4) Tyrone Taylor
Let’s start with the good surprise. After getting very small samples of big league playing time in 2019 and 2020, Taylor put together a solid 2021 rookie season. He appeared in 93 games, received 271 at bats, hit 12 home runs, drove in 43 runs, and posted a 106 OPS+.
He entered the season having improved physically and put on near 15lbs of muscle. After hitting 20 home runs in the minor leagues in 2018 and 14 in 2019, he was ready to show that his game could translate to the major league level. That being said, perhaps one of his more memorable offensive games was his multi home run game against the Cardinals, that included a grand slam.
Taylor was also solid defensively, too. While he did not make the highlight reel as often as teammates Lorenzo Cain and Jackie Bradley Jr, Taylor displayed great range and the ability to make diving plays. Fangraphs had his final total at 7 defensive runs saved in 2021.
Going forward, it would appear that at worst Taylor will serve as a backup OF, but it sure would be interesting to see what he could do in a full season of regular playing time.
Final 2021 season grade: B+
5) Jackie Bradley Jr
In his first year with the Brewers, most are going to remember how terrible Bradley Jr was offensively. He finished with a .163 batting average and a 34 OPS+, making it extremely difficult to justify inserting him in the lineup.
With the Boston Red Sox, Bradley Jr did not have eye popping numbers offensively. However, one big difference is that he did have the opportunity to play near every day from 2016-2020, which was a drastic change when he joined the Brewers this year. Baseball players are creatures of habit, so perhaps there is an element of establishing a rhythm here that contributed to his inability to consistently hit well at the plate.
Despite the offensive struggles, JBJ was still an elite defender in the outfield. He had multiple home run robberies with perhaps his most impressive one coming against Ozzie Albies in which he displayed impressive hang time on the wall! He also was a wizard at fooling defenders into thinking baseballs were leaving the park when they really were not.
Despite what is going to be remembered as forgettable season by many fans, Bradley Jr was nominated as a finalist for the Gold Glove award. Given how strong of a defender he is, it is hard to give him a failing grade for the 2021 season, but his offense was bad enough that his grade is as close to that as it gets.
2021 Season Final Grade: D-
As a unit, the Brewers outfield group did not meet expectations. With a vast majority of the team’s payroll invested in these players, offensive production has to be better in 2022.
David Stearns placed a big emphasis on run prevention in 2021, but after an early exit in the post season including getting shut out in back to back games, a happy medium must be established.