Author Archive: Jerry Tapp

Batting woes a major factor in Brewers non-playoff 2022 season

It took until Game #160 this year, but with Philadelphia’s win over Houston on Monday, October 3, the Brewers were finally eliminated from the 2022 MLB post-season.

In the upcoming weeks and months, the team and its fans will spend endless hours dissecting the season to answer what went wrong. Likely targets will be a shaky bullpen, a trade of Josh Hader, injuries among the starting pitchers, and other factors.

Many people, however, will likely point to one aspect of the team 2022 performance for not making the playoffs: hitting, or lack thereof.

Before we get to the hitting woes, let’s start with a few positive stats. A lot of baseball pundits will tell you that pitching and defense win championships. In many respects, the Brewers had that covered. Defensively, they had 91 errors, the second fewest (they had 89 errors in 1992) in a full season for the team in its 54-year history. Their .985 fielding average was tied for the second-best in team history (the 1992 squad tops the list at .986).

On the pitching front, 52 saves for the season were second most in team history as were 1,530 strikeouts, and the team WHIP of 1.216 was also second lowest in Brewers history.

So, you could make a case that the Brew Crew had their defense and pitching set up for success in 2022.

Now to the hitting. Consider this:

  • Brewers .235 batting average was 10th of 15 teams in the National League.
  • Brewers 2022 batting average of .235 was tied for the fifth worst in team history
  • Their 1,464 strikeouts were the fifth most in team history.

Individually, the Brewers did not have one hitter with an average over .260 (with a significant numbers of plate appearances). Sure, they were third in the majors with 219 HRs, but that was one of the few offensive stats where they were near the top of MLB leaders.

Using the Stathead feature on the baseball-reference.com website, there is a telling stat that exposes the Brewers batting average woes from this past season. From 1969-2022, Stathead revealed that 437 Brewers played in 100 or more games in a season. It listed the batting averages for each player, from Paul Molitor’s .353 average in 1987 (#1) to Jackie Bradley’s .163 batting average in 2021 (#437). Of the nine players who played in 100 or more games for the Brewers this year, none finished in the Top 200 for batting average in Brewers history. Highest finisher from 2022 was Hunter Renfroe who is listed at 263rd on the list with his .255 average.

In fact, of the Bottom 100 on the list (from 338th place to 437th place) six players from 2022 were listed:

Luis Urias, 354th, .239
Willy Adames, 360th, .238
Andrew McCutchen, 367th, .237
Jace Peterson, 369th, .236
Tyrone Taylor, 376th, .233
Rowdy Tellez, 409th, .219

It was the first time in team history that the Brew Crew did not have a player with a batting average of .260 or above for the season (minimum of 100 games played).

Add to this the fact that the primary catching chores were handled by two players, Omar Narvaez and Victor Caratini, who although they did not qualify for the above lists because they played in less than 100 games on the season (Caratini, 95 and Narvaez, 84) had less than stellar batting averages on the year… Narvaez ended the year at .206 while Caratini finished the season at .199.

Hopeful to return to the post-season in 2023, the Brewers will clearly have to address their hitting. They seem to have the pitching needed (save for some rework of the bullpen), and their defense was solid in ’22. Hitting, however, is a concern.

Rashan Gary is becoming a sack machine

Four games this season… four games where Rashan Gary has a sack.

Gary collected a sack in his fourth straight game this season with a two-sack performance on Sunday against the New England Patriots. His stat line also included seven combined tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Significant work for the 4th-year Packer who was the team’s first round pick (12th overall) in the 2019 draft.

Gary has 21.5 sacks in 51 career games and has had at least one sack in 18 of those games… the Packers are 16-2 in those contests. He has at least one sack in nine of his last 12 games.

Gary’s run of a sack in four straight games this season puts him in some special company: He becomes the 11th player in Green Bay history to have a sack in four consecutive games. The team record is five games held by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Tim Harris who each had sacks in five straight games in their careers. Gary will look to join this duo if he can secure a sack versus the New York Giants this Sunday in the Pack’s contest in London.

Here are the 11 Green Bay players who have had four or more consecutive games with a sack:

Tony Bennett
Vaughn Booker
Rashan Gary
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
Tim Harris
Vonnie Holliday
Cullen Jenkins
Sean Jones
Aaron Kampman
Clay Matthews
Reggie White

Matthews tops the above list with four times that he had sacks in four or more consecutive games. Harris did it three times, while Gbaja-Biamila, Jones and White each twice had streaks of four or more straight games with a sack in their careers.

