Milwaukee Brewers: 84.5 wins
- Baseball Prospectus: 84 wins
- FanGraphs: 78 wins
The Brewers came out of nowhere last year to push the Cubs for the NL Central crown and ultimately finished the year with 86 wins. Milwaukee stayed in the Wild Card race until the final week of the season and ultimately came up only one win short of sneaking in ahead of the Rockies. The rebuild ended much more quickly than anyone could have predicted for the Brew Crew.
With the rebuild over, the Brewers made an aggressive push to throw their window of contention open even wider than it already was. They added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich in short succession to build one of the best outfields in the National League. Milwaukee was able to keep most of their top prospects, and their outfield depth is still a source of trade chips come July. Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips all hold trade value and could be used to headline a package for a starter.
Whether or not the Brewers make another jump this year depends on their starting pitching. The rotation overachieved last year, but will be without ace Jimmy Nelson to start the year while he recovers from shoulder surgery. Zach Davies and Chase Anderson are capable arms at the top, but questions abound behind them while the Brewers wait for Nelson’s return.
It will be up to Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley and Brent Suter to carry the back of the rotation for the Brewers. That’s a group with some upside, but just as much potential to implode.
Conclusion: Milwaukee surprised last year and isn’t going away anytime soon. The starting pitching holds it together well enough to back up a dynamic offense and the team wins 90 games and goes back to the playoffs.