Baseball is in the air, and it is a great feeling! My high school baseball team that I coach starts on March 12th and the Brewers are 21 days away from opening day! The Brewers have a lot of excitement buzzing around them after finishing the season one game out of the wild card last season. No one expected the Brewers to have the amount of success that they did. Excitement has been magnified since the addition of Christian Yelich, and Lorenzo Cain. Everyone is hoping with the addition of Yelich and Cain that the team has moved into a position to make a postseason run this season, and even contend with the Cubs for the NL Central this season after finishing 6.0 games behind the Cubs last season.
One of the biggest weakness of the Brewers offense was CF production, their best producer was Keon Broxton with his .220 batting average, 175 Ks in 414 ABs. It was made clear that upgrading the CF production was high on the list this offseason adding two CFs in one day. Cain, who will get most of the innings in CF this season, has a career war of 27.6 in 8 MLB seasons with a .290 AVG. and .342 OBP. He also averages 12 HRs and 27 SBs per 162 games. Christian Yelich has a career war of 17.7 in five MLB seasons with a .290 AVG. and .369 OBP. He averages 15 HRs and 18 SBs per 162 games. The addition of Yelich and Cain will not only add much-needed offense for the Brewers, but they will also provide Gold Glove defense as well. The Brewers pitching will benefit significantly with Yelich in LF and Cain in CF.
Another beneficiary of the addition of Yelich and Cain is Ryan Braun. The additions give the Brewers a glut of solid OFs with Yelich, Cain, Braun, Santana, Phillips, and Broxton. All starting MLB quality OFs. This will allow Braun to get some playing time at 1st base in a platoon with Thames. A platoon with Thames and sporadic playing time in the OF could help Braun significantly in the health department. This team needs a healthy Braun for their postseason run. The offense is only one part of Brauns tools for his career he has a .302 AVG and a .364 OBP. But, he also brings much needed veteran leadership to this still relatively young team. I still would take Braun over anyone else to bat for me with the game on the line.
The Brewers Achilles heal is the pitching staff, which is a surprise after the success they had last season and the struggles of the bullpen. But things are looking up in the bullpen right now. Another season of the filthiness that is Corey Knebel and Josh Hader. Plus some possible key additions in Boone Logan and Matt Albers. Things could be looking up in the bullpen. Unfortunately, I hate the starting pitching rotation, it is not a division winnings caliber pitching staff, so it is probably not a staff that is going to go far in the playoffs. They have three terrific 3-5 pitchers. Anderson, Davies, and Chacin would be great pitchers to have in the back end of the rotation. The injury to Jimmy Nelson last season is going to hurt this team significantly, and honestly who knows if he will be able to return to form after an injury to both his rotator cuff and labrum.
This team needs to add starting pitching, one for sure and a second one wouldn’t hurt either. All offseason I have been onboard with the adding Chris Archer to the rotation, but he is going to cost the most prospect wise, including trading the 25-year-old Domingo Santana. Which isn’t in the Brewers best interest.
So next there is Jake Arrieta, I do not know what to make of Arrieta, yes he won a Cy-Young and yes he had a dominant three year stretch with the Cubs, but last season he regressed a bit. Innings pitched were down, strikeouts were down, and ERA was up. Last year could have been an aberration, or it could be him reverting back to what he was in Baltimore. I think he is worth the risk if you don’t have to pay him the same money that Darvish got from the Cubs.
After Arrieta, I like Lance Lynn. Lance Lynn is 30 years old and has spent his last six years with the Cardinals. There he posted a career 3.38 ERA and has been very consistent for the Cardinals. He would be a very good number two pitcher for the Brewers.
Lastly, we have Alex Cobb. Personally, I like him the least out of Lynn and Arrieta. Cobb had a nice bounce-back season with Tampa Bay after an injury-plagued couple of seasons. He made 29 starts with 179 IP. I put him on the same level as Lance Lynn, someone that will help stabilize the rotation but isn’t an “ace” in my opinion.
This team will have no shortage of hitting, Miller Park will once again be the dinger dome, and Travis Shaw will continue to be the Mayor of Ding Dong City. Hopefully, we can add a pitcher, preferably two and make this team something really special.
- Cain CF
- Yelich LF
- Braun 1st
- Shaw 3rd
- Santana RF
- Pina C
- Arcia SS
- Villar 2nd
- Anderson P