3. The Rest Of The Lineup Protects Christian Yelich
For pretty much the entire second half of the 2018 season, Christian Yelich carried the Milwaukee Brewers on his back. That hot streak at the plate also carried him to a runaway NL MVP award as well as the team to a division title.
Depending on Yelich to post Herculean numbers over a three month stretch again is a little much. Hopefully he doesn’t have to carry the team like he did last year for as long as he did, but he’s the centerpiece of this Brewers offense, and him posting something similar to his .326/.402/.598 slash line from last year would go a long ways towards winning this division again.
Yelich has launched himself into superstardom and he’s now the unquestioned Face of the Franchise for the Brewers. He’s the leader of this offense, and he’s going to have to continue his upward trajectory. Luckily, Yelich is just 27 years old and the odds of him continuing to succeed are pretty good.
Will we ever see a stretch run as great as what Yelich had in August and September last year? Perhaps not, but we can appreciate his greatness every day of the season, especially now knowing what he’s capable of doing.
Opposing pitchers also know what he’s capable of doing now. They’ll look to pitch around him more often than before and will nibble around the edges of the strike zone. The offense around Yelich needs to be productive and intimidating enough to force pitchers to pitch to Yelich. If Jesus Aguilar plays more like he did in the first half of 2018 than the second half, the Brewers will have one heck of a three-hole hitter.
Travis Shaw is likely to have a better 2019 season after he bounces back from a terrible BABIP year in 2018. With the addition of Yasmani Grandal and the return of Mike Moustakas, as well as a healthy Ryan Braun, this lineup should provide plenty of protection for Yelich.
They can’t depend on Yelich to provide all the production on offense this year. That’s what happened in the postseason, and the lack of offense once Yelich went in a slump is what ended the Crew’s chance of making the World Series. With Yelich continuing his high levels of production, and solid protection around him, this offense can outslug anybody.