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Brewer WAR Lords: The Outfield

Earlier in the series:

First Base/DH
Second Base
Third Base

Today, we wrap up the series in the outfield. Here are the top ten outfielders in Brewer history, as ranked by WAR:

1. Robin Yount

Career WAR: 28 (1st)
Top three seasons: 15.5 (1st)
Top five seasons: 21.1 (1st)

Take a moment to let this sink in. Robin Yount had the greatest career ever by a Brewer position player while playing shortstop. Then, at age 29 he moved to center field and proceeded to post the greatest career ever by a Brewer outfielder, mostly after his 30th birthday. Yount won his second AL MVP in 1989, when he hit .318/.384/.511 and was worth six wins above replacement.

2. Ben Oglivie

Career WAR: 21.6 (2nd)
Top three seasons: 13.8 (2nd)
Top five seasons: 19.2 (2nd)

Acquired from the Tigers following the 1977 season, Oglivie spent his last nine seasons patrolling the outfield at County Stadium and is, at least in my opinion, one of the more underrated Brewers of all time. He had easily the best season of his Brewer career in 1980, when he led the AL in home runs, started the All Star Game in left field, won a Silver Slugger Award and finished in the top five in slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, RBI and intentional walks and was worth 6.6 wins.

3. Gorman Thomas

Career WAR: 17.9 (4th)
Top three seasons: 13.3 (3rd)
Top five seasons: 19 (3rd)

On top of having the greatest name ever for a dachshund, Gorman Thomas had one of the best short stretches in Brewer history. Thomas led the NL in home runs in 1979 and 1982 during a five year run where he was worth 19 wins. In the four years before and the four years after that stretch, he was worth -.1 and .1 wins, respectively.

4. Geoff Jenkins

Career WAR: 19.8 (3rd)
Top three seasons: 13 (4th)
Top five seasons: 18 (4th)

Jenkins had a better overall Brewer career than Gorman Thomas, but Gorman edged him out a bit in peak numbers, so Jenkins ended up at #4. Fans of Jenkins' career might always wonder what could have been: Jenkins was worth 8.8 runs above replacement in his 1999 and 2000, his first two seasons as a full time Brewer, then was worth less than 1.9 wins per season over the following six seasons, particularly struggling with staying healthy and hitting left handed pitching.

5. Jeromy Burnitz

Career WAR: 16 (tie for 6th)
Top five seasons: 11.7 (tie for 5th)
Top five seasons: 16.1 (5th)

Another Brewer who might be among the most underrated of all time, Burnitz spent five full seasons as a Brewer and averaged 152 games played over those seasons, all while playing at a high level. Burnitz' best season as a Brewer was his first full one, 1997, when he hit .281/.382/.553 and was worth 4.4 wins.

6. Sixto Lezcano

Career WAR: 16 (tie for 6th)
Top three seasons: 11.7 (tie for 5th)
Top five seasons: 15.4 (6th)

Lezcano made his Brewer debut in 1974 at age 20 and spent the first seven seasons of his 12 year major league career playing right field at County Stadium. Sixto had one of the better batting lines for a Brewer in team history in 1979, when he hit .321/.414/.573 with 28 home runs and was worth 4.8 wins.

7. Greg Vaughn

Career WAR: 16.1 (5th)
Top three seasons: 11.1 (7th)
Top five seasons: 14.4 (8th)

Vaughn made three All Star teams as a Brewer, mainly because the mid-'90s Brewer teams on which he starred were not very good. He had one elite season as a Brewer in 1993, hitting .267/.369/.482 and picking up 6.9 WAR.

8. Johnny Briggs

Career WAR: 14.6 (8th)
Top three seasons: 10.6 (8th)
Top five seasons: 14.6 (7th)

Briggs spent portions of five seasons as a Brewer between 1972 and 1975, and posted an OPS+ of 116 or more in each season. In 1971 and 1972, his first two seasons as a Brewer, he was worth 3.8 wins in each season.

9. Darryl Hamilton

Career WAR: 12.5 (9th)
Top three seasons: 10.2 (9th)
Top five seasons: 12.3 (9th)

While Greg Vaughn was patrolling right field and getting a majority of the accolades from the mid-1990's Brewers, Darryl Hamilton was largely unnoticed alongside him in center despite being only slightly less valuable. In 1993, while Vaughn was having the best season of his career, Hamilton also had his, hitting .310/.367/.406 and saving 13 runs in center field (according to Total Zone), good for 4.3 wins.

10. Dave May

Career WAR: 9.7 (10th)
Top three seasons: 9.3 (10th)
Top five seasons: 9.9 (10th)

David La France May shared an outfield with Sixto Lezcano for much of the early 70's, spending five seasons in a Brewer uniform and posting a career year in 1973, when he hit .303/.352/.473 and was worth 4.7 wins while playing center field.

Closing out the top 20:

Pos. Player Career WAR Rank Top 3 Rank Top 5 Rank
11. Scott Podsednik 8.8 11 8.8 11 8.8 11
12. Brady Clark 7.3 12t 7.2 12 7.3 12t
13. Rob Deer 7.3 12t 6.2 13 7.3 12t
14. Corey Hart 4.2 14 4.7 14 4.3 14
15. Bob Colucio 3.7 15 3.7 15t 3.7 15
16 Glenn Braggs 2.8 16 3.7 15t 2.8 17
17. Mike Felder 2.1 17t 3 17 2.9 16
18. Ryan Braun 2.1 17t 2.1 18 2.1 18
19 Carlos Lee 1.9 19 1.9 19 1.9 19
20. Charlie Moore 1.2 20 1.2 20 1.2 20