Drafting The Milwaukee Brewers


According to NFBC ADP since Valentines Day, Christian Yelich is the first Brewer being drafted. With an ADP of 55, many would consider that a steal. He has been picked as high as 25th and as low as 86th. Christian is the 16th OF eligible player being drafted, behind Byron Buxton and ahead of Billy Hamilton. Yelich is not going to rack up stolen bases like those two, but has at least 15 steals in 3 of the last four seasons, including 21 back in 2014. The difference is that Yelich could provide you with 30+ doubles and 20+ home runs with a batting average near .300, an OBP hovering around .375 and a top 10 wOBA in the OF.
Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Baseball
Brewers Knebel Closer Monkey
How the Brewers closer situation played on out
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After Yelich, it's closer Corey Knebel being drafted with an ADP of 62.  That makes him the 4th closer selected, behind Kenley Janse, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman.   Knebel had pitched just 83 innings in the two previous seasons, prior to becoming the Brewers closer last year.  In 76 appearances he pitched 76 innings and owned a 14.92 K/9 to the tune of a 1.78 ERA / 2.97xFIP. He converted 39 of 45 saves. He earned his first save of the year on May 14 after Neftali Feliz had saved 8 of 9 games, with a 6.35 ERA and 4 losses. It took just 7 days for Closer Monkey to confirm Knebel as the Brewers official closer. If Knebel is for real, you are looking at 30+ saves with a top 5 K/9 among closers with a WHIP just slightly higher than you would like. You can find similar closer value later in drafts, and we suggest you draft a bat instead: Elvis Andrus, Buster Posey or A.J. Pollock.

Next up, Lorenzo Cain and Domingo Santana are coming off draft boards, between the 85th and 90th picks as the 22nd and 23rd OF eligible players selected. If you passed on Knebel, this could be the time to draft Edwin Diaz, Cody Allen, or Ken Giles. If you do decide to grab one of these two Brewers OFers, you are doing so for different reasons. Cain is top 20 in OF wOBA and top 5 in AVG over the last two years, amongst 44 qualified OFs. However, his .133 ISO ranks 33rd, right there with Brett Gardner, Denard Span and Alex Gordon. Cain has benefited from a .340 BABIP, top 10, so it will be interesting to see if changing home ballparks and leagues has any impact. Santana owns the same wOBA as George Springer, 10th in the OF over the last two seasons with a minimum of 700 PAs. Santana's .215 ISO is also equal to that of Springer, but his 30% K-rate is the 6th worst, right there with Keon Broxton, Aaron Judge, Byron Buxton, Steven Souza & Brandon Moss. That is nearly twice the rate Cain striekouts. Santana is one of six OFers with 40+ home runs over the last two season, and less than 1000 PAs. Only Jon Jay and Tommy Pham have a higher BABIP in the OF since 2016 - Santana and Charlie Blackmon both sit a .361.

We are nearing pick 100 in fantasy baseball drafts and one name we still have not mentioned - Ryan Braun. Well he will have to wait because Travis Shaw is coming off draft boards nearly a round before the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and 2011 NL MVP. Milwaukee acquired Shaw last offseason from the Boston Red Sox for RP Tyler Thornburg. Shaw would finish 2017 as one of just five 3B with 100+ RBI, one of three with 30 HRs and 100 RBI and the only 3B with 30/100 and 10 stolen bases! He ranked 7th in wOBA and 8th in wRC+ at the position and is currently the 9th 3B eligible off draft boards. However, Shaw is the only qualified 3B in the top 5 K-rate with a BB% less than 10. You can get similar value at the 3B position if you wait until the next round and draft Nick Castellanos , who also has OF eligibility. This would allow you to grab a SP in Masahiro Tanaka or Luis Castillo, or catcher Salvador Perez, instead of drafting Shaw. The 3B position is deep with guys like Miguel Sano, Rafael Devers, Kyle Seager and Jake Lamb still available later in drafts.

Finally, it's time to talk about Ryan Braun, 115 picks into NFBC, 12 team leagues. He won't have it at your draft, but Braun will earn 1B eligibility this year, so keep that in mind. Braun had the worst year of his career in 2017, playing in just 104 games. He is still a potential 20 2B / 20 HR guy who can hit better than .275, if healthy. I would completely understand if you preferred Ian Desmond, Jon Lester, Marcus Stroman or Zack Godley with your 9th round pick. Even Ozzie Albies is understandable if you waited this long to grab a 2B.

Eric Thames is going to create headaches for fantasy owners when the Brewers play another NL team with no DH. I don't know if I want to worry about Braun being in the lineup or not on a daily basis. The Brewers took a chance on him last year and he provided them with 61 XBH, including 31 home runs. They will figure out ways to get him into the lineup.

Last year, Jonathan Villar was a 2nd round pick. After stealing 62 bases and hitting 19 home runs in 2016, Villar hit just 11 HRs and stole 23 bases. He also scored 43 less runs in 2017. His K-rate increased 5% and his BB% dropped 5%, resulting in last years "bust" of a season. We did not agree with his ADP last year. At pick 164, Villar is nothing more than a bench player, with owners praying for stolen bases and some pop on the days they are forced to play him.

Villar shifted to 2B last year thanks to the emergence of Orlando Arcia at SS. Arcia is a bottom of the barrel starting SS in 12 team leagues that can allow you to punt the position and still grab one of the 6 SS in the MLB who hit 15+ HRs and stole 10+ bases in 2017. Entering his 2nd full season, Arcia will turn 24 in August

The Brewers also have MLB ready bats in Hernan Perez, Keon Broxton, Brett Phillips and Jesus Aguilar. It would not surprise anyone if they deal one of Santana, Braun, Broxton, or Phillips in exchange for much needed help in their starting rotation.

Chase Anderson seems to be the only Brewers starter being drafted, depending on the depth of the league. He was incredible last year, posting a 2.74 ERA (4.33 xFIP) over 25 starts for the Brewers. Anderson was lucky enough to pitch to a 8.8% HR/FB rate, the 3rd lowest among SP with 140+ IP and his .265 BABIP against was the 12th lowest in the same group. He stranded 80% of base runners which was the 7th highest. Needless to say, it's quite possible Anderson does not repeat his 2017 season.  I would prefer to draft Carlos Santana to fill in my UTIL position, and draft SP depth in the following rounds.

Andy Singleton (@PeoplezPen) & Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) Discuss Josh Hader for FanTrax


The Ace of the Brewers staff, Jimmy Nelson, is out until the All-Star Break, recovering from shoulder surgery back in September.

Zach Davies will continue to be a decent streaming option for fantasy owners. The backend of Milwaukee's rotation could feature starts from Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter, Yovani Gallardo, Junior Guerra, Wade Miley and Aaron Wilkerson.

MLBTradeRumors.com ran a poll asking readers to vote on if they believe the Milwaukee Brewers will make the playoffs in 2018.