Team Trends

Rating Brewer Bats: Sabermetric Preview of the 2019 Offense

As of now, Fangraphs is predicting The Crew will be returning a very similar lineup for 2019:

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This suggests Milwaukee’s offensive production should come from this baker’s dozen:

Using high yield Sabermetric stats, we will take a look at the players who do the hitting.

If you do not know advanced stats, they are all simplified below.

For now, just note trends:Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 6.05.54 AM

Stats Explained:

The statistics represented above have been chosen to reflect overall production and highlight key differences. A quick explanation allows us all to be on the same page.

 

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+)

Without getting intimidated by the formulas just recognize that they BOTH ARE RATE STATISTICS (measure occurrences over time) which attempt to reflect overall hitting ability. You can see in our chart above they correlate 1:1.

Line Drive & Strike Out Percentages (LD% / K%)

Everyone knows that striking out is bad but how often a player hits line drives is actually more important.

The numbers are impressive when you compare line drives (LD) to fly balls (FB) and ground balls (GB). A line drive is twice as good as a pop-up and more than three times better than hitting a grounder:

Batted Ball General Comparison

BaBIP Sounds Fun, What Does It Mean?

 

Think of this stat as being how well the hitter can put the ball into play. The higher the BaBIP, the more his contact leads to production. Generally speaking, this is a hitter’s “set point.” While luck & chance lead to fluctuations in batting average, the BABIP is a more reliable measure of raw hitting ability.

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NOTE: Most major league hitters will have a BABIP of ~0.300 if given enough at bats. So if a player hits considerably higher or lower than that it says something about their talent level. On the other hand, if a player with a lifetime .350 mark has a season with a .300 BABIP, odds are it was just an unlucky year. That is, unless it truly is a regression (i.e. at the end of a career). The only way a hitter raises their BABIP is if they change something functional (i.e. swing mechanics).

For most players, once they have 800 PA’s, their BABIP is kinda set in stone. Temporary fluctuations typically give way to this steady ‘set point.’ On the chart, notice how both 2018 and career BABIP numbers are included.

Based on this data, we can stratify the roster into tiers based on offensive production:

TIER ONE: Lennon & McCartney

The MVP and The Heartbeat… Yelich’s second half stats were freakish and Cain is one of the toughest outs in the game.

It seems that they are having a positive effect on each other as they exceeded their already impressive career BaBIPs since becoming Brewers.

TIER TWO: All Star Sluggers

Aguilar was rumored to have a lucky first half. However, his stats suggest that with reps he will continue to perform.

Braun and Shaw had ‘down year’s’ by their standards but it did not seem to represent true regression.

This group tends to be hot / cold & if they were able to “stabilize” it could take the team to the next level. Last year they saw expectations rise quickly and finished with the best record in the NL. Stakes have never been higher.

TIER THREE: Hit Above Paygrade

Manny Pina hit well while splitting time at catcher.

Santana and Saladino both search for stable roles on the fringe.

Role players that continually found a way to rise to the occassion. Despite struggling to find long-term roles, they make the most of their at-bats.

TIER FOUR: Hit the Cages

Kratz is due for a large regression to the mean.

Perez and Thames are key players off the bench but have underperformed at the plate.

The playing time in this group will be largely dependent upon off-season moves (or the lack thereof).

TIER FIVE: Hit the Showers

These two excellent defenders have not had consistent success with the bat. Both are young with vast potential but the clock is ticking on a contending team.

Arcia hit very well in the playoffs which gives reason for hope. He may be running out of time very soon though.

Broxton will struggle to find playing time in a crowded outfield. He most likely will be utilized for his speed and glove. Both players to watch closely in spring.

Onward & Upward!

One thing is for sure, David Stearns is not done with this roster. As The Brewers continue to build towards a WS Championship, upgrading the offense will be paramount. Key needs present themselves in the middle infield and behind the plate. Catcher and shortstop are positions that will surely be explored while a kid named Keston Hiura lurks in the wings…

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