Milwaukee Brewers: Key takeaways from the month of April

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a tripple in the 7th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a tripple in the 7th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

With the Milwaukee Brewers first month of the season in the books, here are a few key takeaways from what we saw on the field.

Now that the first month of the season has been completed, looking back I feel the best way to describe what we saw from the Milwaukee Brewers was “up-and-down”.

We saw the Crew jump out to an 8-2 start on the season, with Christian Yelich putting up historic numbers and Josh Hader throwing an immaculate inning. However, we’ve seen issues with the pitching staff and some cold bats from a few important players.

The Milwaukee Brewers currently sit at 17-16 and after the first month of the season, these are my key takeaways from what we saw.

*All stats are from Baseball Reference

Young pitchers struggle mightily

Manager Craig Counsell decided to roll with his trio of young pitchers to start the season and it has been a rough month for all three. Freddy Peralta has struggled to get past the fourth inning and has given up some big innings, Corbin Burnes has been unable to locate his fastball which has led to a number of home runs and a demotion to Triple-A. Finally, Brandon Woodruff has shown flashes but overall has been inconsistent. In order to make a deep playoff run, the Milwaukee Brewers will need all three of these pitchers playing well to do so. Hopefully these issues get figured out soon.

Corbin Burnes needs to mix up pitch selection

All offseason we heard about Burnes five pitch repertoire that he has but all we have really seen is his fastball, which he primarily throws, and his slider. These were the two pitches that he threw out of the bullpen last year, but as a starter he needs to work in those other pitches to keep hitters off-balance. Right now batters are just sitting and waiting on his fastball.

First inning struggles continue for Freddy

This was a major issue for Freddy last year, and it hasn’t gotten any better. In the first inning this year, he has an ERA of 27.00, allowing 15 runs and opposing hitters have an OPS of 1.525 against Freddy in that inning. He continues to dig himself into a huge hole early on, and something needs to change.

Turns out that Josh Hader is human

After an incredible first few appearances to start the season that included an immaculate inning, Hader as struggled as of late, giving up a lot of hard contact and a few home runs in some less than ideal situations.

Have we decided what planet Christian Yelich is from?

At this point we are really running out of superlatives to describe what we have seen from Yeli, it’s been incredible. This season he has a slash line of .355/.460/.804 and an OPS of 1.264, along with 14 home runs and 34 RBIs. Hopefully he returns to the lineup soon.

The April schedule was brutal

I hate for this to be an excuse for the Milwaukee Brewers up and down play, but their schedule this past month was really a big contributor in what we saw on the field. 17 of their 31 games were against the L.A. Dodgers or St. Louis Cardinals, both of which have some of the better offenses in all of baseball. Other opponents included the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and Colorado Rockies, all of which should be playoff contenders.

Aguilar is figuring it out

The first few weeks of the season for Aguilar were awful, it appeared that he had lost all of his confidence at the plate, and boy did it show. But as of late, his bat has been heating up. Over the last week, Aguilar has a batting average of .417 with a whopping 1.729 OPS and three home runs. Once again, he is flashing that opposite field power that we became accustomed to in 2018.

Give Lorenzo Cain a Gold Glove now

It was a real shame that after last year’s performance, Cain still did not win a Gold Glove and this year not much has changed. Cain has already made a few home run saving grabs and truly is a difference maker in center field for this Milwaukee Brewers team.

Well done, Zach Davies

I can’t imagine anyone prior to Opening Day would have said that Davies was going to be the Milwaukee Brewers most reliable starting pitcher, but here we are. In 32.2 innings, Davies holds a 1.38 ERA and has allowed just five earned runs.

Jeffress not the same in his return

After missing some time early on, most could not wait for Jeffress to return to help this struggling Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. However, so far we haven’t seen the Jeffress of 2018. In 6.2 innings, he’s allowed 4 hits, 2 earned, and a WHIP of 1.2. His velocity has been down and is a likely contributor to his down performances.

Grandal has been worth every penny

Whether at the plate or defensively, the Grandal signing has paid off for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a slash line of .289/.364/.495 with six home runs and defensively, his pitch framing ability is everything that we hoped it would be.

Thames’ April success continues

While he hasn’t put up the monster numbers that we saw in April of 2017, he has still been a much needed lift to this lineup, especially with the struggling Aguilar. On the season, Thames has a slash line of .270/.356/.524 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

The DH is overrated

Who says the NL needs to add the DH to their lineup? It certainly isn’t the Milwaukee Brewers! In the first month of the season, Milwaukee has gotten some unexpected production from a number of pitchers in their lineup. As a unit, the Brewers’ pitchers are batting .222, with two home runs, six RBIs and 19 total bases.

Braun and Shaw need to get going offensively

It has been a slow start to the season for each of these big Brewer bats. So far Braun has an average of just .209, with a .669 OPS and Shaw is batting .189, with an OPS of .617. With as good as Yelich is playing, Milwaukee needs these two playing well to provide Yeli with some protection so pitchers can’t just walk him.

Guerra and Claudio have been reliable bullpen options

Claudio has been an absolute workhorse for the Milwaukee Brewers, making 17 appearances that cover 15.1 innings. And during those outings he has fared well for the most part, with 13 of them being scoreless. Guerra is another bullpen option that has pitched well so far. In 16.1 innings he has allowed just four earned runs, with a WHIP of 0.918 and has given Milwaukee multiple innings at a time when needed.

Much better start for Arcia

The first half of last year was a rough one for Arcia and included some trips down to Triple-A. However, through the first month, he is swinging the bat much better. He’s posted a slash line of .231/.292/.385 and has four home runs, which is already more than all of last year. We know what he can provide defensively, but giving the Brewers a consistent bat at the bottom of the order is huge.

Moose performing well at 2B

No one was really sure how Moustakas’ move to second base would go over, but so far he has done quite well. In 23 games he has just one recorded error and has gotten much smoother at turning the double play. We’ve also seen him flash some range on few diving stops.

dark. Next. Brewers survive a difficult April schedule

In the first month of the season there has been a lot of exciting moments, as well as some frustrating ones. Some fans have been quick to write this team off, but the Milwaukee Brewers entered the month of May in 2018 with a record of 17-13 and this year their record was 17-14. There is definitely a lot more expectations on this team in 2019, but it is still too early to hit the panic button.