12. Milwaukee Brewers
The 2017 season went far better than anyone involved with running the Milwaukee Brewers could have hoped for in their wildest dreams. They won 86 games, pushed the Chicago Cubs all year, and stayed in the hunt for the NL’s second Wild Card all the way up to the final week of the season. The Brewers are about to pop and make life much more difficult for the frontrunners in the NL Central.
Milwaukee has an exciting young core that gelled much faster than anyone would have predicted. Trading a relief pitcher for third baseman Travis Shaw was a massive steal, Eric Thames came back from Korea and provided power and walks, while Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia look like future All-Stars. Milwaukee also had Zach Davies, Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson combine to rack up a 41-19 record on the year.
The Brwers are mostly set around the diamond and in the rotation. There aren’t many moves that need to be made by a smart and analytical front office. Jhoulys Chacin is a steal at two years and $8 million. The right-hander went 13-10 last year with a 3.89 ERA in 180.1 innings. Chacin will be a capable number-four starter behind the Brwers big three.
Given another year to mature and come together, the Brewers will continue creeping up on the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Patience is the biggest key for the front office. Don’t push it this winter. If Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish linger on the market, then by all means feel them out. This is still a team that can make some noise in the NL in 2018 with or without a blockbuster move.