2022 American Association First Half Recap: Milwaukee Milkmen
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Rob Pannier takes a look back at the first half of the 2022 American Association season for the Milwaukee Milkmen including who is their MVP and top pitcher, and discusses the prognosis heading forward.
A Look at the First Half for the Milwaukee Milkmen
(Ranking in American Association listed in parenthesis)
Overall Record: 24-27 (3rd in The East, 7th Overall)
Home Record: 13-11 (8th)
Away Record: 11-16 (10th)
Last 10: 4-6
Average: .279 (T-3)
Homeruns: 57 (6)
Runs Scored: 296 (6)
Slugging %: .430 (8)
On-Base %: .369 (4)
Stolen Bases: 70 (3)
ERA: 5.61 (9)
Saves: 9 (10)
Walks: 180 (1)
Strikeouts: 457 (3)
Opponent Average: .276 (10)
Fielding %: .973 (11)
Errors: 49 (11)
First Half Recap
The Milwaukee Milkmen came out of the month of May 9-7. They had the third best ERA in the American Association and the third best batting average. This team looked like they were going to give the Chicago Dogs everything they could handle, despite the fact that they had lost seven players to affiliate or foreign leagues before the season even began.
In the first 20 games of June, Milwaukee went 11-9, and it seemed like it was just a matter of time before this team got rolling. However, they have gone 4-11 since, as the pitching staff has struggled. Ace Myles Smith has really been struggling since the middle of June, allowing 27 earned runs in 26.2 innings.
The offense has been there, proven by the fact that five Milkmen hitters were chosen to start the American Association All-Star game. Bryan Torres has been a real find for manager Anthony Barone and Mason Davis is healthy and proving to be one of the most difficult hitters to get out in the league. Plus, Dylan Kelly continues to defy Father Time, hitting .347 through his first 42 games this year. The problem has been the pitching staff, and that will need to be rectified if this team is going to compete for a championship.
What Went Right?
The thing that is hurting this team is actually what has gone right the most. While clubs want to win the championship, the reason the American Association exists is to help players get back to affiliate ball. Milwaukee has done a great job with that this season, sending nearly a dozen players into Major League organizations or to foreign leagues, such as Mexico or Japan. That has hurt the club on the field, but has boosted their reputation within the game.
Torres, Davis, Kelly, and Keon Barnum have been fantastic. The quartet were well deserving of All-Star honors, and should help this team to grapple one of the four playoff spots in the East.
What Went Wrong?
While the lineup has been solid, two proven hitters have not delivered. Correlle Prime is only hitting .233, and Logan Trowbridge has struggled to get above the .200 mark. He entered the All-Star break it .207.
However, the problem for the Milkmen is all related to pitching. They are ninth in ERA, and have hovered around 6.00 in June and July. The club acquired Kyle Huckaby (4.67, 11 appearances) at the All-Star break, but they are going to need at least two other starters and some bullpen help to compete against Chicago.
Top Pitcher: Juan Echevarria, RHP
While the starting staff has been abysmal for this team, the bullpen has been great, and Juan Echevarria has been a prime performer. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 22 appearances. He has allowed 16 hits and 14 walks while striking out 28 in 23.2 innings.
Top Hitter: Bryan Torres, OF
Torres has been one of the most impressive hitters in the American Association season. He entered the All-Star break second in batting average (.384), while producing 17 doubles and 32 RBI. He also scored 37 runs and stole 10 bases. While those numbers have been impressive, what really stands out is just 20 strikeouts in 185 at bats. He even homered in the All-Star game.
Where Will Milwaukee Milkmen Be on September 5?
With Lake Country struggling as they are and Cleburne and Gary trying to figure out how to stay consistent, Milwaukee should find themselves in the postseason. Whether they are able to make any noise is going to depend upon what this pitching staff is able to do. However, there is plenty of offense here and that should carry this team into the playoffs.
By Robert Pannier