Got to hand it to the Brew Crew: In an offseason defined by what hasn't happened, they made magic happen, lassoing both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain on one fine afternoon in January.

What it means for the outfield surplus they already had is another matter for another day (or ... a little further down, actually). They're seizing the day, buoyed by their unexpected challenge of the Cubs last year, and for that, they deserve all glory and honor.

Here's the problem: They don't have the pitching. They may have a fine bullpen led by top-shelf closer Corey Knebel, but the starting rotation is hurting. True, Chase Anderson made major strides last year, adding velocity and refining his secondary arsenal, but he's still more like a No. 3 than a No. 1. And last year's No. 1, Jimmy Nelson, faces an uncertain return from shoulder surgery, both in terms of timetable and impact. Maybe if they were willing to move strikeout artist Josh Hader out of the setup role, they'd have something to build on, but general manager David Stearns has already said that's not the plan -- not yet, anyway.

But hey, the offseason isn't over. Just because the Brewers have already thrown a couple logs in the cold stove doesn't mean they can't be the ones to set it fully ablaze.

Brewers in Scott's Top 300
PlayerRoto RankH2H RankRoto Pos RankH2H Pos Rank
#52 #57 #12 #12
#70 #84 #20 #19
#77 #87 #10 #10
#84 #93 #4 #4
#103 #99 #26 #23
Domingo Santana MIL RF
#107 #110 #27 #24
#144 #117 #38 #38
#157 #154 #20 (at 1B) #19 (at 1B)
#256 #194 #72 #71
#283 NR #27 #30
NR #232 #43 #27
NR #253 #81 #85
NR #276 #90 #91
NR #294 #95 #95

Players in Scott's Top 100 Prospects

Brewers prospects
51 Keston Hiura
The ninth pick in the 2017 draft put up historic numbers in college and continued the trend in his professional debut with the Brewers, with 25 of his 62 hits going for extra bases (including seven triples). Just be aware that a partially torn elbow ligament limited him mostly to DH and may require intervention at some point.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: don't count on it
62 Brandon Woodruff
The minor leagues' strikeout leader in 2016 fell on hard times in 2017 but gets a pass for pitching at Colorado Springs, which is sort of like the Coors Field of the minors. His major-league debut was a mixed bag, but the highs were high enough for his Fantasy owners to stick with him.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring
63 Corbin Burnes
Burnes wasn't a prospect of any real stature prior to 2017, but a couple of mechanical changes -- squaring his shoulders to shore up his command and incorporating his lower body to improve his velocity -- led to the second-best ERA in all the minors, behind only Jon Duplantier. He still has his skeptics, but he's firmly on the prospect radar.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful
100 Brett Phillips
Phillips put together a great line at Triple-A Colorado Springs last year, but here's the thing: He has performed like a prospect only at the most hitter-friendly stops, such as the PCL. He also strikes out too much, has never put his speed to great use on the base paths and is a casualty of the Brewers' overcrowded outfield.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring

Things to Know

  • The Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain acquisitions could be as notable for Fantasy owners as for the Brewers themselves. Each has spent his entire career (or close to it, in Cain's case) in an extreme pitcher's park and is now moving to an extreme hitter's park. More than two-thirds of Yelich's home runs the past three years have come on the road, and Cain hit 12 of his 15 home runs away from Kauffman Stadium last year. Something to think about.
  • As welcome as Yelich and Cain are in Milwaukee, they do put Domingo Santana in a bad spot. The Fantasy darling broke out with 30 homers and 15 steals last season. Granted, it was with a high BABIP, but his contact profile lends itself to one. There's a chance Ryan Braun or Eric Thames lose the majority of the playing time instead, but there's an even greater chance Santana is moved for a pitcher.
  • The only fixtures in the Brewers rotation are Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin and Zach Davies. I've penciled Brandon Woodruff and Brent Suter into the table below because of their upside and major-league readiness, but fading arms like Yovani Gallardo and Junior Guerra are also in the mix. Woodruff in particular is someone Fantasy owners should root for this spring, and he showed enough in a September trial to enter camp as a favorite.
  • Jimmy Nelson was eating innings and piling up strikeouts -- looking like, if not a full-fledged ace, then the next closest thing -- when he tore the labrum in his pitching shoulder diving into a base in early September. Because he didn't suffer the injury in the process of pitching, there's some hope he makes a more complete recovery than others who have suffered a torn labrum. As rare as the innings-eating strikeout artist is in today's game, he's worth a middle-to-late-round flier and a cross of the fingers.
  • Josh Hader may not get a chance to start right out of the gate, but that's the ultimate plan for him. He's on the Chris Sale track, basically, needing only to solidify a third pitch and shore up his control, both of which he did last September, to make a colossal leap.

Lineup & Rotation

Batting order    
1 Lorenzo Cain CF
2 Christian Yelich LF
3 Ryan Braun RF
4 Travis Shaw 3B
5 Eric Thames 1B
6 Orlando Arcia SS
7 Stephen Vogt C
8 Jonathan Villar 2B
SP Chase Anderson
SP Jhoulys Chacin
SP Zach Davies
SP Brandon Woodruff
SP Brent Suter
CL Corey Knebel
RP Josh Hader
RP Matt Albers