The NL Central was not an easy division in 2019. The Chicago Cubs missed the playoffs with 84 wins, and the Milwaukee Brewers only managed a Wild Card spot with their 89 wins, as the St. Louis Cardinals' 91 was good for the division crown.
Those odds might be underrating the Brewers, though, as these three stats highlight why they're a legitimate threat to win the division.
1. Arguably the Best Hitter in Baseball
Christian Yelich doesn't have the lengthy track record that Mike Trout does, but there's a real argument to be made that Yelich was the best hitter in baseball in 2019. Yelich led all qualifying hitters with a .442 weighted on-base average (wOBA), while Trout was second at .436. Yelich built on his .422 wOBA from 2018, and however you have him relative to Trout, there's no doubting that he's truly an elite hitter. Yelich also adds plenty of value on the basepaths, with 52 steals over the last two years as well, generating 15.4 wins above replacement (WAR) in those seasons. With Yelich leading the way, the Brewers' offense is always going to be a threat.
2. Arguably the Best Closer in Baseball
In 2019, Milwaukee's relief pitching group ranked 10th in the majors in WAR. Closer Josh Hader played a huge role in that, ranking third among qualifying relievers with 2.3 WAR, as he racked up 37 saves with a 2.61 ERA and stellar 2.36 xFIP across 61 appearances.
3. Scary Power
The Brewers have really embraced the strikeout-or-homer trend taking over MLB offenses. Their 24.8 percent strikeout rate was the seventh-highest in the MLB in 2019, but their .192 isolated power (ISO) was tied for ninth, and they were one of seven teams to launch at least 250 home runs. Yelich, of course, plays a big role in those power numbers, but he's far from their only source of pop. Ryan Braun (.220 ISO) and Keston Hiura (.268) are both back, and the team also added Justin Smoak (.198 ISO in 2019, .216 in 2018) in free agency.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.