third off Anibal Sanchez without benefit of a homerun. With one out Anibal walked the pitcher Jordan Lyles and the leadoff man Trent Grisham. That proved costly as five consecutive hits, four singles and one double plated five runs for the Brewers to jump into a 5-0 lead.

The Nationals were the first to hit the ball out of the park. That came on a two run homer from Juan Soto in the bottom of the third, a ball that just reached the left field bleachers. The Nationals got three more in the bottom of the fourth and tied the game on a three run homer from Adam Eaton into the right field bullpen. What appeared to be a Brewer rout early was now a game.

The Brewers got their first homerun when Ryan Braun hit a ball off the top of the right field bleachers off Matt Grace. The umpires originally ruled it a double, but after review they reversed the call and gave Braun the homerun. Matt Grace gave up another homerun in the top of the sixth, hit by lefthander Trent Grisham to give the Brewers an 8-5 lead. That was it for Grace. As he left the mound the crowd was roaring something other than “Doooo”.

Just when they thought they had gained the momentum the Nationals struck back off Freddy Peralta, who could not get anyone out. Kurt Suzuki led off the inning with a double off the right field scoreboard. Victor Robles followed with a run scoring blooper down the left field line that he turned into a double. Peralta walked Howie Kendrick and then Trea Turner turned on a Peralta pitch and lined it into the left field bleachers just to the right of the left field foul pole for a three run homerun. The Nationals had the lead for the first time 9-8.

It appeared the Nationals put the game away in the seventh when Howie Kendrick launched a ball into the centerfield bleachers for a two run homerun and a 11-8 lead. Fernando Rodney retired the Brewers in order in the eighth. Doolittle had pitched the day before. Most in the stands wanted a rest day for Doolittle and felt a three run lead was enough for Daniel Hudson to pitch, but on came Doolittle.

He got behind Christian Yelich 1-0 and Yelich hit homer number 40 on the next pitch into the left field bleachers. He got behind Keston Hiura 2-0 and Keston ripped the next pitch into the left centerfield gap for a double. He got behind Mike Moustakas 2-1 and the Moose tied the game rifling a pitch over the center field wall. Not wanting to get behind anymore Doolittle threw his first pitch to Ryan Braun across the plate and Braun sent it deep into the left field bleachers to give the Brewers a 12-11 lead. Doolittle did face one more hitter, Eric Thames, who got the barrel of the bat on the ball and hit one deep into center, but Robles was able to catch the ball. That was it for the Doo.

Josh Hader came on to seal the game in the bottom of the ninth. Yan Gomes drew a walk. No pinch runner but no bench players left for Davey. Kurt Suzuki lined a 2-0 pitch into leftfield. Gomes raced for third and the throw from Braun was way off line. Suzuki advanced to second. Now you had two catchers on base. There had to be a pitcher that was faster than Suzuki on second who represented the winning run. Victor lined a single into right field to score Gomes but Suzuki was held at third. Robles advanced to second on the throw because the throw went home to get Suzuki. Robles run meant nothing. Kendrick was walked intentionally to lead the bases with no outs. Trea Turner ran the count to 3-2, even fouling a pitch into the left field bleachers but just foul. He swung and missed for strike three. Adam Eaton was overmatched against the lefty Hader, failing to make contact on three pitches. Anthony Rendon came up with two outs and he too struck out. Extra innings.

The Brewers got another homerun from Christian Yelich in the top of the 13th to take the lead again. The Nationals made it four comebacks with a Victor Robles sacrifice fly to tie the game.

A two run homerun from Eric Thames in the top of the 14th to make it 15-13 appeared to seal the deal. The Nationals still battled back thanks to a throwing error by Keston Hiura with two out that allowed one run to score and advance Soto to second. The Brewers chose to walk Asdrubal Cabrera intentionally to put the game winning run on base, knowing the pitcher’s spot was coming up next and the Nationals had no position players left to pinch hit. Davey pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra and he struck out. No fifth come back was in the cards because the Nationals had run out of players.

