The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the hottest teams in baseball last season, heading into the All Star break. The wheels fell off the wagon during the second half of the season and they never had time to recover. The Brewers had their chance last year and lost it. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have a living prayer in 2015. The NL Central is far too strong for this average team to compete in. Let’s take a look at the Brewer’s changes heading into 2015.
Notable Additions: Luis Sardinas IF, Neal Cotts RP, Adam Lind 1B
Notable Losses: Marco Estrada SP, Yovani Gallardo SP, Mark Reynolds IF, Rickie Weeks 2B,
The starting rotation should get destroyed over the course of the 2015 season. They don’t have an ace or even a solid number two. Kyle Lohse, age 36, will lead the staff in 2015. He finished the 2014 season with a 3.54 ERA through 198.1 innings. Matt Garza will be the second man in the rotation. He was decent in 2014 finishing with a 3.64 ERA through 163.1 innings. Both pitchers will be solid but neither have the ability to lead their team to the playoffs. Wily Peralta had a breakout year in 2014 finishing with a 3.53 ERA and picking up 17 wins. I don’t think Peralta will be as effective in 2015. The bottom half of the rotation will struggle to work deep into games.
If the Brewers want to be competitive they will have to out hit their opponents. Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez are two of the best outfielders in the game. Gomez finished last season with a .284 batting average and 23 home runs. He has an above glove and has the speed to steal 30+ bases. He stole 34 bases in 2014 and finished with a .477 slugging percentage. Ryan Braun finished the 2014 season with a .266 batting average and 19 home runs. He hasn’t quite returned to form since the 2012 season. He hit 41 home runs and had a batting average of .311 back in 2012. Braun will have to be on top of his game if the Brewers are going to compete. One of the most important players is catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. The catcher finished last season with a .301 batting average and 13 home runs. He led the league with 53 doubles and drove in 69 runs. He was one of the best framing catchers in the league last season. It will be important for Lucroy to stay on top of his framing with the average pitching staff. A great catcher can turn an average pitcher into an All-Star.
Breakout Player: Scooter Gennett 2B
Gennett has been great in his first two Major League seasons. He holds a .300 batting average and a .331 OBP. I think Gennett will find his power in 2015. He clearly has the ability to make solid contact and he has a relatively low strikout rate. If the Brewers could get him hitting double digit home runs, their offense might just have the firepower to compete if everything else went right. If healthy I expect:
.279 BA, 14 HR, 67 RBI’s
Game Changer: Adam Lind 1B
I’ve already made it clear that the Brewers will have to out hit their opponents to win games. Adam Lind played in 96 games in 2014 finishing with 6 home runs and a .321 batting average. The Brewers will hope to get more power out of Lind than average. He hit 23 home runs in 2013 and 35 back in 2009. The Brewers will need all the power they can get if they really want to out hit people in 2015.
Don’t expect much from the Brewers in 2015. The NL Central is just too strong and the Brewers lack solid pitching. It will be a long year for Milwaukee fans.
Make sure to check back in on March 31st for my complete standing predictions along with a few other fun pieces of news. Until then, you will be able to find a new preview of an individual team from March 1st through the 30th here at KRUI.FM.