Brewer who will be better in 2023 #3: OF Christian Yelich
Is this finally the year that MVP Yelich shows back up? Brewers fans have been waiting patiently, some impatiently, for Yelich to get back into the MVP form that he had in 2018 and 2019 that led to Milwaukee signing him to a long-term extension.
Since that extension, Yelich hasn't lived up to his contract. He struggled mightily in 2021, but showed some signs of improvement in 2022, but not enough to vault back into superstar status. The power ticked up a little bit, the batting average slightly ticked up, OPS and OPS+ improved slightly. But for Yelich, it's not quite good enough.
Yelich seems to have a tendency to ground out to the right side quite a bit lately, and teams started to put three infielders over there and put the second baseman in shallow right. That defensive lineup is gone now due to the shift ban. That should help things a little bit, but Yelich still is looking to find his power stroke once again.
It seems as though Yelich has fallen back into the type of player he was with the Marlins, when he didn't have much in-game power. That wouldn't even be too bad, if he was getting on base like he did in Miami. Despite drawing a career-high 88 walks in 2022, Yelich had a career-low .355 OBP. In Miami, he was consistently around the .370 OBP mark, and in 2018-19, he was over .400 both years.
Failing to return to MVP form has frustrated Yelich just as much, likely more, than anyone else. He wants to get back there as well. He took some steps forward in 2022, and I think he'll continue to take steps forward in 2023.
Am I saying he'll definitely return to 2018-19 form? No. But I think he'll get at least somewhat closer and be a better player in 2023 than he was in 2022.