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2016 Team Previews: Milwaukee Brewers

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Throughout the long, cold offseason, I am doing team by team previews to get you ready for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. Today it's the Brew Crew.

Jimmy Nelson is a key piece for the Brewers in 2016.
Jimmy Nelson is a key piece for the Brewers in 2016.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to my 2016 fantasy team previews. I will be breaking down 2016 prospects for the relevant fantasy players on all 30 teams, one team at a time. Check back throughout the offseason for new team previews. You can catch up on old ones in my archive (here) or in the section (here). Because there are 30 teams to cover in limited time, I have to get started now, even though there will certainly be some trades that move players around and open up larger roles for existing players. Also, free agents and guys that moved midseason will be analyzed with one of the teams they played for, even though they likely (or definitely) won't be on that team in 2016 so they don't get missed. Hopefully you can bear with me on those issues and remember that these were written before those trades occurred.

I am starting at the bottom of the standings and working my way up. In each team preview, I will attempt to follow the same layout. First, there will be two tables of stats for hitters (showing stats acquired while playing for this team; traded players will be missing some stats) followed by quick analysis of the most fantasy relevant of those hitters (relevance at my discretion). After that, two tables for the pitching stats and some pitcher analysis. I will then present one breakout player (aka sleeper) and one breakdown player (or bust, if you prefer) for the team. Got it? Ok, let's get started.

Milwaukee Brewers

Hitters

Name Position PA HR R RBI SB CS BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Gerardo Parra OF 351 9 53 31 9 3 5.70% 16.20% 0.328 0.369 0.517
Ryan Braun OF 568 25 87 84 24 4 9.50% 20.20% 0.285 0.356 0.498
Jason Rogers 3B*, 1B 169 4 22 16 0 0 8.90% 20.10% 0.296 0.367 0.441
Khris Davis OF 440 27 54 66 6 2 10.00% 27.70% 0.247 0.323 0.505
Adam Lind 1B 572 20 72 87 0 0 11.50% 17.50% 0.277 0.36 0.46
Domingo Santana OF 145 6 14 18 2 0 12.40% 31.70% 0.231 0.345 0.421
Carlos Gomez OF 314 8 42 43 7 6 7.30% 22.30% 0.262 0.328 0.423
Jonathan Lucroy C 415 7 51 43 1 0 8.70% 15.40% 0.264 0.326 0.391
Aramis Ramirez 3B 302 11 25 42 1 0 5.30% 13.90% 0.247 0.295 0.43
Shane Peterson 1B*, OF 226 2 22 16 0 1 8.80% 24.30% 0.259 0.324 0.353
Elian Herrera OF*, 2B, 3B 277 7 29 33 3 1 6.50% 26.00% 0.242 0.29 0.395
Scooter Gennett 2B 391 6 42 29 1 3 3.10% 17.40% 0.264 0.294 0.381
Hernan Perez 2B*, 3B 238 1 13 21 4 1 1.70% 20.20% 0.27 0.281 0.365
Logan Schafer OF 143 1 17 6 1 0 8.40% 20.30% 0.221 0.299 0.311
Jean Segura SS 584 6 57 50 25 6 2.20% 15.90% 0.257 0.281 0.336
Martin Maldonado C 256 4 19 22 0 1 9.00% 25.40% 0.21 0.282 0.293
Hector Gomez SS*, 2B, 3B* 134 1 15 7 0 0 2.20% 29.90% 0.181 0.212 0.323
Luis Sardinas SS*, 2B 105 0 8 4 0 0 5.70% 23.80% 0.196 0.24 0.216

