The third outcome of the three true outcomes is a walk. A walk is viewed in a positive light, as it gives a free base to a runner. Using run expectancy tables, it is shown that in 2020 a walk to start an inning increases run expectancy by approximately 0.3 runs.
Just like the other metrics, the Brewers have been above league average for walk% in all seasons under David Stearns.
When plotting out teams’ BB% relative to winning percentage, another interesting trend is shown. The R^2 for that is .31, which is not statistically significant enough to say there is a strong correlation, there is a general trend.
Intuitively, that makes sense. Teams that walk more have more runners on base, more runners on base leads to more runs, and more runs lead to more wins.
Teams that walk more do appear to have a slight edge in winning games in the regular season. In the postseason, in 4 of the past 5 seasons, the league leader in BB% made it to the World Series (2020 was the one year that wasn’t the case, but the Rays finished 4th). And the only two years where one team that appeared in the World Series was not in the top 10: 2020 when the Dodgers finished 13th with a 9.8% walk percentage, and 2017 when the Astros finished 22nd in BB% walking in 8.1% of all plate appearances (what happened that year?).
It does not appear that there is some magic formula that guarantees a team success. It does not appear that there is a set balance that, if struck, guarantees a ticket to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy in October.
Ultimately, there are many different ways to win a ball game. However, looking at the tendencies of these outcomes may help to indicate places the Brewers can improve.
Going off of recent trends in World Series winners, or even teams that have appeared in the World Series, the Brewers need to work to reduce their strikeout percentage. While in the regular season, when facing a wide variety of pitchers, striking out is not inherently a bad thing. In the postseason, however, the teams that have gotten the farthest tend to strike out less.
As for hitting home runs, the Brewers are doing that well. Home runs are the most efficient way to score, and so continuing to hit home runs is a good way to score runs, and win games.
The Brewers appear to be walking at a rate that sets them up for success. However, capitalizing on runners on base opportunities is something that still needs to improve for Milwaukee.
Given the current make up of the roster, it may be difficult to have a radical change in any of those categories, but by looking at the trends, it can show ways that Brewers can reach the peak of their abilities, and be ready to contend for the World Series championship Milwaukee has been longing for.