The Joe & Ebo Experience: Is Ryan Braun the G.O.A.T?

0:00-7:14: Opening Segment

7:14-14:43: Scott Takes & Brewers

14:43-19:01: Gone in 60

19:01-31:00: Is Braun the G.O.A.T?

31:00-33:51: Action Zone

33:51-37:47: Wisdom from the Wizard

37:47-40:35: News of the Weird

40:35-53:17: Braun & the Packers’ Preseason

53:17-1:06:00: Packers’ Preseason continued

1:06:00-1:21:17: Yount, Braun, PEDs

1:21:17-1:29:55: Hundley preseason MVP, Browns are preseason super bowl champs

1:29:55-1:33:39: Meaningless Hall of Fame

1:33:39-1:40:57: Bye Ebo

Last strikes: Phillies 4, Brewers 1

MILWAUKEE – Seventeen last strikes for the 17 strikes thrown by reliever Jacob Barnes in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at home to the Philadelphia Phillies.

1. The Brewers bullpen has been very good for the better part of the 2018 campaign. The weight has been carried mostly by Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress. Dan Jennings, Taylor Williams, and Jacob Barnes have been good as well, mostly in lower-leverage situations.

2. Boone Logan has not been part of the success of that group. Logan entered Saturday’s contest with an ERA north of 5.00 and it only climbed from there as he allowed a run in 1/3 of an inning against Philadelphia. Logan also allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth.

3. “It’s left-hander, switch-hitter who you want hitting right handed, pitcher’s spot and left-hander,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said of the situation that Logan was inserted into. “That’s a spot where we’re down one in the game and that’s a spot Boone’s got to be able to get outs in.”

4. Logan has appeared in 16 games this season and has allowed seven runs in 10.2IP. He hasn’t been an effective pitcher at the major league level since 2016 in Colorado. Logan spent last season in Cleveland allowing 13 runs in 21 innings before tearing his lat muscle on July 19 and spending the remainder of the season on the 60-day DL.

5. “He’s got 10 innings, so we don’t have a big sample, but these are the outs that we need him to get there’s no question,” Counsell said. “This is his job and it has to be his role to get these outs.”

6. The position that he holds in the bullpen isn’t one of the utmost importance, but if his struggles continue it would be logical for the Brewers to move on from him. Financially, he’s owed $1.8MM this season and has a team option worth $2.12MM for 2019. If his option is not picked up the Brewers would owe him $625k.

7. Junior Guerra started the game on the hill for the Crew Saturday and took the loss. He wasn’t bad but wasn’t the pitcher the Brewers had become accustomed to watching take the ball every five days, either.

8. “I thought he pitched well,” Counsell said. “A couple home runs got him. He was a little bit cruising. I thought the last couple innings there was a tad bit of fatigue in him, but he gave us a chance.”

9. In general, the pitching for the Brewers wasn’t great Saturday. Milwaukee walked a season-high 10 batters while allowing four earned runs on nine hits.

10. Guerra went five and 1/3 innings Saturday allowing three runs on four hits. He also walked three which led to more traffic on the base paths than Milwaukee would like. The right hander also gave up two home runs, including a 431-foot blast to Rhys Hoskins of Philadelphia that might still be going had it not collided with the Stadium Club in left field.

11. Hoskins also hit a foul ball in this area on Friday night. It was to the left of the foul pole but was a sight to behold nonetheless. He kept the ball fair on Saturday and it was one of the more impressive home runs that Miller Park has seen this season, also the longest home run hit to straight-away left field in the venue this season.

12. Despite all this, and the lack of offensive production for most of the game, the Brewers had a chance to tie things up late. In the eighth inning Hernán Pérez doubled down the left field line and Eric Sogard was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate with one out.

13. The Brewers squandered the opportunity as both Eric Thames and Christian Yelich struck out swinging to end the threat and what would be Milwaukee’s best chance to even things up late.

