20 games over .500 and firmly in playoff position is where the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in the season’s final month. The team’s structure and roster, though, is much different than it was on Opening Day all the way back in late March. There have been key contributors coming up from the minor leagues like Corbin Burnes, as well as trade acquisitions in Jonathan Schoop, Mike Moustakas, and Joakim Soria, among others. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of how those new Brewers have helped, or hurt, Milwaukee’s postseason push.
1. Mike Moustakas
I, along with many Brewers fans was dumbfounded initially by this move by David Stearns that sent Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez to Kansas City for lefty slugger Mike Moustakas. The confusion stemmed from the fact that Milwaukee already had a more than capable third baseman in Travis Shaw. The supposed logjam figured itself out though, and Moustakas has been a huge addition. He has hit 5 home runs for the Crew and has driven in 23 runs across 37 games, and played a solid third base defensively. In addition to his offensive and defensive prowess, the Moose’s experience of playing in two World Series with the Royals and winning one, could prove to be important to a relatively inexperienced Brewers team.
Former Chicago White Sox closer Joakim Soria has been unspectacular in his brief Brewers tenure, however his struggles are not to the point where he is not trusted by Craig Counsell in high-leverage, late-inning scenarios. The 34 year old has appeared in 16 games, has allowed 13 earned runs, and owns a WHIP of 1.35. Part of why he has not been great thus far is likely due to the quad injury he suffered on August 9th against the Padres. There is certainly room for improvement going forward.
3. Jonathan Schoop
2018 has been up and down for Schoop as a member of both the Brewers and Orioles, however he is getting hot at the right time for his new squad. He was responsible for a memorable moment last Sunday at Miller Park, hitting a go-ahead grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner just mere moments after Craig Counsell was ejected from the game. The early returns on Schoop were awful. It took him weeks to look comfortable at the plate in his new threads. But since the end of August, he has been a valued contributor and is looking like the player the Brewers thought they were getting at the July 31st trade deadline.
Since those three large scale acquisitions, the Brewers front office has added additional veteran players Xavier Cedeno, Curtis Granderson, and Gio Gonzalez. Those three could prove to be pivotal in their own right, however the sample size is too small at this point to dig too deep into it. As stated previously, the Brewers roster makeup is very different and considerably better than it was on Opening Day, and it is unlikely the team would be in the favorable position it is in now in terms of playoff positioning without the midseason additions and subtractions that have been made.