Game Notes: Victor Robles threw out two runners at second, Mike Moustakas and Keston Hiura, who were trying to turn singles into doubles. That is four assists for Robles in the week….After Joe Ross pinch hit for Javy Guerra the Nationals had run out of bullpen pitchers. If the Nationals had tied it would Davey had pitched Joe Ross in the 15th…Patrick Corbin had pitched the previous night. It was Patrick Corbin bobble head tonight…Christian Yelich inched closer to becoming the first player in major league history to 50/30 by hitting two homeruns and stealing a base to put him at 41/24…Both Hader and Doolittle are struggling. Hader has blown four of his last five save appearances with an ERA of 10.50 in his last seven appearances. Doolittle has given up seven homeruns in his last 10 appearances and seen his ERA rise to a non closer like 4.33. In his last seven appearances his ERA is 15.00, even though he has been credited with four saves during that time…The Nationals gave up five homeruns after the ninth inning, which tied a major league record, another one of many homerun records being broken or tied this year. Who says the ball is not juiced?…Other than Sean Doolittle Matt Grace is the lone lefty in the Nationals bullpen. He has given up 11 homeruns in 44 innings. Lefthanders are hitting .313 against him (righthanders .320). He is not too successful at getting anyone out.

Missions Slam Stormchasers in Extended Game

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Myworld thought we would have our first triple header here in Omaha, but it was not to be. The continuation game took 13 innings to complete, starting in the fifth inning. It ended on a grand slam by David Freitas that looked like a routine fly ball when it left the bat. The Missions went on to win 12-9.

Myworld did not score the game since it was starting at 7-7 in the bottom of the fifth. We were hoping to score the second game. Because of that we will only provide some of our thoughts of the game and the park.

The Omaha foot long hot dog was tasty. It came with beef, bacon and melted nacho like cheese on the dog. I would highly recommend it. Normally ballpark food is very bland, but maybe I was hungry.

Nothing really special about the park. They do have some stands in foul territory just beyond the infield in left field that face home plate. That is where the Stormchaser bullpen sits. It is the first time I have seen something like that. Those seats curl in just behind the infield area.

Lucas Erceg is not a big guy. While he is supposed to hit for power I don’t see that on a consistent basis. It will be tough for him to make it as a third baseman.

Mauricio Dubon hits the ball hard. He had a couple ground ball singles that flashed through the infield. I don’t like the way he runs or rounds the bases. Too conservative. He doesn’t look like he has the arm or the speed to play shortstop. The Missions would have won the game earlier if he had not lost a popup and let it drop in the infield, allowing the tying run to score.

Samir Duenez needs to lose some weight if he wants to be taken seriously by the major leagues. He hits a lot of homeruns but his weight will be a factor as he gets older. I liked his offensive numbers. Now that I see him I would be hesitant to call him up.

There was a Kyle Zimmer siting. He threw the ball hard hitting 93-96 miles per hour with his fastball. He had no command of his curveball.

This was my first extra inning game in the minor leagues where a runner starts at second. Both the Missions and the Stormchasers had difficulty bringing that run in resulting in the 13 inning marathon. The purpose of the rule was to shorten the time of the games.

The Stormchasers had four different mascots on the field. Sue Nami is a female mascot that looks like a giant wave. There is a giant steak and a lion by the name of Casey. Then there is the unidentifiable character by the name of Stormy who is green and has a large belly. There are too many of these mascots colored green with large bellys and big snouts.

Stat of the Week

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Baseballsavant.com carries some interesting statistical numbers. Last week we listed the top ten players for speed. Some of the names surprised us. This week we list the top ten players in exit velocity on average and distance to see how they marry. Not too many surprises here.

Exit Velocity

1) Joey Gallo (96.3) - Having a career year in batting average (.276) with 17 homeruns.
2) Nelson Cruz (94.5) - At 38 years of age his homerun numbers are going down, but it appears he still hits the ball hard.
3) Josh Bell (94.4) - Having a career year with 18 homeruns and leading the NL in RBIs (57).
4) Christian Yelich (93.8) - Gunning for another MVP award with 23 homeruns leading major league baseball.
5) Gary Sanchez (93.4) - A good bounce back year for him with his 19 homeruns already exceeding last year’s totals in less at bats.
6) Shohei Ohtani (93.3) - He can still throw the ball harder than he hits, but that exit velocity is still impressive.
7) Josh Donaldson (93) - The flyer the Braves took on him signing him to a big one year contract is paying off
8) Franmil Reyes (93) - One of the best young hitters in baseball. Staying with the big boys with his 19 homeruns
9) Carlos Santana (92.9) - Not changing his evil ways against American League pitchers. Homerun numbers are down (12).
10. Yoan Moncada (92.9) - Finally reaching his number one prospect potential. Also only 12 homeruns but a .284 average.