Name BABIP LD% GB% FB% HR/FB SwStr% Soft% Med% Hard% ESPN Player Rater
Gerardo Parra 0.372 23.70% 47.30% 29.00% 11.80% 9.80% 18.50% 47.60% 34.00% 6.15
Ryan Braun 0.322 19.30% 49.60% 31.00% 20.50% 10.50% 14.00% 50.00% 36.00% 9.60
Jason Rogers 0.360 16.10% 54.20% 29.70% 11.40% 8.60% 15.30% 48.30% 36.40% -1.29
Khris Davis 0.285 17.20% 42.50% 40.30% 24.50% 15.20% 18.00% 47.60% 34.40% 3.80
Adam Lind 0.309 18.80% 46.20% 35.10% 14.10% 8.60% 14.80% 48.40% 36.80% 4.89
Domingo Santana 0.31 19.50% 50.60% 29.90% 26.10% 13.90% 20.80% 46.80% 32.50% -1.02
Carlos Gomez 0.322 20.90% 43.10% 36.00% 10.50% 13.90% 23.20% 44.90% 31.90% 3.90
Jonathan Lucroy 0.297 25.90% 44.70% 29.40% 7.60% 5.90% 14.70% 50.30% 35.00% 0.69
Aramis Ramirez 0.253 20.40% 36.30% 43.30% 10.60% 8.80% 18.80% 52.10% 29.20% 1.80
Shane Peterson 0.345 26.50% 52.40% 21.10% 6.50% 10.60% 16.70% 53.30% 30.00% -2.13
Elian Herrera 0.307 24.90% 37.30% 37.80% 10.00% 11.40% 19.30% 48.70% 32.10% -0.80
Scooter Gennett 0.309 21.50% 48.70% 29.80% 6.70% 8.90% 22.20% 55.70% 22.20% -0.21
Hernan Perez 0.335 23.10% 42.90% 34.10% 1.60% 13.30% 17.70% 51.60% 30.70% -2.07
Logan Schafer 0.28 17.00% 50.00% 33.00% 3.20% 8.40% 20.00% 54.00% 26.00% -3.13
Jean Segura 0.298 16.70% 59.00% 24.20% 5.30% 8.20% 25.60% 54.70% 19.70% 4.10
Martin Maldonado 0.272 20.40% 46.90% 32.70% 7.50% 9.20% 22.20% 48.50% 29.30% -3.03
Hector Gomez 0.256 27.10% 36.50% 36.50% 3.20% 15.60% 21.40% 44.90% 33.70% #N/A
Luis Sardinas 0.26 13.70% 61.60% 24.70% 0.00% 9.10% 13.50% 67.60% 18.90% #N/A

*Will lose this eligibility in 2016

**The ESPN player rater is based on a player's standard 5 x 5 category performance relative to average. A score of 0 is replacement level and negative values mean the player is actually hurting your team. Values in the 1-2 range generally are for your worst starting player, unless you are unlucky. There are no positional adjustments, though, so shortstops and catchers will often have very low scores relative to everyone else. It is normalized so that guys with little playing time can be compared to guys that played all year.

Analysis

The Brewers are quite the mixed bag. There are some definite fantasy studs mixed in with a bunch of nobodies and some guys with disappointing 2015 seasons. Let's start with the good. Adam Lind had a very good season and was a starter in most 12+ team leagues. He'll be back with the Crew for 2016 and should produce another above average season. I don't see anything that he can't repeat and he is still just 32, so I don't see lots of decline yet. Nothing in his stats indicates a fluky year or good luck. He was legitimately good. Steamer projects a very similar 2016, and so do I.

Welcome back, Ryan Braun! His thumb issue was managed most of the season using cryotherapy and he looked much better than 2014. He had back surgery in October, but should be fully healthy by spring. The 24 steals were a three-year high and he will be 32, so I expect closer to 15 next year. The power was very reasonable and I predict only a slight drop in power (due to his slightly luck 20% HR/FB ratio) to 23 HR. Everything else should be about the same.

Gerardo Parra played a little while with the Brewers this year before being traded to Baltimore. He's a free agent, but probably won't be back in Milwaukee. He put up his best season ever. Because that season is his best, it probably won't repeat but, I think at age 28 he could do something similar. I'm going with 12 HR and 10 SB (down from 14 and 14) in 2016, with a 0.275/0.320/0.420 slash line. The power increase was a little too out-of-nowhere for me to trust it and although he did increase his number of flyballs, it is still too high of a jump to be sustainable.

Khris Davis showcased the power and skills we all expected. He led the team in HR, had 6 SB, and even walked quite a bit. His HR/FB was definitely lucky and will come down. I expect 24-25 HR this year, with the same average, a small dip in OBP and a small dip in slugging to 0.480 or so. He could easily get 6 steals again. Be careful, his whiff rate (15%) is very high and will make him prone to slumps or a big hit to his average. The power is real, but the swing-and-miss issues could make him into Chris Carter, if he isn't careful.

Hey, you know who Khris Davis is like? Domingo Santana. Santana strikes out even more, but also has 25-HR power and a little speed. He needs to hit more flies, though. Ground balls are not useful for power hitters. I think he could hit 30 HR with full playing time and 40% fly balls, like Davis. He is just as risky for the batting average as Davis, if not more so, since he has limited MLB experience. I think he can repeat his AVG, OBP, and SLG next year.

