Central Intelligence

Week 3: Brewers continue hot April surge, Reds move up two spots in the standings

standings week 3

Power Rankings Week 3

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 4/20/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 1): 14-5, 1st Place, 81 RS, 63 RA (+18)

The Brewers started out the week by losing two of three to the Cardinals at Miller Park, but won three of four over the weekend at Pittsburgh.  Even though the Brewers went 4-3 this week, they were actually outscored 34-24.  In the series finale against Pittsburgh, Carlos Gomez was in the middle of a major benches clearing brawl.  It seems very likely that Gomez will face some sort of suspension, especially considering this is not his first offense.

The Brewers pitching continues to roll.  Their team 2.82 ERA ranks 3rd in the NL, and their 1.12 WHIP leads the NL (2nd in the MLB).  The Brewers starters have also recorded 13 quality starts, which is the 2nd most in the NL (tied for 3rd most in the MLB).

The Brewers top four hitters (Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Aramis Ramirez) have been tremendous.  The Brewers and Rockies are the only teams in the MLB to have 4+ players with an OPS of .850 or higher (minimum 60 PA).  Ryan Braun is tied for the MLB lead with 6 HR, although he only has 4 walks to 13 strikeouts.  Johnathan Lucroy leads all qualifying MLB catchers in WAR (0.8), wRC+ (163), AVG (.344), and OBP (.412).

Brewers Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP WAR
Kyle Lohse 15.0 8 2 3 14 1.20 0.73 0.6
Wily Peralta 6.1 6 1 1 3 1.42 1.11 0.0
Yovani Gallardo 6.0 3 2 4 6 3.00 1.17 0.0
Marco Estrada 6.0 5 3 1 3 4.50 1.00 0.1
Matt Garza 12.0 17 9 4 8 6.75 1.75 0.0

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Armais Ramirez: .292/.414/.417, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0.2 WAR, 138 wRC+
  • Jonathan Lucroy: .316/.381/.474, 5 RBI, 0.1 WAR, 136 wRC+
  • Scooter Gennett: .316/.381/.368, 1 SB, 0.1 WAR, 111 wRC+
  • Kyle Lohse: 15.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 0.6 WAR
  • Willy Peralta 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
  • BP: Rodriguez, Duke, Smith, and Thornburg: 9.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 2 BB

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Carlos Gomez: .185/.258/.333, 12 K, 2 BB, 61 wRC+ (5 for 27)
  • Mark Reynolds: .167/.211/.333, 6 K, 1 BB, 46 wRC+ (3 for 18)
  • Kris Davis: .118/.250/.118, 16 wRC+ (2 for 20)
  • BP: Henderson, Wooten, Chung Wang: 7.0 IP, 17 H, 13 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10) vs. San Diego
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (8:10), Sun (2:10) vs. Chicago Cubs

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 2): 11-7, 2nd Place, 3.0 GB, 74 RS, 63 RA (+11)

The Cardinals had a successful week on the road.  They took two of three in Milwaukee, and split two of four in Washington.  I think the Cardinals will gladly take a 4-3 road trip against two quality teams.  The Cardinals actually had a +11 run differential this week, outscoring their opponents 26-15.

The Cardinals starting pitching continues to dominate.  Their SP’s ERA of 2.40 is the second best in the MLB, only trailing the Braves’ incredible 1.46.  The Cardinals starters also rank 3rd in the NL with a 1.10 WHIP, and 2nd in the NL in K/9 with 8.57.  The Cardinals entire pitching staff was great over the last 7 days, posting a 2.19 ERA (3rd in the NL), and a 0.90 WHIP (1st in the MLB)

Joe Kelly was placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain.  Tyler Lyons will fill in during his absence.

The Cardinals offense also got going this week.  Over the last 7 days, they scored an NL best 40 runs, while batting .288 (2nd best in the NL).  Peralta, Holliday, Jay, Molina, and Craig all posted wRC+ of 140 or better over the last 7 days.