Tommy Pham just missed the top ten at number 11 with an average exit velocity of 92.8.

The top ten in average homerun distance has some surprise names because some of the players on the list have not hit a lot of homeruns. So myworld took a look at the average distance a player hits the ball and the top ten from that list:

1) Gary Sanchez (236) - He appears in our top ten exit velocity.
2) Jay Bruce (233) - He has blasted 18 homeruns but a low batting average indicates a lot of soft contact in his game.
3) Anthony Rendon (229) - They call him Tony Two Bags because of all the doubles he hits into the gaps.
4) Joey Gallo (227) - Number one on our exit velocity list
5) Jorge Polanco (225) - Not noted for his homerun pop but lots of doubles this year. His 10 homeruns is approaching his career high of 13.
6) Justin Smoak (222) - Seems to be having a quiet year with a .237 average and only 12 homeruns and 6 doubles.
7) Mike Trout (220) - About time this superstar appears somewhere on this list.
8) Daniel Vogelbach (219) - We never saw his major league homerun production coming.
9) Brandon Belt (218) - His offensive numbers seem to be down. Perhaps a lot of fly ball outs to the warning track.
10) Cody Bellinger (216) - If not for Yelich he would be gunning for the NL MVP honors. A NL league leading .362 average

As far as distance, the top five homeruns for distance have been hit by Nomar Mazara (482), Ketel Marte (482), Keon Broxton (474), Josh Bell (474) and Mike Trout (473). Marte and Broxton are two interesting names I wouldn’t associate with power, though Marte has been hitting some homeruns this year.

A lot more interesting stats at baseballsavant.com. Hope to give you more next week but you can check the numbers yourself.

Top 100 - 20 - 11

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

20. Carter Kieboom 2B (Nationals) - Two homeruns in spring training off Justin Verlander this year is pretty impressive. The 2016 first round pick will follow in the footsteps of Juan Soto and Victor Robles to vie for rookie of the year in 2020. Shortstop is his main position and he has the tools to play it. With Trea Turner cemented at short for the Nationals Carter will need to move to second or third. The power is there to hit 20 plus homeruns which would also make him a good fit for third base. If the Nationals do not sign Rendon to an extension that position will be open in 2020. The Nationals will promote Kieboom sometime late this year to get him ready for the 2020 season.

19. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies included Sixto in a trade as one of the players to send to the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. Sixto has a good fastball, sitting in the mid-90s and hitting the high 90s. He also has quality secondary pitches (slider and change) and the command to carve the plate. The 6′1″ height brings out questions of durability. Last year injuries limited him to just 8 minor league starts. The Marlins are rebuilding and will be in no rush to promote Sanchez to the major leagues. They could start his year in High A and promote him to AA once he achieves success.

18. Brent Honeywell RHP (Rays) - Brent missed the 2018 season after Tommy John surgery. The 2014 second round supplemental pick has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and reaches high 90s. He also has a quality screwball that can enhance his repertoire. How those pitches survive after Tommy John is open to question. After the success he was having in AAA and during spring training the Rays were ready to promote him to they Rays to take the same flight path to the majors as Blake Snell. The Tommy John surgery delayed that major league arrival by a year. Expect him to be in their rotation by 2020.

17. Mackenzie Gore LHP (Padres) - Blisters interrupted his 2018 season after dominating in Rookie ball in 2017. The first round 2017 pick may have the best stuff of any pitcher in the minors. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a curve, slider and change as quality pitches. Last year the blisters limited him to 16 starts and impacted the quality of his pitchers. Hitters hit .260 off him after barely making contact the previous year (.180). If healthy he should start the 2019 season in High A.

16. Alex Kiriloff RF (Twins) - One of the top outfielders did not play in 2017 because of Tommy John. The 2016 first round pick bounced back last year hitting .348 between Low A and High A, with 20 homeruns and 101 runs driven in. Myworld also saw him at the Future’s Game and despite his surgery he seemed to have a very strong arm. He lacks the speed to play center leaving the corners where his power will fit well. Expect him to begin the 2019 season in AA with a September promotion a possibility. The 2020 season he will join Byron Buxton to form an impressive outfield group.

