We’ve finally reached ‘Craigtember’. Fall baseball is right around the corner and the Milwaukee Brewers are setting themselves up nicely to be a force to be reckoned with in the National League. The Crew posted a record of 19-9 in the month and tons of players are hitting their stride at the right time.
As we’ve done all season, let’s take a peek at some of the players who had a big impact in recording those 19 victories and 9 defeats…and if you want a spoiler alert, there’s a lot more good than bad.
Brewers August Stud: Previous Duds Jace Peterson and Christian Yelich
When so many different players contribute so much in a month, it’s almost impossible to highlight just two studs, so I decided to pair two guys that I was tough on at some point prior during the 2021 season. And boy are those struggles in the rearview mirror right now.
Jace Peterson looks nothing like the player he was back in April. That player hit had an average of .208 and nine of his 19 outs recorded were via the strikeout. The guy almost had as many walks as he had hits in 28 plate appearances and we here at Reviewing the Brew were some of his harshest critics.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll see that in the month of August, “On-Base Jace” slashed .353/.476/.490 with 18 hits, nine runs scored and seven runs batted in. Only Avisail Garcia posted a higher OPS than Peterson on the team and he has carved out a vital role as a reliable utility guy that can fill a hole or a pinch hitter that can come in clutch when need be. The Jace Peterson of April is a fraction of what he is now and I now feel very confident whenever he’ll be called upon come the big moments on the road to the World Series.
Ladies and gentlemen. He’s back. It appears the Christian Yelich of old has returned to us and it’s just in the nick of time. After two of the most difficult months of his career in May and July, he’s playing like the MVP-version of himself once again. He just finished the month of August slashing .313/.359/.470 with a team-leading 26 hits (nine of them extra base hits), 16 runs scored and 13 runs batted in.
Yelich is having success spraying the ball all around the park and just looks so much more comfortable than earlier in the season when he was whiffing on fast balls right down the middle. Whatever the change was, I’m sure it feels like a huge load off his shoulders and even for Craig Counsell too as the lineup was still finding ways to win even with a slumping Yeli. A 2018 version of Christian Yelich in this particular lineup for the Brewers is enough to be nightmare fuel for opposing pitching staffs come October.
Brewers August Dud: Daniel Norris
You would have to look pretty hard to find a pitcher that struggled on the Brewers roster in the month of August, but Daniel Norris was one that definitely didn’t have his best stuff. In nine games, Norris posted a 6.30 ERA and a 1.700 WHIP. One of his biggest weaknesses was his walk numbers. He almost had more walks than strikeouts in the month (10 K, 11 BB) and those walks typically came back to bite him.
Seven runs allowed in 10 innings of work will not cut it for a reliever come playoffs. Norris was acquired as a lefty specialist and while his season numbers against left-handed hitters are still solid, as of late he’s struggled against hitters from both sides of the plate. Currently, he’s not a high leverage pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. His stats in sticky situations are not what you’d like to see so Craig Counsell will continue to use him in games where there is more room for error. The problem is…come October, there’s no such thing as low stress pitching.
Brewers August Stud: Devin Williams
June 23rd. 70 days ago. 22 games appeared in. 21 innings of work. That was the last time Devin Williams surrendered an earned run to an opposing offense. He is absolutely dialed in right now and looks like the Devin Williams who won Rookie of the Year last year. Similar to last month, there are plenty of hurlers who could’ve made this list but the ever so important setup role before bringing on Josh Hader accentuates his work even more. He is once again at the top of his class at his position and will be a vital key moving forward for Milwaukee.
His numbers in total in August were: 1-0 record, three saves, 14 innings of work, nine hits allowed, one unearned run given up, three walks allowed and a whopping 22 strikeouts. His WHIP was 0.857, his K/9 ratio was 14.1 and opposing batters only hit .176 against the Airbender. After a bit of a rocky start to the 2021 season, Devin Williams once again looks untouchable.
Brewers August Dud: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Coming off maybe his best month of the season in July, some thought Jackie Bradley Jr. might finally be turning the corner and getting on track at the plate. Unfortunately, in August he regressed once again and it appears this hole might be too large to dig himself out of.
Obviously it’s key to have depth nowadays because injuries happen, but injuries to those above him on the depth chart might be the only way JBJ sees consistent playing time again this season. 17 games played in August was the lowest monthly total that he saw action in during the 2021 season and that’s because the injuries to the likes of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have passed and they’re back to producing.
In August, Bradley Jr. slashed .146/.222/.220 with zero home runs, two runs batted in, three walks, six hits and 14 strikeouts. It was his lowest monthly strikeout total to date, but he also had 30 less plate appearances than the next closest month (July – 15 strikeouts).
He still is looked at as a phenomenal defensive player but his woes at the dish look to be too much right now. I could see him subbed in during the later stages of an important game though in the outfield to sure up the defense, but at this point in the season, it will be difficult for him to find a hitting rhythm without seeing the field everyday.
Honorable Mention Studs: Corbin Burnes, Avisail Garcia, Willy Adames, Josh Hader, Craig Counsell
The leaves will inevitably be changing colors soon, but one thing that appears to not be changing? The Milwaukee Brewers’ firm grasp on the NL Central. The consistency that this team has shown all year long paired with their timely hitting and shutdown pitching staff gives Brewer fans a feeling of hope that they haven’t had in quite some time.
The Brewers enter the final month of the regular season in a very good position.