How will the new Brewers players’ debuts match up with other Brew Crew debuts?
When (or if) the 2020 Major League Baseball season begins, the Brewers will have several new players who have never suited up in a Brewers uniform who will likely play important roles for the club. Players like outfielder Avisail Garcia, catcher Omar Narvaez, infielders Justin Smoak and Luis Urias, and pitchers Brett Anderson, Eric Lauer and Josh Lindblom will be making their debut with the Brewers in 2020 (hopefully).
The question: When they do make their debuts, will they start with a bang or a whimper? When compared to other Brewers, will any of these new players have a Brew Crew debut like Carlos Gomez? After coming to the Brewers in a trade with the Twins, Gomez made his Brewers debut on April 5, 2010 with four hits in five at-bats, a solo HR and a stolen base.
Or will any of the pitchers have a debut like Yovani Gallardo? Making his MLB and Brewers debut on June 18, 2007, Gallardo was the starting pitcher and winner in the Brewers 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. Gallardo went 6.1 innings and allowed only four hits and struck out four in the victory.
Let’s take a look at some of the Brewers debuts for some of the club’s top players over the years. Baseball-Reference.com on the Brewers’ team page lists the team’s Top 24 players in franchise history based on each players’ WAR rating (WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement). The stat gives a number to each players’ overall contribution to the team. Robin Yount tops the Brewers franchise with a 77.3 WAR, followed by Paul Molitor (60.0) and Ryan Braun is third (46.8).
Here is a snapshot of the top 24 Brewers player’s debut with the team.
Robin Yount, April 5, 1974: 0-for-1, walk
Paul Molitor, April 7, 1978: 1-for-5, one RBI
Ryan Braun, May 25, 2007: 1-for-4, two RBIs
Cecil Cooper, April 7, 1977: 1-for-4
Teddy Higuera, April 23, 1985: 5.1 IP, seven hits, 4 ER, five strikeouts (no decision-starting pitcher)
Don Money, April 6, 1973: 0-for-3
Jeff Cirillo, May 11, 1994: 0-for-0, came in as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, no at-bat
Ben Sheets, April 5, 2001: 6.0 IP, six hits, 5 ER, five strikeouts (starting pitcher, losing pitcher)
George Scott, April 15, 1972: 0-for-4, one RBI
Jim Gantner, September 3, 1976: 2-for-4, one run scored, one walk
Geoff Jenkins, April 24, 1998: 2-for-4, solo HR, two runs scored
Ben Oglivie, April 8, 1978: 2-for-5, two runs scored, one walk
Carlos Gomez, April 5, 2010: 4-for-5, double, solo HR, two runs scored, stolen base
Sixto Lezcano, September 10, 1974: 3-for-5, one RBI
Chris Bosio, August 3, 1986: 3.0 IP, three hits, one earned run, one strikeout (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Gorman Thomas, April 6, 1973: 1-for-3, triple
Yovani Gallardo, June 18, 2007: 6.1 IP, four hits, 3 ER, 4 strikeouts (Starting pitcher, got the win)
Bill Wegman, September 14, 1985: 7.0 IP, five hits, two earned runs, four strikeouts (starting pitcher, no decision)
Mike Caldwell, June 19, 1977: 2 IP, no hits, one walk, one strikeout (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Jonathan Lucroy, May 21, 2010: 1-for-2
Prince Fielder, June 13, 2005: 0-for-4
Jeromy Burnitz, September 3, 1996: 0-for-4
Moose Haas, September 8, 1976: 3 IP, three hits, one earned run, two strikeouts (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Corey Hart, May 25, 2004: 0-for-1, strikeout
In addition to the above 24 players, the Brewers have five more players who played with the team who are members of baseball’s Hall of Fame (in addition to Yount and Molitor): Rollie Fingers, Hank Aaron, Ted Simmons, Trevor Hoffman and Don Sutton. Their Brewers debuts went as follows:
Rollie Fingers, April 11, 1981: 1.2 IP, two hits, no earned runs, one strikeout, one walk (came in as a reliever, got the save)
Hank Aaron, April 8, 1975: 0-for-3, walk
Ted Simmons, April 11, 1981: 0-for-4, one run scored, one strikeout
Trevor Hoffman, April 27, 2009: one inning pitched, no hits, no earned runs (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Don Sutton, 9 IP, complete game, eight hits allowed, four earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts (starting pitcher, got the loss)
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Could Christian Yelich become the first league batting champion in Milwaukee Brewers history?
Yelich is batting .319, placing him second in the National League behind Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, who in leading the N.L. with a .323 average.
Since 1969 when the Brewers became a MLB franchise (as the Seattle Pilots), the team has had 16 players finish in the top five of league batting average. The last Brewer player to finish in the top five was in 2012 when Ryan Braun batted .319 to finish third in the N.L. batting race.
Here’s a look at the Milwaukee Brewers who finished in the top five in league batting average since 1969.
