2018 Brewers: Milwaukee Can Take Another Step Forward

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

The Milwaukee Brewers were a huge surprise in 2017 after beating their listed win total by 16.5 games. Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop takes a look at their roster with 2018 performance in mind.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers out of the NL Central. Nobody in the MLB exceeded expectations like the 2017 Brewers did, smashing their 69.5-win total with an 86-win campaign. The market has adjusted to the newfound success quickly, posting an 84.5-win total for the Brewers to try to exceed in 2018.

Pitching Staff

The Brewers' staff is an interesting one in that they don’t have much of a ceiling, but I don’t see them having a low floor, either. Full of arms that have shown stellar potential, like Chase Anderson’s 2017 second half, the Brewers also have pitchers like Wade Miley who can eat a lot of innings at just above-average talent level. Another middle-of-the-road starter to watch is Brent Suter, who put up a 3.75 FIP over 81.2 innings last year. It could be that the performance of that soft-throwing lefty was a fluke. If so, a bullpen arm could be ready to join the rotation in Jacob Barnes, who has one of the top fastballs in baseball. He has never put up the kind of innings load to be a starter, however, so for the time being he is still one of the most valuable middle relievers in existence. Starter and potential ace Jimmy Nelson will miss a chunk of the season off shoulder surgery.

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Miller Park could boost numbers for #Yelich, #Cain https://t.co/uRLH9vfNYa #MLB

— MLB News Bot (@MLBNewsBot) January 27, 2018
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Lineup

Milwaukee got one of the steals of the offseason when it picked up Christian Yelich via trade from the Miami Marlins. Yelich has put up 4.5 WAR in consecutive seasons and now moves to a hitter’s park. Yelich will be joined by Travis Shaw in the lineup, and Shaw shined in his first year in Milwaukee. He nearly doubled his home run output from his best year in Boston to 31 in 2017. He’s put up a 165 wRC+ season in the high minors, so it is not like this came out of nowhere. The Brewers also got their leadoff man in Lorenzo Cain, who is projected for 2.8 WAR after putting up 4.1 WAR last year with the Royals. It’s a homecoming of sorts as the Brewers drafted Cain in 2006.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

Milwaukee ended up 10 games over .500 in 2017 by being the only team in the NL Central other than the Cubs with a winning record in the division. This doesn’t look like a trend that will change as the Brewers are projected to take second place in the division again. With the addition of Yelich, and a healthy and revitalized Anderson the Brewers should have enough firepower to keep things interesting throughout the summer and challenge for the NL Central division crown.

Current Win Total: 84.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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