Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Milwaukee BrewersMLBNational LeagueNewsNL Central

The Brewers Finally Have Their New Face of the Franchise

On July 22, 2013, Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season for his PED usage and the Biogenesis scandal. In the six seasons since, Braun has accumulated only 12.4 fWAR with ever-diminishing defense. The Brewers’ face of the franchise and former MVP has been merely a shell of what he once was, and for those six years, the Brewers hopped from Lucroy to Gomez as their poster boys, eventually settling back on Braun when both players were gone, who was still at least an adequate bat in the lineup. Then, on January 25, 2018, the Brewers traded the farm – giving up the number one prospect in baseball in the package – to acquire Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins.

What happened since has been a dream come true for the Crew: Christian Yelich has accumulated 15.4 fWAR while leading the Brewers to game 7 of the NLCS in 2018 en route to an MVP award and – in a freak injury-shortened season in ’19 – to a second wildcard spot with Yelich finishing second in MVP voting to Bellinger. To appreciate how great Yelich has been (and how great of a deal this is for the Brewers), let’s take a look at his rankings since the beginning of the 2018 season among qualified hitters:

fWAR: 15.4 (4th in MLB)

wRC+: 170 (2nd in MLB)

wOBA: .441 (2nd in MLB)

xwOBA: .421 (3rd in MLB)

Average EV: 93.1 MPH (3rd in MLB)

Barrell%: 15.8% (5th in MLB)

OPS: 1.046 (2nd in MLB)

OBP: .415 (2nd in MLB)

ISO: .304 (3rd in MLB)

HR: 80 (3rd in MLB)

SB: 52 (8th in MLB)

RBI: 207 (8th in MLB)

BA: .327 (1st in MLB)

DRC+: 167 in ’19 (2nd in MLB), 143 in 2018 (6th in MLB)

The Yelich deal – as listed on Fangraphs.com – is 9 years (’20-’28), $215 million. His 2020 salary of $12.5 million and 2021 salary of $14 million will remain the same. The deal buys out the 2022 team option that would have paid him $15 million. Essentially, it is a 7-year, $188.5 million contract ($26.9 million AAV), an incredible discount when you take into consideration that Anthony Rendon, a player comparable to Yelich in terms of fWAR over the past two years, and Stephen Strasburg both signed 7-year, $245 million contracts this past offseason.

For the first time in years, Brewers fans will be able to look at the lineup and see a star without the threat of looming free agency. Cheers.

Aaron Plotsky

Aaron is a college student who loves baseball, writing, and learning. The game has been with him ever since he first threw a ball at the age of three, and his love for it has only evolved since. Aaron is currently an instructor and travel baseball coach at Pitch 2 Pitch South in Burnsville, MN. He is married to his beautiful wife, Jessalyn, and they share their home with their cat, Louise, and their dog, Buddy.