Brewers dangerously close to challenging record for one-year decline

Logo cap of Milwaukee Brewers

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

We’re not even to the midway point of the 2012 season, but that won’t prevent us from trying to analyze the 2012 season and what is going wrong with the Brewers.

Obviously the team has not played up to its capabilities (and the expectations that people had for them based on last year’s playoff run). The decline in play can be traced to several factors: the free agency loss of Prince Fielder, the season-long slump of Rickie Weeks, the slow start of free agent Aramis Ramirez, an inconsistent bullpen, and injuries to three Opening-Day starters (Lucroy, Gonzalez and Gamel). We can only hope that Shaun Marcum missing a turn in the rotation due to tightness in his elbow is not more than a one-time issue.

The season is obviously not over, and with 95 games left on the schedule the Brewers certainly have time to make up the seven-and-half game deficit they face in the NL Central. They have yet to string together a long streak of victories (the longest win streak this season has only been four games) and have been fortunate to not have a losing streak longer than four games.

That having all been said, there are still concerns from the Brewer faithful. The team has a 31-36 record (.463 winning percentage). When you compare it to the .593 winning percentage of last season, that is a .130 decline over last year. If the season ended today, that would be the second largest one-season decline in Brewers history.

Here’s a look at the largest one-season declines in team history.

Greatest one-year decline in win pct. in Brewers history

1992 (.568) to 1993 (.426)     .142 decline

1983 (.537) to 1984 (.416)     .121 decline

2001 (.420) to 2002 (.346)     .074 decline

2008 (.556) to 2009 (.494)     .062 decline

1979 (.590) to 1980 (.531)     .059 decline

Looking at each of the five biggest declines above, a few of them involved managerial changes. It’s doubtful that ownership with make a change in managers, but it is interesting to note that drops of this magnitude do signal changes.

The Brewers .130 point drop in their winning percentage over last year is not the largest drop in the majors. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies have seen a much larger decline in their winning percentage over the 2011 season. The Phils, who won 63 percent of their games in 2011, are at .456, a decline of .174 percentage points.

Following are the biggest drops in winning percentage from last season (through games of June 18).

Team, 2011 win pct./2012 win pct, Difference

Philadelphia: .630/.456     .174 decline

Milwaukee: .593/.463     .130 decline

Detroit: .586/.485     .101 decline

Chicago Cubs: .438/.343     .095 decline

Arizona: .580/.493     .087 decline

San Diego: .438/.353     .085 decline

Colorado: .451/.385     .066 decline

Boston: .556/.500     .056 decline

St. Louis: .556/.507     .049 decline

It’s interesting to note that the four teams that played in the National League playoffs last year (Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Arizona and St. Louis) are each on the list above. Add in Detroit, which played in the American League playoffs in 2011, and we have five of the eight playoffs teams from last year having a winning percentage decline of 049 or more points as of June 18.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @Statsontapp

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