So far so good. From what I’ve seen during spring training, the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers are looking good. Very good.
For those fans of statistics, as of this past Sunday, the Brewers are playing .600 ball, sporting a win-loss record of 9-6-1, good for third place in the National League. The front runners, the Chicago Cubs, are sitting pretty at 11-2.
After finishing second in the NL Central last year, just a handful of games behind the first place Cubs, the Brewers are looking to prove that 2017 was no fluke. As things stand right now, it wasn’t. From the looks of things all Milwaukee needs is a solid No. 1 starter to dethrone Chicago.
Coming off their most productive off season to date, the Brew Crew is sailing through spring training with calm seas beneath their keel and a stiff breeze at their backs.
With the stunning acquisition of outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, Milwaukee has arguably the best outfield in the National League. Add to that one of the top-rated infields in all of baseball and you have a team that is going to be very tough to beat. Just check out one of several projected starting lineups.
Leading off at second base you have Jonathan Villar. Batting second in centerfield, Lorenzo Cain. Hitting third and playing first base, Ryan Braun. Batting clean-up, third baseman Travis Shaw. Hitting fifth, rightfielder Domingo Santana. In the sixth spot, leftfielder Christian Yelich. Hitting seventh, the shortstop, Orlando Arcia. Batting eighth and catching, Manny Pina.
Milwaukee’s bench is also one of the strongest around, fortified by Jesus Aguilar, Eric Thames, Hernan Perez, Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips to name a choice few. Both defensively and offensively, whatever line-up you choose you’re looking at a championship caliber team.
While the Brewers starting eight and reserves rank among the game’s best, as any coach or player knows, you can’t win without decent pitching. The good news is, Milwaukee’s arms race is at least halfway won.
Heading into the 2018 campaign, Milwaukee’s bullpen will be constructed upon the solid foundation of their All-Star closer Corey Knebel, and the young fireballer Josh Hader, who eats up innings like a starving wolf. Strong armed hurlers such as Jacob Barnes, Matt Albers and Boone Logan make for a dependable supporting cast. Last year the Brewers bullpen ranked in the top five of the National League, earning 27 wins with an ERA of 3.83.
As for Milwaukee’s starting rotation, two-fifths of the equation will be solved if Zach Davies and Chase Anderson can reprise their scintillating performances of 2017. They’re going to have to, as last year’s No. 2 starter Jimmy Nelson is still recovering from shoulder surgery. If Davies and Anderson are unable to shoulder the load, the weight would shift to the remaining arms who would be forced to step up big-time. Currently competing for the other three spots in the Brewers starting rotation are Brent Suter, Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley and Junior Guerra. May the best men win.
Spring training games will continue daily through March, with opening day scheduled for March 29. Milwaukee is slated to open its regular season on the road in San Diego where it will face the rebuilding Padres. That’s 14 days and counting, Brewers fans.