15. Taylor Trammell OF (Reds) - Another Future game player, he won the MVP award with a homeruns and triple. The 2016 supplemental first round pick is one of those five tool players, minus the arm. The speed is there to play center and steal bases. The arm is fringe which limits him to left field if he is moved from center. His bat will produce power and if he can contain his whiff rate hit for average. Don’t be surprised if his bat breaks out for power when he starts the season in AA in 2019. A promotion to the major leagues is just around the corner.

14. Jesus Luzardo LHP (Athletics) - The Nationals 2016 third round pick will see his season delayed because of arm issues. The Nationals traded him to the Athletics along with Blake Treinen for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. He missed much of his senior year of high school after Tommy John surgery, which dropped him to the third round. Jesus has excellent control of a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can reach north of 95. His best pitch may be his change which produces a lot of his swings and misses. Once he returns from his injury he will have to start his season at the lower levels of the minor leagues for rehab before being assigned to AAA, where he struggled last year in his four starts.

13. Brendan Rodgers SS/2B (Rockies) - The 2015 first round pick is ready for the major leagues if the Rockies can find a position for him. Nolan Arenado was just signed to an extension, Trevor Story is cemented at short, so second base will be his best option. He will battle Ryan McMahon for at bats there. Last year he hit 17 homeruns. The tools are there to play short and those tools should easily transfer to second. He will eventually win the second base job over Ryan McMahon because of his superior defense.

12. Keston Hiura 2B (Brewers) - Perhaps the best pure hitter in the 2017 draft. Tommy John surgery limited him to DH duties his senior year in college. The Brewers drafted him in the first round despite not seeing him play defense at second. Last year his bat was good enough to play AA. In the majors it could be could be good enough to win batting titles. He won’t be a gold glover at second but he will not hurt you on defense. At some point the Brewers will want his bat in the lineup to make a playoff run for the 2019 season.

11. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - It won’t be long before the Angels have another super star outfielder to join Mike Trout. The 2017 first round pick is a legitimate five tool player. He will hit for power and average and have the speed to play center. The biggest question for the Angels when Adell is ready for the majors is who plays centerfield, Mike Trout or Adell. Fortunately for the Angels they will not need to make that decision until 2020.

NL Central Predictions

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

1. Chicago Cubs

Strengths - Overall the lineup is strong, especially the infield. Kris Bryant should have a bounce back year, hampered by injuries the previous year. Anthony Rizzo had his fourth consecutive season of driving in 100 runs. Those two will man the corners. Up the middle Javier Baez will either play short or second, depending on the need. He put up MVP numbers last year. When Baez is at second Addison Russell will play short and when Baez is at short either David Bote or Ben Zobrist will play second. Lots of depth with lots of bats to choose from. Wilson Contreras had a down year at catcher last year but he should bounce back. If Yu Darvish can return to health the starting rotation is a formidable five with Jon Lester, Darvish, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendriks and Jose Quintana.

Weakness - The starting outfield is either short on offense or weak on defense. Albert Almora and Justin Heyward carry silent bats but the defense is gold glove caliber. Kyle Schwarber needs his bat to produce because his defense is subpar. The bullpen has depth but it could use a closer. Brandon Morrow has trouble staying healthy and a proven closer is absent if he is not available.

Prospects to Make an Impact - This is a veteran team so it will be tough for a rookie to break into the lineup. Two pitchers have a shot if injuries to the rotation happen. Adbert Alzolay started just 8 games in AAA until a lat injury ended his year. Give him a half year of AAA pitching and he should be ready. Duane Underwood Jr. was a second round pick in 2012. He got one start for the Cubs last year after seeing 20 AAA starts. His fastball is not what it used to be but it is serviceable in emergencies.

Predicted Finish - A solid rotation with an offense that has the ability to score runs will be too much for this division.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

Strengths - The Brewers will also score a lot of runs. The outfield is especially dangerous with MVP Christian Yelich leading the charge. Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun fill out center and left and Ben Gamels is depth if you should need a fourth outfielder.

Weakness - Not a big fan of their rotation. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes will bring youth and inconsistency. Both pitched mostly out of the bullpen for the Brewers last year. No real number one starters with Jhoulys Chacin, Freddy Peralta and Zach Davis filling out the rotation. All would be mid-rotation starters for playoff teams.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Keston Hiura is a batting title waiting to happen. Last year he hit .272 at AA with six homeruns. Mike Moustakas is playing out of position at second base. Corbin Burnes has won a spot in the rotation for the Brewers. Last year he pitched for them out of the bullpen. Mauricio Dubon was hitting .343 after 27 games at AAA until a knee injury ended his season. Another start like that and he could see a role as a utility player.