14. The Brewers entered the day tied for their season-high in games above .500 at 15. Each time the Crew has reached that mark the next game has been a loss. Milwaukee has not been 16 games above .500 since August 19, 2014 when the record was 71-55.

15. Ryan Braun collected two hits on the afternoon and recorded his 200th career stolen base in the fifth inning. Braun becomes the fourth active player to reach at least 200 home runs and 200 steals. He joins Ian Kinsler, Brandon Phillips, and Hanley Ramirez in that group.

16. Braun is also the only active player to amass at least 300 home runs and 20 steals and the 24th all-time. Braun is in third-place all time in Brewers’ history in stolen bases trailing Paul Molitor (412) and Robin Yount (271).

17. This three-game series wraps up on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. Chase Anderson (5-5, 4.13 ERA) heads to the mound for Milwaukee and Aaron Nola (8-2, 2.27 ERA) will start for Philadelphia. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. CT.

Last strikes: Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX – Nineteen last strikes for the 19 strikes thrown by Brewers reliever Josh Hader in the Brewers 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

1. The biggest moment of the day for the Brewers may have oddly enough come prior to the game when outfielder Ryan Braun was deemed unable to play due to back tightness. Braun was scratched from the lineup and Jonathan Villar was placed into the lineup.

2. Villar had a terrific day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. There’s no predicting what Braun would have done, obviously, but Villar’s contributions were unexpected, to say the least. The home run, his second of the season, was a 401-foot blast just to the left of dead-center.

3. It’s very important (to be ready) because it’s simple when you work hard in the field,” Villar said of being unexpectedly inserted into the lineup. “When you don’t play, don’t worry, keep going, you never know what’s going on.”

4. The Brewers were able to strike first in the second inning on an Orlando Arcia double to center field. A few questionable plays and decisions led to the Brewers being able to get a pair across the plate.

5. After Manny Piña doubled down the left field line and Villar followed it up with a single to left field, Villar was all but picked off of first base. However, Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt failed to make a throw to second to nab Villar while in a run down. It appeared as if Goldschmidt was worried about the not-so-fleet-of-foot Piña scoring from third.

6. This created runners on second and third with two outs for Arcia, Milwaukee’s No. 8 hitter. With starting pitcher Junior Guerra on deck, the Diamondbacks decided to pitch to Arcia as opposed to walking him to face Guerra with two outs. That decision backfired as Arcia laced a 3-2 breaking ball into center scoring both runners.

7. “I thought we had good at-bats with guys in scoring position a bunch tonight,” manager Craig Counsell said after the win. “Starting all the way back in the second inning with Villar and Arcia having two great at-bats to give us a two-run lead.”

8. Early on, Guerra looked terrific on the hill. He didn’t allow a base runner until walking John Ryan Murphy in the third inning and had a no-hitter until the fourth when Goldschmidt knocked a single to right field.

9. When he reached the fourth inning Guerra looked human. He allowed a leadoff walk to Daniel Descalso to start the inning which was followed by a Paul Goldschmidt single. Descalso was able to score on a Steven Souza Jr. double to left, and Goldschmidt later scored on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Nick Ahmed.

10. That was all the damage the Diamondbacks were able to inflict on Guerra, other than the fourth inning he only allowed one base hit and a pair of walks. He pitched six innings allowing two earned runs on three hits while striking out three and walking four.

11. “Really needed it,” Counsell said of the length Guerra was able to provide. “It was a lot of fastball tonight for sure. And it was a good fastball, it was a very good fastball tonight. There was a bunch of 95s up there, so probably his best fastball tonight. He just didn’t feel great with the split at times, so he stuck with the fastball and did a nice job of it.”

12. Hader came on in relief and held the lead for the Brewers, although he didn’t look like his usual self. Hader allowed two hits and struck out a pair on 31 pitches across two innings. He allowed more contact than usual to Arizona hitters but was still able to manage his way through two scoreless.

