There seems to be a divided opinion among Milwaukee Brewers fans. Some fans believe that the team is ready too go all in and make a serious run at a World Series. Others believe that the team is still at least a couple years away and should continue rebuilding.
The Milwauke Brewers surprised everyone in 2017 by finishing 86-76, and missing the playoffs by only one game. Its easy to understand why there’s optimism for 2018. The main question is, “did the team simply overachieve, or did it finally realize its true potential?”
The pitching staff as a whole finally clicked. Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson experienced breakout seasons and anchored a young rotation. Zach Davies won 17 games and became a true road warrior for this team.
Unfortunately, Anderson and Nelson both missed time due to unlucky injuries suffered during the season. Anderson hurt his oblique while swinging at a pitch in Cincinnati on June 28th. His injury caused him to miss over a month on the disabled list. Nelson, who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, hurt himself at Wrigley field diving back into first base. He is expected to miss the first few months of the 2018 season.
You have to believe that if neither one of the injuries occurs, the Brewers make the postseason. Of course, we do not have a crystal ball that would tell us that statement is true.
Another factor in this team’s competitive nature. Milwaukee had three players who blasted 30 home-runs over the fences throughout the season. Newly acquired Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, and KBO star Eric Thames combined for 92 home-runs as a group.
Milwaukee Possesses A Young and Controllable core
Milwaukee has some very young controllable and talented stars. Shortstop Orlando Arcia exceeded expectations in 2017. At only 23 years old, the sky is the limit for the former top prospect.
Brett Phillips also got a taste of the big leagues and impressed in his opportunities. Along with Arcia and Phillips. Other rookies such as Jesus Aguilar and Josh Hader showed just what kind of big leaguers they can be. Hader has a chance to be one of the best arms in the game and Aguilar proved to the world that his insane Spring Training was no fluke.
In the Bullpen
Anchoring the closing role in a surprising fashion is the 26-year-old record-breaking fireballer, Corey Knebel. In 2017, Knebel owned an ERA of 1.78. He struck out 126 batters in just 76 innings pitched. Knebel also broke the consecutive appearances with a strikeout record previously held by none other than Aroldis Chapman. He also knocked Bruce Sutter out of the record books by striking out at least one batter in 40 consecutive appearances.
Knowing everything so far about this young team, their potential has to get any fan excited for the 2018 season. Now, imagine if you were to take this team and go out and make a splash in free agency or the trade market. If you were to add another ace to the pitching staff or find another bat to help this already potent offense, there is no telling how good this team can be.