Milwaukee Brewers All-(Half)Decade Performances: Position Players
Though the Brewers haven’t had a ton of team success in the first half of this decade, they have sponsored some strong individual performances. While typically, an All-Decade team would be individual players, I decided, given the small sample, it should be individual (seasonal) performances instead. Let’s start with position players.
2014 Jonathan Lucroy
In the last five years, the Brewers have seen four or five performances worthy of MVP consideration, and Lucroy’s showing in 2014 was one of them. Luc topped 6 fWAR (the second best by a Major League catcher in the 2010s), slashing .301/.373/.465 while playing elite defense. He also led the Crew in batting average, OBP, and OPS.
Runner-up: 2013 Lucroy
2011 Prince Fielder
Outside of Braun’s MVP season, Fielder has had perhaps the best offensive season for a Brewer in the 2010s so far. The prodigious slugger went .299/.415/.566 with 38 homers and more walks (107) than strikeouts (106).
Runner-up: 2010 Fielder
2010 Rickie Weeks
Weeks probably should have gotten at least as much MVP traction in 2010 as Lucroy got in his own best year. Weeks hit .269/.366/.464 with 29 homers while playing above average defense, for a 6 fWAR. Weeks was the Brewers top player despite playing at the keystone, a position that rarely represents a team’s best hitter.
Runner-up: 2011 Weeks
2012 Aramis Ramirez
Ramirez looked like an outstanding grab for the Brewers in 2012, who at the time were still in “win now” mode. Ramirez promptly hit .300/.360/.540 with 27 home runs and solid defense. While Ramirez never regained his 2012 form, and only spent parts of four seasons in Milwaukee, he still ranks sixth all-time in fWAR among Brewers third basemen.
Runner-up: 2010 Casey McGehee
2013 Jean Segura
Segura had easily the best season by a Brewers shortstop in the 2010s thus far. The position has clearly been the Brewers’ weakest this decade, but Segura still earned his spot. Seggy slashed .294/.329/.423 with 12 home runs and 44 stolen bases. By comparison, Brewers shortstops as a whole have slashed .245/.287/.342 this decade.
2011 Ryan Braun
Braun’s 2011 and ’12 numbers are remarkably similar. According to FanGraphs, the slugger had more offensive value in 2011, but was a worse defender that year. Braun hit eight more homers in 2012, but had slightly less stolen bases, and a lower slash line across the board. He also lost out on the MVP ballot to Buster Posey in 2012. Given how similar his WARs ended up, I’ll use Braun’s 2011 NL MVP award as the tie breaker. That year, he hit .332/.397/.597, with 33 homers and 33 stolen bases, topping the NL in SLG, wOBA, and wRC+.
Runner-up: 2012 Braun
2013 Carlos Gomez
According to fWAR, Gomez’s 2013 was the second best year in Brewers history among position players, finishing behind Robin Yount‘s 1982 season. He edged out Braun’s best single season WARs (by a virtually negligible amount), yet finished ninth in MVP voting. He also had the highest WAR in the NL that year, according to Baseball Reference.
Runner-up: 2014 Gomez
2011 Corey Hart
Right field actually has a three-horse race for best single-season performance, with ’10 Hart, ’11 Hart, and ’15 Braun all posting similar offensive numbers. However, Hart in 2011 posted easily the best defensive numbers (though still not very good). He also earned his WAR with the least plate appearances of the three. That year, Hart slashed .285/.356/.510 with 26 homers.
Runner-up: 2010 Hart/2015 Braun