Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers finished 2014 two games under .500, good for a third-place finish in the National League Central. The Brewers have largely the same roster that they did last year, 1B Adam Lind, who was acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays and replaces Mark Reynolds at the position. Gjven their career stats, that could be about a 50-point gain in batting average while losing a few home runs. Is it enough to improve on last year’s performance?
The Brewers’ .250 batting average last year was right around the league average, while their .708 OPS and 150 home runs were both above the league average. The club’s 3.67 ERA was also right around the league average. With the Brewers’ record being within a couple games of .500, it’s not surprising that they were middle of the pack in a number of statistical categories.
As mentioned, the offense has a chance to improve this year with Lind replacing Reynolds in the lineup. OF Khris Davis, who hit .244 in his rookie season in 2014, could also help the offense if he gets closer to the .288 batting average he had in his minor league career as he gets more experience at the big-league level. There are veterans at the top of the rotation,but there are question marks with younger guys at the bottom of the rotation. SP Jimmy Nelson has thrown just 79.1 innings in the majors with a 4.42 ERA. Will he be able to last for a full season and improve upon that ERA? He’ll have to if he wants to replace the production lost when P Marco Estrada was sent to the Blue Jays in the Lind trade.
Even if things go the Brewers’ way in 2015, it’ll be tough for the team to make the playoffs. The NL Central is too competitive for an average team like Milwaukee. With the Cardinals and Pirates sitting atop the division and the Cubs expected to improve significantly this season, The Brewers may finish with another winning record, but I don’t think it’ll be enough for a spot in the postseason.