The Milwaukee Brewers reclaimed their spot atop the NL Central last night. I thought now would be a good time to look at who has surprised to help put the Brewers there. Over the course of 162 games there will be some ups and downs. But without the contributions of some unsung heroes, Milwaukee would not be atop its division right now.
Who are those players? Let’s dig in.
Tellez was anticipated to be in the middle of the Brewers order. However, he never had put together a big season or really allowed to. Coming into the year there was anticipation of splitting time or platooning with Keston Hiura at first base. Tellez, though, hasn’t allowed it. He has been among the Brewers’ lone consistent hitters. Tellez leads the Brewers in OPS and RBIs among qualified batters. While he was expected to be an important bat, he has shattered expectations thus far in 2022-’23.
Brewers' Best Hitters In June
Andrew McCutchen (.858 OPS)
Rowdy Tellez (.832 OPS)
Victor Caratini (.827 OPS)
They've combined for 57 hits, 10 HR, and 29 RBI
— IKE Brewers Podcast (@IKE_Brewers) June 30, 2022
Tellez had a 21-homer year for the Blue Jays in 2019, but he only hit .227. He already has 15 homers for the Brewers in 2022 and has a 127 OPS+ to go with 47 RBIs. He showed signs last year for the Brewers and was the only Brewer to produce in the postseason in 2021. Despite that, he wasn’t projected to have a standout season. It would be hard to imagine where the Brewers would be without him this season.
To say Milner has been outstanding this year would be an understatement. Milner has become part of perhaps the best late inning bullpen in MLB. He is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA, but more importantly he is relied upon in difficult situations. Milner has not allowed an inherited runner to score. Milner has entered the game with 13 runners on base and has yet to allow one to score. This level of pitching really came out of nowhere. His lowest ERA at the MLB level since 2017 was last year with the Brewers at 5.40 in 19 games. He has already appeared in a team-high 32 games for the Brewers. Milner has come out of nowhere to be a trusted member of the bullpen.
When catcher Vitor Caratini was acquired in a trade with the Padres following the Brewers’ free agent acquisition Pedro Severino was suspended 80 games for PED violation, he came with the reputation as a defensive stalwart. However, it’s been his offense that has surprised in Milwaukee. Caratini has provided some much-needed power and on-base skills thus far in 2022. Caratini is hitting .240 with a .374 on-base percentage 124 OPS+ and .794 OPS. He has belted 5 homers and driven in 13 runs in just 100 at-bats.
Brewers’ best hitters with men on base
1. Victor Caratini (.956 OPS)
2. Rowdy Tellez (.942 OPS)
3. Jace Peterson (.881 OPS)
4. Mike Brosseau (.871 OPS)
5. Willy Adames (.858 OPS) pic.twitter.com/23AMs50OuZ
— IKE Brewers Podcast (@IKE_Brewers) June 24, 2022
Gott was signed on the first day of free agency and not only did he make the team, but he is relied upon heavily out of the bullpen. Gott was right there with Milner in terms of appearances before going on the injured list with a groin strain. He has returned and will be back to middle relief work and a valuable part of the pen. Gott is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA with a WHIP of 1.04 in 24 appearances spanning 23 innings.
Trevor Gott quietly signed as a free agent by the #Brewers on Nov. 3.
He is unscored upon in 9 of his 10 appearances:
No walks/15 strikeouts
9 inherited/none scored
— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) May 6, 2022
Brosseau was acquired via trade early in the offseason from Tampa Bay. Brosseau just returned from the injured list and isn’t a full-time player. But, what makes him valuable to the Brewers? He actually hits left-handed pitching something most on the team struggle with. Brosseau only has 74 at-bats but has delivered 4 homers and boasts a 138 OPS+. For the year, Brosseau is hitting .284 with a .376 on-base percentage and .473 slugging percentage. While it is a small sample, Brosseau is hitting 14-for-42 with 3 homers and an OPS of over 1.000. Hopefully, for the Brewers he can continue to mash left-handed pitching.
Absolutely zero doubt about this one.
Brosseau ties it!#ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/evNOWHyOaT
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 25, 2022
Honorable mention: Jason Alexander. Alexander has only started five games due to the amount of injuries to the Brewers. I don’t even know if you can call him a surprise, more come out of nowhere. Alexander is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in his starts. He has been tremendously helpful to the Brewers in a pinch. Another guy up for mention was Jace Peterson who has been valuable to the Brewers along with versatility and strong defense, but his numbers are more a product of increased playing time with Luis Urias missing so much time.
Brewers since June 10:
When Corbin Burnes or Jason Alexander start: 6-0
When anyone else starts: 2-7
— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) June 25, 2022
Surprising help to stay on top
The Brewers lead the Cardinals by a 1 1/2 games in the NL Central. They wouldn’t be there without the surprising level of contributions from the above players. The Brewers have relied heavily on some of these players as well with the injury bug hitting Milwaukee hard. The contributions of these players have helped steady the Brewers and keep them atop the division.
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