The Milwaukee Brewers need to infuse their pitching staff to make a serious push for the 2018 World Series. Their current roster is not better than the best of the rest.
The Milwaukee Brewers finished the 2017 season just one game short of the Colorado Rockies for entry into the postseason. The club overcame several obstacles to earn its wins. An argument could be made that it shouldn’t take much more for the Brewers to win the 2018 World Series.
Brewers lineup and bench from 2017 into 2018
Keon Broxton struck out too often, but he accumulated over 20 home runs and steals for the Milwaukee Brewers last year.
Brett Phillips will potentially add more to the team in 2018, and the Brewers kept effective utility men Hernan Perez and Eric Sogard. Perez and Sogard will help at second base and other positions. Milwaukee’s bench looks good.
A second-year regression or “sophomore slump” could affect the Milwaukee Brewers offense. But, after acquiring Yelich and Cain, the team’s depth should overcome even the random hitter off-year.
Why the Brewers need to add pitching to compete for a 2018 World Series
The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff is more fragile than the lineup. Potential sophomore slumps could ruin the Brewers in 2018.
Furthermore, the club already lost setup reliever Anthony Swarzak to free agency. Swarzak was terrific for the Brewers down the stretch last season. He worked to a 2.48 ERA with the club in 2017.
The Brewers did add veterans Ernesto Frieri, Matt Albers, Boone Logan and J.J. Hoover for bullpen depth to address the potential regression of Hader and Knebel. That being said, only two of those relievers might make the team. Also, Albers is the best of that list and he is in his late thirties.
Milwaukee cannot completely depend on this group.
Also, the Milwaukee Brewers added starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo during the off season. The club likely acquired these players to eat innings and save the bullpen from being overworked. However, they are hardly a guarantee to accomplish that.
Chacin has never pitched 200 innings in a season and Gallardo has not eaten up that many innings since 2012.
Jimmy Nelson broke out as the Milwaukee Brewers ace last year, but he will be injured to start next season.
Anderson added 10 pounds of muscle, which increased his velocity and effectiveness as a starter for 2017. However, even this new-and-improved Anderson does not equal the type of ace other playoff teams have.
What’s difference between a playoff spot and a World Series?
If the Brewers are truly “all-in,” for 2018, they should reinforce their starting rotation and bullpen to compete with the other top-level teams. The club does not have to break the bank on Yu Darvish or empty their Minor Leagues making a trade for Chris Archer.
The Milwaukee Brewers will need to add starting pitcher Lance Lynn and reliever Tyler Clippard through free agency if they want to win a World Series as early as 2018. Otherwise, the more realistic goal is a narrow playoff birth and continued growth towards that championship level.