13. Think about that for a second, Hader pitched two scoreless innings and was thought of as not himself because he didn’t strikeout a majority of the batters he faced. Hader has become so dominant that it’s become the expectation that no one reaches base against him.

14. Tyler Saladino, pinch-hitting for Hader, then added extra insurance with an inside-the-park home run to center, past a diving A.J. Pollack all the way to the wall in the ninth. It was the 28th inside-the-park home run in franchise history, and the first since Arcia hit one last season.

15. “[It’s a] good feeling, yeah, because it got by him,” Saladino said.” And then it’s like time to kick it in gear kind of thing at the same thing. Everything you got, kind of turn it on. It doesn’t happen very often, so you have to dig a little bit deeper than normal.”

16. Saladino’s inside-the-park home run was also the first pinch-hit inside-the-park home run in Brewers’ franchise history.

17. “Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I had to do something like that. There’s no way to get ready for that, it’s just everything you’ve got.”

18. The win gives the Brewers the most wins in the National League, tied with the Atlanta Braves. The Brewers also have the second-best winning percentage in the league behind Atlanta. The saying is that a team cannot win the division early in the season, but it can certainly be lost then. The Brewers are doing more than enough to not lose it right now.

19. Milwaukee and Arizona are back in action on Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, Az. Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 4.00 ERA) is on the hill for the Brewers while Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.70) gets the start for the Diamondbacks. First pitch is set for 8:40 p.m. CT.

Last strikes: Brewers 5, Pirates 3

MILWAUKEE – Fourteen last strikes for Milwaukee pitcher Josh Hader’s streak of 14 consecutive outs recorded via strikeout that was snapped in the 5-3 Brewers win on Saturday night.

1. Josh Hader is human, it turns out. It also turns out that Ryan Braun – who has come through in a few big moments this year already – is clutch, as well.

2. Hader entered in the eighth inning and promptly struck out Pittsburgh’s Sean Rodriguez looking to open the inning. Everything was normal, considering that was his 11th consecutive out recorded via strikeout.

3. Things went awry after that when he walked Gregory Polanco and then allowed a game-tying home run to Starling Marte. After things seemed over with Hader on the hill and the Brewers holding a 3-1 lead, it was suddenly tied.

4. Quickly rebounding to form, Hader retired the next two batters, Josh Bell and Corey Dickerson, to run his strikeout streak to 13 in a row and end the inning.

5. In the bottom half of the eighth the Brewers were able to create some magic that was capped off by Braun’s go-ahead double. Domingo Santana doubled to left field before Orlando Arcia struck out while attempting to bunt Santana over to third. Manny Piña then grounded to shortstop and after having a runner on second base with no outs, Santana was still standing there with two outs and it looked like an opportunity would be wasted.

6. Eric Sogard stepped to the plate and worked a four-pitch walk to extend the inning for Braun. With a 2-2 count, Braun connected with a slider from George Kontos sending it into center field scoring both Santana from second and Sogard from first.

7. Just like that, Hader’s mistake was erased, and the Brewers were in position to win once again.

8. The ninth inning was less eventful for Hader. He opened it up by striking out Francisco Cervelli looking, his 14th consecutive out recorded via strike out.

9. That’s where the streak ended.

10. Elias Diaz stepped into the box and popped out to second base ending the streak. While all outs count the same, it was mighty impressive to see Hader continually blow hitters away to the point where making any contact throughout the at-bat was considered a minor victory. The game then ended with a Jordy Mercer lineout to shortstop.

11. This was a nice bounce back win for Milwaukee after Friday night’s loss to Pittsburgh. It was only the sixth win of the season for the Brewers against a team over the .500 mark, which seems startling.

12. Jhoulys Chacin started the game on the mound for Milwaukee, which can be easily forgotten considering the late-game action, but he was terrific for the Brewers. He pitched six innings, allowed just one run on three hits while striking out four.

