If you were to ask most Brewers fans which player has been the most disappointing this season, few would hesitate to mention Willy Adames and with good reason. After three straight seasons where he posted an at least above average wRC+ (126, 120, and 109 respectively), Adames hit tool has seemingly left him in 2023. The 17 homers have been nice, but the .203/.288/.380 slash line and 81 wRC+ through 439 plate appearances has been decidedly less nice.
Adames being a strong defender in 2023 has been the only thing that has kept his value afloat this season, but Milwaukee needs his bat to come alive. Their team wRC+ of 88 is the fifth worst in all of baseball. If the Brewers are going to have any chance of holding off the Cubs and Reds the last couple of months of the season, they need the guy that was supposed to be one of the best hitters on the team to look like it.
When Brandon Woodruff hit the injured list with a shoulder strain in April, it was a huge blow to a Brewers rotation that was supposed to be a big strength for them this season. Without Woodruff taking the mound every fifth game, Brewers starters have ranked just 19th in MLB by fWAR with 6.2 in 2023. Considering that Woodruff has been close to a mortal lock the last four years as a 3+ fWAR pace pitcher, it is pretty clear that his presence has been sorely missed.
Fortunately for Milwaukee, Woodruff has finally returned and while the Brewers lost his first start back, Woodruff looked like his usual self with five innings of two-run ball with no walks and nine strikeouts. The Brewers have missed his ability to miss bats and throw a lot of strikes. Now that he is back, they will need him to keep it up not only to keep them in games, but also to throw deeper into games to help preserve the bullpen down the stretch.