Ryan Braun was the Brewers #1 player in the 2010s… who do you have at #2?
If we go based on the numbers, there should not be much discussion about who was the Brewers top player last decade, 2010-19. The obvious answer is Ryan Braun.
Throughout the 2010s, Braun led the Brewers in almost every batting statistic. But after Braun, who would you pick as the second best player for the Brewers last decade. In my mind, and based on strictly the numbers, there are probably three candidates for the Number Two spot.
Some of you might pick Christian Yelich as the top player for the Brewers in the last 10 years. There’s no doubt that what he has accomplished with the Brew Crew over the last two seasons in Milwaukee is remarkable. But we’re taking about the total of 10 years, 2010-19. While Yelich has an MVP and a runner-up honor for that same award in two seasons, he does not have the numbers totals to make a dent in the Brewers players with the highest offensive stats over the past 10 years.
Let’s start with offensive totals. Here’s a look at the two players who topped the Brewers in several offensive categories from 2010-19.
Most at-bats: Braun, 4796… Jonathan Lucroy, 2838
Most runs: Braun, 770… Carlos Gomez, 364
Most hits: Braun, 1410… Lucroy, 806
Most doubles: Braun, 297… Lucroy, 157
Most triples: Braun, 29… Gomez, 25
Most home runs: Braun, 241… Rickie Weeks, 88 (how many of you thought Weeks had the second most homers for the Brewers from 2010-19?)
Most runs batted in: Braun, 811… Lucroy, 387
Most stolen bases: Braun, 166… Gomez, 152
Highest batting average (min. 300 games played): Braun, .294… Nori Aoki, .287
Highest on-base percentage (min. 300 games played): Prince Fielder, .408… Braun, .359
Highest slugging percentage (min. 300 games played): Braun, .519… Fielder, .518
I would put either Lucroy or Gomez as candidates for the second best player for the Brewers last decade behind Braun of the everyday players.
Now let’s look at the pitching stats for 2010-19.
Most games pitched: Jeremy Jeffress, 301… Francisco Rodriguez, 263
Most complete games: Kyle Lohse, 4… Yovani Gallardo, 3
Most wins: Gallardo, 67… Wily Peralta, 47
Most saves: John Axford, 105… Rodriguez, 95
Most innings pitched: Gallardo, 969.1… W. Peralta, 704.2
Most strikeouts: Gallardo, 901… Jimmy Nelson, 578
ERA (minimum 200 innings pitched: Josh Hader, 2.42… Jeffress, 2.66
My third candidate for the #2 spot would be Gallardo. Much like Yelich, you could make a case for a pitcher like Josh Hader, but his numbers are limited to only three seasons in Milwaukee last decade.
So who would you choose as the second-best player for the Brewers last decade?
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Opening Day starters for the Brewers
Opening Day for baseball in 2020 is still a mystery. That shouldn’t, however, stop us from looking at some previous Opening Day lineups for the Brewers.
First, did you know that the last time the Brewers had the same player start at first base on Opening Day was all the way back in 2010 and 2011? Prince Fielder was the Opening Day first baseman in those two years for the Brewers; since then, the same player has not started at first in consecutive years.
(In case you were wondering, here are the Opening Day starters at first base for the Brewers since Fielder started at that position in 2010 and 2011: 2012-Mat Gamel, 2013-Alex Gonzalez, 2014-Lyle Overbay, 2015-Adam Lind, 2016-Chris Carter, 2017-Eric Thames, 2018-Ryan Braun, 2019-Jesus Aguilar.)
Here’s a breakdown for the last time a player started on Opening Day at the same position in consecutive seasons for the Brew Crew.
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, 2014-15
First Base: Prince Fielder, 2010-11
Second Base: Jonathan Villar, 2017-18
Shortstop: Orlando Arcia, 2018-19
Third Base: Travis Shaw, 2018-19
Left Field: Ryan Braun, 2016-17
Center Field: Lorenzo Cain, 2018-19
Right Field: Domingo Santana, 2017-18
Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, 2013-14
Secondly, did you know that Jim Gantner has the most Opening Day starts at one position for the Brewers? Gantner was the Opening Day second baseman in 11 seasons. Second on the list is Robin Yount who had 10 Opening Day starts for the Brewers at shortstop. Yount tops the club with the most Opening Days starts at any position with 19 (he made 10 Opening Day starts at shortstop, eight in center field, and one in left field). In his 20-year career, the only year he did not make an Opening Day start for the Brewers was in 1978.
Here are the players with the most Opening Day starts at each position in Brewers history.
