One team who has plenty of question marks creating quite a stir heading to the offseason is the Milwaukee Brewers.
Despite winning the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers became one of the first exits of the playoffs in 2023.
But now, the Brewers find themselves in a quandary. There are rumors circulating that the team is open season, and anyone could be on the outs via trade, of course. Financial issues are starting to pop up, and team control on key players is starting to slip away. SP Corbin Burnes and SS Willy Adames are entering their final years of team control, and SP Brandon Woodruff will likely miss all of next season.
Most of the roster remains intact heading into the offseason, however. That could mean that they still want to go all-in for another crack at an NL Central crown. To do so, they will need to fend off some stiff competition, including from a talented Cincinnati Reds team on the rise.
So what is going on Milwaukee? Do the rumors have any value or truth to them? What is the offseason plan? Let’s take a deeper look at the Milwaukee Brewers end-of-season stats…
Leading Off: Offense Needs Some Improvement
Overall, the offense was a disappointment in 2023 for the Brewers. They finished near the bottom half of the Senior Circuit in just about every important statistical category.
To be specific, Milwaukee had the third-fewest hits in the National League in 2023 (1290), third-fewest doubles (257), fourth-fewest triples (16), fourth-fewest home runs (165), fourth-worst batting average (.240), and second-worst team slugging percentage (.385) and OPS (.704).
When a team has an offense that struggles like that, it can be hard to win games. But somehow, Milwaukee overcame the lack of firepower at the plate.
One guy in particular who actually put together a solid season was trade acquisition C William Contreras. In his first season with the Brew Crew, the 25-year-old Venezuela native tallied a respectable .289/.367/.457 slash line with 17 home runs and a career-high 78 RBIs. He also led the Brewers with an .825 OPS, 156 total hits, and 38 doubles.
Contreras also pocketed the NL Silver Slugger award for the best-hitting catcher in 2023. He looks to be one guy to have a bright future at the plate.
Yelich Proving He Still Has Something in the Tank
Another guy who fits the mold of a power-speed threat is OF Christian Yelich. Coming off his sixth season in Milwaukee, Yelich is starting to get up there in age, as he’ll be 32 next season. But he still is a versatile athlete while at the dish. In 2023, he touted a .278/.370/.447 slash line with 19 home runs and 76 RBIs. While those aren’t the same numbers that will put him in the MVP race, he’s still a solid left-handed bat to be reckoned with.
Yelich will be on milestone watch next season. If he can collect seven home runs and 16 stolen bases next season, he will join an elite club with 200 career home runs and 200 stolen bases.
Overall, the offense was one of the worst in the NL, but these two are leaders who can keep them afloat.
Pitching Turns Elite Again Thanks to Starters, Lights-Out Bullpen
The rotation is the strong point of the Brewers. They carried the top ERA in the National League in 2023, while striking out the fifth-most batters, allowing the fewest hits, runs, and earned runs to their opponents.
Leading the charge of their rotation is righty ace Corbin Burnes. Burnes is turning into a workhorse starter who looks to be Cy Young-caliber each year. For his age-28 season, the California native tallied a 10-8 record with a 3.39 ERA in 193.2 innings, 200 strikeouts, and 66 walks. Burnes also pocketed his third consecutive All-Star appearance this past season.
Burnes has emerged into one of the premier pitchers in the NL. His stuff is electric, and he averages more than a strikeout an inning.
Williams Turning into a Lights-Out Closer
But 2023 was a true breakout season for CP Devin Williams. After accepting the closer role midway through 2022, the 29-year-old right-hander asserted himself as a dominant back-end bullpen arm in 2023. What shows that more than anything, is a very impressive 8-3 record for a closing pitcher. A 36-of-40 save conversion rate, 1.53 ERA, and 87 strikeouts in just 58.2 innings (61 appearances) also lead to him being a lights-out kind of pitcher.
So… What Is There to Build On, And What Needs Done in the Offseason?
Now, as a team, the Brewers earned the NL team Gold Glove award. That is an honor that their fan base certainly will be happy about. But regarding what needs to be done in the offseason, they need another big bat to help energize their offense. The pitching is successful. But if a struggling offense can’t complement the pitching, the Brewers could be looking at a down year in 2024.
There will be plenty of buzz with big bats abound looking ahead. And there are question marks surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers. A very intriguing offseason looms in Milwaukee.
Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate also works as a cashier and can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).