The magic of Owen Miller continues to steamroll through the month of May.
A trade in the offseason that many didn't take a second look at has, so far, manifested with Miller becoming the best hitter in the Milwaukee lineup through the first two months.
As May starts to wind down, Miller enters play Thursday with a .400 batting average during the month. The Brewers utility player would be the fifth Milwaukee hitter to bat .400 in a month in the last 20 years (minimum 50 AB) if he keeps at this pace. The last to achieve the feat was outfielder Christian Yelich, who batted .400 in July 2018.
Who tops the list for a single month in Brewers history over the last 20 years?
Former outfielder Gerardo Parra, who batted .435 in July 2015. Who had that on their bingo card?
Stretching beyond the 20 years and looking at the entirety of the Brewers' history, Miller could become one of 15 players to hit .400 in a month and it would be the 18th time it's occurred overall. Miller would join a list with names like Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and he'd be the first Brewers player to check the box in the month of May.
Miller's emergence has manager Craig Counsell in a nice spot. On one end, it's hard to justify taking Miller out of the lineup right now. On the other end of the spectrum, infielder Luis Urias is back out on a rehab assignment and could be rejoining the team soon making things a bit more crowded. Miller's ability to play a variety of positions will lessen the stress of Counsell trying to find a spot for the 26-year-old. So far this season, Miller has already lined up at first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield positions.
Miller had a career-high 13-game hitting streak halted on May 22 against Houston. All good things come to an end but the bigger question that loomed was how Milwaukee's emerging bat would respond. Miller was in the lineup the very next day and collected three hits, including a two-run homer to dead center.
In the month alone, Miller has six multi-hit games and three of those have been three-hit performances. What's really impressive is the quality Miller has displayed despite the quantity not being there at times.
Miller is fifth on the team in hits with 36, trailing Yelich by just nine for the team lead. However, Miller has played in just 34 of 49 games while the four ahead of him in hits have all played at least 45. Miller has 104 at-bats this season while the next lowest for those in the top five of team hits is first baseman Rowdy Tellez with 144.
What might be most fascinating with Miller's stellar play is how it is unexpected. This wasn't someone the Brewers acquired that many believed needed a change of scenery or was even necessarily on the verge of becoming an everyday player.
Miller batted .204 with an on-base percentage of .243 in 202 plate appearances in 2021 with Cleveland. Those numbers increased in 2022 to a batting average of .243 and an OBP of .301 in a much larger sample size of 472 trips to the dish with the Guardians.
Bunch his fantastic month of May together with all of April and the numbers spit out a .346 batting average with an OBP of .367 in 109 plate appearances. It's been much needed for a Milwaukee team ranked No. 22 in runs per game at 4.18.
The question of how sustainable this is will continue on and it'd be foolish to expect Miller to continue on this season at a .400 clip. It is possible though that Miller has discovered something in the box and heck, playing back home doesn't hurt either.
-- Christian Yelich has 10 stolen bases on the season and hasn't been thrown out yet attempting a swipe of a bag. The only player in baseball with more steals without having been thrown out is New York Yankees rookie Anthony Volpe with 13.
-- No player this month has hit more than four home runs for Milwaukee. However, the Brewers have seven players with at least three bombs in May, which leads the National League.
Stats courtesy of Sportradar and stathead
|July 2015||Gerardo Parra||.435|
|Aug. 2010||Ryan Braun||.424|
|Aug. 2013||Scooter Gennett||.423|
|May 2023||Owen Miller||.400 (24-for-60)|
|July 2018||Christian Yelich||.400|