The Milwaukee Brewers will take runs any way they can get them, but can they compete for a championship with a high reliance on the long ball?
Following Eric Thames‘ home run on April 24th, the Milwaukee Brewers scored 23 straight runs via the home run. Baseball Prospectus has a statistic called the ‘Guillen Number’ and that number shows the percentage of runs a team scores via the home run. Prior to game on April 26th, 65% of the Brewers runs came from the long ball. The San Diego Padres are in second place with 59%.
Past League and World Series Champs
Last year no team scored more than 51% of their runs from the home run and neither of the two World Series teams had higher than 42%. The Dodgers hit 42% and the World Champion Boston Red Sox hit only 39%. Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers were in third place at 46%.
If you look at the league championship teams since 2015, no team had more than 45% of their runs from the home run. No World Series champion has hit more than 42% over that time period. In 2015 the Kansas City Royals had a Guillen Number of only 30%. In other words, the best teams in each league over the past several years do not rely as heavily on the long ball as the Brewers have so far this year.
The team that Stearns built
Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns has built a lineup of power hitting lefties, through trades and free agent acquisitions because Miller Park is very friendly to left handed power hitters. Most of his acquisitions aren’t going to hit for average but will hit home runs. Travis Shaw is a career .250 hitter but averages 23 homers a year. Over the last three years Mike Moustakas has a .250 batting average but has averaged over 30 home runs per year. During that same three year time period, Yasmani Grandal has a batting average under .240 but has averaged more than 24 home runs per year.
Again, the Milwaukee Brewers will take home runs any way they can get them, but statistics have shown that if the Brewers are going to take that extra step and make it to the World Series, they will need to do by manufacturing more runs.