The collective bargaining discussions continue between the MLBPA and MLB owners, but preparations continue for the 2022 season regardless of it. As the season gets closer, projections are coming out for the upcoming season. One projection is the ZiPS projection, which yearly gets posted by FanGraphs. They released their projections for the Milwaukee Brewers, giving us a look into what we could see in the upcoming season.
On the pitching side, there’s no surprise who is leading the pack. The trio of starters of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta lead the list of pitchers. All three are projected to make 25+ starts, pitch over 140 innings each, and put up at least 180 strikeouts. After that, the list gets a little interesting. Aaron Ashby is also projected to be a vital part of the Brewers pitching staff, with his stats split between starting and relieving (38 games, 19 starts), though currently is projected to be in the bullpen. Regardless, he’s projected for a 3.67 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 10.9 K/9 rate. Meanwhile, the bullpen remains strong with Josh Hader, Devin Williams, and Jake Cousins leading the team and all posting K/9 over 12. One of the surprises in the projections is Josh Lindblom, who is seen as having a decent year with a 4.25 ERA and 4.15 FIP, which wouldn’t be bad for a back of the rotation starter. Meanwhile, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are projected to take a step back, but still put up good numbers in the rotation. Ethan Small also projects to factor into the rotation at some point in the season. The one thing that is clear from the projections is that the pitching staff is in good shape.
Meanwhile, the batters are still looking for someone to step up. That could come from Luis Urias, who had a strong 2021 season and is projected to lead the Brewers offense in 2022. With a projected 3.0 fWAR and 106 OPS+, he’s currently seen as having the best season on the team. Of course, infield mates Willy Adames and Kolten Wong aren’t far behind, with projected fWAR of 2.9 and 2.6, respectively. Meanwhile, Christian Yelich continues to rebound from two rough seasons, but the projections still don’t see him getting back to the superstar that he was in 2019. Lorenzo Cain and Hunter Renfroe are decent in the outfield, but also not what the team needs for a big bat. While Rowdy Tellez still should factor in at first base, Keston Hiura continues to fade and needs to step up somewhere before he runs out of time. While there is hope for good performances out of the offense, the lack of a major offensive player is noticeable.
Despite the struggles on offense, the Brewers pitching staff still has them as projected to challenge for another NL Central title. They could still use some help, but there’s still time in free agency to address the issues that the team has. Once a new CBA has been finalized, we’ll see what additions the Brewers will make to bolster the weak points on the team, but optimism for another good season is still there.