It’s officially summer in Milwaukee, and if this past weekend is any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be a hot one. As the lakefront prepares for the onslaught of thousands of less-than-sober music lovers, just three miles to the west the Brewers front office is preparing for what will undoubtedly be the biggest and most important month in their rebuilding process.  Any talk surrounding a potential Wild Card run for the Brewers seems to have faded away, but what’s happening day in and day out at Miller Park remains important for the future of this ball club.

Chris Carter loves hitting in Milwaukee.

Chris Carter was brought to Milwaukee for one reason: to hit home runs. Carter’s power has been well documented throughout the years, but so has his tendency to strike out. Season to date, Carter has lived up to his expectations, both positive and negative. He ranks fifth in the majors in both home runs (19) and strikeouts (95).

However, it’s interesting just how different his splits have been at home and away from Miller Park. No batter has hit more home runs out of their home ball park than Carter (14). He’s also got a batting average of .250 at home, compared to .203 on the road with just five home runs. Miller Park is traditionally considered a hitters ball park, but these splits are borderline absurd. Chris Carter has  potential value to competitive teams, but you have to wonder how many GMs are questioning why his success seems to be limited to games in Milwaukee. Still, if he’s got 25+ home runs by mid-July, the Brewers should have no issues parting ways with Carter in exchange for a high-ceiling mid-level prospect, a la the Gerardo Parra trade last year. Bombs away!

The Brewers signed Corey Ray, and I’m already a huge fan.

The Brewers have now signed all 11 of their picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2016 draft, including the fifth pick overall, Corey Ray from Louisville. Admittedly I didn’t know much about Ray when he was drafted, but Ray stopped by the broadcast booth for an interview with Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder during yesterday’s game, and I’ve got to say, I like the guy. I looked for the interview footage online but wasn’t able to find it. I wish I could find and repost it, because it was a great couple of minutes.

There were two things that were notable – and again, this is just an interview, I know nothing of his play on the field. First, Ray is just a humble and likable kid. He said all the right things at all the right times. He gave credit to nearly everyone but himself for all of his success, and mentioned how excited he was to be a part of the process and learn from everyone around him. He was respectful, carried himself well, and didn’t have an ounce of arrogance in his tone.

What was even cooler, however, can only be described as the “Dog in the Park” effect. As the bottom of the third inning unfolded in between interview questions, Ray instinctively predicted what would happen on the field as soon as the ball left the bat. “That’s Fair!” he yelled about three seconds before Hernan Perez’s run-scoring ground rule double landed six inches left of the foul line. “He’s Safe!”, Ray shouted as Chris Carter slid in to home plate on a run-scoring fielders choice. Even Anderson was fanboying over Ray’s ability to call the action before it happened. You can chalk that up to solid baseball instinct, or just a bit of beginners luck, but either way, I liked it.

We’ve all heard about “The Cardinal Way” and how big of a load of crap it all is. But you can’t deny the importance of players culturally fitting in with a ball club and where they are trying to go. In just five short minutes, I got to know Corey Ray as a respectful and hungry young man who lives for the game of baseball. I can’t wait to see what he can do as he works his way through the Brewer’s system.