Chicago Cubs: Milwaukee presents a big challenge in 2018

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(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Brewers have stock-piled a nice core of young players

Much like the Cubs, the Brewers have a nice bundle of young, controllable players. That group, which includes Jonathan Villar and Orlando Arcia, received a significant boost this off-season.

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Recognizing the Brewers’ window to win was at hand, Milwaukee’s front office went out and added some pieces to help propel the team to the playoffs. One of the players added was Christian Yelich. Yelich was shipped to the Brewers from the Miami Marlins in a deal that included Lewis Brinson, one of Milwaukee’s top prospects.

Before joining the Brewers, Yelich posted some excellent numbers with the Marlins. In five seasons, Yelich averaged a slash line of .290/.369/.432 while hitting 59 total home runs and averaging 14 stolen bases per season. To go along with that, Yelich posted an OPS+ of 121 in that span while amassing a wRC+ of 132 in 2016.

While Yelich has never been known as a power hitter, posting a career ISO of just .143, the 26-year-old has posted above-average defensive metrics in the outfield, even winning a Gold Glove in 2014.

Brewers add Cain

In the same week that they traded for Yelich, the Brewers signed Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million deal. Cain, 32, showed no signs of slowing down the last few seasons. From 2015 to 2017 with the Kansas City Royals, Cain slashed .299/.356/.455 while averaging 27 doubles per season and 23 stolen bases.

Like Yelich, Cain does not hit for much power, having averaged just 13 home runs per season in that three-year stretch. Despite that, Cain owns a healthy .345 career OBP and .342 career BABIP, all while posting well-above league average defensive numbers.

Milwaukee has other young position players

The Brewers youthfulness does not end with Yelich and Cain. Travis Shaw, Hernan Perez, Orlando Arcia, Jesus Aguilar, Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana are all under 28 years old and are ready to start impacting things at the major league level.

Shaw, the elder statesman of the group at 28, has already racked up six home runs on the year and owns a solid .331 OBP. Unlike the Brewers two outfield additions, Shaw hits for power, logging a career .473 slugging percentage and topping out at 31 home runs last year for Milwaukee.

Orlando Arcia, the Brewers shortstop, has also seen success in his young career. One of the younger players in this group at 23, Arcia clubbed 15 home runs last season, notching a career-best .407 slugging percentage and .324 OBP along the way.