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30 in 30

30 in 30: The 2020 Milwaukee Brewers

A lackluster to flat-out disappointing offseason has raised some questions about the team’s ability to replicate a postseason-worthy season in Milwaukee in 2020

Miller Park, Home of Milwaukee Brewers by DaveyNin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

30 in 30: The 2020 Milwaukee Brewers


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The 2019 Brewers followed up an NL Central title in 2018 by claiming a wild card spot, before being dismissed by the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals. A lackluster to flat-out disappointing offseason has raised some questions about the team’s ability to replicate a postseason-worthy season in Milwaukee in 2020. Key departures on offense, coupled with utter indifference towards the pitching staff, leave a once-promising franchise in limbo in a slowly strengthening NL Central.

Dinger Derby is Canceled

The 2019 Brewers hit a lot of home runs. 250 to be exact; good enough for 7th in all of MLB. Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames supplied 88 of those dingers. Moose led the way at 35, nine shy of Christian Yelich’s team-leading 44.

The 2019 Brewers followed up an NL Central title in 2018 by claiming a wild card spot, before being dismissed by the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals. A lackluster to flat-out disappointing offseason has raised some questions about the team’s ability to replicate a postseason-worthy season in Milwaukee in 2020. Key departures on offense, coupled with utter indifference towards the pitching staff, leave a once-promising franchise in limbo in a slowly strengthening NL Central.

Dinger Derby is Canceled

The 2019 Brewers hit a lot of home runs. 250 to be exact; good enough for 7th in all of MLB. Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames supplied 88 of those dingers. Moose led the way at 35, nine shy of Christian Yelich’s team-leading 44.

Why am I mentioning the Brewers players who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in HR on the team, respectively? Because all three of those players will be wearing different jerseys next season. I guess every 2019 Brewers player will be if you count the team’s amazing uniform redesign but, I digress. If you subtract these players and their HRs from the Brewers total of 250, you get 162. 162 HR would have placed the Brewers in a tie with the Kansas City Royals for 28th best in the league. These players also combined for 225 RBI in 2019. If you subtract that number from the Brewers 744 RBI, you get 519 RBI, dead last in MLB.

Now, before you flood the comments with “that’s not how math works, they would’ve gotten production from someone else”, I want you to know that I am aware of that. Obviously whoever filled those roles would’ve contributed. However, I used possibly flawed math to prove the point that the 2020 Brewers are going to be missing a ton of firepower from their offense.

Subsequently, they will be relying on young players and new additions to fill that void. That’s a lot to ask of Justin Smoak, Jedd Gyrko, Eric Sogard and maybe Luis Urias. Who knows? Maybe Logan Morrison or Ryon Healy will fill that void. Maybe they’ll trade known racist, homophobe and misogynist Josh Hader to improve the lineup (and the team’s image). Hey, maybe management will clone Christian Yelich so he can play every position simultaneously. Until an answer exists as to where that production is coming from, though, I’m not too optimistic about the Brewers offense this season.

Brewin’ Up Average Play

The Brewers’ pitching staff finished at 15th in the league during the 2019 season in both ERA and FIP. It wasn’t even that one unit (relievers or starters) was held back by the other, which is sometimes the case. Believe it or not, both the starters and relievers had ERAs and FIPs that landed at or within three spots of 15th out of 30 in MLB. To summarize, the pitching staff in Milwaukee during the 2019 season was the baseball equivalent of an apathetic shrug.

For a team with dreams of contending after winning the NL Central in 2018, an apathetic shrug isn’t going to cut it. What did management do during the offseason to help with that problem? An even more apathetic shrug.

First, they traded away Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, two of their better starters in 2019. They then replaced that production with a trade for Eric Lauer, along with signings of Brett Anderson and Josh Lindblom. With names like Cole, Strasburg, Wheeler, Keuchel and others available, that’s not a really impressive showing for the Brew Crew.

As far as the bullpen is concerned, they did essentially nothing unless you count the Justin Grimm signing. They also brought back Alex Claudio. Except that was after non-tendering him to avoid paying him what he deserved in arbitration.

To be fair, the 2019 Brewers still made the postseason despite their “meh” pitching staff. Theoretically it is possible for them to repeat the same magic in 2020 with an equally “meh” performance. The amount of offense that walked out the door during free agency will make that hard, though.

The Keg Might be Tapped

I don’t know how comfortable I feel counting out any team with Christian Yelich on the roster. There isn’t a lot to inspire confidence outside of Yelich on this Brewers team, though.

They did essentially nothing to fill the significant gaps that were created this offseason. Couple that with their weak farm system and that means they can’t realistically count on reinforcements either. The Brewers in 2020 might be the “rare” team who slammed their own contention window shut. Unless they make some big moves before spring training, I think the 2020 Brewers will be the league’s biggest buzzkill.

Predictions:

2020 Record: 83-79, 4th in NL Central

Best Hitter: RF Christian Yelich

Best Pitcher: SP Brandon Woodruff

Team MVP: RF Christian Yelich

Surprise Player: 2B Keston Hiura

Violet is a scenic designer/professor living in Brooklyn. She grew up in Texas but was embraced by Michigan and now lives in New York City. She primarily loves baseball and hockey and dabbles in football as well. She roots for a lot of teams because she's moved a lot and thinks that liking multiple teams and bandwagoning are good and she will die on that hill. You'll mostly hear her talk about the Phillies, Tigers, E-A-G-L-E-S, Red Wings and Blues(I miss you David Backes). Don't get too attached to those teams though, she is really terrible at committing. Oh, and she's a proud trans woman but don't make a big deal out of it ok?

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