The Last Time We Were in This Situation…

As a kid History class was one of those easy A classes where I would regurgitate a bunch of memorized facts and do well on papers and exams.  It was always an interesting class, but one where I wondered how useful the information will be in my life.  You later come to realize that the future is all based on adjustments of the past.  That being said what did the Brewers do in 2012, the season after the made it to game 6 of the NLCS before being defeated by the Cardinals, and how does that compare to what the Brewers are doing now 8 years later?

Age:

In terms of age, both teams were relatively young going into the next season.  The average age of non-pitchers in 2012 was 29.3 years while the average age of pitchers was 28.3 years old.  At the end of 2018 the average age of non-pitchers was 29.0 and non pitchers were 28.7 years old.  Both teams relatively youthful.

MVP:

In 2011 Ryan Braun had won the National League MVP.  Granted he was later caught using illegal substances during the season, but he still remained MVP.  This past season, as most know, Christian Yelich won MVP.

Subtractions:

I big loss in 2012 was that of Prince Fielder.  During the 2011 season he was 2nd on the team with a 4.5 WAR.  The following season when Corey Hart took over, he only had a 1.8 WAR which was a 2.7 win drop-off.  The good news about this season for the Crew is that they are not losing any of their top 7 WAR players.

Additions:

Owner Mark Attanasio said the other day that they are “putting all the chips in” on this season.  With signing a big one year deal with Yasmani Grandal and the re-signed Mike Moustakas, the all in feeling can be felt to an extent.  In 2012, the Brewers did go out an acquire Aramis Ramirez who was quite productive with a 5.6 WAR in 2012.  They also went out on a limb and signed Japanese outfielder Nori Aoki who started 151 games in RF and had a respectable 3.2 WAR.  As with pitching, they did not make any major moves… just like this year.

MLB Ranks:

Here are the offensive ranking in all of baseball for 2011 and 2018

Offense
2011 2018
AVG 8 12
OBP 10 12
SLG 5 9
wOBA 6 10
wRC+ 7 13
WAR 8 7
HR 6 4

In 2011 the offense was even more potent compared to the rest of the league than it was this year.  In terms of WAR both teams are very similar and both powered their way into the playoffs by ranking in the top ten in both SLG and HRs.

Here is a look at starting pitching:

Starting Pitching
2011 2012 2018
ERA 10 13 11
FIP 7 7 18
K/9 3 1 20
BB/9 11 10 23
LOB% 8 10 17

This season was noticeably worse on the starting pitching than the 2011 team had.  Even moving forward in 2012 the team had a good starting staff.  That is something expected of the Brewers to improve upon this off-season considering where they ranked in 2018.

Here is a look at relief pitching:

Relief Pitching
2011 2012 2018
ERA 6 30 5
FIP 3 22 4
K/9 13 5 3
BB/9 2 29 16
LOB% 24 29 6

This is where the magic happened for the Brewers in 2018.  They rarely lost a lead late in games and dominated with Hader, Knebel, and Jeffries.  In 2011 they were not bad but came back the next year with one of the worst bullpens in baseball.  Closer John Axford went from saving 46 games with a 1.95 ERA in 2011 to having a 4.67 ERA in 2012.  In addition they brought in a washed up Francisco Rodriguez who contributed his 4.38 ERA.  This season is more optimistic for the Crew with the three headed monster returning and not showing signs of a significant drop-off.

The 2011 Brewers and 2018 Brewers are similar in some ways and different in others.  Both had high powered offenses led by MVPs.  Where they differed is in the starting pitching where the 2011 Brewers had a top pitching staff whereas the 2018 Brewers were in the bottom half of the league.  They do however, continue to have one of the best bullpens in the league that, unlike 2011, will hopefully remain a top performing bullpen.  The 2012 Brewers were competitive finishing the season with a record above .500, but they failed to make the playoffs.  They made some major off-season moves to address weaknesses in the offense just as they did this off-season, however they were in no major need of starting pitching help.  This season they are in need of starting pitching help.  We have to wait and see as to if history will repeat itself in 2019 or if the Crew can pull together and finish the job.

 

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