The Milwaukee Brewers won 95 games last year and still needed a one-game playoff to win the NL Central. How many wins will it take to hold off the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in 2019?
John Schnabl of Reviewing the Brew has projected who he thinks will win awards for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, but what about the division title? The Brewers are clearly one of the top teams in the NL Central, and they’re essentially ‘all-in’ for 2019, even if the don’t add Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel. But how many wins will it really take to hold off the Cubs and Cardinals?
96 wins was just enough for the Milwaukee Brewers to prevent the Chicago Cubs from winning their third straight NL Central title. Will it take even more to make the playoffs in 2019?
What do the projection systems say?
FanGraphs has the Chicago Cubs winning the 2019 NL Central crown with 88 wins.
PECOTA has the Milwaukee Brewers winning the NL Central with 87 wins.
538 has the Brewers taking the NL Central title with 86 wins.
12 people at ESPN have the Cubs, and 10 have the Brewers. No word on whether a hat was involved in these picks.
What’s a realistic expectation for 2019?
The Milwaukee Brewers have to break 90 wins to be in the mix for a playoff spot or a division title. While 90 wins isn’t a goal, it’s a number that the Brewers have to achieve to have a shot at the playoffs.
All the projection systems indicate that the NL Central will be a lot more competitive in 2019 than it was in 2018. The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals both improved over the off-season. The Cubs are still the Cubs, and their success depends on their health. Even the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates are arguably better than the 2018 Pirates.
The good news is that the Milwaukee Brewers have also improved, despite having their depth in their bullpen tested early. After Opening Day, the Brewers have one down and at least 89 to go. It’s a long season, but they’ve picked up right where they left off.