More than 81 games have come and gone, and the Brewers officially stand at 44-39 at just past the midway point of the season. After a hot start that established the Crew as clear front-runners in the stacked NL Central, they have faltered in recent weeks as their starting pitching has failed to deliver and the offense continues to be unreliable beyond all-star contenders Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal. However, early April showed what this team is capable of when clicking on all cylinders, and they still have the internal firepower necessary to take the division for a second consecutive season.
In part one of this two-piece series, I will provide midseason grades for each player that has had a meaningful role on the Brewers thus far in the season. We will start with the position players.
Position Player Grades
Jesus Aguilar (.207/.312/.322, 5 HR, -0.7 WAR) – After an All-Star season in 2018, Aguilar has not been able to get it going in 2019. His days in Milwaukee may be numbered if he doesn’t turn it around in the next couple of weeks. Grade: F
Orlando Arcia (.240/.300/.404, 10 HR, 0.3 WAR) – The offense is still a work in progress, but he has shown flashes of the player he can be when he shows patience at the plate. His defense has been solid, but not spectacular according to advanced metrics. Grade: C
Ryan Braun (.272/.321/.459, 12 HR, 0.4 WAR) – Braun is much the same hitter this year as he was last year, being just slightly above the league-average with a 101 wRC+. He still provides some “thump” in the middle of the lineup. Grade: C+
Lorenzo Cain (.248/.312/.352, 4 HR, 10 SB, 0.7 WAR) – Cain has been spectacular on defense once again, making play after play as one of the premier defensive centerfielders in the game. His offense has taken a notable step back from 2018, putting his spot as the Brewers’ leadoff hitter in jeopardy. Grade: B-
Ben Gamel (.261/.346/.400, 5 HR, 0.6 WAR) – Gamel has provided great value for the Brewers as a fourth outfielder, playing all three positions and swinging the bat adequately. Grade: B-
Yasmani Grandal (.266/.377/.533, 18 HR, 3.0 WAR) – Grandal’s signing in retrospect could be the steal of the offseason for the Brewers. His offense out of the catcher’s position is among the league’s best and his pitch framing abilities make him a plus-defender, regardless of the occasional blocking mishap. Grade: A
Keston Hiura (.271/.329/.500, 5 HR, 0.2 WAR) – The most controversial Brewer of the season, Hiura showed his offensive promise during his first stint in Milwaukee while also showing that his defense has room for improvement. Now back in the majors, he will have the chance to solidify himself as a middle-of-the-order threat. Grade: B
Mike Moustakas (.275/.349/.570, 23 HR, 2.6 WAR) – The Moose has been an all-star for the Crew, pairing elite offense with solid defense at both second and third base. Grade: A
Hernan Perez (.235/.277/.383, 5 HR, 0.0 WAR) – The Brewers’ jack-of-all-trades struggled offensively while providing some modest value through his defensive versatility. His lack of upside led to his designation for assignment. Grade: D+
Manny Pina (.147/.266/.309, 3 HR, 0.0 WAR) – As the Brewers’ backup catcher, Pina has been just that and nothing more. He’s been great defensively. Grade: C-
Travis Shaw (.164/.278/.290, 6 HR, -0.9 WAR) – Entering 2019 fresh off of back-to-back 3-win seasons, Shaw has struggled to get it going and looks lost at the plate. Let’s hope he can turn it around in the second half. Grade: F
Eric Thames (.270/.383/.522, 11 HR, 1.2 WAR) – Thames has quietly put together a very productive year thus far at first base. He still is largely just a platoon option against righties, but his on-base/power combination has paid dividends. Grade: B+
Christian Yelich (.327/.423/.704, 29 HR, 4.5 WAR) – Another year, another MVP campaign from the reigning NL MVP. Business as usual. Grade: A+