1. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brew Crew! A fun team to root for. But could this really be their year? They made a brilliant trade with the Rays to import Willy Adames and have managed to weather a poor (and injury-filled) Christian Yelich season to take a 6.5-game division lead into the first week of July. Not bad!
But in a loaded NL, they’re going to have to get better whether they like it or not. And what better way to do so than to further stock up your pitching assuming you’re heading into a postseason featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and/or Cincinnati Reds?
The Brewers’ strength is pitching; however, there are a few issues. Their two left-handers (Eric Lauer and Brett Anderson) may not last into the postseason. Lauer has thrown a grand total of 61 innings over the last two seasons and Anderson strikes out too few batters and gives up way too many hits to trust down the stretch and into the postseason.
As for the bullpen, yes, it’s stacked, but they just dealt Trevor Richards to the Blue Jays and are relying on guys like Hunter Strickland and Brad Boxberger to eat up innings. Nothing against those guys, but Boxberger’s WHIP has been problematic for the previous three seasons and Strickland hasn’t been consistently good since 2017. On top of that, Devin Williams and Brent Suter, though effective, have concerning WHIPs of their own. Far too high to keep the blood pressure low in the postseason.
Monty’s been the second-best starter on the Yanks while Green has been the second-best reliever. The Brewers have made moves to address their offense, so perhaps we’re to expect David Stearns to fortify the minimal holes on the pitching staff. Again, not entirely likely, but worth keeping an eye on.