The six game road trip thus far has proven to be successful as the Brewers take all 3 games from the Padres.
What have we learned from this series? Taking a high level glance, we will find some good things happening that affect both the long term and short term success.
On the underneath, there may be more than meets the eye. Let’s look at my biggest takeaways.
Make sure to listen to my interview with Cubs Den and Prospect1500 writer, Tom Usiak as talk prospects and Cubs/Brewers!
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- Corbin Burnes is the real deal. Sure, you can pretend that you knew that already, but let’s be honest. In such a small sample size of innings pitched, no one could really make that call. Players every season will have hot streaks, overproducing or outperforming their contracts. Teams will latch onto that player, often overpaying (think Jeff Suppan in 2007, in hopes they can sustain, only for the player to self-correct and be just an okay player. In Burnes’ case, we have real, tangible changes to his play to which his success can be attributed. Just be ready to pay the 2021 Cy Young Award winner (my real IBWAA prediction, btw).
- Omar Narvaez is this team’s MVP. No single player on this roster has been more consistent. Basically an every day player, only resting on early game days after late games, Omar has really redeemed himself after a disaster of a season in 2020. After 2 hits in the final game of the series, he brought his batting average to over .400 and his OPS over 1.000, adding a home run to his total as well. Supplement that with his improved defense and you have an All-Star in the making, as long as the votes are there. Give me all the Omar Narvaez you have on the menu.
- Billy McKinney deserves a spot in the lineup, every day. When Christian Yelich ends his stint on the 10-day IL, the Brewers outfield will be back at full force. Calling it “full force” is in no way a slight on Billy McKinney because he has been nothing short of stellar, ignoring game 3 of this series. How do we fit him in? See next bullet point.
- Keston Hiura is down and out and he’s hurting the team right now. Craig Counsell needs to pull the trigger and make the switch immediately. It’s time to get the reps over to either Billy McKinney or Daniel Vogelbach, or some combination of both. I won’t say it needs to be a permanent move. However, some time on the pine would serve Hiura well. The pressure to not fail in 4 plate appearances per game will be lifted, and he can concentrate on getting his feet under him once again and return to the Keston Hiura that we remember.
- Jace Peterson isn’t giving up his roster spot so easily, in regards to Dee Strange-Gordon. Homeruns in games 2 and 3, after some sub-par play, might have shifted the attention over to Daniel Robertson and his lack of production. The Brewers signed Robertson for depth, but also for his ability to draw walks and set the table. Some impatient at-bats and ugly swings have overshadowed the early looks Robertson gave us back in Spring. If Counsell decides a move is needed, it may be Robertson who gets optioned.