The Milwaukee Brewers are coming off of a season where they fell just short of reaching the World Series. If they hope to make it back, they will need more consistent production on offense from the entire lineup.
It was quite the journey for the Milwaukee Brewers to arrive within one game of going to the World Series and as manager Craig Counsell said after the season ended, it is going to be difficult to get back.
The starting pitching receives a lot of attention as an area that needs improvement but perhaps what flies under the radar is the inconsistencies from the middle and bottom of the batting order.
Cain and Yelich carried the offense
For most of the season, offensively the Milwaukee Brewers seemed to be up and down. They could put up eight runs in the blink of an eye or struggle to score more than two. We rarely knew which team was going to show up.
Much of the Brewers success was on the backs of Cain and Yelich. Below are the slash lines based on batting order position (excluding pitcher) via Baseball Reference.
- 1-2: .296/.376/.500
- 3-6: .247/.322/.443
- 7-9: .241/.297/.366
As shown above a lot of the Brewers production on offense came from the first two spots in the order, which a majority of the time was Cain and Yelich.
Incredibly, the one and two spots in the lineup accounted for 49.5% of Milwaukee’s runs, 37.5% of the home runs, 33% of the team’s RBIs and 44% of the Brewers walks.
In the postseason we saw how this offense can really struggle to put up runs when Cain and Yelich are not at their best. However we also saw how explosive the Brewers can be when the middle and bottom of the order are producing.
If the Milwaukee Brewers hope to get back to the World Series for the first time since 1982, the latter is going to have to happen more often in 2019.
2018 as a team
Given the fact that the Milwaukee Brewers had the most wins in the NL and were one game away from the World Series, you would expect them to stand out in a number of statistical categories on offense.
Yet they were actually quite average. Below is where Milwaukee finished the 2018 season in a number of offensive categories with their NL rank out of 15 teams in parenthesis.
- 754 Runs (7th)
- 1,398 Hits (6th)
- 711 RBIs (7th)
- 505 Walks (8th)
- .252 batting average (7th)
- .323 OBP (6th)
Considering that a lot of Milwaukee’s production came from just two players, it makes sense that overall they were a middle of the road team on offense.
Also, as impressive as Christian Yelich‘s MVP season was, I’m not sure that it’s realistic to assume that he will put together a similar, dominating performance in 2019.
As we look ahead to 2019, the NL as a whole has gotten deeper and the NL Central may be the best division top to bottom in all of baseball. It is going to take a total team effort from the offense for the Milwaukee Brewers to take that next big step.
There’s going to need to be more consistent production from the bottom parts of that order for the lineup to truly be lethal.