The Milwaukee Brewers are heading into the 2021 with the full intention to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. The National League as a whole is deep and star-studded, but the Central division is wide open, meaning the Brewers’ easiest path to the postseason will be by taking the division crown for the second time in four years.
If these three things happen, that will become a reality.
1. Offensive Consistency & Timely Hitting
If Spring Training is any indication, Milwaukee’s offense is motivated and ready to get to the level it was at prior to 2020 where it never found a groove across the 60-game season. Christian Yelich had a 1.357 OPS in 28 plate appearances, Luis Urias hit .314, and Avisail Garcia hit four home runs which is double the amount he hit last season.
Most expect Yelich and Keston Hiura to return to form, but the x-factors will be players such as the aforementioned Urias and Garcia, along with Travis Shaw who has a chance to regain the magic he had for Milwaukee in 2017 and 2018. Shaw is already off to a fantastic start with his clutch 3 RBI performance in Thursday’s Opening Day win. Craig Counsell knows how to get the most out of his players, and if this lineup can stay consistent from top to bottom, Milwaukee will find success
2. The Cubs start a Rebuild
After winning the division last year before flaming out in round one of the playoffs, Chicago had an odd offseason. They seemingly made some win-now moves like adding Joc Pederson, but they also traded away Yu Darvish who was terrific for them in 2020.
They are at a crossroads currently with their core of players that are still around from the 2016 Championship team.
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez are set to enter free agency after the 2021 campaign, and if the Cubs aren’t in contention at the deadline, we could see some of those players dealt, sending the Cubs into a re-tooling phase that would push them down the standings by the end of the 2021 season, making room for Milwaukee to ascend.
3. The Brewers trade for Trevor Story
Ever since Colorado inexplicably traded franchise cornerstone Nolan Arenado, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story has seen his name swirling around in trade rumors as well.
The Rockies don’t have the firepower to match up with the Padres and Dodgers in their division, and will likely have a tough season this year.
If they decide to deal Story, The Brewers make sense as a potential suitor.
While they have capable shortstop options, Trevor Story would certainly be an upgrade and would make their lineup very dangerous. He’s a two-time All-Star who is good for at least 25 long-balls per season when healthy. If the Brewers front office can somehow bring Story into the mix, Milwaukee will win the NL Central and make a deep run into the postseason.