Cardinals Starting Pitchers this week:

Name IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP WAR
Adam Wainwright 9.0 2 0 3 8 0.00 0.56 0.3
Joe Kelly 4.0 3 0 0 2 0.00 0.75 0.1
Lance Lynn 12.2 8 1 6 16 0.71 1.11 0.2
Shelby Miller 6.0 3 1 3 7 1.50 1.00 0.0
Michael Wacha 13.1 10 4 1 15 2.70 0.83 0.3

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Jhonny Peralta: .321/.345/.643, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 173 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Matt Holliday: .320/.393/.480, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 147 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
  • Yadier Molina: .381/.409/.429, 140 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Allen Craig: .280/.379/.480, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 143 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Lance Lynn: 12.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 16 K, 0.71 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 0.2 WAR
  • Adam Wainwright: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 0.3 WAR
  • Shelby Miller: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • Michael Wacha: 13.1 IP, 10 H 3 ER, 1 BB, 15 K, 2.70 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 0.3 WAR
  • Kevin Siegrist: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.27 WHIP, 0.3 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Kolten Wong: .200/.200/.200, 3 K, 0 BB, 8 wRC+, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (1:10) at New York Mets
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:15) vs. Pittsburgh

3. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4): 8-10, 3rd place, 5.5 GB, 74 RS, 62 RA (+12)

The Reds won their first series of 2014, taking two of three at home against the Pirates. They followed that up by winning their second series of 2014, taking two of three at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.  The Reds have won 5 of their last 6 games, and despite their 8-10 record, now have a +12 run differential in 2014.

The Reds offense has really come to life.  After staring the season scoring just 28 runs in their first 11 games (2.5 runs per game), they have scored 46 runs in their last 7 games (6.6 runs per game).  The Reds have been lead by Joey Votto and Devin Mesoraco.  Both players entered Sunday as 2 of the only 8 players in the NL with a 1.0+ WAR.  To no surprise, Votto is 5th in the MLB in both wRC+ (183) and OBP (.453).  The big surprise has been Devin Mesoraco, who is hitting an incredible .515/.553/.970 with 3 HR and 11 RBI. Mesoraco has only played 9 games, but has an incredible 32 total bases in 33 at-bats. Entering Sunday, Mesoraco’s .483 AVG, .966 SLG, and 1.418 OPS are the highest ever of any Reds player in March/April with 30+ PA.  He also joined Willy Mays and Hank Aaron as the only players with a .483+ AVG and .966+ SLG in 30+ PA in March/April.

The Reds starting pitching continues to be stellar.  Their SP’s 2.89 ERA ranks 5th in the NL, their 1.06 WHIP ranks 2nd, and their 8.42 K/9 ranks 3rd.  The big story in Cincinnati has been the incredible job Alfredo Simon has done.  He was supposed to just be filling in for a few starts for the injured Mat Latos, but has done far more than fill the void.  Simon’s 0.86 ERA through three starts is tied for the 4th best in the MLB.

Reds Starting Pitchers this week

Name IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP WAR
Alfredo Simon 6.0 4 0 2 3 0.00 1.00 0.1
Johnny Cueto 9.0 3 0 0 12 0.00 0.33 0.6
Tony Cingrani 11.1 9 5 7 9 3.97 1.41 0.0
Mike Leake 6.2 5 3 1 8 4.05 0.90 0.3
Homer Bailey 5.0 8 5 0 9 9.00 1.60 -0.2

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Devin Mesoraco: .500/.524/.944, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 287 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
  • Joey Votto: .429/.571/.857, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 281 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
  • Jay Bruce: .313/.522/.438, 7 BB, 170 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Billy Hamilton: .318/.348/.364, 4 SB
  • Johnny Cueto: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 0.6 WAR
  • Alfredo Simon: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Todd Frazier: .130/.200/.435, 57 wRC+, (3 for 23)
  • Zack Cozart: .174/.208/.217, 14 wRC+ (4 for 23)
  • Logan Ondrusek: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 40.50 ERA, 7.50 WHIP, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (12:35) at Pittsburgh
  • Fri (7:35), Sat (7:10), Sun (1:35) at Atlanta

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 3): 8-11, 4th place, 6.0 GB, 80 RS, 79 RA (+1)

The Pirates had a rough week, going 2-5.  They lost two of three in Cincinnati, before dropping three of four at home against the Brewers.  In the series finale against the Brewers, they were involved in a major brawl.  Travis Snider was ejected from the game.

