The Milwaukee Brewers have always been a small market team ever since the franchise’s conception in 1969. Being a small market team means the Brewers need to be smart with their money. Throughout the years, the Brewers have always had to piece together rosters with cheap players and every once in a while, these players perform at an exceptional level for the Brewers. Below is the list of some of the greatest one hit wonders the Brewers have ever had. This is Part 1 of this blog series which only includes players from last season through 2000. Keep checking creamcitycentral.com in the near future for Part 2.
Jesus Aguilar, 2018
In 2018, Jesus Aguilar had one of the best seasons a Brewer first baseman has had since Prince Fielder in 2011. Aguilar had a breakout season in 2018 when he hit .270 with 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. He made the NL All-Star game but seemingly fell off a cliff in the second half of the season. In 2019, Aguilar played in 94 games but only hit .225 with an OPS of .694. The Brewers ended up trading him to the Tampa Bay Rays mid-season and that ended Aguilar’s stint with the Brewers. He had one great season in 2018 and that was all Aguilar had to offer throughout his Brewers career meaning his was the definition of a one hit wonder.
Zach Duke, 2014
In 2014 the Brewers acquired former All-Star, Zach Duke, a struggling starter, to help with the team’s bullpen. In 2014, Duke appeared in 74 games, pitched 58.2 innings, and fulfilled his role as a lefty specialist. He ended the season with a 2.45 ERA while also registering the highest SO/9 and FIP of his career. Zach Duke only played in one season with the Brewers but that season helped him reestablish himself as a quality pitcher in the MLB.
Jim Henderson, 2013
I feel like more so than any other team in the league, the Brewers have had the most one hit wonders at the closer position. In 2013, Henderson pitched in 61 games for the Brewers and had 45 games finished. Henderson registered 28 saves that season while pitching 60.0 innings with 75 strikeouts. After his breakout season in 2013, Henderson followed up that campaign with a 7.15 ERA in 14 games. Injuries derailed Henderson career which unfortunately marked 2013 as his only successful season of his career.
Nyjer Morgan, 2011
Since he joined the team, T-Plush, has always been a Brewer fan favorite. From his clutch moments in the playoffs to his amazing postgame interviews, Morgan’s 2011 campaign will always be remembered by Brewers fans. He played in 119 games and played a crucial role in getting the Brewers to the playoffs. He batted .304 with 20 doubles, 6 triples, and 13 stolen bases. The next season, expectations were high for Morgan to be an everyday player in Milwaukee but his numbers dropped off. In 2012, he hit only .239 with an OPS+ of 63 and the Brewers elected not to re-sign him for the 2013 season ending his time in Milwaukee.
LaTroy Hawkins, 2011
In 2010, the Brewers signed veteran journeyman relief pitcher, LaTroy Hawkins, to be part of the team’s bullpen. It took him a season to be effective but in 2011, Hawkins proved to fans why Milwaukee signed him. In 2011, he pitched in 52 games and had a 2.42 ERA while being a set up man to John Axford. After the season, Hawkins left the Brewers and joined the Angels. His one stellar season in 2011 makes him the perfect one hit wonder.
Todd Coffey, 2009
In a dead sprint from the bullpen, sliding into the mound, players and fans alike loved Todd Coffey in 2009. Especially considering he was pitching so well. In 2009, Coffey pitched in 78 games, which is good for fourth all-time in franchise history, and recorded a 2.90 ERA. He also registered 65 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.159. After the 2009 season, Coffey played in 2 more seasons with the Brew Crew but was never able to regain his dominant status.
Gabe Kapler, 2008
2008, the C.C. Sabathia year. The Brewers made a run to the playoffs on the back of the lefty pitcher. However, as good as C.C. was, the Brewers still would not have made the playoffs without players stepping up. One of the players who stepped up in 2008 was outfielder, Gabe Kapler. In 2008, Kapler was a great platoon outfielder for the Brewers. In 96 games, he hit .301 with a career high OPS+ of 119. He scored a run in 38% of the games he played and was also a solid defensive option for the Brewers. He joined Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, and Corey Hart to round out a great outfield. In 2009, Kapler signed with the Rays, thus, making his run with the Brewers only 96 games. Although, he was very good in those 96 games.
Johnny Estrada, 2007
The Brewers needed an upgrade at catcher for the 2007 season. Damian Miller and Mike Rivera just weren’t cutting it so the Brewers traded Doug Davis, Dana Eveland, and Dave Krynzel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for All-Star and Silver Slugger winner, Johnny Estrada. Estrada played in one season with the Brewers and actually had one of the best individual statistical seasons a Brewer catcher has ever had. In 2007, Estrada played in 120 games and batted .278 with 10 home runs, 25 doubles, and 54 RBIs. After the 2007 season, the Brewers traded Estrada to the New York Mets for Guillermo Mota. He bounced around to the Nationals for the 2008 season, only played in 23 games, and mysteriously never saw an MLB field again.
Derrick Turnbow, 2005
Like I stated before, I feel like the Brewers have had the most one hit wonders at the closer position out of every team in the league. In 2005, Derrick Turnbow came out of nowhere and absolutely dominated the league. He pitched in 69 games, had a 7-1 record, and recorded 39 saves, good for fifth in the NL. He also had 64 strikeouts, a WHIP of 1.084, and an incredible ERA of 1.74. Unfortunately, after 2005, Turnbow was never able to return to his former self. In his next three seasons combined, he pitched in 149 games and had an ERA of 6.13. His one season in 2005, was his only good year of his career which made Turnbow one of my favorite one hit wonders of all-time.
Wes Helms, 2003
The Brewers have always struggled to find a consistent, long-term, third baseman. In 2003, Milwaukee thought they found their guy in Wes Helms. In 2003, Wes Helms hit .261 with 23 home run, 67 RBIs, and 21 doubles. That season he had a career high in homers, RBIs, runs, doubles, and walks. The next two seasons, Helms’ play fell off and he never played more than 95 games in a season for the Brewers eventually losing his starting spot to Bill Hall. The following year, he ended up with the Florida Marlins and decided he knew how to play baseball again when he hit .329 in 140 games.
Jayson Durocher, 2002
Hey! Don’t you remember Jayson Durocher, the lights out pitcher in the Brewers 2002 bullpen? I don’t. Most likely, it is because after his breakout season in 2002, he had a horrible, yet brief, 2003 and never saw the majors after that. However, in 2002 Durocher pitched in 39 games for the Brewers, 48.0 innings, and had a stellar 1.88 ERA. In that season, he pitched in more innings and had a better ERA than unanimous Hall of Fame closer, Mariano Rivera. Too bad Durocher never got back to dominance, the Brewers really could have used him in the mid 2000s.
Well, that’s it for Part 1! Keep checking creamcitycentral.com or follow @CreamCityCtral on Twitter to find out when Part 2 drops!