Top Notes From the Milwaukee Brewers ZiPS Projections for 2024

After facing a good bit of roster turnover this offseason, how do the ZiPS projections think the Milwaukee Brewers will perform in 2024?

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 11: Freddy Peralta #51 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves in game 3 of the National League Division Series at Truist Park on October 11, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images) Photo: Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers are entering a new era of baseball. The pitching staff will be without some familiar names that have anchored the starting rotation for the past handful of seasons, and their lineup will feature several current and former top prospects who are looking to establish their footing at the big league level.

As the roster gets younger, it gets more difficult to predict the performance of players who have very little MLB experience. For fans seeking clarity on what to expect from the Brewers in 2024, some major statistical projection systems can be of use.

One of these projection systems is ZiPS. As a summary for those who may be unfamiliar with ZiPS, it is a player projection system created by Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs, who has spent the past two decades developing the model. Here is Major League Baseball’s summary of how the system works:

ZiPS uses past performance and aging trends to develop a future projection for players. On FanGraphs, the projections are updated daily and predict each player’s numbers over the course of the remainder of the season… Obviously, no one is claiming that every ZiPS prediction will come true, but it is widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry.

Zymborski Projection System (ZiPS)”

About a month ago, Szymborski released his projections for the Milwaukee Brewers, and there is a great deal to unpack. Which of the Brewers’ former top prospects will take a step forward in 2024? Will Christian Yelich repeat his bounce-back performance from last season, or will he regress back to the player he was at the start of the decade?

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There’s a lot to be excited about on this Milwaukee Brewers roster, but there is also a lot of uncertainty. So, let’s see what ZiPS believes is in store for them this season.

Brewers ZiPS: Position Players

Milwaukee’s lineup features an intriguing mix of young players attempting to take a leap forward, top prospects looking to establish their footing in the majors, and experienced veterans who will work to stabilize the offense in 2024. It’s a youthful lineup, and it’s one that has a wide range of possible outcomes.

Here are the top takeaways from the Brewers’ position players:

  • ZiPS likes Willy Adames to bounce-back in 2024 – After a rough 2023 season, ZiPS likes Adames to return to form in 2024. He’s projected for the second-highest wRC+ on the team (111), and the system believes his metrics will substantially improve across the board in 2024. Interestingly enough, his 20th percentile outcome is very similar to his actual statistical output from 2023, meaning that ZiPS believes last season was close to the worst-case scenario for Adames from an offensive production standpoint.
  • William Contreras will continue his ascension – ZiPS believes Contreras will once again be one of the best hitters on the team and one of the best catchers in the National League. His 116 OPS+ is tied with Adames for the highest projection on the roster, and ZiPS has Contreras ending the year with the third-best WAR (3.4) and wRC+ (112) among NL catchers.
  • Which version of Christian Yelich will we get in 2024? – Despite his bounce-back season in 2023, ZiPS believes that Yelich will regress. The system projects a major decrease in WAR (1.5, down from 4.1 in 2023) as well as a drop in wRC+ (105, down from 122 in 2023). His predicted stats resemble the underwhelming player that he was in 2021 rather than the All-Star caliber player we saw last season.
  • Jackson Chourio could make an impact right away – The projections believe that Jackson Chourio will be a valuable contributor in his first big league season. He’s slotted for the third-highest WAR among position players (2.3) with a respectable slash line of .265/.310/.415. He’s also projected to have the second-most RBIs on the team (82) to go with a whopping 35 stolen bases. His athleticism should be on full display from the get-go, and he can make an impact in every facet of the game.
  • ZiPS is bullish on Tyler Black – The system has five hitters projected for a wRC+ over 100: William Contreras (112), Rhys Hoskins (111), Willy Adames (111), Christian Yelich (105), and Tyler Black (103). The club’s No. 5 prospect projects to be a well-rounded hitter in his first major league season, and he could be the club’s most exciting third base option heading into Opening Day.
  • Uninspiring offensive projections for the second-year players – The system is projecting a below average offensive season for some of the club’s former top prospects. In terms of wRC+, ZiPS is most optimistic on Garrett Mitchell and Sal Frelick (96 wRC+ and 95 wRC+, respectively), while the projections are lower on Joey Wiemer and Brice Turang (90 wRC+ and 82 wRC+, respectively). Additionally, all four players are projected for an OPS under .720.