There have been 40 times in the league where a player had at least one sack in seven or more straight games. Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 set the NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack with 11. Prior to that, DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys in 2007-08) and Simon Fletcher (Denver, 1992-93) held the record with 10 straight games with a sack.

Those 40 times where a player had seven or more consecutive games with a sack has been done by 36 players. Four players, Reggie White, DeMarcus ware, Robert Mathis and Simon Fletcher) each accomplished this feat twice in their careers.

Is Andrew McCutchen Hall of Fame worthy?

Back on September 23, Brewers’ outfielder/DH Andrew McCutchen collected his 1,000th career RBI. He is now one of 300 players to reach the 1,000-RBI milestone in MLB history.

The 14-year veteran, who will turn 36 on October 10, has had a solid career and with the Brewers is now playing for his fifth team. He made a name for himself with the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing his first nine seasons with the Bucs where he was the National League MVP in 2013, a five-time All-Star, and was awarded both a Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove.

Reaching 1,000 RBI is not the only milestone McCutchen has on his resume. He has 1,000 runs (1,118 to be exact), and 200 stolen bases (205 to be exact). Two other milestones are within his reach: He has 1,947 hits and 287 home runs. He could reach those milestones in a 15th season.

There are two questions that need to be asked with regards to McCutchen and his future: (1) He is signed with the Brewers through this season. Should the team resign him? (2) Is McCutchen worthy of Hall of Fame consideration?

When it comes to the Brewers resigning him, McCutchen has been a decent contributor for the Brew Crew this season; Sure, his numbers are not like they were when he was winning accolades in Pittsburgh. His .238 average is several points below his career average of .277, and his .388 slugging percentage and .310 on-base percentage are the worst of his career. But his 17 HR, 69 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 121 hits are not terrible. It will be interesting what the Brewers decide with ‘Cutch.

Having said that, even if the Brewers don’t sign McCutchen, I think he will continue to play. He doesn’t seem to have given any indication that this season would be his last. I think he still has enough to be a contributor somewhere.

If he returns for a 15th campaign, reaching 300 HR and 2,000 hits will be likely. If he does reach 2,000 hits and 300 HRs, that would mean that he reached 1,000 runs, 2,000 hits, 1,000 RI, 300 HRs and 200 stolen bases. Right now, there are 18 players who reached the 1,000 runs/2,000 hits/1,000RBI/300 HRs/200 stolen base stat line in MLB history. They are:

Hank Aaron, Jeff Bagwell, Don Baylor, Carlos Beltran, Barry Bonds. George Brett, Joe Carter, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley, Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker and Dave Winfield.

Nine of the above… Aaron, Bagwell, Brett, Dawson, Jackson, Mays, Robinson, Walker and Winfield… are in the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame consideration for Andrew McCutchen… what’s your take?

Romeo Doubs puts his name in the Packers record book

It took three games, but finally Packers rookie receiver Romeo Doubs had that first “breakout” game that the team expected would happen sooner than later. In the Pack’s 14-12 win over Tampa Bay, Doubs had eight catches for 73 yards and a TD reception. In the process, Doubs etched his name in the Packers’ record book.

Doubs became the third Green Bay rookie receiver (and the first in nearly 70 years!) to have eight receptions, 70+ receiving yards and a TD reception in a game. The only other Packers’ rookie receivers to achieve those numbers were Billy Howton on December 14, 1952 (8 catches, 162 yards and two TD) and Max McGee on December 12, 1954 (9 catches, 105 yards and one TD reception). McGee’s nine receptions on December 12, 1954, is the team record for most receptions by a rookie in a game.

In addition to McGee’s rookie record nine catches, Doubs also became the seventh Packers rookie receiver to have eight catches in a game. The seven Packers rookies with eight or more receptions in a game: Howton (1952), McGee (1954), Boyd Dowler (1959), Gerry Ellis (1980), Keith Woodside (1988), Sterling Sharpe (1988) and Doubs (2022).

