For years now Dan Szymborski has been sharing his projections on fangraphs. He uses a model/system called ZiPS that estimates how players will perform prior to the upcoming season. His projections for the 2022 Milwaukee Brewers are quite interesting. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Luis Urias graded out as the best offensive player.
In 2021, Urias’s offensive performance seemed to go under the radar to those outside of Milwaukee. Despite logging under 500 plate appearances, he clubbed 23 home runs and drove in 75 batters. He finished with a 111 wRC+, which was similar to trade deadline addition Eduardo Escobar. It’s fair to say that his play in 2021 has him in a good position to start 2022 as the every day third basemen.
Now that we have established that Luis Urias is indeed a good offensive player, there is one more question to ask. Is a good thing that he is projected to be the best offensive player next season?
To begin, lets take a look at how Szymborski projects other Brewers players will perform in 2022.
Christian Yelich is projected to perform better than years past, but not return to his MVP form. He has an expected stat line of 22 home runs, 22 doubles, 70 RBI’s, 126 OPS+, and a 2.9 offensive WAR. Willy Adames is also expected to have a 2.9 offensive WAR. Szymborski has him leading the team in hits with 134, collecting 24 long balls, and driving in 69 batters. Fourth in projected offensive WAR is Kolton Wong at 2.6. New addition Hunter Renfroe comes in at 1.7 but is projected to lead the team in home runs (31) and RBI’s (81).
ZiPS see’s Urias hitting 20 home runs with 75 RBI’s, collecting 25 doubles, walking 63 times, and finishing with a 106 OPS+. He is expected to total 587 plate appearances, which would be approximately 100 more than he received in 2021. You never know what will happen during a season, but gut instincts tell me that if he gets that many more chances he should set new career highs in home runs (23) and RBI’s (75).
It is good to see that ZiPS recognized how good Urias was in 2021 and does not expect a huge drop off for the 2022 season. However, it would be better if he was not the top rated offensive player. Christian Yelich ideally would be atop of this list.
According to the projections, the Brewers will have many players contribute offensively without one person outperforming the rest. That explains how Urias landed on top the offensive WAR projections. Hopefully Yelich will end up being the leader, but for now Urias is projected to be the best.
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