13. Chacin has certainly struggled at times this year, but if Milwaukee continues to receive performances like this one from a back of the rotation pitcher like Chacin, then they’ll be in a very good spot at the end of the season.

14. The Brewers and Pirates are back in action Sunday afternoon for the third and final game of this series. Chase Anderson (3-2, 3.38 ERA) is slated to start for the Brewers and Chad Kuhl (3-2, 5.01) is starting for the Pirates. First pitch from Miller Park is set for 1:10 p.m. CT.

Last strikes: Brewers 12, Marlins 3

MILWAUKEE – Nineteen last strikes for the 19 pitches thrown in relief by Milwaukee reliever Taylor Williams in the Brewers 12-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

1. Offensively, the Milwaukee Brewers had been able to get by with just two runs in each of the past two games. Granted, both of them turned out to be victories for Milwaukee. But that’s not a recipe for consistent success.

2. Sure, a team has never in the history of baseball lost a game while not allowing a run. But it’s not realistic for this pitching staff, or any for that matter, to keep opposing offenses off the board on a nightly basis.

3. Thursday night saw the offense break out. The Brewers scored seven runs in the sixth inning against the Marlins. Milwaukee had not scored that many runs in a single game at Miller Park this year.

4. The Crew entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing Miami 3-2, thanks to a pair of home runs by former Brewers farmhand and current Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. He was greeted with cheers as he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat in the third inning. Roughly 75 seconds later those cheers turned to boos as he circled the bases following his 429-foot no-doubt blast to center field.

5. Brinson again homered off Anderson in the fifth inning to give the Marlins a brief lead. It marked his first career multi-homer game, and the first two of this season. It’s rather fitting that it happened in Miller Park, considering Brinson was the top prospect in Milwaukee’s system prior to trading him to Miami in exchange for outfielder Christian Yelich.

6. “He put two good swings on balls, that’s for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said following the game. “He had a nice game.”

7. “Kudos to him,” Brewers starter Chase Anderson said regarding Brinson’s home runs. “I made a mistake and he took care of it the way good hitters do. I’m sure he played this game today with a little extra adrenaline playing his former team. But you tip your cap, he hit the ball hard twice.”

8. That was about the only thing that went well for the Marlins. The Brewers scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to immediately take the lead back. They were able to keep Miami off the board in the sixth before the flood gates opened for the Brewers offensively.

9. The inning started with catcher Jett Bandy lacing a ground-rule double down the left field line and advancing to third on a ground out off the bat of Eric Sogard. Bandy then scored on a Lorenzo Cain double, his second of the night. Yelich and Domingo Santana followed with back-to-back walks to leave the bases loaded. After a Travis Shaw strike out, Jesus Aguilar delivered with a two-run single to center.

10. “I think [Aguilar’s] base hit was kind of the one that broke it open,” Counsell said following the game. “Obviously, Lorenzo [Cain] had great at-bats all night. We had good at-bats up and down the lineup tonight but I thought that [Aguilar’s] two-out hit there was kind of the one that really broke it open.”

11. Ryan Braun, who was out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row, was called up as a pinch-hitter in the pitcher’s spot. He delivered with his second career pinch-hit home run. Braun slugged a no-doubt bomb into the home bullpen in left-center field.

12. “It was a good spot for [Braun to pinch-hit] and I think his 1,000th RBI. Really cool way to get it,” Counsell said about Braun’s at-bat.

13. “It’s special, for one you’ve got to play a long time to reach that goal,” outfielder Lorenzo Cain said of Braun’s milestone. “He’s been a consistent, great hitter his entire career. I’m definitely happy for him. We definitely need him to get where we want to be.”

14. Braun’s home run did mark a special milestone, as he reached 1,000 career RBIs with the blast. Fewer than 300 players in the history of baseball have amassed that many in a career. Braun is the ninth active player to reach the mark, and the second Brewers player to do so, joining Robin Yount, who finished his career with 1,406 runs batted in.