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy and B.J. Surhoff, 5 each
First Base: Cecil Cooper, 9
Second Base: Jim Gantner, 11
Shortstop: Robin Yount, 10
Third Base: Don Money, 7
Left Field: Ryan Braun, 9
Center Field: Robin Yount, 8
Right Field; Sixto Lezcano and Jeromy Burnitz, 5 each
Designated Hitter: Paul Molitor, 4
Starting Pitcher: Ben Sheets, 6
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No baseball in April. These teams can’t be happy!
We have turned the page on the calendar to May and the Major League Baseball standings show every team with a 0-0 record for 2020. While all teams and fans are upset that the season has not yet started, there may be a couple of teams and their fans who are a little bit more upset than the rest.
There are four MLB teams which won 60% or more of their games in the last two Aprils. The Arizona Diamondbacks have enjoyed the most success in the first month of the season over the past two years. They had a combined 37-21 record (.638 winning percentage) in April 2018 and April 2019, the best record in baseball of the 30 teams. The Houston Astros weren’t too far behind with a combined record of 38-22 (.633) in the last two Aprils.
Here is a look at the winning percentage of each of the MLB’s 30 teams in April of the past two seasons.
Arizona, .638… Houston, .633… N.Y. Yankees, .614…St. Louis, .607
Boston, .586… Chicago Cubs, .585… Tampa Bay, .582… N.Y Mets, .582… Seattle, .576… Cleveland, .564… Philadelphia, .561… Milwaukee, .557… Pittsburgh, .536… Atlanta, .536… L.A. Dodgers, .533, Toronto, .526… Minnesota, .510… Anaheim, .500
Colorado, .467… Oakland, .467… San Francisco, .458… San Diego, .450… Detroit, .444… Washington, .439… Texas, .431…Chicago White Sox, .385… Cincinnati, .328… Florida, .316… Baltimore, .310
Kansas City, .281
Things are not looking too promising for baseball’s opening pitch to happen in May either. There’s a good chance the Yankees and their faithful would not be happy if that was the case. The Yanks compiled a 37-15 record, .712 winning percentage in May 2018 and May 2019. Combining their record in April and May over the last two seasons, the Yankees were an impressive 72-37, a .661 winning percentage in the first two months of the last two seasons.
Following are the five teams with the best winning percentages in the last two Mays and the five that had the worst winning percentage in the last two Mays.
Best: N.Y. Yankees, .712… Houston, .643… Milwaukee, .630… L.A. Dodgers, .611… Boston, .607
Worst: Toronto, .286… Baltimore, .309… Arizona, .345… Florida, .389, San Francisco, .396.
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23 stats you may not know about… Ted Simmons
When he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year, Ted Simmons will become the seventh player to wear a Brewers jersey to become a Hall of Famer. The other Hall of Fame players with ties to the Brewers: Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Trevor Hoffman, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount.
Simmons was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981-85. He played in 665 games for the Brew Crew, collecting 666 hits, 66 HR, 394 RBI and batting .262.
Since he wore number 23 throughout his playing days, here are 23 stats you may not know about Simmons and his Hall of Fame career.
- Simmons ended his career with 2,472 hits and 248 home runs. He is one of 65 players in MLB history to have 2,400 hits and 240 HRs in a career. Of those 65 players, Simmons becomes the 39th to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- He played 21 seasons in the majors, 13 with St. Louis, five with the Brewers and three with Atlanta.
- He was born in Highland Park, Michigan. Of all players born in Michigan who played in the majors, Simmons ranks second in career hits with 2,472 (behind fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer) and third in home runs with 248, behind Kirk Gibson and John Mayberry who each hit 255. He ranks first on the list of Michigan-born ballplayers in MLB career games played with 2,456.
- Simmons was an eight-time All-Star. He was 2-for-10 in those games with one RBI.
- Seven times in his career he finished in the Top 20 in league MVP voting. His highest finish was sixth in the voting for the 1975 National League MVP.
- Simmons had 2,472 career hits, but did not have a season where he hit 200. The most hits he had in a season were 193 in 1975 with the Cardinals.
- His career high for home runs was 26 in 1979 with the Cards. His second-best year was 23 he hit for the Brewers in 1982.
- The best year for RBIs was in 1983 when Simmons drove in 108 with the Brewers. Three times in his career he had 100 or more RBIs in a season.
- Simmons twice led the league in intentional walks… in 1976 and 1977 with the Cards.
- He never played in a post-season game during his career with the Cardinals. He appeared in 17 post-season games with the Brewers in 1981 and 1982.
- The only positions Simmons did not play in his MLB career were pitcher, second base, shortstop and centerfield.
