With the Milwaukee Brewers looking to compete for the postseason again this season they may need some extra help. And what better place to get that help than your former MVP that is on a big contract?
In the past few years, the Brewers have had some nice bats but the lineup was still built to mainly be carried by Yelich. This year is no different. The Brewers offense has been serviceable and won games for them the past few years but it was clearly missing Yelich’s bat and relied on lights-out pitching to keep them in games.
If the Brewers want to be a legit contender this season they need to see more production from Yelich. So that leads to the question… Will Yelich be better this year?
There is still hope for Yelich to at least get closer to his former MVP self. Over the past few seasons, Yelich has struggled but there has been steady improvement. Last season Yelich drew a career-high 88 walks, slightly bumped his home run and RBI totals, as well as stealing 10 more bases than he did the year before. It should be noted Yelich’s OBP was at a career low but it was still above average compared to the rest of the league at .355.
The Brewers experimented by putting Yelich in the leadoff spot which turned out to be a great fit. Yelich did an excellent job in this role setting the table for his team. Yelich also was healthy most of the year and played nearly every game for the Crew last season which was a huge step.
After this slightly improved season, Yelich unplugged during the offseason. He didn’t pay attention to the baseball world. After doing this, Yelich recently mentioned that he feels like he’s in a much better place both mentally and physically than he has been in the past few years.
So will Yelich be better? I’m leaning towards yes.
There are a lot of reasons to believe this. As I said Yelich made a lot of progress last season and also claims to be in a better place both mentally and physically heading into this season. Another thing to consider is that the MLB will be banning the shift. This could give Yelich’s production a slight boost as he seemed to hit into the shift a lot last year. Though there have been teams experimenting with loopholes around the shift rules so we will have to wait and see how that plays out.
Another thing to look at is that Yelich does still have his power stroke; it's just less consistent. Yelich’s average exit velocity was still in the 80th percentile and his maximum exit velocity was even higher last season. He still has his power, he's just looking for that consistent ability to drive the ball in the air that he had in 2018-2019. When Yelich has that consistency he’s a scary hitter to be pitching to.
I still don’t think he’s going to reach his 2018-2019 self. Yelich had video game stat lines in those seasons that are simply not something you can predict. It's very unrealistic to expect any player to consistently do what Yelich did in those two seasons for a whole career.
With the Brewers looking to win the NL Central crown once again they will take any help they can get. Christian Yelich moving closer to his MVP self would be huge and there are a lot of reasons to think it's a decent possibility.