In 2014, many followers of the Milwaukee Brewers believed that this was a team of destiny. In fact it was. It was destined to fail. As the beginning of the year, for the first three plus months, the team performed way above average with Lucroy having a career year, Aramis Ramirez experiencing one of the best first half of the season performance in his career, Carlos Gomez having an All-Star first half and a rookie second baseman doing way better than expected. And the pitching staff was doing well backed by a bunch of runs to support victory after victory.
Then, the bottom fell out. Some blame it on Matt Lapay, a college announcer who was brought into help fill in for the team’s voice, that being Brian Anderson who was frequently away from Brewer telecasts to work with whatever network needed him for whatever sport. But in fact, sometime in July, Lapay or not, players who had questions about when the ball would fall throughout the hot first half of the season, discovered the disaster that awaited them. Lucroy didn’t quite deliver as he had earlier in the season. Braun was not really Braun as he was experiencing a hand problem. Ramirez stopped delivering in the clutch. Gomez began running into trouble rather than pushing for success. And the pitching staff got old overnight.
For the season, after it was all over, in 2014, the Brewers ranked #15 in hitting with a .250 batting average. And it ranked #17 in pitching with an ERA of 3.67.
Yet what did the general manager do? He felt it was enough to reward their manager with not a one year but a three-year contract extension feeling that overall the club had improved and that the last half of the season was simply a ‘blip’, something that just happened and wasn’t the fault of a manager who brought the team to its first Division title in decades a few years earlier. What many do not understand, that was a team that was managed by Ned Yost who last year took his new team, the Kansas City Royals, to an American League Championship and just a run away from a World Series title. It was not Roenicke who was responsible. He just got into a very good car and drove it to a Divisional championship. Yet he was rewarded for that?
Now this year. In 2015 Milwaukee ranks #24 in pitching with an ERA of 4.13 vs 3.67 in 2014. In 2015 Milwaukee ranks #18 in hitting with a .250 BA vs .250 in 2014.
This team has not only not improved to justify Roenicke’s extended three-year contract but has in fact gotten worse. In fact, they remain in the bottom half of all teams who play in the Major Leagues.
Baseball is all about averages. You can tell, with some accuracy, what a team will do when you look at what players have done in their careers, weighted with age and experience and with an experience manager and general manager who guide the ball club.
The Men of Milwaukee’s management do not understand. Averages tell us that. In 2003 when the general manager began his first full season at the helm of the Cream City Nine, the team finished #23 in hitting as it finished with a batting average of 2.56. The pitching staff finished #25 with a 5.02 ERA. And the rest is history.
2003 Batting #23 with a .256 BA. Pitching #25 with a 5.04 ERA
2004 Batting #29 with a .248 BA. Pitching #12 with a 4.24 ERA
2005 Batting #16 with a .259 BA. Pitching #10 with a 3.97 ERA
2006 Batting #27 with a .258 BA. Pitching #25 with a 4.82 ERA
2007 Batting #11 with a .262 BA. Pitching #15 with a 4.41 ERA
2008 Batting #17 with a .253 BA. Pitching #4 with a 3.85 ERA
2009 Batting #9 with a .263 BA. Pitching #27 with a 4.83 ERA
2010 Batting #12 with a .262 BA. Pitching #26 with a 4.58 ERA
2011 Batting #11 with a .261 BA. Pitching # 9 with a 3.63 ERA
2012 Batting #3 with a .259 BA. Pitching #22 with a 4.22 ERA
2013 Batting #19 with a .252 BA. Pitching #16 with a 3.84 ERA
2014 Batting #15 with a .250 BA. Pitching #17 with a 3.67 ERA
2015 Batting #18 with a .250 BA. Pitching #24 with a 4.13 ERA
For his career as general manager, his teams have finished on average #16 in batting with a .256 BA. The team’s pitching has ranked #18 with a 4.25 ERA.
Those are the averages. Baseball is all about averages. The team has averaged 16th in hitting out of 30 baseball teams. This places them in the bottom half of all teams in Major League Baseball. The team has average 18th in pitching out of 30 baseball teams. This has placed them in the bottom half of all teams in Major League Baseball.
If the owner wants to continue in the bottom half of Major League Baseball, he should continue to have the current general manager with the team. If the owner does not, and wants to move into the upper half of baseball, he needs to replace him with a new general manager responsible to the owner only and not to the guy who has not gotten this team, on average, to finished in the top half.
UPDATE: At 1115A (CST), Tuesday, August 11, 2015, Doug Melvin stepped down, effective immediately, as General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is leaving the job he’s held since September of 2002. The days of #melvinitis may be over. Then again, these are the Milwaukee Brewers. He may still be the head of baseball operations.