Brewers ZiPS: Pitching Staff

Starting Pitchers

Milwaukee entered last season with a starting rotation that consisted of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, Wade Miley, and Adrian Houser.

Heading into 2024, only Peralta and Miley remain in the organization.

This rotation is going to look very different in 2024. Peralta is finally getting his shot to be the club’s ace, and there is an abundance of youthful arms waiting in the wings behind him to help round out the rotation.

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  • Can Freddy Peralta be Milwaukee’s ace?– Last offseason, ZiPs projected Peralta to take step forward 2023, predicting a 3.67 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and a 29.5% strikeout rate. He ended the season near most of his ZiPS projections, and the system likes him to perform equally as strong in 2024. If Peralta can produce like he did in the second half of the 2023 season, he will easily exceed these ZiPS projections.
  • Optimistic projections for D.L. Hall – The newcomer is only slotted for 76.1 innings pitched and 14 starts, which are both decreases from his 2023 projections (87 IP, 18 starts), but ZiPS likes him to finish with the second-best ERA in the starting rotation (3.89). He and Peralta are the only two projected starters with both a FIP and ERA under 4.00.
  • Robert Gasser can make an impact in 2024 – Projected for 24 starts and 129 innings pitched, ZiPS has Gasser slotted for a 4.29 ERA and a 4.30 FIP, which are nearly identical projections from a season ago. He should crack the big league roster this season, and I think he plays a key role in a back end rotation spot in 2024.
  • ZiPS has reservations about Jacob Misiorowski in 2024 – The system has him projected for an ERA of 5.30 with an even higher FIP of 5.57. It has the flamethrower projected for a solid 25.1% strikeout rate and a strong 10.48 K/9, but at the expense of some command issues (13.9% walk rate and 5.78 BB/9).
  • Does Wade Miley have more left in the tank? – ZiPS believes the veteran could be headed for a step back in 2024. Miley is coming off his best season since 2018, but at 37 years old, the system has his ERA rising over a run from last season (3.14 to 4.24) to go with a FIP close to 5.00.

Relief Pitchers

Milwaukee’s bullpen was the biggest strength of the team last season, and they return many of the same players heading into 2024. With so much uncertainty in the rotation, they will once again be reliant upon a steady and deep bullpen this season.

  • ZiPS is not buying the 2023 success from Joel Payamps and Elvis Peguero – After smashing their 2023 ZiPS predictions, Payamps and Peguero face very similar projections one year later, despite their breakout season. They were essential pieces of Milwaukee’s bullpen, and the Crew will need the two relievers to once again outperform their projections.
  • A step back for Devin Williams? – Williams has been spectacular for Milwaukee, putting up an ERA below 2.00 in each of his last two seasons. However, ZiPS has Williams slotted for a 3.00 ERA and a 3.41 FIP in 2024, which are his worst projections since the 2021 season. The system is projecting some regression in the hits department for Williams- it has over a 60 point increase in batting average against with nearly a 100 point bump in BABIP as well.
  • An increased workload for Abner Uribe – Uribe took the bullpen by storm when he debuted last season, and he ended the year with an ERA of 1.76 with an incredible strikeout rate of 30.7% in 30.2 innings pitched. However, his 5.87 BB/9 and 15.7% walk rate from last season gives ZiPS some hesitation. The system has him at a 3.74 ERA with a walk rate near 15% for 2024. His success out of the bullpen will greatly hinge on his command, and his potential is immense if he can limit the walks.

Brewers ZiPS: Final Thoughts

The Brewers have a wide range of outcomes for the 2024 season.

The lineup has some enticing pieces to build around, but the offense could once again be susceptible to spells of inconsistency due to the lack of experience in the back half of their projected lineup.

On top of an uncertain offense, their starting rotation has some serious question marks heading into Opening Day. The rotation has been the foundation of the club’s success in recent seasons, but now it looks entirely different heading into the 2024 season.

Milwaukee’s bullpen was one of the best in baseball last season and played an essential role in the Brewers winning the NL Central. However, ZiPS believes there is regression coming for a vast majority of their relievers.

In the end, the Brewers will need a lot of things to go their way to repeat their success from the 2023 season. On top of Yelich repeating his 2023 production and Contreras continuing his ascension behind the plate, Milwaukee will need a number of players to outperform their projected metrics in order to defend their division crown in 2024.

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