2. Jackie Bradley Jr. OF
Like a thief in the night, David Stearns worked his magic, once again luring an intriguing talent to Milwaukee. The Brewers agreed upon a deal to bring Jackie Bradley Jr., a one time All-Star and Gold Glover, to Milwaukee on a two-year $24MM contract with the second year being a player option.
This move shot up this list of offseason acquisitions thanks to the best season of his career at the plate coming in 2020 where he slashed .283/.364/.450. His batting average and on-base percentage were personal bests along with the highest walk percentage of his career at 10.6% and lowest strikeout rate at 22.2%. Bradley Jr. also belted seven home runs and hit 11 doubles to go along with five stolen bases, putting it all together offensively during a very abnormal COVID-impacted season.
In the field, he has been one of the best in the game for the last handful of years or so. Since 2015, JBJ’s +33 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in center field is tied for fifth in the majors in that span, and his 19.9 UZR (Ultimate zone rating) is sixth. The Brewers now have three players in the outfield that have won a Gold Glove and with the recent addition of defensive wizard Kolten Wong, Milwaukee looks to boast one of the best defenses in baseball.
It may seem a bit confusing how Craig Counsell plans to maneuver the crowded outfield but if anyone can do it, it’s him. This is also not to say that there isn’t a possibility of a trade to be made that could move Cain or Garcia prior to the start of the season, but this current quartet of outfielders would probably be one of the best and deepest in the league.
1. 2B Kolten Wong
Are you surprised? Well I hope you aren’t shocked seeing him at #1, but I bet on February 5th you were. That was the day the Brewers made their biggest splash in the offseason. It was a two-year contract with a club option for a third season worth $18MM on the deal and the club option pushing the total to $26MM, if exercised for the best defender at his position in the MLB.
There was little to no speculation to the Brewers being in on Kolten Wong, but the front office swooped in and snagged the two-time Gold Glover from one of their division rivals. He will undoubtedly be the starting second baseman for Craig Counsell and will help sure up a position where the Crew struggled at defensively last year.
At the plate, Wong is a serviceable hitter that has a keen eye and can wreak havoc on the base paths. He owns a career slash line of .261/.333/.326 and has become one of the best in baseball at putting the bat on the ball and avoiding strikeouts, something the Brewers so desperately need. Not to mention, he had a career average over .300 in 217 plate appearances at Miller Park…hopefully the trend remains true at newly named American Family Field.
Kolten Wong was an important signing for the Brewers and fans should be excited to see the dazzling display that he puts on at second base. Couple a strong addition to the defense with a productive season at the dish and Wong could be one of the most underrated additions this offseason throughout the entire MLB.
Stearns and the rest of the front office have done their part assembling pieces that appear to be in contention for a playoff spot for the 4th season in a row. Now it’s up to the players and coaches to produce and bring October baseball to Milwaukee once again.