While his traditional stats do not exactly jump off the page, anybody that has watched the Milwaukee Brewers this year realizes Lorenzo Cain‘s impact. In just a short time he has become their most indispensable player. He also has made this his team.
Lorenzo Cain signed in January with the Milwaukee Brewers for $80 million over 5 years. It is the most money given to a free agent in their history. At the time, it flew under the radar for a couple of reasons. First of all, the trade for Christian Yelich on the same day kind of muted both moves by combining them into one. Secondly, Cain would be 32 years old in his first season back in Milwaukee. It was thought that is age may be detrimental at the back end of the contract. That could still be true. Just don’t bet on it.
This quote from David Stearns at the press conference to introduce Cain was prescient.
"“Lorenzo’s talent on the field is well-known and well-recognized throughout the league. He’s one of the rare, true five-tool players in baseball right now. He’s a winning player. He’s played and performed on the biggest stages in baseball, and we’re certainly very excited to have him and his entire family back here.”"
He certainly has been that and more for the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers. His consistency throughout has made him their most valuable player thus far.
Lorenzo Cain for MVP
If you break down the season, both Cain and Yelich got off to great starts. During this fun year, there have been many Brewers that could claim MVP honors for a period of time. Eric Thames hit 7 home runs in April before getting hurt. Travis Shaw had a great power stretch and everything but his batting average is on pace to last year. Jesus Aguilar turned into David Ortiz and made people forget Thames. Of course you cannot forget that Josh Hader has also been a transcendent force on the mound all season.
Hader is probably closest to Cain in terms of value. After blowing his 2nd save against the Cubs, the team is now 21-1 in games that he has pitched. That is just one of many ridiculous stats you can throw out there for Hader. Cain has played in 64 games, so he has affected many more contests. More than that, he continues to make winning plays that likely have a lot to do with their numerous close victories this season.
The slash line for Lorenzo Cain of .288/.388/.442 do not sound any All-Star alarms at first glance. He has hit in the lead-off position for the first time in his career and has adjusted seamlessly. He takes pitches, evidenced by his OBP being 100 points higher than his average. It is also 25 points higher than his career best. His 39 walks this season (7th in NL) would already be higher than in EVERY season of his career, save for 2017 when he drew 54.
The Brewers 17th round pick in 2004 does only have 22 RBI’s on the season. That stat has more to do with his position in the order, as well as those hitting ahead of him. He is still hitting over .300 with men in scoring position.
Cain has a unique back-leg home run swing that has resulted in 8 round trippers. He is on pace to challenge his career best of 16 that he hit in 2015. His 8th long ball on Wednesday ended up being a huge one, resulting in the only run scored in the game. This helped the Brewers stay in 1st place with a series win over the Cubs.
He also has already stole 13 bases on the young season. Cain is well within reach of his career high of 28, which is significant for a player that is 32 years old. His legs and mind also resulted in one of the best base running plays that you will ever see.