3. Christian Yelich 2021 Bounce Back Season
Christian Yelich is the team’s best player. He is also one of the best players in the league when everything is clicking for him. He has been locked in for the better part of the decade, and his metrics show he still is capable of being the elite player he was the past two seasons.
The 2020 offseason was especially odd, after suffering a broken knee cap that cut his 2019 season short, and then a cut short spring training, followed by a four month layoff, before finally starting to play again, a regular offseason should benefit Yelich.
Yelich kept hitting the ball hard, which while that’s not everything necessary to be successful, is helpful. In 2018 and 2019, average exit velocity had a stronger correlation with wRC+ than in 2020, which may be due to the season being only ⅓ the length. That is not an excuse, but more of an observation of what the numbers show.
Yelich still had issues last season, he took more pitches than he did in previous years, which caused him to fall behind in the count, which then may have led to overthinking and a loss of confidence.
Lorenzo Cain is also coming back in 2021, after opting out of the shortened season due to concerns regarding COVID-19. Having Cain back in the lineup may also help. Avisail Garcia had the most plate appearances lead off for the Brewers in 2020, and when he batted first, he slashed (.248/.303/.327). Bringing Cain back into the fold could provide a nice bolster to the offense, which may take some pressure off of Christian Yelich.
In order to be competitive in 2021, the Brewers need Christian Yelich to be his MVP-self, and despite his 2020 statistics, the underlying metrics indicate that is quite likely to happen.