- He made 233 pinch-hit appearances, but was never a pinch-runner in a game.
- Simmons had 2,472 hits in 2,456 career MLB games. Of all players who played in 2,400 or more career games in the majors, Simmons is one of only 65 players to have more hits than games played.
- Simmons played 1,218 home games and 1,238 away games in his career. He had more HRs (132-116) in road games and had a higher batting average (.291-.279) in road games.
- Simmons highest monthly career batting average was in July. He hit .298 in July during his 21-year career.
- When his team won, Simmons’ batting average was .338. When his team lost, his career average was .233.
- He batted .301 in extra innings.
- The most career homers he hit versus one team were 23 each against the Pirates and Cubs.
- Simmons batted .300 or better in seven seasons. He was one of 157 players to accomplish that in a career. Cap Anson tops the list with 24 seasons with a batting average of .300 or better. Ty Cobb is second with 21 seasons at .300 or better.
- Most of Simmons plate appearances took place when he was batting clean-up. Of his 9,685 career plate appearances, Simmons had 5,296 of them from the fourth spot in the batting order.
- Simmons batted only .216 in his first season with the Brewers (1981). He batted .214 in five games in 1969 and .196 in his final season (1988 with the Braves), the lowest batting average seasons in his career.
- A switch-hitter, he hit a HR from both sides of the plate in a game three times.
- Simmons was first eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He received less than 5% of the votes that year and was taken off the ballot. He was eventually voted in this year by the Veterans Committee.
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Inside the stats of Eric Rasmussen’s baseball career
In all my years of doing sports stats articles, columns and blogs, I have written about some of my fellow Racine, WI natives who went on to play professional sports. I have done stat pieces on Shane Rawley, Duane Kuiper, Caron Butler and Jim Chones, to name a few.
I recently realized that I have never written a sports stats piece on another Racine, WI athlete: baseball player Eric Rasmussen. He and I attended the same junior college (he was there a couple years before I got there) and played for the same JC coach, Pat Daugherty, as did Shane and Duane. Eric, a right-handed pitcher, had an eight-year Major League Baseball career from 1975-83. He had a 50-77 record with five career saves and a 3.85 ERA.
In doing research on Eric’s career, I discovered some really interesting numbers. And it’s not a stretch to say that he pitched in a different era of baseball, and that he was certainly the last of a breed that no longer exists in baseball. Here’s a few stats on “Ras’s” career that you might find interesting:
- Eric in one of only 58 pitchers in MLB history that ended their careers with 10 or more shutouts in less than 150 starts. In fact, Eric is the last pitcher to retire with less than 150 starts and 10 or more shutouts. He had 12 shutouts in his career and 144 pitching starts. Only five pitchers since 1970 retired from the game with 10 or more shutouts and less than 150 starts. In addition to Eric, there was Jim Bouton (11 shutouts, 144 starts), Steve Arlin (11 shutouts, 123 starts), Tom Phoebus (11 shutouts, 149 starts) and Joe Sparma (10 shutouts, 142 starts).
- Eric is one of 496 pitchers in MLB history to have 12 or more shutouts in his career. Complete games and shutouts are much more of a rarity in today’s game. Consider this: Since 2000, only 15 pitchers have amassed 10 or more shutouts and all 15 started 200 or more games. The pitchers with the most shutouts since 2000: Roy Halladay, 19, Clayton Kershaw, 15 and Tim Hudson, 13.
- Eric is one of 411 pitchers who had 10 or more shutouts in his career and five or more career saves.
- In 1979, Eric had three shutouts and three saves on his end-of-the-year stat line. Since 1901, 285 pitchers have had three or more shutouts and three or more saves in the same season. The last time it happened, however, was 37 years ago. In 1983, Neal Heaton had seven saves and three shutouts, and Bryn Smith had three shutouts and three saves that same season.
- Eric pitched a shutout in his MLB debut on July 21, 1975. Since 1905, there have been 69 pitchers who tossed a complete game shutout in their debut start in the majors. The last pitcher to do this was Andy Van Hekken for the Detroit Tigers on September 3, 2002.
- Eric’s Wikipedia page states that he is the only pitcher in MLB history to pitch a shutout in both his American League and National League debuts. As noted above, he pitched a shutout in 1975 in his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals against the San Diego Padres and then in his American League debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1983, Eric pitched a shutout.
- He is one of 30 MLB pitchers born on March 22. Of those 30, he is tied for fifth for most career wins with 50.
- He is one of 122 MLB pitchers born in Wisconsin. His 50 career wins is 18th most of the 122.
Some pretty interesting stuff!
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