With 2018 MVP Christian Yelich now out for the season, other players will have to step up their games if the Milwaukee Brewers still want to make the playoffs in 2019. Luckily, one of the team’s All-Stars from this year may be heating up at just the right time to do so.
Milwaukee Brewers fans saw their worst nightmare come true on Tuesday when it was announced that Christian Yelich would miss the remainder of the season with a broken kneecap. The news came right as the team was inching closer to a possible Wild Card spot.
Obviously you can’t completely replace a player of Yelich’s caliber. But if anyone could potentially take the torch and lead the team offensively, Yasmani Grandal is in the middle of a stretch that proves that he might have as good an ability to as any.
The Power Surge is Back
Grandal can be a notoriously streaky hitter, but he has definitely heated back up in the month of September. Going into Tuesday night’s game, Grandal was carrying a 1.234 OPS and a 202 wRC+ for the month. He added another 2-for-4 game with a run and an RBI in Tuesday’s win.
Add Tuesday to the total and he’s hitting 12-for-36 (.333 batting average) with six walks, nine runs scored, five home runs, and eight runs batted in across those nine games. In the nine games so far this month, Grandal reached base in all of them, had hits in seven of them, and of course homered in five (and unofficially bat flipped in five as well). That was after hitting just three homers in July and August combined.
Getting on base was one of Yelich’s many fortes this year, and, luckily, Grandal can deliver in that department as well. His .379 on base percentage (prior to Tuesday) is second on the team to just Yelich and his 91 walks by far lead the team.
How to Construct the Lineup
If Grandal is to be the team’s de facto Yelich for the rest of the year, it might make sense to slide him down into the 3-spot in the lineup that Yelich had been occupying as of late. Players like Lorenzo Cain, Trent Grisham, and possibly even Ben Gamel in a pinch would be great table setters at the top of the order.
That hasn’t been Grandal’s cup of tea this year though as he hit .222 with a .700 OPS in the 20 games he played in the 3-hole this year. Though his average only raises to .233, he has a much healthier .856 OPS in his 24 games hitting second. It may make more sense to keep him there and hit someone like Mike Moustakas third.
No matter where he hits in the lineup, Grandal is one of the most potent bats in the Brewers lineup right now. His hitting ability, especially on his current tear, is enough to lead the team as long as others step up as well.
Even with Yelich out, the season is not over. The Milwaukee Brewers will go into Wednesday’s games no more than two games out of a Wild Card spot and are as hot as anyone in the National League right now with an easy schedule to finish the season. With players like Yaz leading the way, there’s a chance the Brewers are still playing come October.