The Milwaukee Brewers are one of a handful of franchises in Major League Baseball yet to win a World Series. Might that change in the 2022 season? It’s possible. Let’s breakdown the Brewers.
MLB Analysis 2022 season
The Brewers finished 95-67 last season, taking the NL Central Division by five games. It was the fourth straight year in the playoffs for Milwaukee, extending a franchise record. The team went 32-17-3 in series play in 2021. The Brewers are one of five teams that have made the postseason in at least each of the last four years, joining the Dodgers (9), Astros (5), Yankees (5) and Braves (4).
The Brewers were represented at the All-Star Game by Corbin Burnes, Josh Hader, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff and Omar Narváez. The five players selected tied a franchise record, all consecutively (also 2018 and 2019). It the first time in franchise history that the team had three or more pitchers selected. Milwaukee used a franchise-record 61 players last year. Prior to 2021, the franchise record for most players used in a single season was 53 in 1969 (Seattle Pilots) and 2018.
Burnes won the NL Cy Young Award. He got 151 total points via a BBWAA balloting system in which voters ranked their top five pitchers before the start of the postseason. He edged Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler by only 10 points. The Dodgers’ Max Scherzer finished third with 113 points. Burnes joined Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers and John Vuckovich as the only pitchers in Brewers history to win the award — Fingers and Vuckovich won back-to-back years in the AL in 1981 and ’82.
Burnes hander led MLB in ERA (2.43), expected ERA (2.01), Fangraphs WAR (7.5), strikeout rate (35.6%, eighth-best all-time for a qualifying pitcher), K/BB ratio (6.88), FIP (1.63), home runs per nine innings (0.38) and barrel rate (2.9%). Only Scherzer had a lower WHIP than Burnes’ 0.94. Only Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, in 1999, posted a lower FIP in the divisional era (since 1969).
Milwaukee was favored in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves but was eliminated with a 5-4 loss in Atlanta in Game 4. Freddie Freeman’s dramatic solo home run off Brewers closer extraordinaire Josh Hader with two outs in the eighth inning snapped a 4-4 tie, giving the Braves their only lead of the game. It was the first homer against Hader since July 28 of last season – and the first against him by a left-handed batter all year. Will Smith then pitched a scoreless ninth to end it.
Maybe things would have been different if another excellent Brewers reliever, Devin Williams, was available in the NLDS. Williams was forced to miss the entire 2021 postseason after fracturing his pitching hand on September 26 when he punched a wall while out celebrating the Brewers’ NL Central division crown. The dynamic 27-year-old righty emerged as one of the premier relief pitchers in the game, posting a microscopic 1.78 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 140/37 K/BB ratio across 81 innings (80 appearances) over the last two seasons.
Milwaukee made one fairly big trade before the lockout began, landing outfielder Hunter Renfroe from the Red Sox for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and infielders Alex Binelas and David Hamilton. Renfroe launched 31 homers across 572 plate appearances with the Red Sox last season and will provide a much-needed upgrade for the Brewers’ lineup in right field. Milwaukee lost outfielder Avisail Garcia to the Marlins to Renfroe can slide right into his spot. Garcia slashed a healthy .262/.330/.490 with career highs of 29 homers and 86 RBI while swiping eight bases for the Brewers in 2021.
After adding Renfroe to replace Garcia and clear out Bradley Jr’s contract, the outfield is pretty much set. The infield has Willy Adames and Kolten Wong up the middle, with Luis Urias slated to handle third base. While an upgrade could be made at third, it’s not completely necessary to make and Urias is certainly deserving of an everyday role. First base could use some certainty, but the Brewers have two options they like in Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura. Milwaukee also could sign a DH type with the universal DH now in place.
The starting rotation is set with Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer and Freddy Peralta. Hader is back to close – unless he’s traded, which is possible because he will get too expensive for the Brewers in 2023 as a free agent.
- Second-place finish in the NL Central, wild-card spot