Predicted Finish - As the NL east adversaries beat each other up the Brewers should sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team.

3. St. Louis Cardinals

Strengths - The Cardinals got some pop for first base when they picked up Paul Goldschmidt. He has hit 30 or more homeruns in four of his last six seasons and driven in 100 or more runs in three of his last six. Picking up Andrew Miller in free agency and using the oft injured Alex Reyes in the bullpen gives the Cardinals three pitchers with closer like stuff when you add in current closer Jordan Hicks. Carlos Martinez may also be used out of the bullpen when he returns from the disabled list. There will be lots of swings and misses in the late innings.

Weakness - The starting rotation lacks an ace. Jack Flaherty may turn into one before the season is complete. Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez looked like aces a couple years ago but now injuries could force them to be used out of the bullpen. Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha started just 23 games last year, not enough starts to fill one rotation spot. No defense made more errors last year than the Cardinals. Giving teams four outs in an inning can be frustrating to a pitcher.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Alex Reyes will be used out of the bullpen to start the season and could be used out of the rotation later. He has been felled by drug suspensions and injuries. Tyler O’Neil appears to have won one of the corner outfield jobs. He has the power that should exceed 20 plus homeruns. He also has the ability to record 200 whiffs. With the injury of Carlos Martinez it appears Dakota Hudson will be in the starting rotation. He pitched 26 games in relief last year for the Cardinals, limiting the opposition to a .186 average. Genesis Cabrera is a hard throwing lefthander with a mid-90s fastball who could be used in the bullpen by mid-season. The Cardinals lack depth with lefties out of their bullpen. The Cardinals are stacked at corner outfield but Adolis Garcia slugged 22 homeruns out of AA last year. The brother of Adonis is 26 and ready for the major leagues, while packing enough corners he could be surplus his rookie year.

Predicted Finish - Doesn’t appear to be enough flash or depth to pull the Cardinals into the playoffs.

4. Cincinnati Reds

Strengths - The Scooter Gennett injury puts a big dent in what was a solid offensive infield. Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball and will occupy first while Jose Peraza shifts to second. Last year Peraza increased his power numbers by close to 100 slugging points. Joey is the new human walk machine with OBAs north of .400. Eugenio Suarez homerun numbers keep on rising from 13 to 21 to 26 to 34 in the last four years. The Reds appear to be going with defensive minded Jose Iglesias at short as Peraza moves over to second. The Reds starting rotation was certainly juiced up with Sonny Gray, Tanner Rourke and Alex Wood. That is a change in pace from the young pitchers they trotted out last year.

Weakness - The outfield defense is certainly not a strength with Scott Schebler in center and Jessie Winker, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig fighting out for the corner spots. The catching could be offensively challenged with Tucker Barnhart the best of what they have for offense.

Prospects to make an Impact - Nick Senzel was going to get some more defensive experience in center. Now another injury may delay his call to the majors. The bat has the power to hit 30 plus homeruns. His original position of third base is occupied by Suarez. Jose Siri is a multi tooled outfielder who has the potential to hit 20 plus homers while stealing 20 plus bases.

Predicted Finish - Still a little too young to make the playoffs but they will make a run for it.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Strengths - They have two catchers in Francisco Cervelli and Elais Diaz who could start for many of the other 29 teams. The outfield of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson is one of the most talented in baseball, especially if you take into account the number of runs they erase because of their defense. They have one of the top closers in Felipe Vazquez.

Weakness - The middle infielders are two unproven players in Erik Gonzalez and Adam Frazier. Both may be better suited for utility roles. Adding to the offensive squalor along the infield there is uncertainty whether Jung Ho Kang can provide consistent offense at third. He hit a number of homeruns in spring training, but they were also most of his hits. Josh Bell is below average for a first baseman in pop. Back end of their rotation will be feasted upon by some of the more powerful offenses.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Mitch Keller is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Last year he struggled in 10 starts at AAA but he should make his major league debut by mid-season. There are no sure things at the middle infield positions which could open up opportunities for Kevin Kramer, Cole Tucker and Kevin Newman. None of the trio will put up better than average numbers.

Predicted Finish - They may not say they are rebuilding or tanking but they are.

