Who’s on first… for the Brewers on Opening Day?
If you are a diehard Brewers fan, you may find it hard to believe the following stat.
Did you know…
… from 2011-18, eight straight seasons, the Brewers have had a different starting first baseman on Opening Day. Yes, the Brew Crew’s Opening Day lineup has featured a different starter at first base for the last eight consecutive seasons.
Go back to 2011; Prince Fielder was the starting first baseman that season, the sixth straight year he was the Opening Day starting first baseman for the Brewers. After that, however, the Opening Day starting first basemen has looked like this…
2012: Mat Gamel
2013: Alex Gonzalez
2014: Lyle Overbay
2015: Adam Lind
2016: Chris Carter
2017: Eric Thames
2018: Ryan Braun
Conventional wisdom is that Jesus Aguilar, last year’s regular at first base for the Crew, will hold that spot on Opening Day in 2019… that is baring any injury that would prevent him from that honor.
So… if Aguilar mans the first base spot on Opening Day in late March this season, we could see yet another different first baseman on Opening Day for the Brewers, the ninth straight year that has happened.
Prior to this season, that longest stretch where the Brewers had a different Opening Day starting first baseman was 1998-2001. John Jaha was the Opening Day starter at first in 1998; the following year it was Sean Berry, followed by Kevin Barker in 2000 and Richie Sexson in 2001.
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TODAY’s SPORTSTAT-October 11, 2018
This is the fifth year in the Milwaukee Brewers 50-year franchise history (one year in Seattle as the Pilots, 49 seasons in Milwaukee) that they have made the playoffs. The National League Championship Series (NLCS) versus the Los Angeles Dodgers is the eighth different playoff series the team has played in those 50 seasons: they played in one post-season series in 1981, two in 1982, one in 2008, two in 2011, and face the Dodgers in their second playoff series of 2018.
Here are several stats about the past history of the Brewers in the playoffs and some stats about Brewers players in the post-season.
- The Brewers have never won a Game 6 or a Game 7 in the playoffs in their history. They are 4-3 in Game Ones; 2-5 in Game Twos; 4-3 in Game Threes; 4-2 in Game Fours; 3-2 in Game Fives; 0-2 in Game Sixes; and 0-1 in Game Sevens.
- The team has a playoff record of 17-18 (through the 2018 Colorado series). They are 12-6 (.667 winning percentage) at home and 5-12 (.294) in road playoff contests.
- The Brewers are 6-8 after a loss in the playoffs… 7-7 after a win.
- If the Brewers have lost two straight games in a playoff series, they are 6-0 in the next game after a two-game playoff losing streak. If they have won two straight in a playoff series, the Brew Crew is 2-3 in the next game.
- Milwaukee is 5-2 in their first home game of a playoff series.
- The Brewers have won three playoff series in their history (1982, 2011 and 2018) and have lost four series (1981, 1982, 2008 and 2011).
- Ryan Braun holds the Brewers team record for most career post-season hits with 27. He is followed by Robin Yount (22), Paul Molitor (22), Charlie Moore (17), Cecil Cooper (15) and Jerry Hairston (15). How many of you had Hairston on this list?
- Prince Fielder has the most career HRs in the post-season for Milwaukee with four. Molitor and Ted Simmons follow with three each, and Braun, Corey Hart, Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas and Rickie Weeks (two each) are the only other Brewers players to have two or more career post-season home runs for the club.
- Cooper tops the list with 13 career post-season RBI for the Brewers. The only other Brewer with 10 or more is Braun with 12.
- Mike Caldwell is the only Brew Crew pitcher to win more than one post-season game for the Brewers.
- Shaun Marcum is the only Brewers pitcher to lose three or more post-season games for the Brew Crew. He was 0-3.
- John Axford (3), Bob McClure (2) and Pete Ladd (2) are the only relief pitchers to have more than one save for the Brewers in the post season.
- Yovani Galardo leads the Brewers pitching staff with the most career post season strikeouts with 20. He is followed by Pete Vukovich (16), Don Sutton (140, Zack Greinke (13) and Chris Narveson (13).
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A carousel at shortstop; 30-100 Brewers
Are there any more players who will take a shot at shortstop for the Brewers this season? So far in 2018, the Brewers have had six different players who have taken a turn playing short: Orlando Arcia, Brad Miller, Nate Orf, Hernan Perez, Tyler Saladino and Eric Sogard.
The six different players at shortstop are tied for the third most by the team in a season (six players also played short in 1986, 1978 and 1971). The most shortstops used by the Brewers franchise in a season was eight. That happened in 1969 when the team was in Seattle as the Seattle Pilots. The second most shortstops used was in 2012 when seven players played short for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here are the names of the shortstops used by the franchise in those 1969 and 2012 seasons.
1969 (eight shortstops used): Ron Clark, John Donaldson, Gus Gil, John Kennedy, Gordy Lund, Ray Oyler and Fred Stanley.
2012: (seven shortstops used): Jeff Bianchi, Brooks Conrad, Alex Gonzalez, Cesar Izturis, Edwin Maysonet, Cody Ranson, Jean Segura
In case you were wondering, there has never been a season for the Brewers where they used only one shortstop the whole season. There have been, however, six different seasons where they used only two shortstops in a campaign… 1970 (Ted Kubiak and Roberto Pena), 1976 (Tim Johnson and Robin Yount), 1981 (Robin Yount and Ed Romero), 1991 (Bill Spiers and Dale Sveum), 1998 (Mark Loretta and Jose Valentin) and 2005 (Bill Hall and J.J. Hardy).
