Offseason additions giving Brewers a great shot at making the playoffs

The Brewers nipped the Cubs in Milwaukee on Wednesday (MIL 1, CHC 0) and in doing so nudged their lead in the NL Central up to 1 1/2 games. Speaking of which, the SportsLine (@SportsLine on Twitter) Projection Model now pegs the Brewers for 91 wins and gives them better than a 70 percent chance of making the postseason. 

As you know, the Brewers were surprise contenders last year, as they won 86 games and emerged from their rebuild a bit ahead of schedule. This past winter, GM David Stearns conducted himself as the operator of a contending team by adding outfielder Christian Yelich via trade and signing center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to free-agent contracts. 

Indeed, Chacin on Wednesday twirled six scoreless frames against the Cubs, who came in ranking a strong third in the NL in runs scored. On the season, Chacin has now pitched to a 3.32 ERA in 81 1/3 innings. Milwaukee has concerns when it comes to rotation depth, and it's something that may need to be addressed leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Chacin, though, has been an important stabilizer thus far, and -- important for the Brewers' purposes -- he's done in on the cheap (he's in the first year of a modest two-year, $15.5 million pact). 

As for Cain, he provided all of the Milwaukee offense in the key Wednesday win over the Cubs ... 

In addition to providing standout fielding in center, Cain's now batting .288/.388/.442 with 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He's also taken the extra base more than half the time. Add up all the facets of his value, and Cain's been one of the NL's top performers thus far in 2018. 

Yelich, meantime, went hitless on Wednesday, but he still boasts a robust line of .302/.371/.473. He's also stolen seven bags in eight attempts, and he's taken the extra base a remarkable 80 percent of the time thus far. Like Cain, he's a notable asset at his defensive position. 

Together, these three offseason additions have been worth more than six wins of WAR so far in 2018. In other words, the Brewers are probably in third place without them. If Milwaukee winds up making the postseason -- and they're in line to do just that -- then these three key additions will have much to do with it. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for and He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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