Jonathon Lucroy had a bad year, at least for him. He was barely above average when he was healthy. For my detailed thoughts on him, check this out. He may be traded this offseason, and I would if I were the Brewers. I think he is in the beginning of a decline phase. Scooter Gennett is only rosterable in very deep leagues and has no upside. Jean Segura gives you steals, but his power will always be poor and his average isn't high enough to make up for it. He's basically a one-category guy. But, since he plays short and steals are so hard to find, he is rosterable in 14-team leagues or leagues with MI slots, for sure. He doesn't have much upside, though.

Carlos Gomez will be in Houston, but I'm covering the former Brewer here. He had a down year, but I expect another 20/20 season from him in 2016. The grounders were up and he pulled the ball less and had fewer hard hit balls in 2015, but it's hard to say that will carry over. His track record wins out and I'm betting the 30-year-old CF will bounce back, putting up that coveted 20/20 line and a slash line like his 2015 line, with an uptick in slugging.

If Adam Lind gets traded, there's a chance that Jason Rogers gets to play 1B. He is interesting. He's a 27-year-old non-prospect, but did well in AAA and in the MLB last year. Scouts say he is athletic but only has average power. His Hard% was pretty good, so maybe there is some upside here. I don't expect much at all, but he could be a deep sleeper.

There are a number of Brewers prospects that could be up in 2016. Their AA team has a lot of talent. Top-10 overall prospect Orlando Arcia is the best of the bunch. His glove is his best asset, but his bat has improved and scouting reports indicate he could be something like Joe Panik or Good Jean Segura. He's very young and still developing, so there is upside there. Brett Phillips, acquired from Houston, is another good young player that could contribute this year. I don't know if he will be playing much of this season or not, but profiles as a Dexter Fowler type player (15 HR/20 SB). Tyrone Taylor is expected to be up this year and has good speed and maybe a decent average, but poor power. He has the lowest grades of these three guys.

Pitchers

Name Position IP ERA FIP xFIP WHIP BABIP LOB% GB% SwStr%
Francisco Rodriguez RP 57 2.21 2.91 2.63 0.86 0.234 83.70% 46.40% 14.00%
Michael Blazek RP 55.2 2.43 3.17 3.85 1.04 0.242 76.60% 47.40% 10.70%
Jeremy Jeffress RP 68 2.65 3.22 3.00 1.26 0.314 81.70% 58.20% 11.40%
Will Smith RP 63.1 2.70 2.47 2.75 1.2 0.329 77.10% 45.80% 15.20%
Corey Knebel RP 50.1 3.22 4.03 3.16 1.21 0.29 86.90% 49.20% 9.90%
Neal Cotts RP 49.2 3.26 4.72 3.94 1.23 0.267 89.50% 42.20% 10.80%
Tyler Thornburg RP 34.1 3.67 5.11 4.27 1.25 0.253 66.30% 35.30% 9.20%
Zach Davies SP 34 3.71 3.81 3.96 1.21 0.245 70.70% 57.60% 10.00%
Taylor Jungmann SP 119.1 3.77 3.92 4.1 1.28 0.29 72.80% 46.30% 8.40%
Michael Fiers SP 118 3.89 3.85 4.02 1.36 0.316 74.30% 37.70% 9.40%
David Goforth SP*, RP 24.2 4.01 4.27 3.42 1.62 0.373 78.50% 47.40% 13.10%
Jimmy Nelson SP 177.1 4.11 4.1 4.06 1.29 0.285 70.40% 50.60% 10.00%
Ariel Pena RP 27.1 4.28 3.87 4.64 1.39 0.293 69.90% 37.30% 12.20%
Wily Peralta SP 108.2 4.72 4.84 4.57 1.54 0.32 73.30% 51.60% 6.80%
Matt Garza SP 148.2 5.63 4.94 4.5 1.57 0.319 65.60% 45.00% 7.80%
Tyler Cravy SP, RP* 42.2 5.7 4.7 4.88 1.62 0.326 64.10% 40.20% 7.10%
Kyle Lohse SP, RP 152.1 5.85 5.12 4.48 1.46 0.314 68.70% 38.60% 9.10%
Jonathan Broxton RP 36.2 5.89 3.71 3.18 1.39 0.346 61.40% 49.50% 12.20%