15. “It’s a cool number, it’s a special number for sure,” Braun said. “I’ve said many times that the biggest challenge in this game is longevity and consistency and you can’t get to a number like that unless you’ve played for a while and had a lot of success.

16. “It also speaks to being fortunate to being on a lot of really good offensive teams. It’s a result of having really good teammates, having a ton of opportunities. First five or six years I had Prince Fielder hitting behind me so people never wanted to walk me to get to him. You’re just given a lot of opportunity. But it’s definitely a pretty cool number.”

17. Suddenly the Brewers held an 11-3 lead after Braun’s home run. The offense was as alive as it had been all year. To cap things off, Orlando Arcia stepped to the plate after Braun and went deep as well to give Milwaukee some unnecessary extra insurance.

18. No offense is going to score 12 runs on a regular basis. While remembering that, the Brewers did show what they’re capable of offensively on Thursday night with the offensive outburst. This isn’t going to be a regular thing for the Brewers, but this should be far from the only time it happens.

19. Milwaukee and Miami continue this four-game series on Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. CT. Jhoulys Chacin is the probable starter for the Brewers and Trevor Richards is slated to start for the Marlins.

Brewers use Braun’s heroics to beat Cardinals 5-4

The Milwaukee Brewers entered the bottom of the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals trailing for the second consecutive day. Tuesday’s outcome was much different than Monday’s however.

While St. Louis opened the game with back-to-back home runs from Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham, the Brewers closed the game with back-to-back home runs from Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun. A game that started and ended with back-to-back home runs had never happened in Major League Baseball history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Yelich was facing a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth when he crushed a Dominic Leone pitch to center field to tie the game at four. The very next pitch thrown by Leone ended the game, courtesy of Braun depositing it over the left field wall.

Newly acquired reliever Dan Jennings is credited with the win. He pitched one scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Leone is tagged with the loss after attempted to complete a five-out save, he did strikeout two.

The Brewers and Cardinals will square off in the rubber match of a three game series on Wednesday at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 6:40 CT.

Brewers: Three roster spots for five players

The Milwaukee Brewers nearly have their opening day roster set. They currently have three spots available, with five players vying for those last few spots.

The players still trying to make the team are pitchers Oliver Drake, J.J. Hover and Taylor Williams, along with first basemen Jesus Aguilar and Ji-Man Choi. The Brewers and general manager David Stearns have until March 28th to finalize the roster.

Drake and Aguilar are out of options and would have to be placed on waivers before being reassigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs or cut. Both would likely be claimed off waivers by other teams.

Williams still has an option available and therefore there wouldn’t be any consequences for sending him to the minors to start the season.

Hoover and Choi are a different story, being non-roster invitees, who signed minor league deals with Milwaukee. Both players would need to be added to the Brewers 40-man roster, which only has one spot available after Milwaukee officially cut Yovani Gallardo on Monday.

Choi and Hoover could be assigned to Colorado Springs with no consequences. The Brewers would also have another spot available if pitcher Jimmy Nelson starts the season on the 60-day disabled list.

What I think happens

Drake, Hoover, and Aguilar make the opening day roster. Drake and Aguilar are currently already on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. Hoover would then take Gallardo’s spot, which would allow the Brewers to be flexible with monitoring Nelson’s rehab.

Choi would fall victim to the depth at the first base position. In 41 at-bats this spring, Choi batted .390 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He proved that he could make most major league teams as a backup first baseman, but finds himself behind Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, and Aguilar.

Drake struggled this spring, making 12 appearances, logging 11 1/3 innings, while accumulating an ERA of 5.56. Hoover turned heads this spring training appearing in 9 games, going 9 1/3 inning and not allowing a run. He also owned an excellent WHIP of 0.64. Aguilar also played well, batting .276 with two home runs and seven runs batted in in 58 at-bats.

