The Milwaukee Brewers are back in the playoffs, just one year after a late-season collapse ended their 2022 campaign. This is a different team on paper, but much of the team’s hopes for October will sit in the hands of their biggest stars. Here’s how the Brewers look as Milwaukee gets ready for the 2023 MLB Postseason.
A Look at the Brewers Offense
Entering play on September 25, the Milwaukee Brewers ranked 23rd in MLB in team OPS (.705) and 17th in runs scored (707). But since August 1, the Brewers’ offense has ticked up, as Milwaukee ranked 14th in OPS (.737) and wRC+ (101), and eighth in runs scored (263).
The Brewers likely hoped at the beginning of the season that new acquisitions William Contreras, Brian Anderson, and Jesse Winker would help buoy the Milwaukee offense this season. While Contreras (.288 AVG, 17 HR, and .827 OPS in 135 G) has been solid, Winker hit just .199 and was limited to 61 games this season. Anderson, on the other hand, hit just .222 (.669 OPS) on the 2023 season, despite a strong April.
There have been, however, a number of positives for the Brewers this season. Arguably the most notable one is the resurgence of former NL MVP Christian Yelich.
Yelich, who’s dealt with back issues for a number of years, posted his best statistical season since his dominant 2019 campaign. No, Yelich only hit 19 home runs and batted .276 as of Setepmber 25 — but he’s been able to catch up with the fastball much better and has looked good at the plate.
Aside from the Yelich, the Brewers will walk into the 2023 MLB Postseason with several bats that Milwaukee didn’t have at the start of the season. One of those names is Sal Frelick, a former first-round pick with superb contact ability and speed. Frelick owns a solid .357 OBP through his first 53 games and has made an impact in the field.
Santana hit ten home runs in his first 47 games as a Brewer, while Canha hit .296/.388/.451 with five home runs, 15 extra base hits, and 32 RBI — 17 of those came since September 1, which put him in the top 15 of the league — since being acquired from the Mets.
A Look at the Brewers Pitching
What a difference can make for a team’s bullpen. Last year, the Brewers bullpen ranked 17th in the league in ERA (3.94). This season? Milwaukee came into the day on September 25 with the third-best bullpen ERA (3.48), behind only the Dodgers (3.45) and Yankees (3.37).
Former Brewers closer Josh Hader isn’t here anymore, but Devin Williams has picked up right where he left over. Williams and his “airbender” changeup has helped propel him to a 1.59 ERA and 35 saves for the Brewers this season.
Burnes and Peralta both ran into rough patches in the first half, but the two have been excellent in the second half. Burnes owns an impressive 2.84 ERA and struck out 94 over 82.1 IP in the second half, while Peralta’s 103 strikeouts since the All-Star break is second-most in the league, behind only Spencer Strider (108).
Woodruff, meanwhile, owns the fifth-best ERA (2.59) in the second half. While one would expect his .172 opponent’s average and .204 BABIP on the season to regress, the good news for the Brewers is the righty has clicked at the right time.
How the Brewers Can Win it All
In order to the Brewers to advance to the World Series, Milwaukee will need two things: timely hitting and a strong October run from the team’s group of arms.
It’s fair to say that the Brewers’ pitching staff — assuming the big names stay healthy — is more impressive on paper than the Dodgers and Braves, the latter of which is dealing with injury concerns. Virtually no team in the NL can match the might of Burnes, Peralta, and Woodruff in the starting rotation.
Couple that trio with a diverse bullpen, and the Milwaukee Brewers are well-equipped to make a run this October. However, the same could have been said two years ago, when the Brewers failed to get past Atlanta in the NLDS.
The Brewers’ biggest question mark is their lineup. Milwaukee, between Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez, Christian Yelich, and William Contreras, have the big power bats. But, whether the Brewers can get the timely production in October they will need remains to be seen.