Brewers Hope to Churn up New Brew of Prospects

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

The Brewers have historically failed at developing a good farm system. Since myworld has been rating farm systems beginning in 2008 the Brewers have been in the top ten just once, that was in 2017. From 2011 to 2015 they appeared in the bottom five four of the five years. They traded many of the top prospects from that 2017 list (Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Isan Diaz) and one player graduated to the Brewers major league roster (Josh Hader), but they made the playoffs. That is all that counts. Last year the Brewers had six players rated in Top 100 lists (Brett Phillips, Luis Ortiz, Corey Ray, Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Keston Hiura). Qualifying for the playoffs make it that much more difficult to draft elite players since you are picking later in the draft. Being a small market team, the Brewers have to compete taking advantage of younger, cheaper players.

The current farm system is short on pitchers but has a few scattered position players ready to make a contribution. The best of the group is Keston Hiura, the number one pick of the Brewers in 2017. His bat has batting titles written all over it. Elbow issues prevented him from showing off any defensive tools until mid-season of 2018. It does appear he will able to handle second base. While his hit tool is exceptional his other tools are average or just above average. If his arm gets better left field could be another possibility.

Brice Turang was the Brewers first round pick last year. As one of the top players on the 18 and under gold medal winning team the Brewers have got to be happy Brice dropped to him with the 21st pick. The tools are there to play short and he showed excellent patience at the plate in his first year with a 31/34 walk to whiff ratio. The only perceived weakness to his game at the present moment is his lack of power. Last year he slugged .352 with one homerun in over 150 at bats.

The Brewers still have hope that Lucas Erceg pans out. He shows a lot of power but that power rarely appears in a game. The Brewers were hoping for 20 dingers a year once he takes over third but he has yet to hit more than 15 in the minor leagues. He also struggles to make hard contact, his batting average dropping each of the last three years. With a full year at AA last year and Travis Shaw showing he can play second 2019 could be the year Lucas makes his major league debut.

The Brewers traded a 40 homerun bat in Kris Davis to acquire Jacob Nottingham from the Athletics. A couple injuries limited his minor league time to 50 games but he did make his major league debut. At 6′3″ he has power in his bat, but that height can make it awkward for him to maneuver behind the plate. He has enough skills to be the Brewers starting catcher in a couple years.

Mauricio Dubon got off to a fast start in AAA (.343 average with .922 OPS) but a torn ACL limited him to just a little over 100 at bats. Some question his ability with the bat, especially his lack of power so the 2019 season will be crucial to show that his fast start to the 2018 season was not a fluke. Dubon is a smooth fielding shortstop who could fill a utility role if he fails to make it as a shortstop.

The farm lacks a first base prospect but they are loaded in the outfield. Corey Ray was supposed to be a superstar after being drafted in the first round in 2016. A poor 2017 knocked the shine out of his status but he came back in 2018 with 27 homeruns. A propensity to strikeout (176 times last year) could keep his average low (.239). He has the speed to steal bases (39) and patrol centerfield and the arm to shift to right if that should prove necessary. The 2019 season should be his major league debut but better contact will improve his chances.

Joe Gray was a second round pick in 2018 who carries a lot of tools. His arm shoots rockets from right field and his bat can carry the ball a long way. The big concern with Gray is making consistent contact. Last year he had a 18/25 walk to whiff ratio in 24 games, showing good patience at the plate, but a .182 average was disappointing. The Brewers still have time to develop him.

Triston Lutz was a 2017 first round supplemental pick. Power will get him to the Brewers. A strong right arm will make right field a perfect fit. His struggles making contact will drop his average down to the .250 range. Last year he struck out 139 times in 119 games dropping his average to .245.

On the pitching front the pickings are a bit slim. Corbin Burnes has a shot to make the starting rotation next year. He barely qualifies as a prospect after pitching 30 games in relief for the Brewers last year. A good fastball/slider combination kept hitters off balance when called up to the major leagues with the opposition hitting him at a .199 clip. When he was starting in the minor leagues he was hit at a .275 clip. He also has a curveball and change so there are the quantity of pitches necessary to start, but his fastball and slider are so good that the bullpen could be his best role when limited to his best two offerings.

That is the extent of the pitchers that myworld can get excited about. Zack Brown put up some good numbers (9-1, 2.44 ERA) but we don’t know that much about him. A 6′1″ righthander that was drafted in the fifth round in 2016 out of college deserves a pause for caution. If he replicates those numbers in 2019 then we’ll get excited.

