If you’re here trying to get some profound insight on the state of the Milwaukee Brewers as currently constructed, I don’t know what to tell you. They usually lose, though they don’t lose quite often enough to threaten Philadelphia, Miami or Colorado for the #1 pick in next years draft — in fact, they aren’t even in last place in the NL Central anymore, which is great, thanks Cincinnati. So that’s whatever, and if you’ve been watching the local nine just to get your baseball fix this week, then you’ve made an error, because the Little League World Series has been fantastic. Last night’s extra-innings thriller between Texas and California was the best game of the tournament thus far, and it decided who would win fifth place. Just a suggestion.
Now, I know you’re mostly here for some Brewers content and don’t worry, I’ll feed you, baby birds. I’m just trying to offer you some alternatives, because Matt Garza is starting on Saturday, and we all know how that’s going to play. But the most cynical among us view these last few weeks as a race to the bottom, and doggone it, if that’s the way you feel, then Garza’s your ace. Let’s get started:
FanGraphs || Taylor Jungmann and Diminishing Marginal Utility (August 25, 2015)
In this article, Eno Saris uses Taylor Jungmann’s effective but rarely used sinker to illustrate how the usefulness of a pitch decreases the more one uses it. There are plenty of reasons to read this article, of which my favorite is that it will enrage the anti-sabermetrics crowd to see a pitcher’s performance described by a well-known law of economics (I know I linked it and I didn’t have to, but save your self a headache and don’t click the link in this sentence). The takeaway, as you might imagine, is that part of the effectiveness of Jungmann’s slider, which he uses only 12.4 percent of the time according to Brooks Baseball, is how rarely the batters he faces see if from him. Therefore, few of them are looking for it.
FanGraphs || Is Taylor Jungmann for Real? (August 26, 2015)
Y’all, if Taylor Jungmann was a controlled substance, FanGraphs would be in rehab, because they cannot lay off him. The short answer to the question posed by Tony Blengino, who was with the Brewers scouting department for six years through 2008, is no, much to the chagrin of Brewers fans. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to cheer about regarding Jungmann, however. He may not ultimately be the front-line starter he’s pretended to be over the past couple of months, but he’s clearly proven himself to be at the worst a league-average starting pitching, which is a far cry from the first-round bust status that had been applied to him as recently as this spring. Brewers fans seeking a rosier projection for Jungmann can take note of what happened with the last Brewers pitcher whom scouts widely dismissed as a bullpen arm/spot starter at best.
FanGraphs || Was Mike Fiers Cheating During His No-Hitter? (August 24, 2015)
As you may have heard, former-Brewers righty Mike Fiers tossed the 11th no-hitter in Houston Astros history when he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. Is it fair that a man Milwaukee, with just one no-hitter in franchise history, traded away just weeks ago tossed his first career no-no for a team that already had two hands full of them? No. But if watching Fiers finish his 134-pitch masterpiece didn’t bring you any joy, then you’re just not in the right place right now and I’m going to have to kindly ask you to leave. Matthew Kory at FanGraphs (sorry we’re a little FG heavy today) briefly examines the allegations levied against Fiers regarding a shiny spot on his glove that was caught by a host of internet vigilantes. I won’t give you a cheap re-packaging of Kory’s work passed off as my own, but David Schoenfield at ESPN has got you covered on that front (you could have at least changed one word in the title of your story, man).
Nicholas Zettel takes a stab at what the as-yet-unnamed 2016 GM of the Milwaukee Brewers might have to work with in the upcoming winter and next season which, at least for now, the Brewers front office is admitting will likely be one during which the Brewers will be rebuilding. Zettel advocates favoring playing time for young talent over sticking to traditional positional roles in 2016, pointing out that spending a year finding out how the bats of Domingo Santana, Luis Sardinas, Yadiel Rivera and/or Jean Segura will play at the major-league level might be more valuable than handing off the center field and third baseman jobs to short term plug-ins like Shane Peterson and Hernan Perez. Also discussed is the fictional world in which Ryan Braun might conceivably play for a team other than Milwaukee before the turn of the decade.
Reviewing the Brew || Realistic Expectations for Domingo Santana (August 24, 2015)
Speaking of Domingo Santana, the Brewers’ #4 prospect (according to MLB.com) was called up to the major-league ballclub just after press-time on Friday morning. Kyle Lesniewski makes use of lots of silly things like facts and statistics to briefly project the realistic short- and long-term value of Milwaukee’s new outfielder, a part of the trade that sent Fiers and Carlos Gomez to Houston. While a much easier and more fun way of predicting Santana’s future would be to copy and paste his .333/.426/.573 slash line at the Triple-A level (split between Fresno and Colorado Springs) this year into a big-league lineup, Santana’s 29 percent career strikeout rate in the minors is a cause for concern. The hope for Santana is that he can make just enough contact to allow for his plus-power to play in hitter-friendly Miller Park.