Milwaukee Brewers: 2019 Mid-season Report Card
2018’s success nearly resulted in a couple more awards for Milwaukee. Manager Craig Counsell finished second to Atlanta’s Brian Snitker for the NL Manager of the Year award. GM David Stearns came just as close, tying for second to Oakland’s Billy Beane for Executive of the Year.
Stearns proved that he was still willing to make big moves after the Yelich and Cain acquisitions of a year ago when he made the aforementioned signings of Moustakas and Grandal this year. Those moves have clearly paid off big in 2019.
Stearns also swung two trades that have current and future implications. Domingo Santana was moved to Seattle, where he can be a starter, for a package that included outfielder Ben Gamel who has been a huge contributor both as a starter and off the bench. He also was able to trade Keon Broxton to the Mets for three prospects that include Wahl who, though injured, should be a key bullpen piece in the future. Broxton, meanwhile, was let go by New York.
There have been questionable decisions this year as well of course. Chiefly among them were the decision not to acquire any veteran starting pitcher and instead roll with such a young group. And of course there was the delay in calling up Hiura when he was lighting up Triple-A and so many hitters were clearly struggling at the time.
Counsell, meanwhile, has had plenty of questions to deal with as manager this year. How do you best utilize Hader now that he is in a closing role? How do you balance the need to give Aguilar and Shaw at bats to get going with putting the team on the field that gives you the best chance to win? What happens if the young starters don’t work out as planned?
Not every decision has been perfect, but these are the facts. The Brewers are 47-44 at the All-Star break. They have a run differential of -17 and because of that, their Pythagorean W-L projects that their record should actually be 44-47. So Counsell has managed the team to be three wins better than the math thinks they should be.
It’s hard to say in retrospect if different offseason moves would have helped or hindered the Brewers. If the team signed some starters, they might not have Moustakas or Grandal and who knows what would have happened then. What we do know is that the Milwaukee Brewers are currently a half game out of a playoff spot. Part of that is because of the rest of the division, part of that is management.
The second half is starting soon, and the Milwaukee Brewers are in need of some good luck and some players to perform up to their expectations. Once you get into October, anything can happen.