The unofficial kick-off to summer is here…OPENING DAY!!!!!!! I know I’ve been out of touch lately, especially with anything but the Packers, however it doesn’t mean I care less. Let’s take a look as to what to expect from the Milwaukee Brewers this year and moving forward!
2017—last year’s “unexpected success” has caused a lot of well-deserved hype leading into the 2018 campaign, but why? The Brewers finished 86-76 (.531) when many (yours truly included) anticipated a far less winning total heading into the season. There were many factors that led to this, like the breakout of Chase Anderson—dropping his ERA from 4.39 in 2016 to a suffocating 2.74 in 2017. Had he pitched in enough games to qualify, that would’ve been good enough for 5th in the major leagues.
The other breakout star was Travis “Mayor of Ding Dong City” Shaw…the 3B whom was acquired from the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Tyler Thornburg…hit .300 for a majority of the year and was the Crew’s top run producer of a year ago with 101 RBI. This paired with many other solid performances leads fans and the front-office to believe the likelihood of repeat performances are high.
2018—with that belief comes a more assertive direction, thus the Brewers acquired Christian Yelich in a major trade with the Miami Marlins. Yelich is one of the premier hitters in the game and the best part about him is everything. He’s young (26), has quite a bit of experience (5 years), has shown steady improvement each year, has a Gold Glove, is just a great hitter, and is on a very affordable contract ($7m/year). Include former Brewer, Lorenzo Cain, along with the already crowded Outfield and the Brewers should have one of the top offensive lineups in the majors.
So to recap, the Brewers did not really add pitching, aside from Jhoulys Chacin (who could be sneaky great for Milwaukee), after last year the Brewers finished 9th in team ERA and 20th in runs scored. The offense did falter down the stretch in late August and September last year which ultimately cost them enough games to not make the 1-game wild card (which if they had won they would’ve made the playoffs—that’s a whole ‘nother topic).
Many experts and Vegas are aligned with the Brewers expected win total of anywhere between 85 and 88 wins. Even though the Brewers have added pieces, big pieces, and won 86 games last year the question poses “Why wouldn’t they be expected to win more?” With Jimmy Nelson going down and not being available until later this season, as well as the realistic expectations of Chase Anderson not producing like he did last year, it seems like the Crew should be poised to be “in it” leading up to the trade deadline, again, which could make for a fun July and if things fall correctly a really fun fall!
Prediction: 87-75; 2nd in division
World Series: Cubs > Indians (which would suck for us Brewer fans)