As spring training approaches, more and more baseball fans are also gearing up for fantasy baseball drafts. Are any Milwaukee Brewers especially fantasy-relevant?
The Milwaukee Brewers have been making moves left and right as of late. Between the Christian Yelich trade and the Lorenzo Cain signing, GM David Stearns is making as many moves as a fantasy baseball owner would. in fact, how good are the Brewers in a fantasy baseball environment? Let’s take a look at how some notable players on the team fare in terms of fantasy value.
For consistency’s sake, each player’s value will be analyzed according to a standard ten-category rotisserie format. Hitting categories include batting average, home runs, runs, RBI and stolen bases. Pitching categories are wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP.
Fantasy Baseball Studs
Given the team’s financial situation, the Brewers typically don’t have top-tier fantasy talent. Additionally, Ryan Braun was formerly one of the few Brewers worthy of a pick in the first five rounds, but he appears to be on the decline. Stearns’ most recent moves have changed this, however. Yelich is arguably the top batter in the lineup in fantasy terms. His five-category impact and relative youth make him a top-10 outfielder both in season-long leagues and in dynasty leagues.
Cain also holds a good amount of value, especially considering his new hitter-friendly home. He doesn’t have the same power profile as other outfielders, but his consistent stolen base numbers and typically high batting average keep him in the top 100 players overall.
For pitchers, closer Corey Knebel is far and away the most valuable on the team. His high strikeout ratios and consistent path to saves make him an excellent option even if some regression is in store. Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson both had outstanding 2017 seasons as well, but regression and injury risk have most projections a bit more cautious about these two. If Stearns manages to add another ace to the fray, there could be another fantasy stud in the Brewers’ pitching staff. For now though, Knebel remains as the only true star of the group.
Fantasy Baseball Hitting Sleepers
Any fantasy baseball owner knows that you don’t win championships in the first round of the draft. Late-round steals are the best way to find success in a league. The Brewers were full of players like this last season. Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana broke out with 30-homer seasons. Eric Thames surprised many with a phenomenal month of April. Even Keon Broxton supplied a 20-20 seasons to owners who stashed him in deeper leagues.
Are there any players on the 2018 roster who are ready to surprise? Prior to the aforementioned acquisitions, the first choice would have been outfielders Brett Phillips and Lewis Brinson. However, with the former blocked for playing time and the latter in Miami, they aren’t great for this category.
There are two hitters who makes sense as sleeper picks. Shortstop Orlando Arcia batted .277 with 15 homers and 14 steals in his first full season in the Majors. His overall numbers weren’t fantastic, but he’s just 23 years old. As he matures and gets accustomed to the big leagues, he’ll become a top-tier fantasy shortstop. It’s a good idea to buy low on him now in case he truly breaks out in 2018.
Jonathan Villar is a bounceback candidate. He struggled mightily last season, so it’s hard to blame anyone who’s hesitant to draft him. However, he showed improvement toward the end of the season with a .950 OPS in the month of August. Even if his bat doesn’t return, his speed is enough to warrant a look in deeper leagues.
Fantasy Baseball Pitching Sleepers
One pitcher who looks intriguing for 2018 is Josh Hader. Although he’s only the setup man now, he’s likely next in line for saves. Also, his absurd strikeout rate and stellar ERA and WHIP give him substantial value even without the aid of saves. His strong performance will have him on most people’s radars this season, but his placement in the bullpen could keep him on the board longer.
In the starting pitching department, Brandon Woodruff looks poised for a breakout. He possesses good control, and at just 24 years old, he has potential to develop into an even better hurler. His value will diminish greatly if the Brewers land another starter, but he’s a nice late-round grab for now.
Finally, owners in deep NL-only leagues can give Corbin Burnes and Luis Ortiz a look. If either of them find success in the hitter-friendly confines of Colorado Springs, they could be pushed to Miller Park pretty quickly. Both have the repertoire and the stats to become fantasy relevant if they’re given the chance to start in the Majors.
All in all, the Brewers have a lot of players worth considering in fantasy baseball. Ultimately, each individual draft can dictate who an owner takes and when. Regardless, more Milwaukee Brewers are worth taking this year than most other years in the past.