Milwaukee Brewers: Are They A World Series Caliber Team?

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 03: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on August 3, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 03: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on August 3, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Brewers are getting closer and closer to their first playoff appearance since 2011. Many fans have their sights set on a World Series this year. But is this a World Series caliber team?

The odds are pretty good that the Milwaukee Brewers will make the playoffs. But being a playoff caliber team and a World Series caliber team are two completely different things.

With a revamped roster from 2017, this year’s Brewers have added more firepower into the offense and reliability in the bullpen, which have been key in the Crew’s success thus far.

The Offense

The lineup that the Brewers can trot out each and every night is solid enough to carry a team through a deep run in the playoffs. With Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain as the tablesetters at the top of the order, there’s plenty of runs to be had for the middle of the lineup. Jesus Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, Travis Shaw, Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Braun, and Eric Thames will all get plenty of chances to drive in runs.

When everything clicks, this offense is a thing of beauty. Braun and shortstop Orlando Arcia have been mired in season long slumps. Travis Shaw has an uncharacteristically low batting average this season, same with Schoop. Aguilar has been in a slump lately.

The offense isn’t perfect, but a lot of these players have postseason experience. Cain, Braun, and Moustakas have been in pennant races before with both Cain and Moose winning a World Series with the Royals. Both of them came up clutch during big spots in that run.

With the experience and the firepower at the heart of this offense, they can carry the Crew deep into October.

The Bullpen

Even with the recent struggles of Matt Albers, this bullpen is still incredibly deep. With guys like Joakim Soria, Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader, and Corey Knebel in the back end of that bullpen, all with closer’s experience, there’s plenty of arms for a stretch run.

Baseball is increasingly becoming a bullpen game. When it comes to the playoffs, starting pitchers are getting shorter leashes and managers are quicker to rely on their bullpen. As we’ve seen in previous postseasons, if there isn’t a reliable bullpen, that team isn’t going to make it very far.

The bullpen pieces are there. And with top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes also joining this group, he makes a dominant group even better.

This group is definitely World Series caliber.

The Starting Rotation

This has been the biggest need for the Brewers for some time. They have the depth, but they’ve lacked that frontline starter since Jimmy Nelson went down last September in Chicago. Nelson still hasn’t returned, but he is making progress.

While Nelson has been on the mend, the Milwaukee Brewers have been making do with a group consisting of Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta, Wade Miley, and Brent Suter. None of those pitchers have shown the capability of leading a rotation this season.

Anderson has taken a step back in 2018. Chacin has been better than expected but is not, and never has been, a frontline starter. Guerra is getting back on track after a strong start against Colorado, but lacks the consistency to be the dependable arm for a must-win playoff game. Peralta is a 22 year old rookie, and Miley is already due for serious regression.

Take a look at that last game against the Dodgers. Chacin faced off against Clayton Kershaw. In a must win playoff game, those two pitchers right now are likely to be the ones picked to start. The Brewers got embarrassed 21-5 in that game, and it was never close.

A frontline starting pitcher steps up in that situation. Chacin was the best option the Brewers had and it didn’t work out. Without that dependable frontline starting pitcher, I don’t think the Brewers have a chance to win the World Series this year.

Every recent World Series team has had that one guy to depend on in big games. The Astros had Justin Verlander. The Dodgers had Kershaw. The Cubs had Jon Lester. The Indians had Corey Kluber. If the best option the Brewers have is Jhoulys Chacin or Chase Anderson, they’re not going to make it to a World Series title this year.

The bullpen can cover the rotation for a while, but not the entire postseason. Enough four or five inning starts will deplete the bullpen and they’ll end up running out of gas. Without that guy in the rotation that can take over a game and dominate for seven or eight innings, they don’t stand a chance.

Next. Going Through A Season Defining Stretch. dark

Success in the playoffs is all about getting hot at the right time, but even with a powerhouse offense and a dominant bullpen, it’s not going to be enough if the Milwaukee Brewers don’t have that frontline starting pitcher.