Name SV HLD K% BB% Soft% Med% Hard% ESPN Player Rater
Francisco Rodriguez 38 0 28.70% 5.10% 20.40% 50.00% 29.60% 6.87
Michael Blazek 0 4 21.20% 8.10% 23.10% 47.40% 29.50% 1.87
Jeremy Jeffress 0 23 23.50% 7.70% 16.60% 56.00% 27.50% 1.45
Will Smith 0 20 34.50% 9.10% 14.20% 48.70% 37.20% 2.42
Corey Knebel 0 3 27.80% 8.10% 15.90% 48.50% 35.60% -0.18
Neal Cotts 0 4 23.40% 8.10% 16.60% 48.20% 35.30% -0.15
Tyler Thornburg 0 1 22.50% 8.00% 17.70% 41.20% 41.20% -1.05
Zach Davies 0 0 17.30% 10.80% 21.00% 49.00% 30.00% -0.49
Taylor Jungmann 0 0 21.40% 9.40% 19.50% 53.10% 27.40% 2.14
Mike Fiers 0 0 23.80% 8.50% 18.50% 43.80% 37.70% 3.41
David Goforth 0 0 21.60% 7.20% 22.80% 44.30% 32.90% -1.78
Jimmy Nelson 0 0 19.70% 8.60% 19.20% 51.90% 28.90% 2.76
Ariel Pena 0 0 22.50% 11.70% 14.30% 45.50% 40.30% -1.24
Wily Peralta 0 0 12.60% 7.70% 18.60% 49.30% 32.10% -2.14
Matt Garza 0 0 15.60% 8.60% 16.70% 50.30% 33.00% #N/A
Tyler Cravy 0 0 18.10% 11.40% 19.40% 43.30% 37.30% #N/A
Kyle Lohse 2 2 16.20% 6.50% 18.00% 49.40% 32.60% #N/A
Jonathan Broxton 0 11 23.70% 6.40% 12.80% 56.90% 30.30% -0.70

*If they were outside the top 550 pitchers on the player rater, they will show up as #N/A

Analysis

Ugh, this pitching staff looks pretty ugly now. There are a few guys useful for fantasy, but most are to be avoided. Among the starters, there are only a handful I am interested in. Jimmy Nelson, despite his ugly ERA/FIP/xFIP is still intriguing because of that sweet whiff% and grounder rate. Those two things can push him to better results. I expect him to be the best pitcher on this staff. Taylor Jungmann is young and showed just barely enough to mention here. You shouldn't draft him except in NL-only leagues, but he is worth watching. That's it from this rotation.

Zach Davies pitched pretty well in the minors, but I haven't seen anything the majors that shows he can be a #3/4 starter, which is his ceiling. I'm done on Wily Peralta. His 95-mph fastball and good groundball rates aren't enough anymore. We're through, Wily, it's over. It's time to move on. Seriously, stop leaving voicemails, it's getting pathetic.

Mike Fiers will be in Houston, but I expect more of the same in 2016 from him. He's a homer-prone flyball pitcher with good swing-and-miss stuff. He will get good strikeouts and give up too many homers and end up with an ERA around 3.8 or 3.9.

As for the bullpen, the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) continues to be excellent. If he isn't traded, he is still the best setup guy they have. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez put up a throwback season of pure dominance. Look at those ERA, FIP, xFIP, SwStr%, and Save numbers. Those made him a top 12 closer. I know he's getting even older next year, but I don't seen any reason to avoid him, other than the fact that the Brewers will be bad again. He might also be traded. Jeremy Jeffress is the last RP I want to discuss here. He is the third best in this 'pen and would be a good closer or setup man if either of the other two guys are traded.

Jorge Lopez is the only pitching prospect (not counting Davies) that is likely to be up in 2016. He is their #8 prospect and doesn't have plus grades on anything but his fastball, but he is the best they've got in the upper minors. I don't expect much from him.

Breakout

Jimmy Nelson

I know he's "just" a two-pitch pitcher and he put up a 4.01 xFIP this year, but I love his GB/whiff combo and I think he actually has four good pitches: a sinker for grounders, a four seam that gets good whiffs, an excellent slider, and an average knuckle-curve. The pieces are there for a step forward. I'm buying a step forward to a 3.5 ERA this year.

Breakdown

Jonathan Lucroy

I don't know if this counts, since his 2015 was poor, but I think most will pay the price to get his 2013-2014 seasons and I don't think he will get back there. The power will stay down and I just don't want to pay the draft or auction price it will take to get him. I don't see a bounce back in 2016.

Check back soon for the next team preview as we keep moving up the standings. Tschus!