Taking a look at the all-time Milwaukee Brewers team … with a twist

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 05: A picture of the American Family Field logo outside the stadium before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at American Family Field on September 05, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brewers defeated the Cardinals 6-5. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 05: A picture of the American Family Field logo outside the stadium before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at American Family Field on September 05, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brewers defeated the Cardinals 6-5. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Left field: Ryan Braun #8 (2007-2020)

Ryan Braun is one of, if not the most controversial player in Milwaukee Brewers history. He also happens to be one of the best that have ever worn a Brewers jersey.

A six-time All Star, five-time Silver Slugger, former Rookie of the Year and 2011 NL MVP winner, Ryan Braun’s on-field performance speaks for itself. Over 14 years with the club, he provided more late-season clutch home runs than anyone else in Brewers history including dramatic game-winning home runs in 2008, 2011 and 2019.

PED suspension aside, Ryan Braun was an incredible baseball player. The sweet-swinging righty wrapped up his Brewers career with just under 2,000 hits, over 400 doubles, 350 home runs (good for the number one spot in Brewers history), 1,100+ RBI, a .296 batting average, .358 OBP, .532 SLG%, .891 OPS and 134 OPS+. The list goes on, he ended his career with a 47.1 bWAR and a career 135 wRC+.

Defensively, Braun came up as a third baseman with a strong arm but not many other strong qualities. The Brewers moved him to left field at the start of 2008 and never looked back. Braun certainly passed the eye-test as an outfielder but the metrics don’t favor him as a very strong defender regardless of his position. Bouncing around between left field, right field, and even first base near the end of his career, Braun would’ve been best suited for a DH role, one he took on in 2020 when the National League adopted the designated hitter for a year.

When all is said and done, Ryan Braun will go down as one of the best Milwaukee Brewers ever. While there are Brewers fans who have fallen out of love with him over the years, he is still largely a beloved figure and should find his number 8 hanging in the rafters in the coming years.

Honorable mention(s): Geoff Jenkins #5 (1998-2007), Greg Vaughn #7/#11/#23 (1989-1996), Ben Oglivie #24 (1979-1986)

Ineligible: Christian Yelich #22 (2018-present Active)

Center field: #27 Carlos Gomez (2010-2015)

Acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for the previously mentioned J.J. Hardy in 2010, Carlos Gomez instantly won over the hearts of all Milwaukee Brewers fans. Known for his colorful and energetic personality, “Go-Go” was the club’s starting center fielder each year he was on the team and he seemed to get better and better as time went on.

Gomez’s peak years were 2013 and ’14 where he was an All Star and top-20 NL MVP vote getter in each year, hitting over 20 home runs, stealing over 30 bases, posting an OPS+ over 125, and an oWAR of 4.3 and 4.7 respectively, he was and still is one of the most electric players Milwaukee has ever seen.

Defense was the same story for Gomez, as he consistently ranked as one of the best defensive center fielders in the league, posting a dWAR as high as 3.6 in 2013 on the way to winning his first career Gold Glove.

The speedy Carlos Gomez wore his heart on his sleeve and while that may not have always been the best thing, nobody can ever say he was not passionate about the game. He was always a player that you hated to go up against as an opponent but loved as a teammate. He was recently added to the Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor and will always have a spot in Milwaukee Brewers fans’ hearts.

Honorable mention(s): Scott Podsednik #20 (2003-2004), Dave May #11 (1970-1974, 1978), Brady Clark #27 (2003-2006)

Ineligible: Lorenzo Cain #6/#36 (2010, 2018-present Active), Gorman Thomas #3/#20/#44 (1973-1976, 1978-1983, 1986 Number Retired)

Right field: Sixto Lezcano #16/#37 (1974-1980)

Sixto Lezcano broke into the major leagues with the Brewers at the age of 20 back in 1974. As his playing time increased over the years, so did his production. Always a lock for a solid batting average, double-digit home run totals and a sharp eye at the plate, Lezcano was a very valuable player for the Brewers throughout the 1970’s.

1979 was by far Sixto Lezcano’s best year as a major leaguer, the then-25 year old outfielder hit 28 home runs, drove in 101, walked more than he struck out, registered a .321 batting average, .414 OBP, .573 SLG%, .987 OPS and a 164 OPS+. In all respects he was one of the best players in the American League that season.

Despite his excellent 1979 season, Lezcano managed to finish just 15th in the AL MVP voting. When taking into account who finished higher than him in the MVP race that season, it’s fair to wonder where a season like that would have ranked in today’s game. His 5.6 WAR ranked 11th overall, batting average seventh, OBP fifth, SLG% third and OPS second amongst qualified MVP vote-getters.

The 1979 season was the last great year in Sixto Lezcano’s career and the second to last year as a member of the Brewers, as they traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals at the conclusion of the 1980 season – one that he failed to replicate his successes from the year before in.

Aside from a brief audition in left and center field in 1976, Sixto Lezcano played the entirety of his Milwaukee Brewers career in right field. While he was not ranked very highly when it comes to dWAR, he possessed one of the league’s strongest throwing arms and even led all American League outfielders in assists in 1978 and then won a Gold Glove in 1979 at the position.

Sixto Lezcano seven-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers is looked back on as a successful one, his 1979 season was outstanding in every sense of the word. His results in seasons after his departure from Milwaukee came nowhere close to what he was able to do in Milwaukee and retired in 1985 at the age of 31. Today, Lezcano finds himself as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor.

Honorable mention(s): Jeromy Burnitz #20 (1996-2001), Rob Deer #45 (1986-1990), Darryl Hamilton #18/#24 (1988, 1990-1995)

*Note: The only full-time designated hitter in Brewers history worthy of making the all-time team would be Hank Aaron, who has his number retired and is in the Hall of Fame.