The Pirates pitching really struggled this week.  They had a team 4.90 ERA (14th in the NL), and 1.40 WHIP (11th in the NL) this week.  The starting pitching has really let this team down so far in 2014.  Their SP’s 4.50 ERA ranks 13th in the NL, and their 1.31 WHIP is tied for 11th.  The only good starting pitcher for the Pirates has surprisingly been Edinson Volquez (1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11 K, 4 BB, 0.3 WAR).

The Pirates offense has been pretty good so far in 2014.  Entering Sunday, their 78 runs scored were tied for the 4th most in the NL, and their 23 homers were tied with Atlanta for the most in the NL.

Pirates Starting Pitchers this week

Name IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP WAR
Edinson Volquez 7.0 8 2 1 3 2.57 1.29 0.2
Francisco Liriano 7.0 6 3 3 7 3.86 1.29 0.0
Charlie Morton 13.0 14 7 5 6 4.85 1.46 -0.1
Gerrit Cole 6.0 9 5 3 3 7.50 2.00 -0.2
Wandy Rodriguez 9.0 12 10 2 5 10.00 1.56 -0.3

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Andrew McCutchen: .321/.394/.571, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 163 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Starling Marte: .286/.375/.429, 1 HR, 4 SB, 123 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Mark Melancon: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Pedro Alvarez: .111/.226/.222, 10 K, (3 for 27), 33 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Wandy Rodriguez: 9.0 IP, 12 H, 10 ER, 10.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, -0.3 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (12:35) vs. Cincinnati
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:15) at St. Louis

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5): 5-12, 5th place, 8.0 GB, 58 RS, 76 RA, (-18)

The Cubs went 1-4 this week, and have lost 6 of their last 7 games.  The Cubs offense has been brutal, scoring the 3rd fewest runs in the MLB (58).  The Cubs .298 OBP and .348 SLG are both the 2nd worst in the NL (only better than the Padres).

It’s looking like another long season for the Cubbies.  The rumors of an imminent trade of ace Jeff Samardzjia are swirling.  Edwin Jackson (who is in the second year of a 4 year/$52 million contract) has really struggled. Samardzija, Wood, and Hammel have been good in the rotation, but can’t get any run support.

The only bright side for the Cubs is that their two young building blocks have been pretty good so far in 2014.  Anthony Rizzo is hitting .333/.414/.500 with a 151 wRC+ and Starlin Castro is hitting .292/.313/.415 a 94 wRC+.  Both players have two homers.  Emilio Bonifacio has been excellent so far in 2014, hitting .358/.403/.403 with a 121 wRC+. Bonifacio could be a nice trade piece for the Cubs.  Other than those three players though, the Cubs offense has been horrendous.

Cubs Starting Pitching this week

Name IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP WAR
Jeff Samardzija 7.0 6 1 2 7 1.29 1.14 0.3
Travis Wood 5.2 11 2 0 2 3.18 1.94 0.2
Jason Hammel 7.0 5 3 3 5 3.86 1.14 0.0
Edwin Jackson 11.2 16 6 5 10 4.63 1.80 0.3

