Previews

Sabermetric Preview: Milwaukee Brewers Outfield, 2020

BREW MATHs previews The 2020 Milwaukee Brewers Outfield with a heavy focus on Sabermetrics. Each outfielder will be considered in alphabetical order starting with Broxton and ending with Yelich! We even take a look at the prospects trying to crack the 26-man roster this year. BREW MATHs first article of 2020 will get you ready to rob some homers!!

Broxton, Keon

  • Every Component of Broxton’s slash has decreased since entering The League
    • OPS Progression (2017 / 18 / 19): .719 -> .691 -> .517
    • His struggles have worsened against both RHP & LHP
  • Based on BABIP, it seems Broxton had bad luck in 2018 but in 2019 he just played poorly:
    • Career BABIP: .317
    • BABIP (2017 / 18 / 19): .323 / .217 / .292
  • Broxton’s STATCAST Metrics do not give much reason for hope.
    • Exit velocity, launch angle, barrel percentage, and hard hit rate were all well below League Average
    • Biggest Issue? Striking out in the context of a falling contact rate
      • K% (2017 / 18 / 19): 37.8 / 31.5 / 45.6
      • Con% (2017 / 18 / 19): 58 / 52 / 49
  • Broxton is a great athlete which means he is fast and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield… not to mention all the robberies!
    • Sprint Speed last year was in the top 5% of the league (29.3 ft/s)
    • UZR/150 (2017 / 18 / 19): -4.3 / 59.9 / 4.8
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: Broxton is a Fan Favorite on a Minor League Deal (Read: No risk). While he whiffs way too much at the plate, he can be of value on the base paths and in the field. It will be difficult for him to make the 26-man roster. That said, his path to getting (and staying) there seems to be through the batter’s box.

Braun, Ryan

CLICK THE PHOTO to see how Braun has performed (historically) against every team in The NL Central
  • Braun’s expected numbers have outpaced his actual numbers:
    • wOBA (2017 / 18 / 19): .357 / .370 / .342
    • xwOBA (2017 / 18 / 19): .402 / .436 / .402
  • Ocho has consistently produced (at least) 10-20% above league average at the plate:
    • OPS+ (2017 / 18 / 19): 111 / 106 / 116
    • Based on early reports, he will be splitting time between first base and right field in platoon situations (with Garcia and Smoak). Let’s look at his splits based on the pitcher’s handedness…
      • vL+: 116 / 120 / 122
      • vR+: 107 / 102 / 107
      • Of note, Braun’s defense metrics have been on a steady decline for several years now. He has played 18 games at first base over his career (all in 2018).
  • Paradox: Braun has grown more patient but is still whiffing more.
    • First Pitch Swing % (2017 / 18 / 19): 42.4 / 39.6 / 38.2
    • Whiff % (2017 / 18 / 19): 22.0 / 22.8 / 24.9
  • Braun is still clutch and has had a positive CLUTCH SCORE the last two years The Crew made The Playoffs.
    • Clutch (2017 / 18 / 19): -0.41 / 0.31 / 0.18
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: Braun is in the twilight of his career and this could be the year he decides to hang it up. He has a $15M dollar mutual option for 2021 but it is unlikely that it will be exercised. Can he write a storybook ending and ride off into the sunset? Will he be back next year? As a Brewer?!? A lot of unknowns for Ocho at the end of the season.

Cain, Lorenzo

CLICK THE PHOTO to see a Sabermetric Review of LoCain’s Defense
  • LoCain (finally) won his first Gold Glove Award last year and shows no signs of slowing down in centerfield!
    • DRS (2017 / 18 / 19): 5 / 20 / 20
  • Anyone who watched The Crew in 2019 could see he was struggling with injuries in 2019 (thumb, knees, etc). He is open to more off days this year after playing almost every day over the last three seasons:
    • GP: 155 / 141 / 148
    • GS: 154 / 137 / 134
  • He has gotten slower and is less effective on the base paths:
    • Sprint Speed (2017 / 18 / 19): 28.8 / 28.6 / 27.8 (ft/s)
    • Stolen Base %: 93 / 81 / 69
  • BUT… things weren’t as bad as they seemed last year for Lo!
    • wOBA (2017 / 18 / 19): .347 / .359 / .302
    • xwOBA: .358 / .342 / .330
    • Exit Velocity: 89.1 / 89.1 / 89.4
    • Career BABIP: .339
      • BABIP (2017 / 18 / 19): .340 / .357 / .301
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: Mr. Cain is the life-force of The Brewers and brings an undeniable energy to the field every time he plays. However, even his biggest fans had to admit that age seemed to be catching up to him in 2019. The Crew reacted to this by signing Avisail Garcia and bolstering the position with Brock Holt. In 2020, expect Lo to get the rest that he seemed to desperately need at the end of last season.

Gamel, Ben

CLICK THE PHOTO and get to know Ben Gamel!
  • The Red Bull (aka Lion Heart) saw his production drop off a little last year, mostly as a byproduct of his struggles with RHP.
    • OPS+ (2017 / 18 / 19): 100 / 106 / 85
    • vL+: 93 / 92 / 118
    • vR+: 98 / 102 / 87
  • Paradox: Gamel struck out a lot more in 2019, despite his plate discipline and STATCAST numbers staying about the same. That said, his drop in production seems to be a byproduct of making less contact.
    • K% (2017 / 18 / 19): 22.2 / 20.8 / 29.2
    • Eye (BB/K): 0.34 / 0.51 / 0.38
    • Con%: 76 / 78 / 67
  • He is fast (28.2 ft/s), a great defender (+5 DRS) and was the most clutch hitter on The Crew in 2019 (Clutch Score = 1.05).
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: The Fans (especially me) will root for Gamel to make the 26-man roster but he does have a Minor League Option left on his contract.