Puig Leads Dodgers to the World Series

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Yasiel Puig has lost his ability to be the center of attention and that is probably a good thing. Now he just blends in. Until he hits a three run homerun to lead the Dodgers to a 5-1 win. That is also probably a good thing.

It was actually a two run homerun from Cody Bellinger in the second inning that gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. He was voted the MVP of the World Series despite only hitting .200. It was clutch catches, clutch running (beating out a DP grounder prior to the Puig Homeruns) and clutch hitting that got him the vote.

Puig extended that lead with a three run bomb off of the unlucky Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress had a couple unlucky outings in which he gave up big homeruns, his first to Justin Turner, a two run shot in the eighth inning of the second game that erased a 3-2 Brewer lead.

Rookie Walker Buehler did his best impression of Clayton Kershaw in his 4.2 innings of work. He struck out seven and only allowed a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the first. The only problem with that impersonation is Buehler throws righthanded and Kershaw sometimes struggles in the playoffs as a starting pitcher.

Kershaw did come on in the ninth to close out the game, putting an exclamation point to the victory, striking out two of the three hitters he faced. Striking out the last hitter and receiving the catcher’s hug is always a cool experience. Normally starting pitchers are not in that long to feel that initial celebratory vibe. Kershaw got to experience it.

The unsung hero may be Ryan Madson. He is not used to having regular season ERAs over 5.00. That does not matter when you enter the playoffs. He got five outs in game seven and finished with a playoff ERA of 1.80. Those are the kind of numbers he is used to seeing. He also was credited with the game seven win.

Now the World Series the networks were hoping to televise, the Red Sox versus the Dodgers. No back to back champs this year. You have to go back to 2000 for the last back to back champ. That was the year the New York Yankees won their third consecutive World Series. For the Dodgers though, they are going back to back in the World Series, and three appearances in the last four. But this time they hope to finish as a World Series winner, something they have not done since 1988.

Brewers Take it to Game Seven

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

The Brewers scored early scoring four in the first inning and then made it stick with their 7-2 win over the Dodgers to take the National League championship series to a game seven. After Wade Miley went the first 4.1 innings Craig Counsell turned it over to the bullpen and they were perfect for the last 14 outs (except for a hit by pitch from Corey Knebel). Knebel finished off the fifth and retired the Dodgers in the sixth. Jeremy Jeffress took care of the seventh and Corbin Burnes was perfect for the last two innings.

The victim of the first inning onslaught was Hyun-Jin Ryu. He lasted three innings but was batted around for five runs on seven hits. Only David Freese could generate any offense for the Dodgers with his solo shot to lead off the game and an RBI double in the fifth. The good news for the Brewers was Freese was double switched out of the game after the fifth. The last time Freese faced the Brewers in a league championship series back in 2011 when he was with the Cardinals he went deep three times, driving in 9 runs.

Jesus Aguilar has been struggling in the post season with a batting average of .172. Last night he came alive with a two run double in the first inning and an RBI single in the eighth. He also scored twice from his three hits and a walk.

In a bit of an oddity, Knebel got his first major league at bat in the playoff game. He has been in the major leagues since 2014 but has never carried a bat to the plate. In fact the last time he carried a bat to the plate was a high school game in 2010. He got another opportunity in the bottom of the fifth to hit with two outs and the bases loaded. Counsell could have pinch hit for him but he let him hit. Knebel struck out. Not bad for a guy who has not swung a bat in seven years. The saving grace is he pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Dodgers and Red Sox Roll

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Brewers used Wade Miley for one batter and then went to their bullpen. The Dodgers used Clayton Kershaw for seven innings and went to their bullpen. Advantage Dodgers. They win the game 5-2.

Brandon Woodruff worked a starters load for the Brewers but he gave up three runs in five innings. Kershaw may have the numbers of a number five pitcher in playoff appearances but he was unhittable yesterday, allowing just one run in his seven innings while striking out nine. Kershaw may have lost some stuff because of injuries over the years but he can still put together dominating outings.

All five of the Dodgers runs came within a three inning span, 5th through 7th, when Woodruff may have started to get tired and Joakim Soria just was not effective in his seventh inning appearance, retiring only one hitter. Sometimes you can go to the well one time too often relying on your bullpen and find there is no more water left. The Brewers plan on starting Wade Miley for the critical sixth game to keep them in the playoffs.