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Anthony Rizzo: .353/.450/.647, 1 HR, 196 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Mike Olt: .300/.364/.700, 1 HR, 187 wRC+,0.2 WAR
  • Welington Castillo: .286/.333/.571, 1 HR, 146 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
  • Jeff Samardzija: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 0.3 WAR
  • BP: Strop, Russell, Wright, Rosscup: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Emilio Bonifacio: .190/.227/.190, 4 K, 1 BB, (4 for 21) 12 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Starlin Castro: .211/.211/.211, (4 for 19) 8 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Nate Schierholtz: .063/.063/.063, 5 K, 0 BB, (1 for 16), -80 wRC+, -0.4 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (2:20), Thurs (2:20) vs. Arizona
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (8:10), Sun (2:10) at Milwaukee

Pitcher of the Week

  • Kyle Lohse, Brewers: 15.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 0.6 WAR

Position Player of the Week

  • Devin Mesoraco, Reds: .500/.524/.944, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 287 wRC+, 0.6 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

 

11 thoughts on “Week 3: Brewers continue hot April surge, Reds move up two spots in the standings

  1. The Brewers continue to surprise me. I really didn’t count them amongs the discussion of teams in the Central worth following this year. On paper, this team looks so similar to their effort last year. The rotation looks above average but not stellar, but they’re delivering excellent results.

    Honestly, all of their pitching stats seem sustainable. Nothing is too far out of line with last year’s averages (ERA is a touch low, as is BABIP). Add that in with Ryan “I eat children for breakfast” Braun leading the offense again and this suddenly looks like a very convinicing team.

    Nick, as you’ve been looking into their offensive surge, do you get the feeling this is a ceiling for their offense and they just started hot out of the gate? Their team batting numbers look nearly identical to the Reds for the season, it’s just that the Reds concentrated a lot of that into the last few games.

    • I think Braun, Gomez, Ramirez, Segura are all really good offensive players. The Brewers offense only ranks 4th in runs, 3rd in AVG, and 5th in OPS. They are also only 4th in AVG with RISP. The offense has been good, but it’s really all about their SP. I think this team is very good, and very likely a playoff team. I don’t know if they can beat the Cards in the division though. I think their offensive numbers are sustainable. I don’t know if their pitching will be as great as they’ve been, but they still have a good rotation.

      • I’d throw Lucroy in there too… the guy rakes. Formidable team. They are certainly playoff worthy barring some really bad luck.

        • Oh geez, forgot about Lucroy. That dude can hit. He might be the 3rd best Catcher in the NL behind Posey and that guy they catches for the Cardinals.

      • But I have great disdain for Carlos Gomez. If people around here think that Brandon Phillips has an attitude problem and shows off….

  2. ESPN’s new power rankings have the Brewers and Cards at #1 and #2. Of course, that puts the Cards over three other teams with better records, so it’s a bit of a joke (as one would expect from ESPN). The Reds are at #19, which is five slots better than last week.

    • I don’t think the Cards being #2 in the ESPN power rankings is that unfair. We are less than 20 games in, and this team is still loaded. Their SP has been incredible, and their lineup is really starting to roll. Thanks for providing those power ranks from ESPN-good to see what the national folks are saying.

  3. How long will BP stay in the 3rd spot? BB% at 2.6% and SO rate is 24.7%. BP even has a high BABIP at this point.

    Good to see Marshall get an inning of work, seemed like he might not pitch again for the Reds.

    • BP should be hitting lower in the lineup, at least behind Bruce. He simply can’t get on base enough to warrant hitting 3rd. He does a solid job driving in runs (seems to be far more focused with RISP than with the bases empty). I’d go:
      Hamilton
      Votto
      Mesoraco
      Bruce
      Frazier
      Phillips

      (Although I’m really trying hard not to complain about the lineup. Votto hitting second is a HUGE step in the right direction)

      • Amen. Everytime I start to think about lineup optimization, I have to remind myself to step back, take a deep breath, and rejoice in the lineup that Price has made.

  4. My main issue with lineup optimization is that it doesn’t take into account the pitcher you are facing aside from maybe, just maybe, factoring in a standard platoon split. It’s why I am not a big fan of the lineup optimization tools. Some of the general concepts I can roll with using strict lineup optimization rules to build a lineup.

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