Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Brewers have a lot to look forward to, including their roster depth. But Craig Counsell and David Stearns will have to make certain tough decisions regarding the roster. In this article, I took a look at each position and its players.
Catcher: Manny Pina put up impressive numbers all season, including a solid .279 batting average and superb defensive abilities. Stephen Vogt also earned a spot on next year's roster by proving to be a solid backup in Pina's absence.
First Base: Eric Thames continued his success from Korea on the Brewers, hitting 31 home runs while hovering at a .250 batting average the entire year. He showed that with the right rest, he can be a star player. And with Jesus Aguilar, who hit a home run every 18 at-bats platooning him, Milwaukee will have finally figured it out at first base.
Second Base: One of the biggest question marks of the season at one point, Milwaukee found a decent starter in Neil Walker, hitting .265 with 14 home runs. Villar and Sogard had moments of brilliance, but one of them should go to make room for outfielders and possibly a free agent in Brandon Phillips or Howie Kendrick.
Third Base: There's no question that with a slash line of .273/.349/.513 with 31 home runs and 101 home runs, Travis Shaw was the MVP of the Brewers. There is a 100% chance that he starts on opening day in 2018. When he does need to rest, and for that matter, anyone, super utilityman Hernan Perez will take over.
Shortstop: Not surprisingly, the Brewers have the same security at shortstop as they do at third base. Orlando Arcia has made spectacular run-saving plays all year, but what was more impressive was his development at the dish. His OPS increased a full 100 points from last year to .731.
Outfield: The Brewers have a very good problem in the outfield, with four players vying for three spots. You can argue about Braun hitting third, but with a 112 OPS+, he still deserves a spot in the lineup. But so do rookies Brett Phillips and Lewis Brinson, who have been lighting up the minors for years. And I haven't even mentioned Domingo Santana and his .875 OPS. The Brewers are likely just going to ride the hot hands all year, leaving a worthy player benched.
Rotation: Chase Anderson and Zach Davies have solidified their spots in the rotation next year, with 160 and 112 ERA+, respectively. Brent Suter and Brandon Woodruff also should be on the rather thin rotation. Jimmy Nelson also deserves a spot, but Milwaukee will have to fill in for him until he comes back from his injury. They can either do that from within with Josh Hader or sign a free agent in the very strong market that includes Chris Tillman and Marco Estrada.
Bullpen: It's always tough to analyze this aspect of a future roster, as bullpens are extremely volatile. But Milwaukee has many great pieces, including Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader, Jared Hughes, and Jacob Barnes.