MLB Playoff race: Brewers have ridden consistency to first in NL Central

Milwaukee’s baseball team has come out of left field to lead the NL Central over the defending champion Chicago Cubs and the (other division favorites) St. Louis Cardinals. The Brew Crew’s success this season has been based off of consistent performances from their key players.

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Stephen Vogt has found a new home in Milwaukee, and he’s been decent in an incredibly small sample size. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images – Brew Crew Ball)

Offensively, one of the key performances for the Brewers is outfielder Eric Thames. Thames has come back from Japan’s Nippon League to hit the ball with a ton of power — his ISO is currently at .305 — and while walking at a surprisingly high clip. He’s provided a pretty steady offensive presence at the two hole for Milwaukee (no really, he’s had 289 plate appearances there). The surprising amount of pop has also been accompanied by a(n) (also) surprising ability to get on base, currently Thames on base percentage is .375 and he’s walking in 15.7% of his plate appearances. Thames’s successful return from Japan has been a major reason that Milwaukee has the sixth best offense in the NL, according to Fangraphs.

Fangraphs has the Brewers pitching staff ranked as the seventh best pitching staff in the NL. While 28-year old Jimmy Nelson has led the starting staff with 97 innings pitched, and a decent FIP of 3.27, there are several names that should be familiar to baseball fans that have been solid for the Brew Crew in 2017. From Matt Garza (4.07 FIP) to Wily Peralta (4.99), Milwaukee has gotten surprising contributions from different parts of its roster.

Despite Milwaukee’s consistency in the first half of the season, Fangraphs doesn’t really believe that the Brewers will hold onto their division lead; primarily because their top performance are currently playing well outside of what was expected of them.

DIVISION LEADERS

(DIVISION) 

LEADERS

W-L PROJECTED 

W-L

DIVISION

ODDS

WILDCARD

ODDS

PLAYOFF 

ODDS

(AL East)

Red Sox

 47-35  91-71  77.2%  18.2%  95.4%
(AL Central)

Indians

 

44-37

 

 92-70  95.6%  2.3%  97.9%
(AL West)

Astros

 56-27  102-60  99.9%  0.1% 100.0%
(NL East)

Nationals

 48-34  93-69  97.2%  1.2%  98.4%
(NL Central)

Brewers

 44-40  80-82  8.0%  5.2%  13.2%
(NL West)

Dodgers

 55-29  103-59  95.0%  4.8%  78.2%

AMERICAN LEAGUE WILDCARD

TEAMS  GAMES 

BACK

W-L PROJECTED 

W-L

WILDCARD

ODDS

DIVISION

ODDS

Yankees – X 2.0 43-37 85-77 47.7% 16.7%
Rays – X 0 43-41 80-82 19.5% 2.7%
Royals -0.5 41-40 80-82 14.3% 2.4%
Twins -1.0 41-40 78-84 7.9% 8.9%
Angels -1.0 43-43 80-82 18.0% 0.0%
Mariners -1.5 41-42 80-82 20.2% 0.1%
Orioles -1.5 40-41 78-84 9.5% 1.0%

X-Currently holds a wildcard spot

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILDCARD

TEAMS  GAMES 

BACK 

W-L  PROJECTED

 W-L

WILDCARD

ODDS

DIVISION

ODDS

Diamondbacks – X 4.5 52-31 91-71 89.2% 4.4%
Rockies – X 0 48-36 86-76 63.3% 0.4%
Cubs -6.0 41-41 87-75 72.2% 6.0%
Braves -7.5 40-41 77-85 2.8% 0.5%
Cardinals -8.5 39-42 82-80 10.0% 17.3%
Mets -8.5 38-43 80-82 11.8% 1.7%
Pirates -10.0 37-45 76-86 1.6% 2.4%

X-Currently holds a wildcard spot

Playoff odds are courtesy of Fangraphs, 7/3/2017

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Categories: MLB

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5 replies

  1. Wait the Mariners have the second highest odds for the wildcard and they’re below .500! Yays I guess…

  2. Let’s cut through the Fangraph nonsense. It’s true the Brewers are performing above expectation, but it’s also true that nobody in that division is really that good, including your defending World Champs. The Cubs have been playing .500 baseball since last season 24-6 start last season, and a lot of that is because they are horribly inconsistent. Then the question becomes how long do the Brewers have to be “consistent” or “over-performing” before we start having the conversation about the expectations were wrong?

    • The Brewers have definitely taken advantage of the Central being so weak this season, and that’s another reason that they’re in first. If they can continue to do that through the dog days of summer in August, the conversation will certainly have to shift more to the Brew Crew actually having a shot at winning their first division crown since 2011.

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