The Duel

Brewers Are Being Disrespected by Odds to Win NL Central

Tristan Jung
The Milwaukee Brewers are preparing to make another run at the playoffs in 2020.
The Milwaukee Brewers are preparing to make another run at the playoffs in 2020. / Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers have made the playoffs for two straight seasons, boast one of the best hitters in baseball, and have one of the league's best bullpens. However, the Brewers are distant fourth place in the odds to win the NL Central, even though the division has no discernible favorite.

Right now, the Brewers are at +340 to win division according to FanDuel Sportsbook, well behind the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals (+220) and the Cincinnati Reds (+270). Considering Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system projects all these teams to be within six games of each other in the standings, +340 odds are seriously underrating the Brewers' chances.

While the Brewers did not make headlines with any of their offseason moves and lost Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, the Cubs and Cardinals also did nothing to improve their flawed rosters. In fact, the Cubs only signed one major-league free agent, backup outfielder Steven Souza Jr. Meanwhile the Brewers reloaded by trading for Omar Narvaez and Luis Urias. They also signed eight veterans to new contracts, including Avisail Garcia, Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard, and Brett Anderson.

While none of the players the Brewers signed are enough to make a huge impact on their own, they are hoping to take advantage of the free agent market by adding as much depth and flexibility as possible with their limited payroll. They saved that money to give a huge, $214 million extension to Christian Yelich, who is now in Milwaukee for the long haul.

Yelich was absolutely dominant last season and has put up two MVP-caliber seasons in a row. His improved walk rate and mindboggling .329/.329/.671 numbers mean that he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he should be even healthier as he gets extra time to rehab from his fractured kneecap due to the delayed start to the season. The Brewers' offense also has breakout second baseman Keston Hiura and should get a bounce-back year from outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

The Brewers also have an elite bullpen led by Josh Hader, who posted 16.4 strikeouts per nine innings and notched 37 saves last year. The bullpen also brings back Brent Suter, Freddy Peralta, and Corey Knebel, who have all showed flashes of brilliance in their careers. Lastly, the starting rotation, which many consider the weakest part of the team, still has two good starters in Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser. Brett Anderson and Josh Lindblom are wild cards, but both have showed potential to be competent mid-rotation pieces.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. 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.