Doubs is the third rookie receiver from the 2022 draft class to have an eight-catch, 70 -receiving yards, 1 TD reception game this season. A pair of first rounders reached those numbers in Week #2: Drake London (drafted in the first round, eighth pick by Atlanta) had 8 catches, 86 yards and one TD; and Garrett Wilson (drafted in the first round, 10th pick of the New York Jets) had 8 catches, 102 yards and 2 TDs. For the record, Doubs was a fourth-round selection of the Packers, the 132nd overall pick.

Since 1970 (the NFL-AFL merger) there have been 122 times that a rookie receiver had eight or more catches, 70+ receiving yards and at least one TD reception in a game. It was done by 96 different rookies. Seventeen different rookies reached these numbers in more than one game their first year in the league. That list of 17 is topped by Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions who in 2021 had five games with those numbers, and Odell Beckham, Jr., who in 2014 with the New York Giants, also had five games with eight catches, 70+ receiving yards and one TD reception in his rookie campaign.

Anquan Boldin (Arizona) had four such games in 2003, and Jaylen Waddle (Miami) had three such games for Miami last season.

  • Of the 148 rookies who had eight receptions, 70+ receiving yards and at least one receiving TD since 1940, Doubs is one of 20 who accomplished this feat within the first three weeks of their rookie season.

With 14 games remaining this season, the Packers are hopeful there are a few more games this season where Doubs can add another eight-catch, 70-yards receiving, one TD game to his stat line.

Twelve stats you need to know about… Albert Pujols

With a pair of home runs in the Cardinals 11-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last night (September 23), Albert Pujols joined Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth with 700 career homers. Pujols hit #698 on September 16 and went almost a week before he slugged #699 and #700 in the contest, his 65th multi-HR game of his illustrious career.

Here are 12 stats you need to know about Pujols and his chase for immortality and the 700-HR milestone:

  1. Pujols was a 13th round pick of the Cardinals in the 1999 draft. Of the 40 players chosen by the Cardinals that year, only one other selection, Coco Crisp, who was chosen in the seventh round, played 400 or more games in the majors (Pujols has played 3,072 through September 23). Crisp played 1,586 games in the majors, yet he never played for the Cardinals (the team that drafted him) in the bigs. The Cardinals number one pick that year was Chance Caple, a righthanded pitcher from Texas A&M. Caple spent five years in the minors, never advancing higher than Single A ball. According to baseball-reference.com, Caple signed a $1.2m bonus; Pujols signed for $60,000.
  2. Pujols played only one year in the minors hitting 19 home runs, driving in 96 with a .314 batting average.
  3. He made his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies (in Colorado) on April 2, 2001, starting in leftfield. Batting sixth in the order, he went 1-for-3. His first MLB at-bat was a groundout to third in the 2nd inning. He collected his first MLB hit in the 7th inning on a single to left off pitcher Mike Hampton.
  4. Albert was a three-time National League MVP. He is one of five players to win three or more NL MVP awards; the others are Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt and Barry Bonds.
  5. He hit most of his 700 HRs, 504 to be exact, from the number 3 spot in the batting order. He has the third most HRs from the #3 spot in the batting order in MLB history behind Babe Ruth (553) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (530)
  6. Pujols hit 154 long balls in the first inning, most of any inning in his career. Second most was 87 in the fifth inning.
  7. He is one of 21 players to have scored 100 or more runs in a season 10 times. Hank Aaron tops this category with 15 seasons scoring 100 or more runs.
  8. Of his 700 career home runs, Pujols hit the most, 62, against the Houston Astros. He hit 59 versus the Cubs and 54 against the Pirates. The pitcher he hit the most HRs off is Ryan Dempster with eight.
  9. Even with 3,377 career hits, Pujols had 200 hits in only one season (212 in 2003). He had over 190 hits in three seasons (196 in 2004, 195 in 2005, and 194 in 2001).
  10. Pujols had 30 or more home runs in 14 seasons, tying him with Barry Bonds for third most 30-HR seasons in baseball history. Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez are tied for the most 30-HR seasons with 15.
  11. He had six seasons where he hit 40 or more HR, drove in 110 or more runs, and batted .300 or higher. Alex Rodriguez also had six 40-11-.300 campaigns. Babe Ruth tops this stat with 11 such seasons.
  12. Albert played in 86 post-season games. He hit 19 home runs, drove in 54, and had a .321 career post-season batting average. In baseball history, only one other player has hit 15 HR, had 50 RBI and batted .300 or higher in his career in the post season… Derek Jeter.