InReview: All-Star Grades for Milwaukee Brewers

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InReview: All-Star Grades for Milwaukee Brewers
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

 

Since I’m in the middle of moving and taking a vacation, I won’t have much access to the Internet. That’s why I’m doing a mid-year review special.

 

Grades

 

Jason Kendall, 258 AB/.233 BA/.322 OBP/25 R/23 RBI/0 HR, Grade: C+

He is still a high-quality defensive catcher and game caller. He still can’t find his bat, but at least he gets on base.

 

Mike Rivera, 49 AB/.245 BA/.294 OBP/2 R/2 RBI/0 HR, Grade: C

We may never know the real Mike Rivera. Unlike last season, the hits aren’t falling, but he doesn’t get enough at-bats to be at fault. He is solid at calling games and on defense.

 

Prince Fielder, 308 AB/.315 BA/.422 OBP/58 R/78 RBI/22 HR, Grade: A

This year, Fielder has the highest on-base percentage out of all the Brewers. That’s amazing. Not only that, but he leads the team in home runs, RBI, and doubles.

For all the crap Fielder gets at first, he has only had three errors this year and has been the team’s leader.

 

Rickie Weeks, 147 AB/.272 BA/.340 OBP/28 R/24 RBI/9 HR, Grade: I

I feel bad for Weeks; I really do. He might have been able to put together an amazing year both offensively and defensively, but he has been playing hurt the entire year.

 

Craig Counsell, 224 AB/.281 BA/.354 OBP/34 R/15 RBI/2 HR, Grade: B+ 

I may have been tough on Craigy in the past, but he’s been solid this year. A fun stat is that he already has more hits this year than all of last year. When Weeks went down, Counsell held the team together with his play and leadership.

 

J.J. Hardy, 298 AB/.232 BA/.301 OBP/41 R/38 RBI/10 HR, Grade: C-

Hardy is having bad luck this year. For a while, he was hitting the ball well; unfortunately, he was hitting it right at his opponents. 

Hardy might be the slowest starter on the team, and he has grounded into 11 double plays already, tied for 28th in the entire league.

Hardy’s arm is still strong, and he has made some strong defensive plays. I expect a big second half from him.

 

Bill Hall, 191 AB/.199 BA/.260 OBP/20 R/19 RBI/5 HR, Grade: D-

Hall was given the position of starter at the beginning of the year, again. The Brewers sent down their hot third base prospect to give Hall a chance, again.

Hall even had his eyes checked over the offseason to help his batting. Gamel and McGehee have taken over Hall’s hitting responsibilities by this halfway point, so Hall is basically a defensive player.

Hall has continued to suffer from Jenkinsitis (swinging at a low breaking ball near the dirt) and now strikes out with high fastballs as well.

I feel bad for the guy, but he is basically the invisible man. Even Mike Rivera thinks Hall doesn’t get on the field much anymore.

 

Casey McGehee, 146 AB/.329 BA/.387 OBP/24 R/27 RBI/6 HR, Grade: A-

McGehee is the surprise of the year! He had a rough start after a great spring training, and he didn’t see much playing time.

However, he caught fire from the middle of May to the middle of June. McGehee has had some problems fielding (probably because he plays both second and third), but I’m hoping he can keep it up!

 

Mat Gamel, 105 AB/.248 BA/.350 OBP/10 R/16 RBI/4 HR, Grade: B-

Since people were expecting the second coming of Ryan Braun, many Brewer fans have not noticed that Gamel has been a good call-up. Not having consistent playing time is tough, but Gamel has been doing well.

True, he shrinks in the clutch, but I hope he will improve the future.

 

Ryan Braun, 332 AB/.310 BA/.391 OBP/61 R/58 RBI/16 HR, Grade: A

Braun has been on a recent cold streak, but I still believe he deserves an A. He’s made some nice plays in left (and some errors), and he’s hitting well over .300. He’s also the first Brewer to start two consecutive All-Star games since Robin Yount.

 

Mike Cameron, 287 AB/.258 BA/.368 OBP/40 R/42 RBI/14 HR, Grade: B

Cameron has made some amazing catches, and he was the hottest hitter in April. He is  streaky, but this is the Cameron that I had expected last season: A .250+ hitter with power and makes great catches in center field.

 

Corey Hart, 304 AB/.253 BA/.322 OBP/46 R/35 RBI/9 HR, Grade: C-

Corey Hart makes me sad. The fans voted him in to the All-Star Game. To repay the fans' kindness, he then said the fans don’t support the team enough during the Cubs series.

Then he disappeared late in the season, but we, the fans, stuck by him the entire time.

This year, I’ve noticed less hustle in getting to fly balls and running out grounders from Hart.

He’s turning it around at the plate as of late, but it was tough for quite a while. I’m starting to rethink my expectations of Hart. I gave him a low grade due to those high expectations, but he may not be a .290-.300-with-20 HR-and-20 steals player.

 

Frank Catalanotto, 47 AB/.277 BA/.327 OBP/2 R/5 RBI/1 HR, Grade: C

If I was comparing Catalanotto to Jody Gerut, he would get an A. He’s been serviceable in limited play time. He’s been a better outfield backup than Chris Duffy, Brad Nelson, and Gerut.

 

Jody Gerut, 152 AB/.191 BA/.226 OBP/21 R/16 RBI/4 HR, Grade: F

Remember when the Brewers traded Tony Gwynn Jr. because Duffy and Nelson weren’t hitting? That was a long time ago, right? Jody Gerut has had four hits since becoming a Brewer.

Yovani Gallardo, 8-7/114.2 IP/ 3.22 ERA/123 K/ 1.230 WHIP, Grade: A-

Gallardo has been stellar this year, and he shouldn’t be an almost-.500 pitcher. He should be an All-Star, so I hope he has a chip on his shoulder during the second half.

