Throughout the 50+ seasons the Milwaukee Brewers have been a franchise, exceptional players have spent time here. Thanks to wRC+, a stat that adjusts Runs Created to account for in external factors such as ballparks, or the era of the season, we can compare seasons and find the top offensive performers in franchise history.
League average offensive production equals 100, and each number above or below 100 represents a percentage increase. For context a wRC+ of 110 would mean the player was 10 percent above league average.
The Brewers have had players record great offensive seasons in franchise history, among them MVP winners, Hall of Fame inductees, and franchise cornerstones. Who had the highest wRC+?
Here are the 5 highest wRC+ seasons recorded in Brewers’ franchise history.
5. Robin Yount, 1982: 164 wRC+
The 1982 season is fabled among Milwaukee fans as it remains the franchise’s only World Series appearance. Robin Yount was just one of five players on that roster who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame (the others being Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, and the late Don Sutton).
In his age-26 season, the Brewers veteran shortstop had his best season, slashing .331/.379/.578, with 29 home runs, and 9.8 fWAR. He led the league in Slugging Percentage, recording 46 doubles. Young ended up winning the 1982 American League MVP, and played for another 11 seasons in Milwaukee, retiring as the greatest player in franchise history.
4. Paul Molitor, 1987 and Sixto Lezcano, 1979: 165 wRC+
Another fabled season in team history is ‘Team Streak’ of 1987, led by future hall of famer Paul Molitor. In his age-30 season, Molitor slashed .353/.438/.566 with 16 home runs, and a league leading 41 doubles, and a career high 6.0 fWAR. Molitor finished 5th in MVP voting, and won his first of 4 Silver Slugger awards.
Sixto Lezcano also recorded a 165 wRC+ in the 1979 season for the Brewers. In his age-25 season, Lezcano slashed .321/.414/.573 with 28 home runs, accumulating 5.2 fWAR. Lezcano did receive MVP votes, finishing in 15th place, and won a Gold Glove for his defense in right field.
Just a fun little coincidence, Lezcano and Molitor had near identical fWAR and batting averages in that 1979 season, with Molitor recording 5.1 and a .322 batting average.
3. Christian Yelich, 2018: 167 wRC+
Entering his age-26 season, Yelich had always been a solid hitter with the Marlins, and even in the first half of the season had a very solid 123 wRC+. The second half is when Yelich blew up, recording a 221 wRC+, 25 home runs, and slashing .367/.449/.770.
He was the most feared hitter in baseball, and ended the season with 36 home runs, a slash of .326/.402/.598, leading the league in batting average and slugging percentage, winning a Silver Slugger, and of course a near unanimous MVP Season, finishing with 7.7 fWAR.
2. Ryan Braun, 2011: 171 wRC+
The 2011 season was the Brewers first division title since 1982, and they pushed all the way to the NLCS. The team was led by eventual MVP winner Ryan Braun, who hit 33 home runs, with a slash of .332/.397/.597, made an All-Star appearance, and won his 4th consecutive Silver Slugger. Braun led the league in OPS with .994, and recorded a 7.1 fWAR, becoming the 3rd Brewer to win the MVP award after Rollie Fingers and Robin Yount twice.
Braun was in the prime of his career and led the Brewers to their first NL Central title in franchise history on the back of his offensive performance.
1. Christian Yelich, 2019: 174 wRC+
Somehow Christian Yelich was able to not only replicate his 2018 season, but improve upon it, recording the highest wRC+ in franchise history, and nearly winning consecutive MVP awards despite missing the final 3 weeks of the season.
The 27-year old Yelich won consecutive batting titles, and led the league in every category of the slash line, recording a .329/.429/.671 triple slash. Yelich also hit 44 home runs, and accumulated 7.8 fWAR in 130 games. He won consecutive Silver Sluggers, and was named to a second All-Star game.
The names among these best offensive seasons in franchise history include the usual suspects. Hopefully Yelich can add some more seasons to this list.