2018 Milwaukee Brewers Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
The Milwaukee Brewers have been to the postseason just four times in their franchise's existence. For a team that has been around since 1970, that is a very poor record. The Brewers will be looking to change that narrative this season and make the postseason for the first time since losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS of 2011. Last season, the Brewers finished with a record of 86-78, which was good enough for second place in the NL Central, just six games back of the division-winning Cubs. The Brewers looked like they were going to be able to close the deal on winning the division thanks to the Cubs early-season struggles, but ultimately they faltered thanks to shoddy pitching and slumping hitters.
The Milwaukee Brewers open their season on March 29 with a three-game series at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres before heading home for a seven-game homestand that sees the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs roll through Miller Park. The Brewers are currently +3300 to win the World Series, +1200 to win the NL Pennant and + 550 to win the NL Central crown. The season win total is 84.5 (-120 to the "under"), which means that the Brewers are expected to be competitive this season and potentially battle for a wild-card spot.
All odds are courtesy of Bovada.
Brewers 2018 Projected Lineup
When I first looked over the Brewers projected lineup, one thing stood out to me. The Brewers have done a phenomenal job of building a roster that combines both power and speed. As of writing this, the Brewers' batting lineup looks something like this:
1. Christian Yelich
2. Lorenzo Cain
3. Travis Shaw
4. Ryan Braun
5. Eric Thames
6. Stephen Vogt
7. Orlando Arcia
8. Jonathan Villar
9. Pitchers Spot
The top of the order features the Brewers' newest acquisitions this offseason in Yelich and Cain. Yelich comes over from the Marlins where he spent the first four years of his career. Last season, Yelich was a key contributor to the Marlins lineup, posting a .282 batting average with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs. Cain, on the other hand, is back with the team who drafted him in 2010 after spending the last seven years with the Kansas City Royals. Cain will be relied on to produce better numbers than the 15-homer, 49 RBI campaign he turned in last season.
Behind those two is where you will find the power. Shaw is coming off a 2017 season where he posted 31 home runs and 101 RBIs to go along with a .274 average and 147 hits. He will need to have a similar season if the Brewers are to be competitive once again this year. The cleanup hitter is none other than Braun. He is coming off a poor season where he played just 104 games. He was able to hit only 17 home runs and drive in 52. A healthy season will go a long way in helping Braun reach the numbers we are used to seeing him put up.
Further down the lineup, you'll find Vogt batting sixth and doing the catching, Arcia batting seventh and playing short, and Villar batting eight and playing second base. Vogt is the newest of this trio as he was acquired mid-season last year from Oakland. Between the two teams, he combined to hit 12 homers and drive in 40 runs. A full season in a hitter-friendly park like Miller Park should help Vogt get those numbers up.
Brewers 2018 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Brewers pitching rotation isn't exactly the greatest collection of talent, but each one of their five starters have enough Major League experience to be an effective and reliable option. Zach Davies is all but guaranteed to take the ball every fifth day as the ace of the staff. He is coming off a stellar 2017 campaign where he pitched to a 17-9 record with a 3.90 ERA.
Behind Davies, the Brewers will rely on a quartet that includes Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Brent Suter and Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo has been on three different teams in the last three years but is back to where he spent his first eight seasons as a major leaguer. Gallardo has not won more than 10 games since a 13-win season in 2015, but he should benefit from a return to a familiar ballpark.
Chase Anderson is another vital cog to the rotation, and he will be looking to carry over 2017's success into 2018. Anderson posted a 12-4 record with a 2.74 ERA last year and is looking like the clear-cut No.2 pitcher in this staff.
The Brewers bullpen is also respectable. They will once again rely on Corey Knebel to do the closing and the combination of Jacob Barnes and Jeremy Jeffress as the setup men. Knebel had a stellar season last year, converting on 39 save opportunities and holding opponents to a 1.79 ERA. Other pitchers out of the bullpen include Oliver Drake, Matt Albers and Boone Logan.
Brewers 2018 Predictions
FanGraphs projects Milwaukee to regress by eight games this year to a record of 78-84. It usually ends poorly if you disagree with a computer and all it's fancy algorithms. However, with the roster and rotation the Brewers possess, I see them potentially winning more games than last season. They've gotten faster on the bases without losing any power, and the rotation has the potential to be one of the best in the National League. I would certainly side with the "over" 84.5 wins for the Brewers. However, as is the case with most teams, one injury can derail the season in a hurry.
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