More than anything, I hope his last two starts are not a sign of things to come. Remember, this is hopefully his first full season.

 

Jeff Suppan, 5-6/99.2 IP/ 4.70 ERA/53 K/ 1.605 WHIP, Grade: C

After a horrendous start to the season, Suppan has been an innings eater. What pisses off Brewers fans is that he’s an expensive innings eater.

But take a look, he’s has the second-lowest ERA of any of the top five starters. His propensity to walk batters has killed him.

 

Manny Parra, 3-8/71.2 IP/ 6.78 ERA/62 K/ 1.786 WHIP, Grade: F+

I like Parra, I hope his recent stint in the minors turned his season around, but you have to say that he was terrible the first half of the season. His ERA is still over six, even with his great last start.

I know Parra has the skills to succeed, and I hope he does. The Brewers need him.

 

Braden Looper, 7-4/102 IP/ 4.94 ERA/59 K/ 1.382 WHIP, Grade: C+

Braden, like Soup, has been an innings eater. He’s just won a couple more games, struck out a couple more batters, and surrendered a few less walks. Braden has been a calming starter on the team, which is needed at times.

 

Dave Bush, 3-4/81 IP/ 5.67 ERA/59 K/ 1.346 WHIP, Grade: C-

Bush has also had some bad luck, since he has a very low WHIP. However, much like Mike Burns, he’s been prone to the gopher ball.

Bush had a solid second half last year and, once he’s back, the Brewers are betting on more of the same.

 

Seth McClung, 3-2/54 IP/ 4.17 ERA/33 K/ 1.519 WHIP, As a Reliever: A-, As a Starter: F

McClung’s ERA as a reliever is only 2.89 in 46 innings. He worked his way back into the rotation, and he deserved a shot. But he took the shot and and hit himself with it.

McClung, like Carlos Villanueva, is probably going to be an above average reliever and a below average starter, and that’s Ok if the other starters get their act together.

 

Mike Burns, 2-2/26 IP/ 5.54 ERA/19 K/ 1.423 WHIP, Grade: C-

When Burns gets in trouble, he throws the ball right done the middle of the plate. When Burns is cruising, he is hard to hit. The problem is, sooner than later, Burns will have problems and has given up two home runs per nine innings, well above the league average.

 

Mitch Stetter, 2-0/29 IP/ 2.76 ERA/36K/ 0.989 WHIP, Grade: A-

Stetter set a record for most consecutive strike out-outs and has a WHIP under 1.000. He has been great as a lefty specialist and good in normal relief.

 

Carlos Villanueva, 2-6/39 IP/ 6.14 ERA/37 K/ 1.449 WHIP, Grade: C-

From Opening Day to June 6, Carlos had a 3.33 ERA, and opponents were only hitting .167 against him.

Since June 6, hitters have hit .419 against him, and it shows in his 13.14 ERA. Usually when you see numbers like this, you think someone has to be hurt.

 

Todd Coffey, 4-1/45 IP/ 2.80 ERA/40 K/ 1.244 WHIP, Grade: B+

Before the Trevor Hoffman came, Coffey was the only shining star in the bullpen. After Hoffman came and became a sensation, Coffey has still thrown very well and is a mini-sensation as well with his memorable run to the mound.

 

Chris Smith, 0-0/22.2 IP/ 2.38 ERA/17 K/ 1.147 WHIP, Grade: B

This guy has been a total surprise and has been good at eating up innings. Problem is, these innings are mostly during losses. I’m very interested in seeing more because I can’t tell if he’s lucky or good.

Mark DiFelice, 4-1/34.1 IP/ 1.83 ERA/31 K/ 0.961 WHIP, Grade: A-

DiFelice has been one of the more steady arms from the bullpen and is getting almost no publicity for it. I was at a game in June and heard one “Brewer fan” say the following: “Awh, I don’t know why they’re putting in DiFelice? Do they want to throw this game away?”

Check the kid's numbers, and you will be impressed. When Hoffman said he was representing all Brewer relievers at the All-Star Game, you know he meant mostly  DiFelice.

Trevor Hoffman, 1-1/26.1 IP/ 2.05 ERA/20 K/ 1.063 WHIP, Grade: A

I was guardedly optimistic about Hoffman coming to the Brewers. He was good in Petco, but I wasn’t sure that would translate to Miller Park. It has, and the crowds have taken notice.

Whenever Hells Bells starts to ring, the crowd gets up and gets loud, and you almost know the game is over. Now, I’m starting to think that Hoffman should never be put in a non-save situation. He has a 5.40 ERA in non-save situations and a 1.27 ERA in save situations.

 

Team as a Whole, Grade: B-

I thought the team would be a little better than two games over .500, but if the team is in the race after playing so inconsistently, I have to be a little happy.

I like Ken Macha’s style, and even though there have been some question marks, I’ve been pleased with his results and the patience he has instilled on the team.

I’m worried that Bill Castro isn’t going to be the pitching coach after this year.

Don’t believe the hype that the Brewers' fielding is much better. The Brewers are averaging an error per 1.8 games. Last year, it was one error per 1.6 games.

Great Moments of the First Half


Trevor Hoffman saving his first 16 games without a blown save (April 28-June 15)
30-20 (June 1)
Prince Fielder’s first grand slam to win the game (June 15)
Fielder winning the Home Run Derby (July 1
Braun, Fielder, and Hoffman in the All-Star Game (July 14)

'Bout-Damn-Time Moments of the First Half


Brewers are in first (May 13-May 26, May 29-June 19, June 26-July 2)
Bringing up Gamel (May 14)
Cutting Julio (June 2)
Starting McGehee more (started May 19)

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