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Milwaukee Brewers series preview: Lorenzo can

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Miss you.

St Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers share the title of best team in the National League with the Atlanta Braves, their 45-32 record fueled in part by Lorenzo Cain’s 3.3 fWAR (8th in MLB, 2nd in the NL) and 3.9 rWAR (6th in MLB, 1st in NL) putting him in the hunt for an MVP award. If there were a National League analog to the Royals (at least pre-World Series runs), it would probably be the Brewers, so seeing Lorenzo Cain enjoy continued runaway success with a club like this one softens the blow of his departure a bit.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Tuesday, June 26 — 7:10 PM CDT — Jakob Junis versus Freddy Peralta
  • Wednesday, June 27 — 1:10 PM CDT — Danny Duffy (L) versus Brent Suter (L)

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Royals at Brewers pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Game 1
Jakob Junis 15 91.1 83 21.4 24 6.2 4.43 4.98 4.44 4.07 0.2 1.1
Freddy Peralta 3 15.2 25 41.0 8 13.1 2.30 2.28 2.70 2.85 0.6 0.5
Game 2
Danny Duffy (L) 16 88.2 76 19.3 44 11.2 5.18 5.44 5.29 5.02 -0.2 -0.1
Brent Suter (L) 16 82.1 67 19.6 17 5.0 4.15 4.30 4.05 4.10 1.0 0.5

Freddy Peralta is an interesting starting pitcher in that he gets by almost entirely on two pitches, a fastball with relatively pedestrian velocity which he throws more than 80% of the time but is nonetheless a plus pitch thanks to varying grip and manipulating the fastball (as studied by Jeff Zimmerman here) and a breaking ball that seems to defy classification, sometimes viewed as a slider, other times as a cutter, and yet other times as a curve. The fastball is particularly noteworthy in that it comes in anywhere between 88 and 97 MPH with spin rates all over the place. Peralta has made just three starts in the majors this season, but two were sterling outings, including his debut which came at Coors Field and saw him strike out 13 in 5.2 innings. His start last week in Pittsburgh marked his return to the big league rotation after a month in AAA-Colorado Springs.

Southpaw Brent Suter is direct from the mold of the crafty lefty, imbued with a fastball that averages a hair under 88 MPH that he still throws roughly two-thirds of the time. His slider and changeup are his main secondary offerings with a get-me-over curve mixed in a couple times a game. The Harvard alum told David Laurila last year that he gets a surprising amount of whiffs with his fastball because:

It has a little bit of late-cut movement to it, plus I have kind of a hunched-over delivery, so I hide the ball a little longer and get some good extension on it. I feel like my fastball kind of plays. It gets on guys a little earlier than they expect.

Milwaukee Brewers position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Lorenzo Cain CF 312 8 48 26 16 .291 .394 .438 .366 129 3.3 3.9
Travis Shaw (L) 3B 296 14 39 47 0 .242 .339 .480 .350 118 2.0 2.3
Jesús Aguilar 1B 229 16 37 50 0 .299 .358 .597 .397 150 2.0 1.5
Christian Yelich (L) RF 288 10 51 32 9 .287 .365 .461 .357 122 1.9 2.2
Eric Thames (L) LF/1B 115 9 16 20 4 .230 .330 .550 .367 130 0.6 0.6
Jonathan Villar (S) 2B 231 6 18 21 10 .260 .307 .386 .302 86 0.3 0.8
Erik Kratz C 40 3 6 4 0 .297 .350 .568 .392 146 0.3 0.4
Ryan Braun LF/1B 217 8 27 31 7 .239 .292 .431 .306 88 0.2 0.3
Manny Piña C 187 5 21 14 0 .222 .283 .374 .285 74 0.0 0.1
Brad Miller (L) IF 5 0 0 1 0 .250 .400 .250 .313 93 0.0 0.0
Hernán Pérez Util 157 4 13 15 6 .260 .287 .387 .291 78 0.0 0.3
Orlando Arcia SS 199 2 12 15 2 .199 .231 .257 .217 28 -0.5 -0.1
Eric Sogard (L) IF 106 0 6 1 3 .141 .248 .174 .200 18 -0.6 -0.7

Lorenzo Cain is the obvious standout here, but the Brewers lineup is sneakily loaded. Their 10.5 fWAR places them as the 12th-best unit in the game. The bulk of the production has been in a similar vein to how the Royals enjoyed their success in 2014 and 2015. Defensively, they are the third-best unit in baseball per the defensive component of fWAR. Per DRS and UZR, they are the best defensive team in baseball. On the baserunning front, they’re not the best in the game, but their 4.8 BaseRuns ties them with the Phillies for the eighth-best in baseball. As a unit, they’re slashing .245/.314/.408 with a .314 wOBA and 93 wRC+, but they have also only had 33 games’ worth of Eric Thames, one of their top offensive contributors.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Milwaukee?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Royals sweep
    (14 votes)
  • 22%
    Split
    (39 votes)
  • 69%
    Brewers sweep
    (120 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now