Milwaukee Brewers 2019 Season Preview: Fantasy Analysis

Milwaukee Brewers 2019 Season Preview

2018 Record: 96 – 67

Projected 2019 Record: 85 – 77

2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook

A team that struggled to break .500 just a few years ago, the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers shocked the MLB by finishing atop the difficult NL Central division and nearly winning a NL pennant. And despite the fact that the Brewers’ 2018 season ended one game shy of a world series appearance, manager Craig Counsell should be incredibly proud of his team.

The 2018 Brewers’ pitching staff finished near the top of the MLB in almost every category. They put up a team ERA of 3.73 and hitters only batted .233 against them. On the offensive side, the Brew Crew were led by NL MVP and Silver Slugger Christian Yelich. 2018 was Yelich’s first season in Milwaukee after coming over from Miami during the offseason.

While 2018 was by no means a disappointment, the Brewers look to get revenge for their NLCS loss in 2019. And with Yelich and their strong pitching staff returning, they certainly have the tools to do so.

2019 Storylines

However, the Brewers will need to address several questions before the start of the 2019 regular season.

First of all, how impactful will Jimmy Nelson be in 2019? While the 29-year-old had a strong season back in 2017, an injury sidelined him for all of last season. Will he be able to come back in a strong way and regain his 2017 form? If so, where will he fit into the rotation?

Second of all, how good will new Brewer Yasmani Grandal be behind the plate? Grandal comes to Milwaukee with some good world series experience, having played with the Dodgers the last two seasons. He is regarded as one of the best catchers in the game and will hopefully have a big impact, despite having signed only a one-year contract.

Finally, the Brewers will need to lock down their starting rotation, which currently has a lot of ambiguity. They don’t really have any top-end talent, so the 1st, 2nd, and 3rdspots in the rotation will be up for grabs.

2019 Pitchers

Jhoulys Chacin

Chacin gets ready to head the rotation for his second year in Milwaukee. He put up good numbers last year, going 15 – 8 with an ERA of 3.50. Because of the fact that this pitching staff has no ace, the Brewers will put a lot of trust into Chacin and hope that he can hold things down at the top of the rotation.

Chase Anderson

Chase Anderson will likely occupy the number 2 spot in the Crew’s rotation this season. Anderson will be gearing up for his 6thmajor league season and his 4thin a Milwaukee uniform. While he put up decently good numbers last season, he looks to return to his 2017 form, in which he went 12 – 4 with an ERA under 2.75.

Zach Davies

Davies comes back for another season with the Brewers in 2019, his fifth in his young 5-year career. The 26-year-old put up good numbers across his first 3 seasons, but struggled in 2018, going 2 – 7 with an ERA over 4.75. He hopes to regain his dominance and avoid injury this year.

Jimmy Nelson

Nelson is expected to be the number 4 guy in the Brewers’ rotation in 2019. He has spent his entire 5-year career with the Brewers yet has only turned in one solid season. Luckily, that one season was in 2018, where he went 12 – 6 with a 3.49 ERA. He looks to ride this momentum and continue to command his game this year.

Brandon Woodruff

While the last spot in the rotation is really up for grabs, it will likely go to Brandon Woodruff. The young righty will be playing in just his 3rdMLB season. Yet this will likely be his first in the starting rotation, as he is normally used out of the bullpen. He, along with the other young Milwaukee pitchers, looks to make a name for himself in 2019 and establish himself as a prominent, young MLB star.

Relievers

Holy moly. The Crew’s relief force is not just good. One might even call it the best in the MLB. Let’s start with Josh Hader. This young southpaw appeared in the majors 2 years ago with lighting stuff. He put together a 6 – 1 record in 2018 with an ERA under 2.50 and proved why he is considered one of the best in the game. There’s also Jeremy Jeffress. The 31-year-old righty dominated batters in 2018, posting an 8 – 1 record with an ERA of just 1.29. Yikes. And if these two aren’t good enough, there’s Corey Knebel. Knebel has held down the closing role for the Brewers’ the past two seasons and has been lights out as well. Any opponent better hope that they can get to Milwukee’s starting pitching early, because once these guys come in, it’s game over.

2019 Hitters

All throughout last season, despite how good the team played as a whole or despite how good the starters or relievers pitched, one player was consistently the face of the 2018 Brewers. That man is Christian Yelich.

He won the NL MVP award, and for good reason. He batted .326, hit 36 homeruns, knocked in 110 RBIs, had an OBP of .402, and had 187 hits. Essentially, he led his team in every single major offensive category. He is without a doubt the new star of this organization and looks to have another MVP caliber season.

However, he’s not the only one. To his right in the outfield is Lorenzo Cain. Cain also had a strong 2018 season, where he batted .308 and had an OBP just below that of Yelich.

Jesus Aguilar, the first baseman, added some serious power to the lineup, whacking 35 homeruns and batting in 108 RBIs.

And what are the Brewers without Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw, both who turned in decent offensive seasons.

Lastly, the Brewers’ are excited to see their newest addition, Yasmani Grandal, at the plate. Grandal had a relatively strong offensive season with the Dodgers in 2018, hitting 24 homeruns and knocking in 68 RBIs. He hopes to contribute to Milwaukee in the big way this year.

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Lorenzo Cain
  2. Christian Yelich
  3. Jesus Aguilar
  4. Travis Shaw
  5. Ryan Braun
  6. Mike Moustakas
  7. Yasmani Grandal
  8. Orlando Arcia

Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers


Jhoulys Chacin
– 
With the Brewers focusing more on a deep bullpen to carry them, they have a rather weak starting rotation. Jhoulys Chacin has been eating innings in the last two seasons, and will bring an average strikeout rate. The thing we have to bet on is that he can keep out performing his ERA estimators. Both have been around the 4.50 mark the last two seasons, and he has sported an ERA under four.

Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters


Christian Yelich
– 
Getting out of Miami was a huge plus, as Christian Yelich won last year’s MVP. Even if Yelich falls short of last season, he is going to be a top ten outfielder when all is said and done. Even in his Miami days, Yelich posted strong numbers. Moving to Milwaukee only helped. At just 27 years old, Yelich is heading into a very strong stretch, and he is an excellent fantasy option even with a heightened ADP.

 


Lorenzo Cain
– 
Even on the wrong side of 30, Lorenzo Cain is still racking up stolen bases. He hit 30 last season, and is projected for 25. He isn’t a power threat, and his RBI are going to be pedestrian as a leadoff man, but 90 runs is solid, and his average is always a plus.

  
Noah Wadhwani lives in Sacramento, California but grew up in Boston as a die-hard New England sports fan. He is currently a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley and is intending to major in applied mathematics or economics. Aside from sports, Noah’s other main passion is travel and has spent time living abroad in Denmark and Argentina.

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