Publish date:

2 BREWERS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP MILWAUKEE

I think they surprised even themselves with how good they were last year, but with the moves they made, they should be even better.... Coming from Korea, there wasn't much of a scouting report on Eric Thames, so after he got off to the hot start, guys started figuring out how to pitch him. It's possible he just had one good month. Now he might just be a platoon guy at first.... Ryan Braun doesn't have the same bat speed, but the thing he still does better than 95% of guys is he really stays on pitches.... Getting out of Boston did wonders for Travis Shaw. With no pressure of anyone taking his job, he relaxed, and I don't see any reason why he'd fall off.... Lorenzo Cain was a great signing: a cornerstone in centerfield. To add another difference maker in Christian Yelich was huge: They improved more than anyone else in the league.... Throwing strikes was always an issue for Corey Knebel, but that changed last year. His curveball is double-plus, and he throws 100 off of that. He's potentially elite.... Chase Anderson is the No. 1 but in a playoff rotation he's a No. 3. And if you're running Zach Davies, who's at best a No. 4 starter, as your No. 2, you don't love their playoff chances. A front of the rotation starter is the finishing piece to make them a legit postseason contender.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

The Brewers were one of the few teams to aggressively tap the open market, trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain on back-to-back days in February. They now have enviable outfield depth with holdovers Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana in that mix, with Braun working out at first base this spring to escape the logjam. The next Brewers star, though, already plays on the dirt. Shortstop Orlando Arcia, 23, followed up a shaky 2016 debut by improving his contact hitting, power and defense. He hit 15 homers and stole 14 bases, while leading NL shortstops in chances and double plays. Arcia's durability, defense and position made him almost twice as valuable to the Brewers as Eric Thames and his 31 homers were in '17. Baseball is lousy with great young shortstops; Arcia will move into that conversation this summer.

OVER / UNDER

84.5

The improved offense will win a lot of games, but it's hard to make the postseason with a rotation that calls Chase Anderson your ace.

THE LINEUP

1. LEFTFIELD

Christian Yelich

.376 OBP/22 HR/16 SB

2. CENTERFIELD

Lorenzo Cain

.283 BA/16 HR/22 SB

3. THIRD BASE

Travis Shaw

.458 SLG/26 HR/7 SB

4. FIRST BASE

Ryan Braun

.496 SLG/21 HR/12 SB

5. RIGHTFIELD

Domingo Santana

.258 BA/26 HR/10 SB

6. CATCHER

Manny Piña

.249 BA/6 HR/2 SB

7. SHORTSTOP

Orlando Arcia

.259 BA/15 HR/16 SB

8. SECOND BASE

Jonathan Villar

.247 BA/13 HR/34 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

Zach Davies

9 W/4.71 ERA/1.42 WHP

FANTASY BREAKOUT

2. RH STARTER

Chase Anderson

9 W/4.78 ERA/1.35 WHP

Milwaukee's ace while Jimmy Nelson is on the DL, Anderson had a 1.94 ERA and 0.90 WHP in his final 16 starts.

3. RH STARTER

Jhoulys Chacín

8 W/4.60 ERA/1.43 WHP

4. LH STARTER

Brent Suter

6 W/4.67 ERA/1.38 WHP

CLOSER

Corey Knebel

30 SV/3.18 ERA/12.9 K9

THE SKIPPER

Craig Counsell