I made some way too early predictions in February, and now it is time to revisit them and make any adjustments.
So let’s start with my first prediction:
The Brewers will be very close to a Wild Card spot, and many fans will be calling for David Stearns to make a push at the trade deadline.
Well, they are not only close to the Wild Card spot at this point, but they are in first place in the NL Central. On top of that, the fans are calling for Stearns to trade for Sonny Gray. I would have to say that this prediction has come true.
The Brewers will be sellers at the deadline. Newcomers Neftali Feliz, Joba Chamberlain, and Eric Thames will be trade chips, as well as Junior Guerra, Scooter Gennett, and of course Ryan Braun.
Wow, I was wrong on that one. I don’t think that the Brewers are going to be sellers, but what I was really wrong about was the trade chips. Feliz, Chamberlain, and Gennett are no longer with the team and Guerra and Braun have been injured this year.
Thames had a great April, but has only been hitting .211 with 12 home runs since then. He has become the starting first baseman, and the Brewers traded AAA first baseman Garrett Cooper. That seems to say that Thames is going to be with the Brewers for the long haul.
Predictions about the youth:
Orlando Arcia will anchor an infield defense that will be improved over last year’s version. Lewis Brinson could come up by mid-season and have an impact. Brett Phillips will spend most of the year at AAA, but he could be productive in September. Zach Davies, Jimmy Nelson, and Chase Anderson will become solid starters.
Arcia is anchoring an infield defense that does seem to be improved over last year’s. He has made some amazing plays at shortstop, and Travis Shaw has contributed some amazing plays at third. Shaw has not committed an error in the last 61 games, second all time for Brewer third basemen (Don Money, 88 in 1973-74, 86 in 1974).
Brinson was brought up in June and appeared in 14 games before going back down to Colorado Springs. He only managed 3 hits, including a triple, that amounted to a .097 batting average. Brinson has been tearing it up in AAA, hitting .344 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI. He will be back up this season.
Phillips was called up for a handful of games in June before being sent back down to AAA. Then he came up last week and has appeared in 4 games. He has already hit his first home run and he has shown off his arm a few times.
Nelson and Anderson (before his injury) have pitched well. Davies, though he has been giving up a lot of runs, leads the team with 11 wins. Combined, the trio is 25-10.
My prediction is that the Brewers will gain 9 wins over last year and finish at 82-80.
I am sticking with this prediction. I know that they are currently 8 games over .500 and in first place in the NL Central. I am not predicting a collapse, but more of a regression to the mean. The Brewers have been playing at a phenomenal level, and they have been having fun doing it. This team is fun to watch. It may not be so fun to watch if they hit my prediction, as they would have to go 30-36 the rest of the way.
I hope I’m wrong about that last one. It would be nice to see this team finish strong. No matter how they finish this season, they are ahead of schedule in their rebuild. They should be playoff contenders next season and for many seasons to come.