Garcia, Avisail

  • A 28-year-old All-Star that The Crew has potential control over until 2023 (he has a 2022 team option). He will make $7M this year and $10.5M in 2021.
  • After his All-Star Season in 2017, he cooled off in 2018 but then rebounded in 2019.
    • OPS+ (2017 / 18 / 19): 138 / 95 / 111
    • Good against RHP and LHP!
      • vL+: 135 / 113 / 102
      • vR+: 110 / 95 / 107
    • It seems like 2018 was (at least partly) due to bad luck!
      • Career BABIP: .332
      • BABIP (2017 / 18 / 19): .392 / .271 / .340
  • Has gotten better at putting the ball in the air and has been doing it consistently over the past two years
    • GB / FB: 1.90 / 1.40 / 1.46
    • HR / FB: 16.1 / 21.3 / 17.2
  • He is one of the fastest players on The Crew (28.8 ft/s) but this has not translated to steady production in the field and/or on the basepaths.
    • UZR / 150: 1.1 / -4.5 / 3.8
    • DRS: -4 / 2 / -1
    • BsR: 1.9 / -1.3 / -3.5
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: An All-Star who can play all three outfield positions (RF > CF > LF). With a team option that could keep him here until 2023, Brewers Fans will begin their relationship with Avi.

Holt, Brock

  • Holt was signed a one-year, $2.5M deal with The Crew that has a team option attached in 2021. As a super-utility type, he affords Counsell limitless lineup variations in 2020.
    • The Brock Star has played 106 games in LF, 80 in RF and even 12 in CF! His DRS in the OF typically is around League Average.
  • He has made massive improvements over the last two years at the plate (2017 / 18 / 19).
    • AVG: .200 / .277 / .297
    • OBP: .305 / .362 / .369
    • SLG: .243 / .411 / .402
  • Last year may have been a career year for Holt and might be difficult to reproduce.
    • Career BABIP: .331
    • BABIP (2017 / 18 / 19): .259 / .337 / .365
    • That said, his STATCAST numbers give reason to believe that he can keep it going:
      • EV: 83.3 / 87.5 / 87.5
      • LA: 4.8 / 6.3 / 11.0
      • K%: 20.7 / 19.9 / 19.3
      • HH%: 14.8 / 30.8 / 30.6
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: Brock Holt seems to be made for Craig Counsell to manage… A scrappy player who does whatever it takes to win! While he isn’t going to set any records while he is here, Holt’s presence will likely be invaluable. Having him allows the roster to be fluid which is vital over the course of a 162-game season.

Yelich, Christian

CLICK THE PHOTO to read more about Yeli’s greatness!
  • Christian Yelich is the best hitter on the planet whose name isn’t Mike Trout… and he keeps getting better!?! A look at what Yeli led The League in during an injury-shortened 2019…
  • The best news? it looks like it will continue…
    • wOBA: .348 / .422 / .422
    • xwOBA: .364 / .418 / .421
    • BABIP (Career): .358
      • BABIP (2017 / 18 / 19): .336 / .373 / .355
    • Contact %: 77 / 76 / 76
    • Barrel %: 7.0 / 12.9 / 15.8
  • Yelich has gotten more aggressive (in the context of increasing production)…
    • First Pitch Swing %: 19.1 / 27.3 / 29.5
    • Chase %: 23.0 / 24.9 / 27.9
    • Whiff %: 22.2 / 23.0 / 28.2
  • An underrated baserunner who keeps improving.
    • SB: 16 / 22 / 30
    • SB%: 89 / 85 / 94
    • BsR: 6.8 / 5.8 / 8.5
    • Sprint Speed (ft/s): 28.4 / 28.7 / 28.7
  • SABER SNAPSHOT: The MVP is clicking on all cylinders, in his prime and the right knee is ready to go. The second best player on the planet could start creeping into “Mike Trout Territory” if he keeps it up.

Corey Ray & Tyrone Taylor

CLICK THE PHOTO to read Corey Ray’s Scouting Report
  • Corey Ray
    • 2016 first round pick (5th overall)
    • Scouting Report
      • 30/40 Hit
      • 45/50 Game Power
      • 60/60 Raw Power
      • 70/70 Speed
      • 40/45 Field
      • 40/40 Throws
      • Future Value: 40
    • Minor League Progression
      • Production peaked in 2018 at the AA level (.792 OPS) but injuries and a 38.7% K-rate led to a massive drop-off in 2019 (.589 OPS)
  • Tyrone Taylor
    • 2012 second round pick
    • Scouting Report
      • 50/50 Hit
      • 40/45 Game Power
      • 45/45 Raw Power
      • 55/55 Speed
      • 55/55 Field
      • 50/50 Throws
      • Future Value: 35+
    • Minor League Progression (AAA)
      • 2018: .278 / .321 / 504 (.825 OPS)
      • 2019: .275 / .342 / .462 (.804 OPS)