5. Christian Yelich
Acquired via trade with Marlins for Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison, and Jordan Yamamoto (January 2018)
A lot has been written about this trade, so I do not want to rehash all of the specifics for this piece. The day that both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain were acquired, most Brewers fans had to process a lot of things. Yes, it was pure emotion, but there were questions. What does this mean for Domingo Santana? Where will Ryan Braun play? Did the Brewers really have to give up Monte Harrison? Yelich is a nice player, but what if Brinson turns into a perennial All-Star? These were all valid questions.
At the end of the day, it seems the majority of fans and pundits applauded the Brewers for acquiring an ascending player under team control for the next 5 seasons. The cost for those years was going to be high, but the Brewers have known value that will produce immediately at the big league level. And boy, has he produced.
He made his first All-Star team by playing his normal Gold Glove defense at all 3 outfield spots, has his batting average hovering around .300, double-digit home runs and stolen bases, and 43 RBIs.
These stats are commensurate to his last couple of seasons in Florida, but you have to see Yelich play every day to truly appreciate him. He glides around the bases with efficiency. Seeing him go 1st to 3rd or 1st to home is a joy to watch. He also carries that same efficiency with his path to balls in the outfield. The 26-year old Yelich hits the ball to all fields and can carry a team for stretches.
The price to acquire Yelich was big, so the overall grade of the trade is still being hashed out. If he continues with this pace for the life of the contract, Yelich will certainly make a big mark in the state of Wisconsin.