2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Milwaukee Brewers

by Jordan McDonald
2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 8 Drop List

Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive featuring the Milwaukee Brewers!

The Brewers are the current leaders in the NL Central despite ranking second-last in batting average in the entire MLB. They have received major contributions from their pitching staff that includes Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Josh Hader

But they still need to score more runs than the order team, so where is their offense coming from? Let’s examine a few offensive players on the Brewers and determine how relevant they are for your fantasy purposes.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Milwaukee Brewers

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Christian Yelich

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Yelich went into this season with a first-round ADP, despite an underwhelming 2020 season that resulted in a .205/.356/.430 slash line. Unfortunately, he has endured an injury-riddled campaign so far this season, but he’s slowly returned to his former self by slashing .241/.404/.379.

He still has room for improvement compared to his previous seasons according to his Statcast page. Since the Statcast era began in 2015, Yelich has never had an xBA lower than .284. However, he dipped down to .248 last season and has recorded .239 to this point of the season. He also has the lowest xSLG of his career right now with .407. 

Another alarming stat is the strikeout rate over the last two seasons compared to the rest of his career. He went into 2020 never having a strikeout rate over 21 percent, but that has increased to 29.6 over these past two years. The opposite is true about his walk rate though. He has improved every season since 2019 and currently ranks second in the MLB with 20.9 percent this season.

The power numbers seem to be consistent with his previous seasons. His Hard Hit rate is currently at 52.8 percent and recorded a maximum Exit Velocity of 114.9 MPH, which both rank in the top five percent of the league. Although his average Exit Velocity of 90.8 MPH is currently the worst mark of his career, expect that number to rise when he starts to get his groove back at the plate.

Omar Narvaez

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Narvaez has been a pleasant surprise for any fantasy manager who was in need of a reliable catcher and picked him up. Currently, he is slashing .297/.392/.465 with eight home runs so far into the season. The catcher position is very shallow compared to others in fantasy baseball, but Narvaez has situated himself as one of the top performers halfway through the season.

He is having a resurgent season compared to the numbers he recorded in 2020. His slash line was an ugly .176/.294/.269 in 40 games played and his Statcast numbers were even worse. He ranked in the bottom two percent in xBA (.172), xSLG (.294), and Hard Hit rate (21.7 percent). And his weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .262 was also ranked in the bottom five percent of the league.

Seemingly, he was on nobody’s fantasy radar heading into this season. But that quickly changed after he slashed .368/.443/.529 through April. His Statcast numbers have obviously improved from last season, but there are some areas of concern. The power numbers are still near the bottom of the league. His average Exit Velocity (86.5 MPH) is ranked in the bottom eight percent and his Hard Hit rate (28.7 percent) is in the bottom four. Although, he has recorded the highest Barrel rate (7.1 percent) and maximum Exit Velocity (107.9) of his career.

Narvaez isn’t finding success based on his power, but his ability to find contact instead. The numbers should slowly regress, but considering he has maintained close to a .300 average this far into the season, he is probably better than the other catchers on your waiver wire.

Keston Hiura

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Unlike Narvaez, Hiura was highly regarded heading into the 2021 season. According to FantasyPros, his consensus ADP was 69th and he was the eigth second baseman, going ahead of Jose Altuve, Max Muncy, and Jeff McNeil. He had a stellar 2019 campaign where he slashed .303/.368/.570 in 348 plate appearances. But followed that up with a disappointing .212/.297/.410 in 246 plate appearances during the shortened 2020 season. And seemingly, fantasy managers were expecting more of his 2019 self to emerge heading into this season.

His 2021 season has been disastrous based on the high expectations that were placed on him. He's been demoted twice, the second time occurring on June 7th after posting a slash line of .130/.217/.222. He was called back up a couple of weeks later and has been playing better by raising his batting line up to .159/.256/.291.

Because of the multiple demotions, Hiura doesn’t have enough batted balls to be a qualified hitter on Statcast. But his current underlying numbers are not much different than his career averages. His Barrel rate of 14.9 percent is slightly better than his career-high (14.2 in 2020), and he has ranked within the top 10 percent in his previous two seasons. And he has raised his Hard Hit rate from 42.5 percent to 39.6 last season, although he was at 50 percent in 2019, which was in the 97th percentile.

Hiura has permanently moved to first base and will share playing time with Daniel Vogelbach and newly acquired Rowdy Tellez. If he can continue to play better and hold them off, he may regain a sliver of the fantasy value that he held at the beginning of the season.

Willy Adames

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Adames was acquired from the Rays in order to make room for their young infielders headlined by Wander Franco. Tampa’s loss seemed to be Milwaukee’s gain, as he went from hitting .197/.254/.371 with the Rays to hitting .247/.318/.467 with the Brewers.

The numbers on his Statcast page support his career season. Adames has improved his Barrel rate, Hard Hit rate, and average Exit Velocity every season since his MLB debut. His Barrel rate has reached into the double digits at 12.4 percent, his average Exit Velocity has reached 90 MPH, and his Hard Hit rate has elevated to 47.2 percent for this season. 

If you compare him with the entire league, they rank considerably high with other power hitters. His Barrel rate is ranked in the 83th percentile and ranks above players like Freddie Freeman and Jesse Winker. And his Hard Hit rate is ranked in the 80th percentile, which is ahead of noted power hitters such as Joey Gallo and Bryce Harper

Adames has found a home as the Brewers' everyday shortstop, and he currently has a firm grasp on the position. If he's on your waiver wire and you need SS depth, you should take advantage of the current power streak.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

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