2012: Ryan Braun, .319 (3rd)
2011: Ryan Braun, .332, (2nd)
1999: Jeff Cirillo, .326 (5th)
1992: Paul Molitor, .320 (4th)
1991: Willie Randolph, .327 (3rd) and Paul Molitor, .325 (5th)
1989: Robin Yount, .318 (4th)
1988: Paul Molitor, .312 (5th)
1987: Paul Molitor, .353 (2nd)
1982: Robin Yount, .331(2nd) and Cecil Cooper, .313 (5th)
1981: Cecil Cooper, .320 (4th)
1980: Cecil Cooper, .352 (2nd)
1978: Ben Oglivie, .303 (5th)
1973: George Scott, .306 (2nd) and Dave May, .303 (5th)
Lorenzo Cain is sitting tied for 10th place in the N.L. batting race with a .298 average. The last time the Brewers had a pair of players in the top 10 was in 1991 when Randolph finished third and Molitor was fifth. Two or more Brewers finished in the top 10 in eight seasons (1991, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1983, 1982, 1979 and 1973). Three Brewers finished in the Top 10 in 1982… in addition to Yount and Cooper finishing second and fifth respectively, Molitor finished 10th that season.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Two of the Brewers newest additions, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, have gotten off to fast starts for the team. Cain has nine hits in his first four games while Yelich has seven.
At this pace, Cain will end the season with 365 hits and Yelich will collect 284. Highly unlikely, I might add.
If, however, Cain and Yelich can continue their fast starts over the course of the season, they could become the 2.0 version of Brewers legends Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. A formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup would certainly go a long way to the Brewers having success in 2018.
There has been only one season in Brewers history where two (or more) teammates collected 200 or more hits in the same season. In 1982, Cecil Cooper (205), Paul Molitor (201) and Robin Yount (210) each passed the 200-hit milestone.
If we drop the hit total down to 180 hits in a season, there have also been seven other seasons where a pair of Brewers teammates both had 180 or more hits that campaign. The last time was in 1998 when Jeff Cirillo (194) and Fernando Vina (198) each had more than 180 hits in a season.
Following are the eight seasons when the Brewers had two or more teammates with 180 or more hits in the same season.
1973: George Scott (185) and Davey May (189)
1979: Cecil Cooper (182) and Paul Molitor (188)
1980: Ben Oglivie (180) and Cecil Cooper (219)
1982: Cooper (205), Molitor (201) and Yount (210)
1983: Ted Simmons (185) and Cecil Cooper (203)
1988: Molitor (190) and Yount (190)
1989: Molitor (194) and Yount (195)
1998: Cirillo (194) and Vina (198)
The Brewers are hoping Cain and Yelich (and maybe another player or two) might join this list.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
A lot has been noted this season about the Brewers scoring a lot of runs in the first inning (it happened again on Sunday when they tallied three runs in the first inning). Let’s take a look a few individual stats for Brewers players in the first inning.
A look at the Brewers players stats in the first inning shows that Robin Yount has the team record for most career first-inning hits (578), Ryan Braun holds the team mark for most career first-inning home runs (69) and RBIs (211) and Paul Molitor holds the team record for most first-inning stolen bases (119).
I was a little surprised, however, when I discovered that a current player (not Ryan Braun) holds the team-best batting average in the first inning. For all Milwaukee players who have at least 100 plate appearances in the first inning, right-fielder Domingo Santana has the best first-inning batting average at .368 (I guess Counsell needs to make sure that Santana is batting either 1-2 or 3 in the Brewers batting order).
Here are the six Brewers players who have a .320 or better first-inning career batting average with the club (again, minimum of 100 plate appearances in the first inning to qualify for the list).
Domingo Santana .368
Bill Spiers .358
Jeff Cirillo .333
Dave Nilsson .325
Sixton Lezcano .320
Scooter Gennett .320
With all due respect to the great Hank Aaron, the worst career first-inning batting average for the Brewers (minimum of 100 plate appearances in the first inning) is Aaron’s .184.
The Brewers entered this weekend with a three-game series against the American League’s Seattle Mariners in Seattle. That meant that the team would be utilizing the designated hitter in their line-up during these games. This series is also the last interleague play for the Brewers this season.
Ryan Braun was in the lineup on Friday as the team’s DH. He went one-for-five with a pair of RBIs on a ninth-inning single. It was Braun’s 12th career game as the Brewers DH.
Over the long history of the Brewers, the DH has been an important part of the lineup, especially going back to when the team was in the American League (through 1997). Hall of Famer Paul Molitor played many games as the Brewers DH; in fact, his 1,904 plate appearances as the DH for the Brewers tops the team in that category. The only other Brewers player with 1,000 or more plate appearances as a DH is Ted Simmons with 1,175.
Molitor was the team’s most successful DH when the Brewers were an A.L. team. He leads the team with 519 hits as a DH, most HR with 37 and most RBI with 186.
Here’s a look at the Brewers players who lead various hitting categories as the team’s DH.
Paul Molitor, 519
Ted Simmons, 282
Cecil Cooper, 232
Greg Vaughn, 176
Dave Nilsson, 168
Dave Parker, 168
Hank Aaron, 167
Batting Average (minimum of 100 at-bats to qualify)
Kevin Seitzer, .325
B.J. Surhoff, .304
The DH position when the Brewers went over to the National League has certainly not been as productive as their A.L. brethren. Consider this: Of the nine Brewers players who have 20 or more plate appearances as a DH for the team since 1998, only one has a batting average above .250 as the DH (Rickie Weeks, .276).
The recently-retired and former Brewer Prince Fielder has the most DH plate appearances for the team since ’98 with 73. He is followed by Aramis Ramirez with 67 and Braun with 54.
Here’s a look at the Brewers players who lead various hitting categories as the team’s DH since 1998, the team’s time in the National League.
Batting Average (minimum of 20 at-bats as DH)