Before the 2017 season started last March, four BCB contributors penned three “Bold Predictions” each for the upcoming season. None of us predicted an 86 win season and playoff contention down to the second to last game of the season, but that WAS fourth on my list, IIRC. Well, perhaps not. I’ve linked each prediction piece so you can review the actual articles.
- Orlando Arcia spends time in the minors. (Nope.)
- Manny Pina becomes an average regular at catcher. (Yup.)
- Paolo Espino will make MLB starts for the Brewers. (Two for three!)
Not only did Arcia not get sent down this year, he never even had a rehab assignment in the minors. He played defense as well as we expected (leading shortstops in put-outs this year, by virtue of taking every pop-up he could get to - irking Travis Shaw in the process), and OPS’d an acceptable .731 at short. Kyle wasn’t the only observer that was surprised by Orlando’s solid season, and it was a big part of why the Brewers played well this year.
Manny Pineapple had a fine season, becoming the Brewers’ regular catcher through his performance and injuries to other players. His .279 average was tops among Brewer regulars, and he OPS’d .751. He finished sixth in the major leagues in catcher’s ERA, and threw out 36% of steal attempts (11th.) Perhaps Kyle was actually wrong here. Manny could probably be considered above average!
Paolo Espino did make two starts (and four relief appearances) this year for the Brewers. However, he was subsequently DFA’d and went to the Rangers.
- Zach Davies will be the best starting pitcher by WAR. (Nope - third).
- Brewers will steal 200 bases. (Very bold, but quite wrong.)
- Andrew Susac will finish the season as the primary catcher. (ahhh, no.)
Zach had a good season, and won 17 games. His wins early were more fueled by the offense than his fine pitching, as he had an ERA around 5 as late as June, but he pitched much better in the second half. He ended up at a 2.8 fWAR, behind Jimmy Nelson (4.9) and Chase Anderson (3.3). Corey Knebel also chipped in with a 2.8 fWAR, but as a reliever.
Milwaukee stole 128 bases this year, a far cry from 200. Still, they were second in all of baseball and led the National League, so JP’s point that steals would remain important to the team was correct.
Ah, Andrew Susac. Injuries and poor performance basically robbed him of his 2017 aspirations, but Manny Pina’s break-out season would have made it tough to become the regular. Susac did get his first MLB hit of the year in the second to last game of the season, at least.
- Domingo Santana will not be a Brewer by the end of the year. (jeesh)
- Jesus Aguilar will hit 30 homers for the Brewers this year. (Missed it by THAT much!)
- Travis Shaw will be an All-Star in 2017. (Completing the trifecta!)
Does this guy know anything at all about baseball? In his defense, he thought that the Brewers would trade Santana for prospects to make room for the baby Brewers after they fell out of contention; Jesus Aguilar WOULD have hit 30 if the team had played him as a regular...or, at least it extrapolates out that way if he would’ve played everyday, so that wasn’t his fault; and Travis Shaw DESERVED to be an All-Star.
- Wily Peralta will be the Brewers’ third best starter. (Oh my.)
- Keon Broxton will go 20-20. (Now THAT’S some fine prognosticating!)
- Ryan Braun will end the season as a Brewer. (This seemed more iffy back then...)
If Wily had been the Brewers’ third best starter, the team would have lost 130 games.
Keon finished with 20 homers and 21 steals. Of course, his season was marred by inconsistency and he found himself in a platoon role during the season’s final month as Brett Phillips emerged for the stretch run.
It became rather evident as the season went along that Ryan Braun would be a Brewer not only for all of 2017, but likely through the remainder of his contract. He now has a season of below average productivity (for him) and significant DL time on his Brewer resume, so it’s safe to say his trade value is pretty low right now. Maybe one of us should predict a bounce back year for him in 2018.
So I’m not very good at this. Sue me! I promise to work harder on it for next year.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs