This is a team with just four playoff appearances since the franchise moved from Seattle and became the Milwaukee Brewers. That’s not a great track record of success and 2017 doesn’t look like it’ll be a season to change anything in that regard.
Milwaukee is in a tough spot, playing in a NL Central division with the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates. They’re a rebuilding team as David Sterns continues to try and put the team in the best position to win long-term. Unfortunately for Craig Counsell and his team in the dugout, that leaves them short-handed in 2017.
2016 Record: 73-89
2016 Moneyline Record: -0.24 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 74-79-9
Current World Series Odds: +23000
Current Odds To Win NL: +11000
Current Odds To Win NL Central: +6000
Regular Season Win Total: 69.5
After Chris Carter led the NL in home runs last year, the Brew Crew opted to not tender him a contract and go out and sign Eric Thames to a multiyear deal to play first base instead.
Carter is a flawed player. He’s an all-or-nothing guy, but far more proven than Thames who is a career .727 OPS hitter with his last big league game coming in 2012. He spent the last few years tearing up the KBO over in South Korea. In three seasons there, he did hit at a .348 clip with 124 home runs and 379 RBIs in 388 games. He also slugged .720 with a .450 OBP.
Those numbers are downright gaudy, but can he produce in the Major Leagues? Several KBO stars have tried with mixed results. Jung Ho Kang had success, his legal issues notwithstanding. Hyun-Soo Kim has proven to be an okay bat, at least against RHP. For each success story, however, there’s a Byung-ho Park who is hitting well in Spring Training this year, but hit just .191 with a .684 OPS in his rookie campaign in Major League Baseball.
In any case, the moral of the story is: we don’t know what to expect from him while we could’ve expected homers from Carter.
So, Thames is a real wildcard and can be added to the question marks in this lineup including light hitting backstop Jett Bandy.
The Brewers do still have Ryan Braun on their team and he’s continued to hit as one of the better outfielders in the game. He produced a .903 OPS last year and delivered 30 jacks. In addition to him, Jonathan Villar, Domingo Santana, and Keon Broxton all produced above-average production at the plate. Villar in particular stood out. The former shortstop is moving to second to make room for top-prospect Orland Arcia, but he broke out in a big way after leaving Houston with a .369 OBP and 62 steals, though he was caught 18 times.
All in all, there are some quality players on this roster and the offense could be above average, but for that to happen, Thames will have to what the Brewers signed him to be and the young guys like Broxton and Arcia will need to step up, too. This was a team ranked No. 25 in runs scored last year with 671.
While the scoring numbers were down, there’s at least optimism for a few players in this lineup. The pitching staff is bleak based on the names, though the team had a respectable 4.08 ERA when all was said and done last year.
In the bullpen the Brew Crew was better than they were in the rotation. It’ll be hard to replicate their solid bullpen numbers in 2017 with Jeremy Jeffress going to Texas and Will Smith going to San Francisco at the deadline last year while Tyler Thornburg is now in Boston.
The team did sign Neftali Feliz to close out games for them. He’s got the stuff and makeup to do it and he’s done it before, but he can be a bit wild and unpredictable. Still, even if he pitches well, look for the team to try and flip him at the deadline for a nice package.
Behind Feliz, Carlos Torres will be asked to replicate his success from last year when he put up a 2.73 ERA, but he’s a 34-year old journey man. Some of the younger guys like Tyler Cravy and Jacob Barnes may step up, too, but there’s no certainty in the back of the game.
In the front of the game, Milwaukee lacks certainty, too. Matt Garza has been bad the last two years with WHIPs north of 1.5. Junior Guerra was a pleasant surprise in 20 starts last year, but he’s 32 with just 23 big league appearances under his belt. Beyond that, Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and Wily Peralta all have promise, but they’re getting to where they need to make good on that promise rather than sputter with a mid-4 ERA.
In short, this team is filled with No. 4 and No.5 starters and Zach Davies, the former 26th round pick with mediocre stuff, is the best bet on this staff with 14 wins and a 3.92 ERA over 34 total big league starts.
There are some nice offensive pieces on this team, but somehow they were worse than the sum of their parts last year. This is a team that’s arguably worse—or at least less predictable—offensively than last year when they were one of the lower scoring teams in the league. Too boot, they have a worse bullpen and a rotation that hasn’t been improved upon filled with back-end starters that, outside of maybe Davies and Guerra, have had chances upon chances to improve, but have failed to do so.
April 3-6: vs. Rockies
April 7-9: vs. Cubs
April 11-12: at Blue Jays
April 13-16: at Reds
April 17-19: at Cubs
April 20-23: vs. Cardinals
April 24-26: vs. Reds
April 28-30: vs. Braves
The Rockies were a sexy pick as a surprise team in 2017 before Spring Training started, but the team’s been littered with injuries which have taken some of the luster away. Nevertheless, this should be a strong offensive club and they finally have some pitching that they can at least dream on. I look for Colorado to have a better season, but his opening series is at Miller Park and the Brewers won five of their six games against the Rockies last year.
The team’s retractable roof stadium will come in handy for the plethora of early season home games, but it won’t help Milwaukee overcome a very tough schedule, particularly for its pitchers. First, they have to play a strong Rockies offense, thankfully not at Coors, and then see the Cubs and Blue Jays in back-to-back series before going to the bandbox that is the Great American Ballpark prior to facing off against the Cubs again and then the Cardinals. That’s not going to be easy for a rotation that has a 31-year old rookie from a year ago as its top arm.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
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