With a shortened 60 game season, Fangraphs’ ZiPS projections have the Milwaukee Brewers hovering around .500 and flirting with the playoffs.
Back in February, you know when everything was normal, Dan Szymbroski of Fangraphs came out with his yearly ZiPS projections. And when it came to the Milwaukee Brewers, I think most would consider it a disappointing season.
Although they’d finish above .500 at 82-80, they would miss the playoffs in what was a very tight NL Central race.
Now that we finally have confirmed plans for a shortened 60 game season, Szymbroski has released his latest ZiPS projections for what will undoubtedly be an unusual year. Of course, by only playing 60 games compared to the usual 162, there will be a lot more volatility as slumps or missed playing time will carry a much larger impact.
As far as who the Milwaukee Brewers will play, Jon Heyman tweeted out a few days ago that the plan is for teams to play 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games against “their geographic counterpart.” So for the Brewers, this would be the AL Central. Which by ZiPS projections, gives them the 10th easiest schedule in the MLB this season. So there is some good news.
However, while there are plenty of changes that’ll be taking place, one thing that appears to be remaining the same is the playoff structure. From each league, three division winners and two wildcard teams will make the postseason.
So, with that out of the way, how do things turn out for the Brewers this time around? Well, pretty similar to as before.
Once again the NL Central is a gauntlet as the Chicago Cubs win the division with a record of 32-28. The Brewers, along with St. Louis and Cincinnati, all finish tied for second just one game back at 31-29. And as expected the Pirates are a non-factor.
If the season played out exactly this way, the Brewers would miss the playoffs with the Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves winning their respective divisions and the two wildcard spots going to Washington and San Diego.
Milwaukee’s odds of winning the division sit at 23.4 percent, they have a 13.7 percent chance of being a wildcard team, and overall a 37.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. All of which are the second-best in the NL Central behind the Cubs.
As far as winning the World Series, ZiPS projects the Brewers having a 3.3 percent chance of doing so. This comes as the fifth-highest percentage in the NL behind Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, Chicago, and San Diego.
Even over the course of a 162 game season, there are plenty of surprises that the computer simulations don’t account for and in a shortened 60 game season, you have to think that will be more prevalent this year. But there are also several factors that will play into the Milwaukee Brewers favor in 2020.
For one the NL will be adding the designated hitter which means more opportunities at the plate for Ryan Braun or someone like Logan Morrison who can add some pop to the lineup. This is also a very deep team that GM David Stearns has constructed, both offensively and with pitchers, which could certainly be a factor given how unusual this season could be.
And of course, for the first part of the season rosters will be expanded, and we all know that is right up Craig Counsell’s alley as he loves to play the matchups.
Now having said all of that, these projections are just that, projections, and they have no bearing on how the season will actually play out. But ZiPS does run a million simulations to get these results, so if anything, it does give us a sneak peek into what the upcoming season for the Milwaukee Brewers could look like.