Thanks to everyone for their participation in the 2016 MVBrewers voting. Good choices (except I still think Villar was #1)! If you can’t make the top ten of a 73 win team, perhaps you shouldn’t feel real confident about your position, especially with a stacked minor league system beneath you. But these players contributed positively on a major league baseball team - and in the cosmic scheme of things, not too many people can say that.
JJ was the Brewers’ closer for the first half of the year before joining Jonathon Lucroy in the trade to the Rangers. He saved 27 games in 28 opportunities with a 2.22 ERA. He posted an average WAR of 0.9, with 10 runs prevented in only 44.2 innings.
Scoot improved against left-handed pitching enough to start 123 games for Milwaukee, appearing in 137. His 546 plate appearances were a career high. His OPS against lefties was .708; that brought his career OPS vs. southpaws to .490...which shows how bad (historically bad) he had been in the past. His limitations defensively (both in only playing one position, and playing that one at or below average) hurt his value.
Martin’s average WAR of 0.9 isn’t very impressive, but his value defensively was immense. The Brewers’ pitching line improved markedly across the board after he took over as the more-or-less full time catcher (you can look it up), and he threw out 40% of those trying to steal. There will always be a place in the big leagues for a player like Maldy, whether it is with the Brewers or another major league team.
Aaron was acquired from the D’backs in the off season more or less as a salary dump, then flipped prior to the All Star game to the Red Sox for pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (maintaining the Brewers’ quota of Aarons) and infielder Wendell Rijo. In between, he was surprisingly productive as the Brewers regular third baseman, posting an average 1.6 WAR. His departure opened the hot corner for Jonathan Villar, and shortstop for rookie Orlando Arcia.
Kirk’s 0.7 average WAR was...average. But Home Kirk was a terror; his .953 OPS in Miller Park more than doubles his rather pathetic .460 road number. He walked and struck out at about the same rates on the road, but when he hit the ball...BABIP of .418 at home, .194 away. 11 of his 13 homers came at Miller Park. His defense in centerfield was OK. Will he be back in Milwaukee? It might hinge on what the Brewers do regarding Ryan Braun this off season, but even if Braun is traded the Brewers have several outfield prospects getting close to being major league ready, if they aren’t already there.
Two other young Brewers will most likely be more valuable than these five, and even some of the top ten, in the near future: Orlando Arcia’s glove is top flight and his bat showed some surprising pop, though not yet much consistency. Domingo Santana fought through two DL stints to finish the season strong, and he’ll likely get another crack at nailing down the everyday job in right field next season.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs