If you asked the typical Brewers fan, they’d call the 2018 season a success. If you asked any Brewers player, he’d note that there’s still work to be done. The Milwaukee Brewers came within one game of their first World Series appearance since 1982. Today’s adult fans are telling their kids about watching the then AL Brewers take on their future division rival Cardinals and the excitement that came with it. Now, it’s time to replace those memories of Harvey Kuenn, Yount, and Molitor with Counsell, Braun, and Yelich.
C Yasmani Grandal - Manny Pina is a great catcher, but his numbers look better with a backup tag on his name. Grandal is expected to enjoy hitting the ball more at Miller Park than Dodger Stadium, while auditioning to earn a big contract next year.
INF Mike Moustakas - A fan favorite and good clubhouse guy, Moustakas returns to the Brewers after a period of uncertainty in terms of the FA market. Rumor is he is going to get a look at 2B in Spring Training.
INF Cory Spangenberg - Cory Spangenberg can play all over the diamond, and with the Brewers’ ability to get banged up at the beginning of the season, will likely see plenty of playing time all over the place.
P Alex Claudio - Many new bullpen arms were added, but Claudio is the most intriguing in my opinion. He will hopefully join the Mount Rushmore of current shutdown Brewers bullpen pitchers with of course Hader, Jeffress, and Knebel.
P Wade Miley - There’s no doubt that Wade Miley was a key factor in the team’s success last season. I was surprised when he was not brought back, especially once details of his contract were released.
What I’m Looking Out For:
Eric Thames - Could the Brewers find a trade partner in the AL that could utilize Thames better than the Brewers can?
Christian Yelich - It would be crazy to expect a repeat performance of his NL MVP 2018, so what can we realistically expect 2019 to look like? He already made it through the offseason after without getting suspended for PEDs, so that’s progress for the Brewers.
Orlando Arcia - Orlando Arcia is the most talented Brewers defender. He’s also shown he can hit. However, he’s also shown he’s vulnerable to slumps. Can he get off to a hot start in 2019?
Ryan Braun - Braun hit into a lot of hard outs, which can be frustrating. He’s been vocal about some swing adjustments, hoping that some of those balls will get some air under them and clear the fence. Let’s see how that works out.
The Division - Each team in the NL Central except the Cubs made improvements over the offseason. The Cubs won 95 games last year, so they are still considered at the top of the division. A three game series in Cincinnati is no longer an assumed 2 or 3 wins. Pittsburgh has some strong pitching and young hitters. Top three should be Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals (in no particular order), but it will be interesting to see how it gets there.
Starting Pitching - Jimmy Nelson and Zach Davies should be back from injuries, Nelson’s kept him out most of September 2017 and all of 2018. Chase Anderson needs to have a good spring to keep himself in the rotation. Brent Suter will have to just be a dugout presence as he is recovering from Tommy John. It’s unlikely that Stearns will add another starter before Spring Training starts, but we will see where he goes once performances and injuries are evaluated.