The Brewers are playing a 60 game regular season. What do their playoff chances look like?
Instead of 162 game marathon season, MLB will play a 60 game schedule, which will be more like a 10k instead of a marathon. The Brewers appear to be in a strong position to navigate a 60 game season with plenty of depth to cover injuries or poor performance.
Expanded rosters will be available in the early going with 30 man rosters for the first two weeks, then down to 28 players for another two weeks, and then finally down to 26 players for the rest of the season. Craig Counsell has proven himself to be a master of maximizing his team’s performance with expanded rosters.
A hot early start will be key to finishing in a good position. Without expanded playoffs this year, a hot start is all the more crucial. Last year’s World Series champs, the Washington Nationals, got off to a 19-31 start and rallied back, but that kind of opportunity is not there in 2020.
Being an optimistic Brewers fan, I like the Crew’s chances of earning a playoff spot this year. Counsell has more players to use, the DH is there to keep Ryan Braun and other hitters in the lineup more often, the pitching depth is strong, and, oh yeah, Christian Yelich is back at full health.
The Brewers will play their NL Central rivals and then the AL Central teams to make up the schedule this year. While the AL Central is generally regarded as a weak division, the NL Central is deep with four contending teams and then the Pirates. It’s going to be a fight to the finish among the Crew, Reds, Cubs, and Cardinals.
ZiPS Playoff Chances
Fangraphs released their latest ZiPS projections and playoff chances and it paints a tight picture in the NL Central.
ZiPS has the Cubs winning the division with a 32-28 record while the Brewers are in a three-way tie for second place with the Cardinals and Reds one game back with 31-29 records.
ZiPS puts the Brewers mathematical playoff chances at 37.1%. Four teams have a greater than 20% chance of winning the division. The chances of the Brewers winning the World Series are at 3.3%.
The projections in this shortened season have four teams all within one game of each other in the standings. This is gonna be one crazy finish to the season in the NL Central. With only 60 games, running away with the division crown is going to be difficult, and there are four very strong teams that have the talent to compete for a playoff spot.
Although the math projections have the Brewers falling short of the division crown, they have consistently outperformed what those metrics predict. On paper, the combination of Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko, and Brock Holt at third base may not seem great, but with the way Counsell will utilize that trio to maximize their impact, they’re going to be a more successful group than projections expect.
Soon enough, we’ll have games on the field and actual baseball to analyze as we get a better look at how the playoff picture will shape up. In the NL Central, it’s fixing to be a wild race to the finish. In the words of Christian Yelich, “Let’s go!”
The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to make their third straight postseason appearance, which would mark the first time in franchise history the Brewers would head to the playoffs three years in a row.