Last season Travis Shaw became the first Brewers player since 2012 (Ryan Braun) to have 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs in a season. Shaw had 31 HRs and 101 RBIs in 2017.
Through games of July 20, Shaw has 18 homers and has driven in 55. He is on pace to end the season with 29 HRs and 90 RBI.
If he can reach 30-100 again this season, Shaw would become the first Brewers player since Braun (2011 and 2012) to have back-to-back 30-100 seasons for the Brew Crew.
There have been five Brewers players who had back-to-back 30-100 seasons: Gorman Thomas (1979 and 1980), Cecil Cooper (1982 and 1983), Jeromy Burnitz (1998 and 1999), Prince Fielder (2007, 2008 and 2009) and Braun, who did it twice (2008 and 2009; 2011 and 2012).
Braun and Fielder are tied for the most 30-100 seasons with the club; each had four in a Brewers uniform. Burnitz and Thomas each had three 30-100 seasons in Milwaukee, while Cooper, Ben Oglivie and Richie Sexson are the only other Brewers to have multiple 30-100 seasons with the Brew Crew, each with two.
Alex Rodriguez leads the majors with the most 30-100 seasons with 14. He is followed by Jimmie Foxx, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and babe Ruth, each who had 12 such seasons.
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Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar will pull double-duty during the All-Star break as he will not only be one of five Brewers players on the National League squad, but he will also be a participant in the Home Run Derby.
Aguilar becomes the ninth Milwaukee Brewer to be in an All-Star Game Home Run Derby. The other eight: Ryan Braun, Jeromy Burnitz, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Carlos Lee, Richie Sexson, Greg Vaughn and Rickie Weeks.
Here are a handful of stats you may not know about Brewers players in the ASG Home Run Derby:
- Vaughn was the first participant in 1996. The ASG Home Run Derby started in 1985.
- Vaughn is the only Brewers participant in the event who did not hit a home run in the event. He had zero HRs in the only round he was a participant in ’85.
- Fielder and Sexson are the only Brewers to have participated in more than one event; Fielder was in three (2007, 2009 and 2011) while Sexson was in two (2002 and 2003).
- Fielder is the only Brewer to win the event. He did it in 2009.
- Five different Brewers lost in the semi-finals in the event: Sexson in 2002, Lee in 2005, Braun in 2008, Hart in 2010 and Fielder in 2011.
- Burnitz is the only other Brewer player to make it to the finals (other than Fielder in 2009) in the event. He lost to Ken Griffey Jr. in the finals in 1999.
- Miller Park hosted the ASG and Home Run Derby in 2002. Jason Giambi won the event that year.
- Adding up all the home runs hit by Brewers players in the Home Run Derby, it’s no surprise that Fielder has the most cumulative home runs with 35 in three years. He is followed by Lee with 15, Braun and Burnitz with 14, Hart with 13, Sexson with 11, weeks with three and Vaughn with zero.
- Two Brewers, Burnitz in 1999 and Fielder in 2011, did not hit a home run in at least 10 games after the All-Star game after participating in the Home Run Derby that year. Burnitz did not hit a HR until the 15th game after the Home Run Derby; it took Fielder 13 games after the Home Run Derby in 2011 before he hit his first HR after the event.
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My guess is that baseball fans, whether they are watching a game on TV or in person, like to see action on the field. They enjoy the batter connecting with a pitch and the either a base hit is the end result or a defensive play is made.
Of course, a well-timed walk or strikeout, depending on if your team is at bat or in the field, is always nice. Generally speaking, however, action on the field is what we crave.
Let’s put some numbers to the above musings. Here’s the question: Which batters most often don’t put the bat on the ball in their at-bat? Specifically, which batters have the most strikeouts and walks in their at-bats?
Based on season totals, there have been 15 players in MLB history who have had 120 or more strikeouts and 120 or more walks in a season. No player “accomplished” this feat last season, but in 2015 there were two players who tallied 120 strikeouts and 120 walks. Washington’s Bryce Harper in the ’15 campaign had 131 strikeouts and 124 walks; Cincinnati’s Joey Votto was the other player with 135 strikeouts and 143 walks.
Of these 15 players, six have reached the 120-120 mark in strikeouts and walks multiple times in their careers, led by Jim Thome who did it four times. Here’s a look at the players who have had 120 strikeouts and 120 walks seasons.
4 times: Jim Thome
2 times: Jeff Bagwell, Jack Clark, Adam Dunn, Mark McGwire, Joey Votto
1 time: Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Bryce Harper, Frank Howard, Mickey Mantle, Tony Phillips, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Tettleton, Jim Wynn
Last season (2016) there was six players who had 100 strikeouts and 100 walks: Brandon Belt, Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, Harper, Mike Trout and Votto. This season, with about one-quarter of the 2017 season complete, there are five players who are on a pace to reach 120-120: Harper (33 strikeouts, 30 walks), Brad Miller, Tampa Bay (45-30), Matt Carpenter, St. Louis (37-32), Miquel Sano, Minnesota (58-30) and Goldschmidt, Arizona (37-35).
For Brewers fans, here’s a quick stat for you: Only one player in the team’s history has had 100 or more strikeouts and 100 or more walks in a season. Prince Fielder did it three straight years, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He had 138 strikeouts, 110 walks in 2009, 138-114 in 2010 and 106-107 in 2011.