As the 2020 season gets closer, predictions are starting to come out for the upcoming season. One publication that released their predictions today is USA today, who had a six-person panel vote for their predictions in the 2020 season. Their aggregate predictions put the Brewers at 84-78 in 2020, third in the division and just missing a Wild Card spot.
While an 84 win total would seem like a decent mark, it would be a disappointment for the Brewers in a few ways. First of all, it would be a five-win reduction over 2019, where the Brewers went 89-73. It would put them in third place in the division, one game behind the Reds (predicted at 85-77) and four games behind the Cardinals (predicted at 88-74). The rest of the division predictions put the Cubs in fourth place at 82-80, and the Pirates in last place at the bottom of the National League with a 60-102 record (third worst in baseball, only ahead of Baltimore and Detroit).
The 84 win prediction also would put the Brewers on the outside looking in for the Wild Card race. In the National League, the three predicted division winners are the Braves (92-70), Cardinals (88-74), and Dodgers (99-63). Next up is the first Wild Card, which would go to the Nationals (88-74). The second Wild Card prediction is actually a four way tie, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Diamondbacks all predicted for an 85-77 record. In total, 11 of the 15 teams in the National League are predicted to have winning records, with seven teams predicted to have between 82 and 85 wins.
In 2019, USA Today pegged the Brewers right on the money at 89 wins, working their way into the postseason and making it into the Wild Card game before losing to the Nationals. In 2018, the Brewers were predicted to finish second in the NL Central with 86 wins, but rode a strong September to overtake the heavily favored Cubs and ended up on a postseason streak that ended in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. While the projections do place the Brewers as a competitive team, they still see them as a non-playoff team. With improvements made by other teams (such as the Reds), as well as the usual favorites still fielding strong teams, the Brewers have another tough season ahead of them if they want to extend their playoff streak to a team record third straight season.