It has been all hands on deck for the Brewers offense this year (Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE)

A Strange Banner Year for Milwaukee

I know the Milwaukee Brewers have not had the best of times throughout the 2012 Major League season, but take heart, dear Brewers fans – your team is somehow, some way, one of the best teams the National League has to offer.

No, really.

There is still plenty to hold on to this year – after all, three and a half games back is hardly dead, especially in this season. Granted, that is not a guarantee for postseason play, but the last-minute sprint is certainly icing on the cake of this franchise for 2012.

Let’s take the offense as a whole to start. Here are the basic numbers for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012, followed by their respective ranks amongst the NL’s competition.

  • Runs scored: 737 (1st)
  • Doubles: 286 (tied, 3rd)
  • Triples: 37 (tied, 4th)
  • Home Runs: 193 (1st)
  • Runs Batted In: 711 (1st)
  • Stolen Bases: 150 (1st)
  • Batting Average: .260 (5th)
  • On-Base Plus Slugging: .762 (2nd)

There it is, all laid out for you: the Milwaukee Brewers just happen to be one of the most potent offenses in the Senior Circuit. Can you believe that? But it’s just as much about the team as a whole as it is about the individuals that comprise it. Here are a few other things to hang your caps on about the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers line-up:

Aramis Ramirez sits just three doubles behind the all-time Brewers record for two-baggers in a season – a record set by Lyle Overbay in 2004. With eight games left to play, it is entirely possible that Ramy meets or even surpasses that mark, considering his affinity for extra bases in recent weeks. To wit, Ramirez has five doubles in his last seven games. He currently has the sixth highest single-season mark for Milwaukee with 78 extra-base hits. He also eclipsed 100 RBI for the year, and with Ryan Braun making well over that mark, that makes five straight years with two Brewers driving in over 100 runs.

Speaking of Braun, the hard-hitting left fielder has reached the top ten in Brewers history for a single

Even Jonathan Lucroy is suprised at the year he’s having. (Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

season in home runs (41), WAR (6.8), slugging percentage (.598), OPS (.989), total bases (339), and extra base hits (76). In short, he’s officially having one of the best years any Brewer has ever had. Ever.

Jonathan Lucroy is also having an incredible year of his own. This season Lucroy became only the catcher in Major League history to have two seven RBI games in a single season – and only the fifth backstop to accomplish the feat twice in his career – and that’s only in his third season. He hit seven RBI against an NL and AL team, by the way, making him only the second player to do THAT in the same season. All that aside, his batting average currently sits at .328. If he can keep that up, it will be the highest single-season average of any Milwaukee Brewers catcher.

Did I mention the rest of the Brewers yet? No? Well here’s something for you to toast to them as well. The Brewers pitching staff has amassed 1,334 strikeouts in 2012. The last time the Brewers have done that well in the strikeout department was 2007 – when they set the franchise record with 1,174 according to the Brewers website. (Baseball-Reference would beg to differ – another article, I suppose). The Brewers pitching staff also has the highest-ever K/9 rate at 8.63, and only eight Brewers teams have allowed less hits than the 2012 staff. It doesn’t help all those blown leads, of course, but it’s nice to think about over the winter for sure.

I’m not sure what to say – Yovani Gallardo is, to be blunt, a beast. (Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE)

In terms of individual pitchers, there have been quite a few great performances. Chief among the is Yovani Gallardo, the unquestioned ace of this pitching staff. He has 199 strikeouts so far this year, and soon enough will eclipse the 200 mark for the fourth consecutive season. Yo is also averaging 9.045 strikeouts per nine innings, which makes it the 9th best season in Brewers history. That makes his fourth appearance on the top-ten list. Also having top-ten years in 2012 are Mike Fiers and Marco Estrada.

By the way, the 33 saves John Axford has gutted out in 2012? 8th best performance all-time by a Milwaukee closer. Just sayin’.

So worry not, Brew Crew Nation, even if your team doesn’t make the postseason – they had a hell of a run. And if they come anywhere close to topping 2012 in 2013, it might be the best Brewers team ever.

Tags: Aramis Ramirez Jonathan Lucroy Milwaukee Brewers Yovani Gallardo

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