By Jimmy Carlton Sportswriter Published Apr 12, 2016 at 7:31 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

The Brewers have now completed their first full week of the baseball season, so, obviously, it’s time to look back and reflect on everything that’s happened.

And so much indeed has already happened, as Milwaukee has gone 3-4 through seven contests, with an eventful six-game homestand followed by the current inhospitable trip to St. Louis.

There have been ups (series win over Houston) and downs (Opening Day dud against San Francisco), encouraging highs (Scooter raking!) and embarrassing lows (Sausage falling!), expected outcomes and surprising results, plus the requisite road whipping from the Cardinals.

We're only a little more than 4 percent of the way through the 2016 campaign, but this is no premature review. It’s never too early to assess the performance of an organization, even one undergoing a full-scale rebuild that could take two or three years.

Owner Mark Attanasio and general manager David Stearns have said they’ll be continuously evaluating the team throughout the year, looking to improve it for both the short and long-term, so we’d like to help.

With the Brewers off today, here is the Week 1 recap:

Highlight: Aaron Hill made this athletic and savvy circus-catch double play to help the Brewers beat the Giants.

Lowlight: Ariel Pena allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning of what became an Opening Day blowout against San Francisco, which led to him being designated for assignment the next day with a 27.00 ERA.

Best moment (on-field, baseball-related category): In his first at-bat of the season, Scooter Gennett, who had a .124 career batting average against left-handed pitchers, smashed his first major-league home run off Giants lefty ace Madison Bumgarner.

Worst moment (on-field, non-baseball-related category): The Hot Dog, after sprinting out to a huge lead in the Sausage Race, fell and face-planted just before the finish line.

Best moment (off-field category): Beloved former center fielder Carlos Gomez, in his return to Milwaukee after being traded last year, told reporters he wanted to retire as a member of the Brewers.

Worst moment (off-field category): This disgusting thing that happened in the stands.

Biggest surprise: The bullpen, led by Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg, has been mostly excellent, despite the loss of Will Smith and Corey Knebel to injuries before the season began. Remove Pena and his replacement, Sam Freeman, and the other seven relievers have combined to allow just four earned runs on 21 hits in 25 1/3 innings, for a 1.42 ERA, with 17 strikeouts to just eight walks.

Biggest nonsurprise: The Brewers knew what they were getting when they signed slugging first baseman Chris Carter, who had averaged 30 home runs and 182 strikeouts a season over the previous three years. And, as expected, Carter already has three homers and a team-high 10 strikeouts through seven games, though he’s also smacked a couple of doubles and has six RBI and a .739 slugging percentage.

Most encouraging development: After two quality starts, it appears Jimmy Nelson has taken another step forward and emerged as a true front-of-the-rotation pitcher. In 13.1 innings, the big righty has a 2.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts with just five walks and eight hits.

Most discouraging development: While Nelson has looked like a legitimate No. 2 starter, Wily Peralta has struggled in his two outings. Peralta was roughed up on Opening Day and then rocked five days later against the Astros. He’s 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA and, most concerning for a supposed power pitcher, has just six strikeouts to his six walks.

Most intriguing subplot: For a rebuilding club looking to deal its veterans for young players, Milwaukee hasn’t had an ideal start. Smith and Matt Garza are hurt, and Jonathan Lucroy, who unquestionably has the most value but also the highest price tag, hasn’t yet found his stroke (.273 average, one extra-base hit, zero RBI). Stearns certainly hopes the Brewers’ tradeable assets can increase their worth over the next couple months.

Most valuable player: Leave it to a 5-foot-10, 180-pound second baseman to carry the offense. Gennett leads the Brewers in batting average (.409), hits (nine), runs (five), total bases (18) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.318). He’s also tied for the team high in homers with three, after hitting a total of six dingers last season.  

Least prepared player: Keon Broxton won a roster spot despite a pedestrian spring training largely on the strength of his impressive physical abilities. But the Brewers’ Opening Day center fielder is hitless in 11 at-bats so far with seven strikeouts and just one walk. At 25, Broxton is still young enough to develop his raw tools, and he's played well defensively, but he’s simply not yet ready to contribute to a major-league offense.

Notable statistic: For a relatively young team predicted to have a hard time producing runs, it’s strange the Brewers have only one stolen base through seven games (their opponents have seven). Broxton (who has the sole steal), right fielder Domingo Santana, shortstop Jonathan Villar and others have plenty of speed, and aggressive base-running would seem to be a way for Milwaukee to manufacture some offense.

Cy Young candidate: In his only start, Chase Anderson threw five shutout innings, allowing just four hits with zero walks and striking out five to beat the Astros. During the offseason, Stearns said he was excited about the 28-year-old Anderson, who was acquired with Hill from the Diamondbacks in the Jean Segura trade, and it’s easy to see why after his sparkling first outing.

Gold Glove candidate: After moving from right field back to left this season, Ryan Braun has been outstanding on defense. He has 15 putouts and an assist, without an error, in 16 total chances, continuing what had been a strong spring training in the field.

An interesting thing: On Opening Day, manager Craig Counsell’s lineup card showed Broxton hitting ninth, one spot behind the pitcher Peralta. That strategy, which used to be applied almost exclusively by the Cardinals, has become more common across the majors in recent seasons. Counsell has put the pitcher in the No. 8 spot in six of seven games this year; while Broxton has struggled batting ninth, Villar has gone 2 for 5 with three walks in the role. Will Counsell continue to employ the tactic even if it fails to deliver consistent productive results?

Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.

After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.

Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.