Milwaukee Brewers: 2016 Player of the Year Results

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Sep 26, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar (5) and left fielder Ryan Braun (8) celebrate after the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar (5) and left fielder Ryan Braun (8) celebrate after the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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For the second consecutive year, Ryan Braun takes home Reviewing the Brew’s Milwaukee Brewers Player of the Year honors by a wide margin.

For the third time, I’ve asked current and former Reviewing the Brew contributors to vote on the top Milwaukee Brewers player of the year.

And for the second time in those three years, Ryan Braun took home the ‘coveted’ award. Here are the results of the voting.

Ryan Braun            Total Votes: 64    First Place: 8

Jonathan Villar      Total Votes: 39    First Place: 1

Jonathan Lucroy    Total Votes: 34   First Place: 2

Chris Carter            Total Votes: 22   First Place: 0

Hernán Pérez         Total Votes: 15   First Place: 0

Keon Broxton         Total Votes: 11   First Place: 0

Scooter Gennett    Total Votes: 2     First Place: 0

Three of the seven position players to receive votes were first time Brewers in 2016. This is a pretty clear result of the team’s rebuild and a good sign for the organization going forward.

In addition to the welcome performances of newcomers, Braun had his best year since 2012, and his return to left field may have played a factor in this success.

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Many baseball analysts believe a player performs his best at the plate when he is at his most comfortable defensive position. The theory is that players who worry less about their defensive contributions can focus more on their skills offensively.

It makes sense to me. If Braun was struggling in right field, he may have tried to do too much to redeem himself on the offensive side.

This season, Braun led Brewers’ position players in WAR according to both Baseball Reference (rWAR) and FanGraphs (fWAR). Even if we drop the minimum plate appearances required to 240 in order to include Keon Broxton, Braun still holds many of the offensive honors.

He led the team with a 133 wRC+, .378 wOBA, .305 BA, .538 SLG, and a .903 OPS. Braun also hit 30 home runs, his highest total since 2012, despite playing in just 135 games. He clearly benefited from an increase in days off, which kept him both fresh and healthy.

Second place finisher Jonathan Villar was a revelation in Milwaukee. Despite having just 658 career plate appearances with a .236/.300/.353 slash line, the infielder slashed .285/.369/.457 with 19 home runs for the Brewers in 2016.

He led the team with 62 steals, the most by a Brewer since Scott Podsednik in 2004. Villar also led the team with 92 runs scored, 79 walks, 108 singles, and 38 doubles.

He also had the highest wRC+ (118) by a Brewers shortstop since Bill Hall in 2006. Additionally, Villar was the most valuable Brewer based on Baseball Prospectus’ measure of player value, with a 4.8 WARP.

Texas Ranger Jonathan Lucroy finished third in the voting despite just 376 plate appearances with the Crew in 2016. Even with his short stay, Lucroy finished second on the team in WARP, as well as third in rWAR and fWAR.

According to wRC+, wOBA, and OPS, he was the team’s second best hitter in 2016 after Braun.

Easily the best catcher in Milwaukee Brewers history, Luc leaves the team with the greatest single season performance (2014) and the highest career WAR and wRC+ for a catcher.

Chris Carter slugged his way onto the team’s Player of the Year list. He had the team’s highest ISO (.277) and hard hit% among qualified batters (40.5%) since Prince Fielder in 2009, and the most HR (41) since Braun in 2012.

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Hernán Pérez worked his way into PoY consideration with his defensive versatility and surprising offensive production. He came into 2016 with a dismal .558 OPS, but slashed .272/.302/.428 with 13 HR in 430 PA.

He also stole 34 bases while getting caught just 7 times for an 83% success rate. This rated near the top of the National League among players with at least 30 steals.

Pérez made starts at six defensive positions in 2016, playing mostly at third base and in right field. He proved valuable at both of those positions, avoiding growing pains in the outfield.

On the topic of defensive value, Keon Broxton rated first among 2016 Brewers in defensive WAR according to Baseball Reference. He earned the honors despite 11 Brewers playing in more defensive innings than him this season.

With a minimum of 240 PA, Broxton also had the highest hard hit% (43.3%) since Braun and Fielder in 2007 and the highest walk rate (14.8%) since Fielder in 2011.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Scooter Gennett had his best season to date in WARP and defensive value (FRAA). He posted easily his highest HR total with 14, while stealing bases on eight of nine attempts.

Gennett also posted a 7.0 walk % despite entering the year with a 4.0% rate for his career.

Next: Ed Sedar Returns As 3rd Base Coach, But Should He?

Look out for the Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year winners coming soon. Thank you to all who voted!

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