Fans have been waiting for Christian Yelich to turn things around this season to push the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers. To start with that seemed to be the case, however, he has now joined the 10-day injured list due to ongoing back soreness. That begs the question, who will step up and replace what is lost with Yelich being injured?
2021 Milwaukee Brewers: The Importance of Yelich
There’s no doubting the ability of Christian Yelich. This is a guy who was the MVP in 2018, before finishing runner-up in 2019. His consistency and hitting ability correlated with the Brewers being successful. In 2020 he struggled, and it was clear to see that the Brewers struggled too. They had a team batting average of .223, a measly 12th out of 15 NL teams.
Yelich currently has a batting average of .333 this season. He is yet to homer and has one RBI. However, this batting average has him as one of just two players to be above .300 (the other being Omar Narvaez). This is a worrying stat for the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers. They are currently averaging .201 as a whole through the first 13 games of the season.
The importance of Yelich isn’t that he guides the Brewers to victory, his importance is the consistency of getting on-base, whilst being a threat on the plate. The Brewers are 2-2 without Yelich, whilst they were 5-4 with him to kick off the campaign. These wins also saw them hit 13 runs in two games against the Cubs. There isn’t a struggle to produce results without Yelich there, but there is a significant difference in mentality and confidence.
Christian Yelich is one of the best players in baseball currently, any team would struggle without their best player. So that leads to the important question, who will stand up and be counted now he is on the 10-IL.
Defensively the Brewers are stacked in the outfield. We saw the combo of Yelich, Avisail Garcia and Lorenzo Cain kick off the opening series against the Twins, whilst there have been appearances from Jackie Bradley Jr., Billy McKinney, and Tyrone Taylor in these early stages of the season. Except for Yelich and Narvaez, most of the roster is sitting below .250 batting average.
Christian Yelich: .333 BA, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 2 SB, 1 2B
Avisail Garcia: .250 BA, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 2 2Bs
Jackie Bradley Jr.: .163 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 2B, 1 3B
Lorenzo Cain: .154 BA, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 1 2B
Billy McKinney: .353 BA (17ABs), 1 RBI, 1 3B
Tyrone Taylor: .333 BA (3 ABs), 1 RBI, 1 2B
With Lorenzo Cain also on the 10-day IL due to a quad strain, the starters for today’s game (04/17/2021) see Bradley Jr., Garcia, and McKinney taking the outfield.
Who Will Step Up?
There are plenty of names on the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers roster that should be doing better than what they currently are. This includes JBJ, Cain, Keston Hiura, and Luis Urias, all of who have a batting average between .100 and .163.
This was not what was expected when the Brewers headed into this new season, being 29th for batting average in the MLB simply isn’t good enough for a team wanting to reach the Play-offs and beyond.
Travis Shaw has shown plenty of promise early in 2021, leading the team with 12 RBIs, whilst averaging a respectable .268. He has certainly stepped it up in recent games, plus his defensive performances have seen him be one of the standout players so far this season.
The same could be said for Avisail Garcia. He looked solid in Spring Training, and he has carried that momentum into this season. He is second with seven RBIs for the Brewers, whilst tied-2nd with two home runs this season. He has made that RF position his own and looks a shoo-in to be an everyday starter for the rest of the season.
The Brewers will look to their big-money investments such as Jackie Bradley Jr. to guide them in Yelich’s absence, whilst Shaw and Narvaez will look to keep their positions in the roster with standout performances. The Brewers lack consistency throughout the team when it comes to getting on base. Their .201 average is poor, so there need to be major improvements from everyone in the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers. Yelich is a big loss, but the Brewers need to show their ability to have players step up and make themselves heroes.
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