LOS ANGELES -- From a distance, all three look like players enjoying bouncebacks in debut seasons with the Brewers. Aaron Hill, Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar -- in that order -- powered home runs through the thick Dodger Stadium sky Thursday to account for the final five runs of Milwaukee's
LOS ANGELES -- From a distance, all three look like players enjoying bouncebacks in debut seasons with the Brewers. Aaron Hill, Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar -- in that order -- powered home runs through the thick Dodger Stadium sky Thursday to account for the final five runs of Milwaukee's 8-6 win over L.A.
They are three individual cases, Craig Counsell argued, each benefitting from a fresh start.
"Johnny is a young player who's gotten an opportunity," Counsell said. "I'd say Hill -- I don't know if I would say bounceback, but he's been a part-time player the past couple of years, and [he is thriving] in this more regular role. He's been a good player in this league for a while, and that's part of the reason we were confident in acquiring him. And Chris' story is that he's just getting a little better at what he's good at."
The Brewers acquired Villar and Hill in trades and Carter via free agency. One way to measure their offensive production this season compared to last is weighted runs created plus (wRC+), which quantifies a player's offensive production and accounts for outside factors, including era and ballpark effects. A score of 100 is average, and every number above that is one percentage point above average. It is considered one of the best measures of a player's contribution to producing runs.
All three have seen a boost this season. Hill's wRC+ was 71 last season with the D-backs -- meaning he was 29 percent below average -- but was 100 this season entering Thursday night. Carter jumped from 101 with the Astros to 107 with the Brewers. Villar has made the most impressive jump, from 107 in limited duty with the Astros to 121 for the Brewers entering Thursday night.
All three further boosted their figures by going deep against the Dodgers. Hill hit a solo shot in the fifth inning and Carter hit a two-run homer three batters later. Villar hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the ninth.
"I'm not happy for the home runs, I'm happy for the team winning," said Villar, who has hit four of his six homers in June.
"This dude is playing at an All-Star level at shortstop, on both sides of the ball," Ryan Braun said of Villar. "He's got huge power. I don't think he's tapped into his power yet. I think he has potential to be at least a 20-25 homer guy once he's able to translate his [batting practice] power to his game swing."
Hill is 40-for-127 (.315) with six home runs over his last 40 games. Carter leads the Brewers with 18 home runs, including his 107-mph blast Thursday. Entering the day, Carter's batted balls averaged 94.4 mph off the bat, tied for ninth in the Majors among hitters with at least 30 events.
"I don't think any of it is surprising," Braun said. "We saw good things from all of them in Spring Training."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.