#14. The Milwaukee Brewers
Most Valuable Position Player: Ryan Braun
Breakout Candidate: Norichika Aoki
Notable Offseason Additions: Alex Gonzalez (Injury)
Notable Offseason Losses: Cory Hart (Injury), Mat Gamel (Injury)
Biggest Team Weakness: The Bullpen
After losing Zack Greinke at the deadline last season, the Milwaukee Brewers actually thrived. A lot of their late season success had to do with the emergence of outfielders Carlos Gomez and Norichika Aoki. Another factor was their young starting pitching, led by Mike Fiers, which dominated for most of July and August.
Yovani Gallardo is still the ace of the squad, and has been one of the most consistent and underrated pitchers in the league over the past 4 seasons. If Fiers and Marco Estrada continue to build on their success from last season they’ll be solid second and third options for the club. The bullpen was really to blame for many of Milwaukee’s losses last season, leading the league in blown saves. John Axford is usually an outstanding closer, and should return to form in 2013.
Ryan Braun is one of the two best offensive weapons in the league, and even with the steroid acquisitions over the last 2 offseasons he hasn’t missed any time. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be suspended this season, and because of that he should be dominant again.
Cory Hart will most likely miss the first two months of the season with injury, which will leave a hole at first base and in the batting order. Playing Alex Gonzalez at first to start the year is a pretty desperate move, but the experiment is only temporary. There is one obstacle the team will most likely not overcome, and that is the strength of their division. The Cardinals and Reds will definitely make out the top 2 spots in the NL Central, leaving the Brewers to fight for the second wild card spot.