What I would do

First off, I would cut Drake, as he has never really impressed me during his time in Milwaukee. I would then give his 40-man roster spot to Hoover, who was outstanding during spring training. Williams showed this past month that he’s all the way back from his Tommy John surgery in 2015, as he was clocked numerous times in the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun.

The Brewers would then still have one spot left on their 40-man roster, which they should give to Choi. I then would assign him to Triple-A Colorado Springs and continue to add to the depth at first base. These moves would also allow the Brewers the option not to place Nelson on the 60-day disabled list and continue to monitor his rehab schedule.

 

The position to pay attention to for the upcoming Brewers season

The trade for outfielder Christian Yelich, the signing of former All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain, the experiment of moving Ryan Braun from the outfield to first base and the push for another starting pitcher have dominated the offseason storylines for the Milwaukee Brewers. But it’s another position that’s not garnering headlines that fans of the team should be keeping an eye on — second base.

Why? Well, the Brewers were one of the worst teams in baseball when it came to production out of that position in 2017. The push to fix it has left Milwaukee with a lot of options as well as question marks. The players who are poised to see time at second base this season are Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard, Hernan Perez, and Mauricio Dubon.

A name missing there is Neil Walker. The Brewers traded for the veteran last season, but in the wake of the Yelich trade and Cain singing, it’s unlikely Milwaukee brings him back.

The first option, and the one with the most upside, is Jonathan Villar. The switch-hitting Villar is coming off a disappointing season in 2017 after a big year during the 2016 campaign. At 26 years olf, Villar is relatively young and still learning how to play the game at the major league level.

Some of his errors in the field and on the bases were head-scratching, but can be manageable when he produces like he did in 2016. That season, Villar hit .285 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs from the lead-off spot. He also added 63 stolen bases, which led Major League Baseball.

Last season, Villar hit .241 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. His numbers were down pretty much across the board, but took significant hits in stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Overall, Villar had a lot more swings and misses in 2017, which didn’t allow him to get on base, and ultimately steal bases. Milwaukee already has a scary lineup, but if it gets the 2016 version of Villar, it could field one of the best offenses in baseball.

Eric Sogard is coming off one of his best seasons as a professional, and is another candidate to get time at second base. Sogard has had injury issues that have plagued his career, but stayed relatively healthy for the Brewers last season. He signed a one-year deal with Milwaukee right after the season and should be a heavily used utility player.

Hernan Perez, like Sogard, should be used as a utility player once again this season and should see spot starts at second. Perez is the most versatile player on the Brewers roster and potentially in the major leagues. He played every position beside catcher last season, including getting one inning on the mound.

Perez will find playing time at many positions this season, and could find a permanent spot at second base if Villar doesn’t produce and Sogard doesn’t stay healthy.

The biggest wildcard of all the players is Mauricio Dubon. The 23-year-old from Honduras is practically a spitting image of the team’s shortstop — Orlando Arcia. He came up playing the same spot, but the Brewers moved him to second base due to Arcia playing at such a high level. Dubon like Arcia, is a slick fielding infielder with a cannon for an arm.

He’s a player that will hit for average, steal bases, and play gold glove caliber defense. Dubon won’t bring the power that Villar or Perez will, but the Brewers lineup might not need that from him. He appeared in the MLB Futures Game last season and had a nice performance. It’s unlikely that he’ll start the season in the big leagues, but should see some time with the major league club.

For my money, I think Brewers fans should hope for a bounce back season from Villar, as he has the highest ceiling of any of the potential second base candidates this season. I like having guys like Sogard and Perez as key utility players, who can play multiple positions and are a reliable bat off the bench. I’ve been a Dubon advocate for a couple of years now, and am looking forward to see what he can do when he arrives in the big leagues. I don’t think he will have a huge impact on the team this season, but could be the second baseman of the future.

