The Milwaukee Brewers are at .500 for the first time since April 24 and are four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second MLB Wild Card spot after defeating the Atlanta Braves 5-0 Tuesday night.
Milwaukee lost several starters at the beginning of the season and traded Zack Greinke on July 27. The season looked all but over, but the Brewers failed to give up and never lost confidence in themselves or their ability to make a pennant run. A large part of this has to do with the numerous prospects called up throughout the year who have filled critical roles to keep the team afloat.
Michael Fiers has to be the first name to come to mind as he made his start way back on May 29 in a now crucial win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. His season record may only be 9-7, but his 3.05 ERA says a lot more. Not to mention his 111 strikeouts and the fact he has only surrendered six home runs in 109 1/3 innings. Fiers even had a stretch of 10 starts where he did not give up more than two runs per game, including five shutouts.
Mark Rogers also did a great job in his seven starts before being shut down for the season. Rogers was 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA; however, he should have had more wins if the bullpen did not blow some of his games. It is unfortunate he was shut down, considering how well he was pitching and how much the Brewers need him in this playoff run, but they made the right call to protect his surgically-repaired throwing arm.
Wily Peralta is the latest pitching prospect to make waves at the Major League level. Peralta was roughed up earlier this season in a bullpen role in which he allowed one earned run on three hits in one inning. He was sent down to the minors and did not make another appearance with Milwaukee until Sept. 5. Peralta is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and seven strikeouts in two starts.
Jeff Bianchi has struggled a bit since making his MLB debut on July 13, but has come up with some big hits when the Brewers really need it. He is currently batting .200 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 50 at-bats. What fans may not realize is that even if Bianchi does not have a huge impact at the plate, he has been phenomenal in the field. He has a .977 fielding percentage and has committed only one error in 44 total chances.
Jean Segura was the Los Angeles Angels No. 2 prospect behind Mike Trout. Milwaukee acquired him in a package deal when they traded Greinke. Like Bianchi, Segura has struggled a bit but has come up with some big-time plays in crunch time. For instance, he went 3-for-3 on Sunday against the Cardinals when the Brewers made their miraculous comeback. Although Milwaukee lost in extra innings, it clearly had a positive effect on the team. Segura also scored the go-ahead run in Monday night’s game against the Braves.
In 90 plate appearances, Segura is batting .233 with nine RBIs and 10 runs. He has stolen four bases and has yet to be caught on the base paths. Also like Bianchi, Segura is a phenomenal defensive shortstop. He has a .969 fielding percentage and has only three errors and 56 assists in 97 total chances.
If Milwaukee wants to continue this amazing run and claim a Wild Card berth, they will need players such as Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart to blaze a path for them. However, they will also need these youngsters to be the backbone of the team and continue playing at a high-level to ensure Milwaukee’s success.
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