For the third consecutive game the usual homer happy Dodgers went without, but they did steal bases and slap around seven singles with two doubles. Austin Barnes drove in the first run with a bleeder RBI single up the middle to tie the game 1-1. Yasiel Puig was standing in the on deck circle but Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to bat. The Brewers could have called the bluff and walked Barnes to bring up Yasiel Puig or Kershaw - but didn’t.

Puig was able to get his at bat in the sixth and drove in a run with a single. Max Muncy also had an RBI single, ignoring his homer happy ways to drive in runs to break the 1-1 tie. The two RBI singles put the Dodgers up 3-1. A Justin Turner RBI single and a Brian Dozier RBI ground out the next inning would make it 5-1. Not one RBI created from an extra base hit. That’s normally not the Dodgers formulae for winning games.

Red Sox 8 Astros 6

It was a wild game that many were probably unable to stay up late to watch. It ended on a diving catch by leftfielder Andrew Benintendi with the bases loaded. If he had not made the catch the Astros probably would have won the game 9-8 since the ball would have rolled to the corner of the left field wall and all three runners on base would have scored.

Jackie Bradley can not be called an unlikely hero anymore. He may be hitting ninth in the order, but the bat has been carrying the juice of a clean up hitter. His two run homerun in the sixth carried a long way and gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. It also gave Bradley nine RBIs for the series two short of slugger David Ortiz for the franchise record for most RBIs in a playoff series.

There were six different times in this game a team took the lead or tied the game. That must have left a lot of fans dizzy. For those staying up late at night there was no time to take a break for sleep. You can do that at the office.

Kimbrel got the two inning save, but it was not easy. He gave up a run, walked three and issued two hits and probably would have lost the game if not for the Benintendi catch.

There was a bit of controversy on a non-catch. Mookie Betts made a leaping attempt to catch a ball by Jose Altuve that was clearly going over the fence for a two run homer. The replays show Betts may have been able to catch the ball but a fan touched the glove of Betts and prevented him from keeping it open to make the catch. If his glove was in play the interference call would have been valid. If his glove was hanging into the stands there should have been no interfence call. The replay officials did not reverse the fan interfence call since it was unclear whether his glove was in the stands when he made his leap.

Betts continued to show his gold glove wins are no fluke with another great play in the eighth. Tony Kemp hit what appeared to be a leadoff double down the right field line. Betts was able to get to the ball and rifle a strike to second to nail Kemp.

All three Red Sox outfielders combined their bats and their gloves to win this game, accounting for at least a plus 12 in the run department.

Dodgers Win Marathon to Even Series; Red Sox Blast Astros

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

There were lots of zeroes on the scoreboard in the Dodgers eventual 2-1 13 inning win over the Brewers. Gio Gonzalez only went one inning, giving up one run before a sprained ankle ended his day. The Brewer bullpen muscled down, throwing 11 shutout innings before Cody Bellinger ended the game with his walk off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Dodgers a 2-1 win and even the series at two games each. Coming into this game Bellinger’s postseason average for 2018 was .048 and for his career .176.

The Dodgers bullpen also pitched well, not allowing a run for eight innings. Julio Urias, the one time Mexican sensation, came back from oblivion to throw one inning of shutout ball to get credit for the win, proving all that rehab from injury can pay off. Ryan Madson, who was horrible in relief during the regular season with the Nationals and Dodgers stranded a critical runner at third in the seventh and then pitched a scoreless eighth. Madson has only allowed one hit in his 3.1 post season innings, stranding six of the nine runners he has inherited.

Red Sox 8 Astros 2

Jackie Bradley has had his major league career defined as good glove but weak bat. He was again the Red Sox offensive hero with a grand slam homerun in the eighth inning that put the game out of reach and gave the Red Sox the win. It may have been his only hit in the game, but it was a big hit.

Nathan Eovaldi, whose career has been a bit of a disappointment considering his three digit fastball, was the pitching hero, going six innings and capturing the win while allowing two runs. Eovaldi is considered the hardest thrower from Alvin, Texas since, well Nolan Ryan, who was sitting in the stands rooting for his Houston Astros. Eovaldi’s fastball was ringing the radar at three digits.

Steve Pearce, another journeyman player who was a late acquisition from the Blue Jays broke a 2-2 tie with a solo homerun in the sixth. For Pearce it was his first post season homerun.

The Red Sox now lead the best of seven series two games to one.