When the 2021 Major League Baseball season began, the Milwaukee Brewers and their fans had high hopes. Many attributed poor offensive seasons in 2020 to the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, and many believed key offensive stars would bounce back from terrible campaigns last season. However, that has not been the case. The Brewers’ roster has been decimated by injuries and inconsistent offense once again. Lorenzo Cain has spent more time on IL than games he has been available. Christian Yelich continues to struggle to regain his MVP form, though he has been thriving at getting on base. Keston Hiura was demoted twice for poor offensive performance.
Yet, in the face of all of the struggles, unsung heroes have stepped up on the Brewers’ roster. On the strength of these unexpected performances, Milwaukee has won 10 straight games and has a 7.5 game lead in the National League Central, the largest division lead in all of baseball.
When the Brewers traded popular relief pitchers JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen to the Tampa Bay Rays for Willy Adames, many fans were outraged. Feyereisen and Rasmussen were fan favorites and have huge fan following on Brewers’ social media. At the time of the trade, Adames was slashing .197/.254/.371 with five home runs and 15 RBI.
Willy Adames has just played his 336th inning with Milwaukee, which is how many innings he played in Tampa before the trade to Milwaukee.
TB: .197/.254/.307 77 OPS+
Mil: .277/.357/.511 135 OPS+ *
*Doesn’t include HR tonight
¡El tiene las garras! pic.twitter.com/u7XqXTBACZ
— Josh Waldoch (@joshwaldoch) July 3, 2021
The Brewers, though, were missing defensive stability at shortstop and a clubhouse leader. Adames has provided both while improving on his own offensive statistics. Since joining Milwaukee, Adames is hitting .277/.357/.511 with seven home runs and 28 RBI.
Willy Adames about to win the NL MVP playing 25% of his season in the AL. https://t.co/vcHztVgbRo
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 2, 2021
It is no surprise that since the trade, the Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in baseball. Since joining the club, players are having fun in the dugout again. After the team traded Orlando Arcia early in the season, the Brewers were left without a “keep ’em loose” personality. Adames has provided that, and the team has responded extremely well.
When the Milwaukee Brewers signed Kolton Wong this offseason, it appeared as if second base was closed for competition. In addition, the corner outfield spots were occupied by Christian Yelich and Avisail Garcia. Peterson, who can play all over the diamond, appeared to be out of places to play. Wong, however, has been injury-prone, and will be spending yet another stint on the IL.
In his absence this season, On-Base Jace has made his presence known. Last season, he hit only .200, but had an on-base percentage (OBP) of .393. This season, in 33 games, he his slashing .263/.398/.425 with two home runs and 14 RBI.
Because of the lack of power numbers, Peterson’s name is rarely talked about in the media. However, this winning streak may not be happening without him.
PETERSON BLASTS ONE 450 FT ☄️
He’s been hitting .500 throughout this 9 game winning streak 🤯 pic.twitter.com/31qhzGbEYx
— IKE Brewers Podcast (@IKE_Brewers) July 2, 2021
Jace Peterson will likely be getting the most time at second base while Wong is out. If he keeps up this rate of hitting, Counsell will have to find another way to get him in the lineup every day.
When the Brewers traded of Omar Narvaez ahead of the 2020 season, they knew what they were getting. In 2019, with Seattle, Narvaez his .278/.353/.460 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI. However, Narvaez slumped badly in his first season with Milwaukee. Like many hitters around MLB, he just never was able to find his groove. After he hit .176/.294/.269 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI, many fans desired his removal from the organization.
To say that Narvaez has bounced back would be an understatement. This season, Narvaez has career highs in batting average and on-base percentage. He is slashing .292/.390/.459 with seven home runs and 24 RBI. Additionally, Narvaez has 10 doubles this season. His career high is 14.
So good has Narvaez been this season that he is easily among the top three catchers in the National League. The only one clearly superior is Buster Posey, who is having a renaissance of a season. Unfortunately, Narvaez’s production has gone unnoticed by many outside of Milwaukee.
Omar Narvaez has been infinitely better than Contreras and Yadi but because fan voting is such a joke big markets are always going to win https://t.co/eE9DkGzDhD
— Zac (Wear A Mask) (@WiscoSportsZac) June 27, 2021
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