Milwaukee Brewers: 5 Predictions for 2015


Happy New Year’s, Brewer fans! We should be glad to close the book on 2014 and the bitterly disappointing way it ended, but 2015 holds great things for Milwaukee. Though seemingly every team in the division has made significant outside additions, here are five bold predictions that could bring a World Series to Milwaukee:

1. Ryan Braun Bounces Back

Braun had a 2014 to forget, enduring the worst offensive season of his career while struggling with nerve damage in his right thumb. Following the season, Ryan began a series of cryotherapy treatments to freeze the damaged nerve, and on Thanksgiving this Braun announced he felt pain free. ZiPS projects Braun to put up a .287/.352/.500 line next year with 27 home runs, and if Ryan can produce near or above that level it would make a tremendous difference to the lineup. The Hebrew Hammer struggled to a .226/.295/.374 in the second half, and publicly shouldered much of the blame while the offense sputtered and the team collapsed. If he can get back to his swinging ways in 2015, he stabilizes the whole offense.

2. Jean Segura Bounces Back

Jean Segura is another player that had a difficult 2014. Segura turned down a reported six year, $38 mil extension in spring and subsequently struggled to produce to the All-Star caliber level he did in 2013. Jean dealt with personal tragedy when his nine month old son died and he also suffered a freak injury when he was hit by a Ryan Braun practice swing on the dugout steps. Segura finished strong with .319/.364/.373 and a 112 wRC+ in 72 plate appearances during the season’s final month, leaving reason for optimism going into 2015. Steamer projects Segura to improve to .266/.310/.376 next season and a 21 point jump in wRC+, which would be a boon to the lineup.

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3. Khris Davis Takes Next Step

Khris Davis put up solid, if unspectacular numbers in 2014 by the time things were all said and done. He put up an OPS+ of 107 and 22 home runs while playing surprisingly decent defense, leading to a 2.1 WAR value. I believe, however, that Davis still has room to grow. Davis’s walk rate of 5.8% was skewed by atrocious months of April and September, and Khris also suffered from some pretty poor luck with a BABIP 27 points below league average. If Davis can harness the plate discipline he has shown both in the minor leagues (12.7% career walk rate) and at times in the bigs, with some better luck Davis could put up numbers closer to the .270/.340/.523 line, 16 home runs, and walk rate of close to 9% he had between May 11th and August 26th. Extrapolated out to 600 plate appearances, that would total:

600 PA           .270/.342/.523           52 BB             28 HR

For comparison, Justin Upton in 2014 totaled:

641 PA           .270/.342/.491           60 BB             29 HR

If Khrush can put up those types of numbers, this Brewers’ offense becomes a lot more threatening.

4. Wily Peralta Becomes an Ace

Big Wily took a big step in 2014, leading the Brewers staff in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched. He cut his walk rate from 3.58/9 to 2.76/9, posted an incredible 53.6% ground ball rate, and shaved a little under a run off his ERA, which came in at 3.53. ERA estimators xFIP and SIERA both support Wily’s performance. Peralta is one of those rare pitchers that throws hard (95.8 MPH in 2014 was third in baseball) but doesn’t rely on the strikeout to get success, and his penchant for grounders plays well at Miller Park. The sky is the limit for Peralta, and it’s not difficult to envision him putting up an ERA at or under 3.00 as he induces grounders with his sinking 2-seamer.

5. Carlos Gomez wins MVP

Carlos was one of the few bright spots for the Brewers in 2014, putting together another strong season. With 23 homers and 34 stolen bases along with a .284/.356/.441 slash, Gomez showed why he is the most dymanic hitter in the lineup. Though Carlos possesses blazing speed and led off 106 games last year, his .313 avg and .850 OPS with runners on base show he would be more valuable lower in the order. I believe if Gomez is moved down to the cleanup spot, he could become a 30 homer, 30 stolen base player.  Combine that with his strong defense in center, and Carlos could be taking home some hardware in 2015.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but I believe that all of these predictions have a reasonable chance of coming true for the New Year. If they do, it is assured to be a fun ride through the Championship Season of 2015!