2016 Record: 73-89
2016 Finish: 22nd in MLB, 10th in NL
2016 in Review
For a team that ended the season with almost 90 losses, the Milwaukee Brewers had a very good season. I know, right? I bet you had no idea! I mean, the National League Central was all but locked up by May, so it was all Wild Card for the other 4 teams outside of Chicago. Milwaukee wasn’t ever in the playoff conversation, so they took advantage of the year off.
Rebuilding is very difficult thing to do, especially while you are trying to compete. The Yankees are about to begin a rebuild in a big way, as are the Braves and the Padres, but the Brewers have already started the process, and you didn’t even notice. Why? Because the Brewers don’t matter. Okay, that’s rude. The Brewers are in a small market, in a very large division. If you ask the common baseball fan to name 3 Brewers players, I bet they wouldn’t’ be able to.
So back to the Brewers. Smart moves were made across the board by the trading Jonathan Lucroy, Jean Segara, Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Thornburg. By trading those big pieces the Brewers got four of their current top 10 prospects and revamped themselves for the future. That’s not all they did. After trading away 4 of their top WAR valued players from 2016, the remaining six were all either signed, claimed or traded for within the last year. the only top 10 player remaining is Ryan Braun, the centerpiece for this rebuild. All of this was done while managing to win more games than the previous year.
WHERE TO START!? The Brewers had many surprises in 2016, but let’s focus on three big ones. To start, let’s look at the centerpiece of the Brewers rebuild, Ryan Braun. Before we move on, I want to say this: I do not like Ryan Braun. When Ryan Bruan was popped for PED use in 2013, I found him hard to forgive. Anyone who cheats in a year that sees them climb to the top of the mountain and win MVP can go play in Japan. I have zero tolerance for cheating the fans, cheating your teammates or cheating the game of baseball.
THAT BEING SAID, Ryan Braun had a great year in 2016. For the first time since he was suspended for using Performance Enhancing Drugs Ryan Braun put up numbers that reminded us of his younger self. 2016 was vintage Braun as Milwaukee saw their big piece hit .305, 30 Home Runs, 23 doubles, and put up an OPS of .903. Braun is back, he’s clean and he’s back.
Junior Guerra was found money for the Brew Crew. Selected off waivers in the fall of 2015, Guerra pitched just 4 innings for the Chicago White Sox. The Brewers were looking for some starting pitching depth, but instead they got a bonafide young gun in Junior Guerra. Compared to his 4 innings, Guerra would pitch 121.2 innings, hurling a 2.81 ERA. Considering that starting pitcher was in high demand and rumors were floating that Guerra might be on the move, the fact that he remained in a Brewers uniform is a great sign for the future of this club. He’s got the potential to do big things at Miller Park.
Finally, the biggest surprise in Milwaukee was Jonathan Villar. In the three years he spent in Houston before coming to Milwaukee, Jonathan Villar accumulated 139 hits in 658 plate appearances. Those are three-year totals. IN 2016, JONATHAN VILLAR HAD 168 HITS IN 679 PLATE APPEARANCES. Villar did not just have a year, he had THREE YEARS. On top of is hit total, JV also smacked 38 doubles, 19 homers, and stole a league-high 62 stolen bases. So yeah, this kid’s going places too.
Chris Carter. If I told you that a guy who hit 41 home runs was released the year after, you’d be surprised, right? Guess what? Chris Carter was released by the Milwaukee Brewers after hitting 41 for the Brew Crew in 2016. Carter struck out more than any other player in the National League, hearing “Strike 3” 206 times. Why does that matter? Because it makes a hitter less intimidating. You want a power hitter to instill fear in a pitcher, but if my guy knows he can strike this guy out easily, then what’s the point? Carter loses his bite and his bark isn’t scary. I’ll roll the dice with a guy who strikes out almost 40% of the time. So that’s a little disappointing.
YOU GUYS. I AM EXCITED ABOUT THE BREWERS. This team is fun to watch, and I saw that with no sarcasm. Every Brewers game I caught his year was fun and riveting. Seriously. Looking for a team to follow? Try the Milwaukee Brewers! They have a guy named Scooter. SCOOTER. In all honesty, this is my bold, from the half court shot prediciton: The team to topple the Chicago Cubs dynasty will be the Milwaukee Brewers.
This team is too young and too stacked to not compete. Too long have the Brewers sat back and taken abuse from the Cardinals and Pirates and Cubs. The Brewers were barely a team in 2016, and look where they ended up. Give this team time to gel and become a coherent team? Woof. That sounds dangerous to me.