Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Come See What's Brewin'

(photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
A pretty cool local story came out last week that a few Brewers really got to live up to their team's namesake. On an off day last Monday, Eric Thames, Corey Knebel, and Oliver Drake partnered with MillerCoors and lent a hand to help create a custom signature beer to be sold at Miller Park later this year.  Thames is a self-described beer lover and has made it known that was part of the reason he chose to come to Milwaukee.  Knebel has dabbled in homebrewing during the offseason.  As for Oliver Drake - well, after the week he had, he probably just needed a beer.  Normally this type of story during a typical Brewers season in Milwaukee would make headline news of the Journal Sentinel sports page, but with how much the team has exceeded expectations thus far, it might have flown under the radar more than usual.
The type of beer the "brewers" created is being described as a "juicy IPA," and even me being the beer aficionado that I am had to look up with that was.  It's basically just a very floral and aromatic IPA.  Even if the team is out of first place by August when the limited-edition beer is expected to be ready, these players and the fans will have something excited to look forward to.  The Brewers have not only increased the quality level of play on the field this year, but also their beer offerings and promotional schedule, and this is just another of many cool events to look forward to at Miller Park.  As much as I enjoy a frosty High Life at a hot summer game, I've really enjoyed all of the more upscale local brews at the ballpark this year, and I can't wait to try this beer.

Brewers 27-24, +1.5 (4 @ Mets, 3 v. Dodgers)
Reds 24-26, -2.5 (3 @ Blue Jays, 3 v. Braves)

Twins 26-21, +1.0 (3 v. Astros, 4 @ Angels)

Erik - 4 (+8 worked)

Peter - 15

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dubya Back to What He Does Best

There's definitely been a fair amount of George W. Bush nostalgia over these past 117 days or so, but by the looks of it, he doesn't plan on going back into politics anytime soon.  I can't say that I blame him; photobombing reporters is way better than having to talk to them.  Between taking in ballgames, blasting the Donald, and his illustrious painting career, I'd say he's pretty content with his retirement life.

Worth noting: Dubya gave up his stake in the Texas Rangers when he took office.

Brewers 23-18, +0.5 (3 @ Cubs, 2 v. Blue Jays, 4 v. Diamondbacks)
Reds 19-20, -3.0 (3 v. Rockies, 2 v. Indians, 2 @ Indians, 3 @ Phillies
Twins 19-16, +1.0 (3 v. Royals, 3 @ Orioles, 3 v. Rays

Erik - 4 (+6 worked)

Peter - 10

Monday, May 8, 2017

Eric Thames: God Arrives in Milwaukee

I'm not trying to be blasphemous.  To be clear, I don't worship Eric Thames, but a lot of people in Korea did.  He earned his deity status and non-secular nickname during a 3-year stretch for the NC Dinos that would be hard for me to even sustain in Super Nintendo.
  • 2014: .343/.422/.688, 37 HR, 121 RBI
  • 2015: .381/.497/.790, 47 HR, 140 RBI
  • 2016: .321/.427/.679, 40 HR, 120 RBI
That's a ridiculous 1.168 average OPS.  For frame of reference, the MLB league average is usually around .725-750 and .900 would be an all-star caliber player.  It was understandable when the Brewers signed Thames to a 3-year deal this offseason, that many experts assumed those numbers would not be sustainable in the major leagues, including the Brewers front office.  Partly because the KBO is considered about a AA-level talent, and partly because he wouldn't get to wear his gold-plated body armor anymore.  The team certainly took a big risk when they became the first franchise in MLB history to release a reigning homerun champion (Chris Carter) and put all of their faith in this relatively unproven product.  But I think the general thought was, even with half of the power production of Carter, that Thames would still be good for 20 HR or so with a better eye at the plate and an exponentially better glove in the field.  For the price they were paying him, it was worth it.

Needless to say, Eric's start to the season has been nothing short of miraculous and has blown skeptics away, and I think Eric himself would even admit he is surprised.  After a slow spring training spent figuring things out at this level again, Thames has hit to the tune of .324/.438/.731 with 12 HR and 22 RBI.  If you extrapolate that over the course of a season that's about a 1.170 OPS with 62 HR and 115 RBI, which is right on pace with his KBO numbers.  Thames was only 3 homers away from tying the record for most hit in the month of April.  Obviously, he is going to regress some - he did have a semi-human roadtrip recently with only one homerun.  But I think he has more than proven he can handle MLB pitching and has made David Stearns once again look like a wunderkind.  The Brewers may have found another diamond in the rough here, and it would sure be a relief to finally have a GM that has a knack for free agent signings.  After all, even with the rebuilds of the Astros, Cubs, and other teams, in the end it's the free agent signings that compliment the young core that put your team over the top.  It's up to the rest of the team to determine Thames' fate.  As of right now the team is generally overperforming their expectations, and if they keep that up, maybe Thames does not get traded for another crop of prospects.  Either way, it's a big win for the franchise and the fans.

Brewers 16-16, -1.5 (3 v. Red Sox, 3 v. Mets, 4 @ Padres)
Reds 17-14, +0.5 (2 v. Yankees, 4 @ Giants, 3 @ Cubs
Twins 15-14, -1.5 (3 @ White Sox, 3 @ Indians, 3 v. Rockies

Erik - 4 (+5 worked)

Peter - 9