With under a week to go before Opening Day, excitement among baseball fans is at an all-time high. In-person attendance is back and Brewers players are probably equally as eager to have fans back in the stands.
Some big decisions involving the 26 man roster have already been made, but that doesn’t mean players aren’t using this last week to shake off some rust before April 1.
The Brewers went 2-3-2 this week and we saw some players look regular-season ready while a couple couldn’t quite get it going. Let’s take a look at the last Spring Training version of ‘Studs and Duds’.
Stud: Christian Yelich
Pitchers beware. The Christian Yelich of old seems to have returned. Over the last week, he’s gone 4-for-10 at the plate with two home runs (one grand slam), six runs batted in and 10 total bases. He’s currently slashing .391/.481/.870 in 23 at-bats.
Craig Counsell seems to be pleased with where his former MVP is at after a tough go of it last year. “I think we’ve been pretty consistent on Christian. He’s in a good place. We’re ready. He’s ready to go. I wish that, from his perspective, the season starts tomorrow.”
He’s been putting in countless hours of work with Brewers hitting coach Andy Haines and even had to be scratched from a game due to a work overload. Teammates of Yelich are constantly in awe at the amount of practice he puts in his craft and that routine may get him back among the best players in baseball.
It seems to be as Yelich goes so does the Crew’s bats and this recent stretch has to have Brewer fans ecstatic.
Dud: Adrian Houser
Adrian Houser only pitched once in the last week but it was a very poor outing. He went 3.1 innings and allowed seven earned runs on nine hits. He didn’t allow a home run, but the string of hits kept coming and the Rockies poured it on en route to a 9-8 victory for Colorado.
Up to that game, Houser had been having a pretty decent Spring, but he seems to struggle evading a blow up outing. His ERA in Cactus League play almost doubled, ballooning from 4.15 to 8.25.
He did battle some right thumb discomfort leading up to that game but it was deemed he was good to go, so who knows if that injury had any effect on his tough performance. At this point, he is scheduled to be in the Brewers’ starting rotation, but with Josh Lindblom being sent to the bullpen, the last thing Houser can do is get complacent.
Stud: J.P. Feyereisen
J.P. Feyereisen has quietly had one of the best springs and this last week has been no different. He pitched twice in the last seven days and gave up only one hit and struck out four out of the seven guys he matched up with. Currently his ERA is 1.04 and he boasts a WHIP of 0.35.
Another aspect of his game that has been on full display is his ability to strike batters out. He’s struck out at least one batter in every outing and has a total of 15 k’s in 8.2 IP in March. He’s one of the many potential diamonds in the rough at the disposal of skipper Craig Counsell.
With the recent news about Justin Topa’s injury, Feyereisen could see an uptick of work at the beginning of the year. Craig Counsell said this about Topa being sidelined to start the year, “Guys fill in around losses always, but these are losses that start to chip away at your depth, for sure. Justin pitched some big innings for us at the end of the year last year and I think he was capable of doing that (again). Hopefully we get decent news and he can get back to that.”
Hopefully Feyereisen can keep up this positive stretch of pitching and be a consistent arm in the bullpen throughout the regular season.
Dud: Orlando Arcia
Unfortunately, we’ve got a recurring guest on this week’s version of ‘Studs and Duds’. Orlando Arcia is in the midst of a bad slump at the plate after a relatively good start to Spring. Before today’s game against the Reds, Arcia hadn’t registered a hit in over two weeks. In this last week he was 0-12 with four strikeouts.
At one point during Cactus League play, he had an average as high as .350 but after that game on March 12th, it’s plummeted to .171. It’s a bad time to be in a funk as Luis Urias is trending upwards and has his average at .281 in only four less games.
Arcia has been a constant in the Milwaukee lineup for the last five years but his role could be diminishing if he can’t correct his woes at the dish. Generally speaking, Arcia is a streaky hitter and you learn to live with these struggles but last year was a good year for him. For whatever reason, he hasn’t been able to build upon it.
Now that we’ve concluded who’s been hot and who’s not, it’s almost time for the real thing. Opening Day is April 1st at American Family Field at 1:10 PM CT vs the Minnesota Twins.