Team Trends

A SABERMETRIC REVIEW: THE BREWERS OFFENSE AT THE BREAK (2018 vs. 2019)

BREW MATHs “steps back” and focuses on team stats instead of individual numbers. The analysis will be broken into nine categories, each highlighting a different aspect of the team’s offensive production. The Crew’s performance in the first half of 2019 will be compared to how they did in the first half of last year. Without further ado, let the “nerdy-ness” begin…

TEAM SLASH

  • The Crew’s batting average is exactly the same as it was last year!
  • However, when they hit the ball, they are getting more “bang for the buck.” This is evident with a slugging percentage that is 36 points higher.
  • Despite Lorenzo Cain’s struggles this year, The Beer-Makers are getting on-base more often (10 point increase).
    • Grandal and Gamel have helped quite a bit in this regard BUT…
    • We cannot forget Eric Thames! He has increased his OBP 63 points from what it was last year!!!
  • BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In-Play) suggests that The Brewers are slightly “less lucky” and/or facing better defenses. As the sample size grows, this number should regress to the mean (.300)… this suggests The Crew should see an increase in their production in the second half.

PLATE PRODUCTION

  • If we are interested in overall plate production, weighted on-base average (wOBA) and weighted runs created (wRC+) are a good place to start.
    • wOBA: a 10 point increase implies that the Brewers are getting more from their efforts at the plate in 2019 (as above)
    • wRC+: corrects for stadium and League effects… The Beer-Makers have “created” four more runs this year.

RAW PLATE PRODUCTION

  • Power Surge: While The Crew has 42 fewer hits than at this point in 2018, they have hit 31 more HR’s and driven in 20 more baserunners.
  • The team’s 155 homers rank them third in The MLB and first in The NL… they only trail The Twins (166) and The Mariners (160).
    • The Crew is on pace for 276 bombs this year!

K vs. BB

  • From an absolute standpoint, The Crew is striking out less and walking more!
  • “The Yelich Effect”: Intentional walks have almost doubled since last year at this point.
    • In 2018, Yeli had one IBB at the break.
    • This year, he has been given 15 free passes (smart pitchers)!

K vs. BB (Rate Stats)

  • If we dig deeper into K’s and BB’s, we see that The Crew’s rate stats are very comparable to last year. That said, they are walking at a slightly higher rate (SEE: OBP above)

BATTED BALL

  • A quick look at batted ball stats highlights an important trend. The Brew Crew is putting the ball in the air more and when they do… They are hitting more of those fly balls out of the park.
    • The HR/FB%+ adjusts for Park / League Effects and shows us that they are hitting dingers at a slightly higher “adjusted rate” than last year.
  • Of note, they are grounding into less double plays than they did 2018.
    • This can be attributed to getting more balls in the air (read: less on the ground).

PLATE DISCIPLINE

  • Simply put, The Brewers are:
    • Swinging more but when they do… make contact less.
    • This is consistent with how they are whiffing at a higher rate (SWSTR%)
  • That said, 2019’s plate discipline numbers are very similar to what they were last year… there has been a tiny step back in this area (despite Grandal’s patience).

BASE RUNNING

  • The base running stats have definitely fallen off compared to a year ago. While they are getting caught at about the same rate, they have stolen 23 fewer bases.
  • 2018 SB Leaders (at the break):
    • 18 – Cain
    • 14 – Villar
    • 12 – Yelich
  • 2019 SB Leaders (at the break):
    • 19 – Yelich (2nd in the NL; Jarrod Dyson leads with 26)
    • 10 – Cain
    • 5 – Braun

GLOBAL STATS

  • The Brewers are not as clutch as they were last year… their ability to find “timely hits” has hurt them in many games. That said, we see their production with runners in scoring position (RISP) has been about the same…
  • A TEAM SLASH comparison:
    • RISP (2018): .246 / .337 / .424 (.760 OPS)
    • RISP (2019): .237 / .337 / .427 (.763 OPS)
  • The RE24 has made a significant jump and you can read an overview of the metric HERE.
    • The Crew’s power surge is is driving the massive increase in run expectancy.
  • The decrease in TEAM WAR can be mostly explained by Cain’s drop-off in production. Last year, Lo ended the season with a WAR of 6.9 (6th in The NL)… this year, his WAR is 1.0 as I write this…
    • He is on pace to end the season with a mark of 1.8 (5.1 less).

OFFENSIVE TREND SUMMARY (FIRST HALF of 2019)…

  • The Brewers are hitting the ball less frequently but doing it with more authority when they do. This is most evident when considering their power surge (31 more HR’s than at this point last year!)
    • The increase in power numbers have outweighed the decrease in contact (i.e. wOBA and wRC+ have still increased)
    • They are on pace to break both The Team HR Record (by 45) and The MLB HR Record (by nine) this year!
  • The Crew is striking out at about the same rate but walking more frequently.
    • While they are hacking more in 2019, they are whiffing more.
  • The loss of Jonathan Villar is being felt in the base-running department. Lorenzo Cain’s injury issues (i.e. lack of playing time and inability to get on base) have also compounded their struggles on the base paths.
  • The Brewers are primed for escalating offensive production in the second half of 2019… if Lorenzo Cain can reclaim his 2018 form, the sky is the limit for The Crew’s Offense.

Categories: Team Trends

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