BREW MATHs attempts to get out of the way and let the statistics do the talking! The Brewers Pitching Staff will be considered over nine different categories… starters and relievers will be separated for ease of comparison. Finally, their efforts this year will be contrasted with how they were pitching at the break in 2018. If you enjoy this article, make sure and check out our mid-season review of the offense… Bring on the advanced metrics!
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- They are not pitching as often or winning as many games.
- Early in the analysis, a record of 27-27 suggests an average overall performance.
- The relievers are utilized about as often as they were a year ago but are pitching more innings when they do. Despite cumulatively pitching in three less games, they have pitched 15.1 more innings.
- While the save tally is exactly the same, they have lost five more games than a year ago.
- The starting rotation has given up significantly more earned runs. However, the further down this chart we go, the more it becomes evident that they’re not the beneficiaries of luck (or defense).
- Their expected xFIP has actually improved compared to last year.
- While the starters have pitched comparably to a year ago, the same cannot be said for the bullpen. They have gotten worse across the board in terms of preventing hits and runs.
- The Crew’s Starters are allowing more hits and baserunners than last year.
- Moreover, when opponents get on base, fewer are stranded.
- See starters; above (but to a lesser degree)
- A high LOB% is the hallmark of a good bullpen… the ~10% decrease in this number is troubling.
- While The Beer-Makers Starters are striking out nearly one extra batter per game, they are allowing almost two more hits over the same span.
- An increase in K’s and a decrease in BB’s has led to a nice rise in K/BB ratio.
- The power pitching bullpen of 2018 is hard to match in this area. That said, they have only fallen off a bit (across the board).
Home Run Rates
- Whether you believe the ball is juiced or not is a discussion for another time. That said, The Crew’s Starters probably would like to see more studies on the subject… they have given up 14 more dingers than at this point last year. It averages out to about one more every three games.
- The “Homer Per Fly Ball Rate” jumped almost 50%.
- The same trend persists as we have seen above… the relievers have taken a step back but not as far as the starters.
Batted Ball Stats
- After seeing that The Brewers Starters are giving up more homers, it is nice to see that they are limiting the amount of fly balls.
- The line drive is the best hit (statistically) in baseball and opponents hit them almost 25% of the time.
- Interestingly, the relievers have moved in the exact opposite direction… Specifically, they have decreased the amount of line drives and grounders while allowing more fly balls.
Opponent Plate Discipline
- The Good News: The Brewers are generating more swings in the context of a higher whiff rate.
- The Bad News: Opponents are making contact a greater percentage of the time.
- The bullpen has taken a step back in every category here. However, their performance is on-par with the power pitching we all saw in 2018. Corey Knebel’s absence has led to a domino effect that has been hard to mask.
Pitch Repertoire (& Pitch Value)
- They are throwing more sliders and significantly more changeups.
- The changeup has also grown to be more effective in 2019.
- They are throwing fewer fastballs and curveballs. This might be a good thing as they both have been much less effective.
- The cutter, while being thrown at the same rate, has been much more reliable in 2019.
- While the fastball and cutter are being thrown less, both of them have performed better this year.
- The slider, while being used less, has not been effective in 2019.
- The curveball and changeup are both being utilized a greater rate despite not performing as well.
- The starters are working at a slower pace in 2019.
- The RE24 is a complex statistic and you can get the full BREW MATHs Summary of the metric HERE.
- Simply put, allowing bigger hits in pivotal situations has led to the massive decrease in this metric.
- The decrease in WAR is not as big as one might expect based on the data above.
- This profile is very similar to the starters global performance: they are both working at a slower pace, while allowing bigger hits and preventing fewer runs.
- The Brew Crew’s Starters have gone from above average in 2018 to painfully average in 2019 (though they have been pitching better over the past month). This has led to increasing strain on the bullpen who is now being asked to carry more of the load.
- The starting rotation has increased the “power numbers” (more strikeouts, fewer walks). However, that is not leading to fewer runs.
- Increases in Line Drive Percentages (LD%) and HR Rates (HR/FB) have outweighed the staff’s ability to keep runners off the base paths.
- While there is not an ideal distribution in terms of pitch repertoire, The Crew has shifted away from the heater and is throwing more breaking / off-speed stuff.
- The Starting Rotation is allowing about the same amount of contact but are getting hit much harder when they do (SEE: Run Expectancy).
- Domino Effect: The loss of a few key players (Knebel, Soria, Cedeno) and the starting rotation’s inability to last long into games have exposed the bullpen’s weaknesses.
- Despite these challenges, they have done a relatively good job of keeping pace with last year’s star-studded pen.
- Jeremy Jeffress has not been as dominant as he was but is notorious for being a “slow builder.” Will he be able to reclaim the power of his fire-breathing scowl?
- Somewhat surprisingly, the relievers have thrown a fastball that is more effective than it was a year ago.
- The rest of their pitches have fared about the same or worse (as seen with the slider, curve and change).
- The massive decline in RE24 has been felt by Brewers Fans, far and wide… it has suffered due to big hits (read: homers) late in games.
Despite the fact that The Brewers do not have the amount of high-level arms when compared to last year (did someone say Wade Miley?), they have been able to mask their short-comings to a large degree. While the offense has been sputtering over the last couple of months, it seems to be hitting its stride now.
The return of Gio Gonzalez should be just what the doctor ordered! It also allows Houser to move back to the bullpen where he has been much more effective. BREW MATHs would be remiss not to mention how well Zack Davies and Chase Anderson have pitched this year. The rise of Woody to the top of the rotation cannot be overstated. However, it is clear that additional improvements to the staff will be necessary for The Crew to make noise in The Playoffs. If The Beer-Makers are able to get Chacin and JJ back to their 2018 form… and can add an arm (or two) from the outside, the sky is the limit for this Motley Crew!
Categories: Team Trends