As the new year gets under way,it is the social norm to reflect on what the last year has brung. Looking at the Brewer’s past year, they made their first postseason berth since 2011. However, I can’t help but think about what came before to make the postseason roster. If you look at all the Brewers have done from drafts to trades, there are several bright spots.
Everything started after the 2014 season when the Brewers fell apart in the second half of the season. In 2015, they tried to patch things together but it didn’t work. That is when it was decided they were in operation rebuild. The following is looking back at key parts that brought us to the success of 2018.
Trading Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress
You may be thinking about how this trade helped propel the Brewers to the postseason. At the trade deadline in August of 2016, the Brewers traded Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. In return they got a young outfielder in Lewis Brinson and RHP Luis Ortiz. Ring a bell?
Luis Ortiz later was traded to the Orioles for Jonathan Schoop. As much as that was a bust, Lewis Brinson makes the trade worth while.
As you all remember, almost a year ago (January 25) Lewis Brinson was traded to the Marlins in exchange for now MVP, Christian Yelich. If there is someone out there who doesn’t think Yelich was a huge push for the Brewers, please click off now. Posting a 7.6 WAR and a HUGE wOBA (weighted on base average) of .422. This one was a pretty easy connection. Safe to say, without Yelich, the Brewers may not have ended in the same place.
Trading Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers
I am going to bring it back to July of 2015 when the Brewers made the first blockbuster trade. They received OF Brett Phillips, OF Domingo Santana, RHP Adrian Houser, and LHP Josh Hader in exchange for Gomez and Fiers.
I’ll talk about the elephant of the room first, Hader made a hefty impact on this past season. As for Houser, he has been a steady option to bring up from the minors for bullpen relief. As for Phillips, he had a pretty good impact in the first half of the season. He was then traded to Kansas City for Mike Moustakas.
Moose came to Milwaukee and made an immediate contribution. Not only was his “one the field play” valuable, but his playoff experience was huge for a young team going into the postseason for the first time.
Domingo Santana also had an impact in 2018. However, his biggest impact may come in the future with being involved in an off-season trade with the Mariners.
Trading Tyler Thornburg
A sometimes overlooked trade has brought great success. Gaining the underrated INF Travis Shaw for Tyler Thornburg has given the Brewers a steady LHH and great versatility. His value really shined this past year after agreeing to play 2B to make room for Mike Moustakas.
For a player who was fairly “inexpensive”, he has “boomed” in a Brewers uniform. The other part of that trade was acquiring young prospect Mauricio Dubon. Dubon struggled with an injury in 2018 but still carries a lot of potential. He is definitely a young face to keep your eye on.
After looking back to see how last year’s squad was formed, it’s important to look to the future. Since David Stearns has taken over, he has had multiple very good drafts. His first draft in 2016 has already proved plentyfull.
Coming out of that draft was RHP Corbin Burnes who has already proved himself in the majors and is slated to start in 2019. Another top pitcher is Zack Brown. He spent the 2018 season in AA. He put up very good numbers and is starting to prove himself as a future ace. The last player coming out of 2016 was Corey Ray. Whether he makes it to the majors in Milwaukee or is part of a trade, he is slated to have a big impact.
Moving into the 2017 draft, Keston Hiura takes “the cake”. He is a natural born hitter who adds a little power. It is easy to see him having an impact later in the 2019 season and for years to come. The latest draft is hard to see a major league impact so early, however first round pick Brice Turang thrived in his first year in the minors.
It is easy to see that Brewers have made many key moves that brought them the 2018 success. Those same moves and drafts ensure that their success carries into years to come.