Milwaukee Brewers: Five Major Storylines for 2017

stevenjewell
Feb 22, 2017; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton (23) poses for a photo during spring training photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2017; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton (23) poses for a photo during spring training photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 22, 2017; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton (23) poses for a photo during spring training photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2017; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton (23) poses for a photo during spring training photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Brewers won’t win it all in 2017, but they have more than a few intriguing storylines to watch for.

For this list, I’ll be sticking with the Big League club. There are countless storylines to watch in the farm system for the Milwaukee Brewers; too many to cover here.

5. Boom-or-bust outfielders

The non-Ryan Braun members of the outfield have a crucial task ahead of them for 2017: prove yourselves. Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana have both flashed promising tools, but each retains significant questions about their long term abilities.

For starters, both were excellent after the All-Star Break. Santana slashed .280/.344/.508 after returning to the team in August, through to the season’s end. Broxton was even better, slashing .294/.399/.538 from late July through mid-September when he broke his wrist.

FanGraphs released an article last week discussing both players’ similar strengths and weaknesses, and I’d recommend giving it a read. In it, Eno Sarris analyzes their ability to hit the ball hard, but also their poor contact rates.

In order to stick as a full-time starter with the Milwaukee Brewers, Santana will have to prove he can hit same-handed pitching in 2017.

Santana’s biggest questions–outside of contact–are his platoon splits and his defense. In his short, 486 plate appearance career, Santana owns a .888 OPS versus lefties and a .690 OPS versus righties.

To stick as a full-time starter with the Milwaukee Brewers, Santana will have to prove he can hit same-handed pitching in 2017.

At the same time, Santana must improve over his defensive showing in 2016. When he first joined the Brewers in 2015, Santana was seen as a preferable alternative to former Brewer Khris Davis, who had a similar offensive profile but was a lesser defender and five years older.

And while Santana’s arm is unquestionably better, his fielding was very poor in 2016. This came as a shock to many after Santana was good enough to spot-start in center field in 2015.

While he was understandably overmatched in center, he should be able to handle right and needs to be better than in 2016, or he’ll go to pieces as he ages.

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