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Milwaukee Brewers

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Projected WARMarket Value

17.6 158


11.6 104


4.5 41


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • Christian Yelich, LF
  • Lorenzo Cain, CF
  • Travis Shaw, 3B
  • Ryan Braun, 1B
  • Domingo Santana, RF
  • Manny Piña, C
  • Orlando Arcia, SS
  • Jonathan Villar, 2B
  • Chase Anderson, RHP
  • Jhoulys Chacin, RHP
  • Zach Davies, RHP
  • Junior Guerra, RHP
  • Wade Miley, LHP
  • Craig Counsell

Health Check

“The Brewers were responsible for perhaps the single most newsworthy day of the offseason on January 25th. Up to that point, Milwaukee had made a few low-key additions, but nothing that had yet really signaled their intentions for the upcoming year. But that evening, new broke that the Brewers had dealt four prospects — including their No. 1 prospect, Lewis Brinson — to the Miami Marlins in exchange for star outfielder Christian Yelich. Within about another hour or so, word of a second major transaction leaked out —the club had inked Lorenzo Cain (who was originally drafted by Milwaukee and debuted with them in 2010) to a five-year, $80 mil contract, the largest free agent deal in franchise history.

Milwaukee’s offense started off hot last season, but by the end of the year they had slipped back to the middle of the pack. The position player group finished with a 99 wRC+, which was 9th in the NL, and they scored their 732 runs scored during the season tied them for 10th on the Senior Circuit. They did tie with New York for the most home runs as a team at 224, and also led the NL with 128 stolen bases. But Milwaukee’s cumulative 25.6 percent strikeout rate limited their offensive upside, as the .249 team batting average and .322 OBP both ranked in the bottom third of the league. In fact, the Brewers broke their own MLB record for most strikeouts in a season with 1,571.

The additions of Cain and Yelich should bring more balance to a lineup that has been filled with three-true-outcomes type players since the beginning of GM David Stearns’ tenure. Neither player struck out in even 20 percent of their plate appearances last season, and both posted on-base percentages higher than .360. Both players should also help shore up Milwaukee’s porous outfield defense, which ranked 18th in baseball with -6 Defensive Runs Saved last season. Both Yelich and Cain have been well-regarded defensively on the grass, including a Gold Glove in left field for Yelich back in 2014.”

—Brew Crew Ball

Key Player

Pitching was the strength of the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but now without Jimmy Nelson (labrum surgery) until at least June, the staff is a bit of a question mark. It would certainly benefit if Chase Anderson came close to last year’s breakout performance. After three seasons as a useful back-end starter, Anderson posted a stellar 2.74 ERA across 141.1 innings in 2017. His average fastball ticked up to 93+ MPH after sitting in the 91 MPH in the years prior, helping him to post the best strikeout rate (8.5 K/9) and swinging strike rate (10.2 percent) of his career.

He slashed his walk rate and sliced his home runs rate nearly in half, too. Anderson’s peripherals didn’t exactly match up with his ERA, though; while his ERA- of 62 put him in “ace” territory, his FIP (3.58, 81 FIP-) and DRA (4.05, 86 DRA-) were more in the range of mid-rotation territory. On paper, the current rotation appears to be lacking for some upside — along with Anderson will be Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin, with six other arms currently fighting for the final two slots.

After upgrading the lineup with the additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, many fans and analysts are convinced that it will be the rotation that keeps them from cracking the postseason in 2018. If Chase Anderson can continue to build off of last season’s success, it would go a long way towards helping the Milwaukee Nine get to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

—Kyle Lesniewski, Brew Crew Ball

Best Case

The Brewers won 86 games in 2017 despite major holes at three lineup spots, injuries that limited the majority of the rotation, and Ryan Braun being just the fourth-best hitter on the team. Those Brewers added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to the lineup, as well as Jhoulys Chacin to the rotation. Could they have done more, especially on the pitching side? That’s an easy yes, but at the same time, this lineup suddenly looks great, and Brewers’ pitching last summer was better than most realize. Milwaukee could win the NL Central, but failing that, there’s still a legitimate chance at a wild card. They have as good a chance as anyone else in the NL has at those spots.

Worst Case

This would be a pretty poor time to see Ryan Braun fall off a cliff, Travis Shaw fail to replicate his breakout success, Lorenzo Cain to suddenly look old, and a pitching staff that was better than most realize to suddenly be as bad as those same people think it was, and in a very avoidable way considering Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and more were still available at the time the Brewers decided they didn’t need to chase anyone hard. The Brewers might have the best chance to unseat the Cubs, but missing the postseason entirely is an option, too.