Here’s why the Brewers should hold on to OF Domingo Santana

With the trade for Christian Yelich and the signing of Lorenzo Cain last week, the Brewers now have a surplus of outfielders. Besides Yelich and Cain, Milwaukee also has Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, and Brett Phillips, all who primarily play the three outfield positions.

Undoubtedly, the Brewers will have to move some of the outfielders on their roster, but should hold on to Domingo Santana, who had a breakout season in 2017. Santana’s name has come up  in multiple reports as a player the Brewers are currently shopping. Many have speculated that Milwaukee will be likely looking to trade Santana for a high-end starting pitcher.

The Brewers and Santana have been linked to teams and players such as the Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Archer and the Cleveland Indians with most notably Danny Salazar. It makes sense that Milwaukee would look into potential trade partners for Santana, but should at least think about holding on to a player of his caliber.

Since coming to Milwaukee as part of the trade that sent Carlos Gomez to the Houston Astros, Santana’s numbers have shown continued improvement. His batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and OPS, were all up in each of the last three seasons. Not only has his batting production increased, but his defensive runs saved and adjusted range statistics have also improved. He also has a cannon for an arm out in right field. MLB Network ranked Santana as the 8th best right fielder heading into 2018.

The Brewers have also talked about moving Ryan Braun to first base, which would make sense since he took a step back in the outfield last season, but is still a bat you want in the lineup. Braun used to be an above-average outfielder, but age and injuries have started to take its toll. Of the five outfielders listed above, Braun is the worst outfielder of the group.

Santana’s contract goes right along with both Yelich and Cain’s deals. Cain will be under contract through the 2022 season making an average of $16 million a year. Yelich is under club control through 2022, making an average of just over $7 million per year, while Santana is under contract through 2021 and is eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2019. Overall the outfield of Cain, Yelich, and Santana will be under contract for the next four to five years at a reasonable price.

The Brewers also still have a good enough farm system to trade for a top-end starter. Prior to the Yelich trade, a move in which Milwaukee sent three top 100 prospect to the Marlins, the team’s farm system was ranked eighth by Baseball America. On Monday, the outlet had Milwaukee at No. 11. The Brewers still have three prospects ranked in the top 100 and two more who just narrowly missed the cut. The cupboard definitely isn’t bare in Milwaukee.

Overall, if the Brewers hold on to Santana, they would have one of the most productive outfields in MLB both offensively and defensively. Santana also has a very team-friendly deal and would be under contract for another four years, which would give Milwaukee financial flexibility. The Brewers also have a good enough farm system to go out and acquire top-end talent with the prospects they still have in the minor leagues.

Travis Shaw’s 2-run walk-off HR pushes the Brewers past Chicago

Faced with the same extra innings situation they had been in the last two nights, the Milwaukee Brewers were determined to change the outcome on Saturday — and they did.

After watching the Chicago Cubs score in the top of the 10th inning in each of the last two games and go on to win, manager Craig Counsell’s club once again faced a deficit when they came to the plate at Miller Park in the 10th. But instead of just accepting a fourth straight loss, the Brewers kept their playoff hopes alive thanks to a 2-run, walk-off homer by Travis Shaw for a 4-3 win.

It was a 1-1 game until the top of the eighth inning when Kris Bryant drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and it stayed that way heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Two things were going against the Brewers at that point — closer Wade Davis hadn’t blown a save in 2017 and Milwaukee hadn’t won a game when trailing after eight innings all year. Shortstop Orlando Arcia took care of the first part with a solo homer, and then, after Chicago got an RBI single from Jon Jay in the 10th inning, Shaw took care of the second part following up a Ryan Braun double with his 31st homer of the year and the win.

The victory guaranteed the Brewers would have a winning record, the first time since 2014. It also kept them in the race for the second wild card in the National League, as they pulled even with St. Louis, sitting 1 1/2 games behind Colorado. Both of those teams had yet to play Saturday.

Milwaukee will try to get the split of its four-game series with the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.