Milwaukee Brewers: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 23: The Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after Travis Shaw
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 23: The Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after Travis Shaw /
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What Went Wrong

Probably the biggest disappointments for the Milwaukee Brewers this year was Jonathan Villar. In 2016, Villar was a 3-to-4 WAR player who hit .285/.369/.457, with 92 runs, 19 homers, 63 RBI, and a league-leading 62 stolen bases. He walked almost 12 percent of the time and had a .373 BABIP. This year, he hit .241/.293/.372 and didn’t come close to the run production or steals he had in 2016. He walked around 7 percent of the time and his BABIP dropped to .330. He also struck out at a higher rate than any previous season.

If Villar wasn’t the biggest disappointment for the Brewers, then perhaps it was center fielder Keon Broxton. After hitting .242/.354/.430 and being a 2-WAR player in just 75 games in 2016, he slumped to .220/.299/.420 and was worth just 0.7 WAR in 143 games.

Broxton had strikeout issues both years. His career strikeout rate is 37 percent. In 2016, he walked nearly 15 percent of the time, which mitigated some of the strikeouts. This year, he walked less than 9 percent of the time. He also saw his BABIP drop from .373 to .323. Broxton made some great catches during the season, but he regressed significantly from last season.

Left fielder Ryan Braun was more productive than Villar and Broxton, but the $20 million player was limited to 104 games and worth just 1.5 WAR. He also had his worst season at the dish, hitting .268/.336/.487. He has three more years and $60 million left on his contract (with a $15M mutual option for 2021).

Starting pitcher Matt Garza continued his descent into “spring training invite” status. He had an ERA near 5.00 and barely averaged five innings per start. Over the last three years, Garza is 18-31 with a 5.10 ERA. When the Brewers front office looks back at this season, they’ll look at how close they came to the playoffs and the 22 starts they gave to Matt Garza and stare vacantly off into the distance wondering what might have been.

Another starting pitcher who was a big disappointment was Junior Guerra. He was the toast of the town last year, when he was 9-3, with a 2.81 ERA in 121.7 innings. This year, he was 1-4, with a 5.12 ERA in 70.3 innings. His walk rate went from around nine percent to almost 14 percent.