Yelich’s Disappointing 2022 Season With The Bat
Christian Yelich’s 2022 season was certainly a disappointment for the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and his fantasy baseball owners. After finishing second in NL MVP voting in 2018 and winning the award in 2019, Yelich has struggled to regain that elite form at the plate the last couple seasons.
In 2022, Yelich hit just .251 with 14 home runs, 51 RBIs and a .738 OPS in 447 at-bats. All those numbers were career-worsts for a full season. His OPS dropped nearly 200 points from his 2019 MVP campaign. After slugging over .500 in 2018 and 2019, Yelich hasn’t cracked .450 the past two seasons.
So what led to Yelich’s power outage in 2022? A few factors may have contributed.
First, he continued to struggle with back problems that have plagued him since 2019. Chronic back issues can sap a hitter’s power and consistency at the plate. Yelich likely played through discomfort for much of last season.
Second, his batted ball profile changed for the worse. His average exit velocity dropped nearly 2 mph from 2021 to 2022, down to 88.7 mph. That ranked in just the 17th percentile in MLB. In addition, his hard hit rate fell to 35.5%, after sitting at 44% in 2021. Simply put, Yelich was not making consistent hard contact.
Third, Yelich’s strikeout rate spiked to a career-high 27.1% while his walk rate fell. His plate discipline metrics also declined as he chased more pitches out of the zone. This led to more unproductive at-bats and quick outs.
Finally, Yelich may have been unlucky to some degree. His .251 batting average was below his .265 expected BA, suggesting some bad luck on balls in play. His .389 expected slugging percentage also outpaced his actual .373 slugging. However, the decline in hard hit rate offsets that bad luck argument.
In the end, it’s clear Yelich did not make the necessary adjustments at the plate to counter how pitchers approached him. His diminished bat speed and loss of power meant hurlers challenged him more in the strike zone rather than pitch around him. Yelich will need to adapt his swing and mindset to bounce back in 2023.
Why Yelich Could Rebound With the Bat in 2023
While Yelich’s batting woes continued in 2022, there are some reasons for optimism about a rebound in 2023.
First, Yelich is still only 31 years old, in the prime of his career. His skills should not have eroded so quickly without an underlying injury or age-related decline. Back problems often tend to come and go, so a healthier Yelich could regain strength and bat speed.
In addition, Yelich maintained strong discipline at the plate with a 12% walk rate. He also struck out just 18.4% of the time in the second half, showing his ability to make more contact. Building on these trends could get him back to being a tough out.
Further, while his overall stat line disappointed, Yelich succeeded when pulling the ball last season. On pulled batted balls, he posted a .919 OPS with 7 of his 14 homers. This shows Yelich can still tap into power when turning on inside pitches. Focusing on this strength could boost his power numbers.
Milwaukee’s improved lineup could also help Yelich see better pitches to hit. Acquisitions like Hunter Renfroe and Mike Brosseau add depth and balance to the batting order. With Omar Narvaez rebounding at catcher as well, Yelich should have more RBI chances.
Brewers hitting coach Andy Haines understands Yelich as well as anyone too. In the past, Haines helped Yelich adopt his trademark opposite field, line drive-focused swing. The two can work again on adjustments to Yelich’s mechanics, load, timing and lower half.
Finally, Yelich remains ultra-competitive with a high baseball IQ. He studies his own film and tendencies relentlessly. After two down seasons, he will enter 2023 determined to silence doubters. Counting out Yelich’s talent and preparation could prove unwise.
While another MVP season may be unlikely, the pieces remain for Yelich to at least return to being an above-average offensive threat. Considering his floor, the upside with Yelich still makes him a valuable outfield option for fantasy baseball owners in 2023 drafts.
After a disappointing 2022 season that saw his batting average plummet to a career-worst .252, there are signs that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich could be poised for a rebound year at the plate in 2023. Though his numbers were down across the board last season, several factors point to a potential return to form for the former MVP.
Signs Of Hope Despite Career-Worst Numbers Last Year
Yelich has struggled to recapture the magic of his back-to-back All-Star seasons in 2018 and 2019, when he slashed .326/.402/.598 with 80 home runs and an NL MVP award. His past two seasons have seen his average drop to .248 in the shortened 2020 campaign and then .252 last year, more than 70 points below his peak.
However, there are indications that Yelich may have been the victim of some poor luck in 2022. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) last season was just .276, significantly below his career mark of .349. This suggests that Yelich may have simply been hitting into tough luck with balls finding gloves at a higher rate. If his BABIP normalizes closer to his career rate, his overall batting average and on-base percentage could improve as well.
Additionally, Statcast data shows that Yelich continued to hit the ball hard, with a 90.7 mph average exit velocity that actually topped his 2019 MVP season mark. He also increased his hard hit rate to 47.5%, so it wasn’t an issue with making poor contact. The quality of contact still seemed to be there.
Yelich also improved his strikeout and walk rates last season, posting a 14.2% strikeout rate (lowest since 2016) and 11.4% walk rate (highest of career). His plate discipline numbers suggest he was still seeing the ball well. By striking out less and drawing more walks, Yelich was able to boost his on-base percentage to a respectable .338 despite the low average.
A Strong September Provides Optimism
After struggling through the first five months of 2022, Yelich seemed to find his cy22 bat stroke in September. He slashed .333/.408/.667 over 23 games that month, with six home runs and 21 RBIs. It was his best month statistically of the season.
While one good month doesn’t erase the struggles of the previous five, Yelich’s September performance shows he may have identified some adjustments at the plate that allowed him to tap into his previous success. He was driving the ball with authority again and making more solid contact overall.
Yelich noted that he was focused on using the whole field more in September, hitting the ball up the middle and going with outside pitches to right field. This allowed him to avoid trying to pull everything and led to hard line drives in the gaps rather than a rollover groundout.
If Yelich can carry over that whole-field approach into the new season, it could lead to more consistent quality ABs and an increase in extra-base hits in 2023.
A Healthy Spring Has Him Ready For Opening Day
After missing time last spring with a back issue, Yelich has been fully healthy throughout Brewers’ camp in Arizona this year. He reported early with the pitchers and catchers and has had a full slate of at-bats to tune up his swing heading into the regular season.
Having a complete spring training with no restrictions on his activity could help Yelich build more comfort with any mechanical adjustments he has worked on. The added reps against live pitching are also useful after shortened 2020 and 2021 camps. Entering opening day at 100% health improves his readiness to start strong.
Yelich has been seeing the ball well in camp, spraying hard line drives to all fields in Cactus League action. He seems to be staying within his balanced approach rather than getting pull-happy. Physically and mentally, this spring has him poised to break out.
Changes To The Batting Order Could Help
With Omar Narvaez likely batting ahead of him, Yelich may see more fastballs hitting fourth this season than he did batting third. Narvaez is not as much of a power threat as former three-hole hitter Avisail Garcia, so pitchers may attack Yelich more directly.
Additionally, having speedy center fielder Garrett Mitchell potentially batting behind him could allow Yelich to be more aggressive swinging early in the count if he wants to. Mitchell’s speed and base-stealing ability will help move Yelich along if he reaches.
The Brewers lineup construction puts Yelich in a spot to be pitched to and drive in runs. Less concern about walks and more incentive to do damage early in counts could help his aggressiveness.
Putting It All Together For a Rebound
While the past two seasons have been underwhelming for Yelich after his MVP peak, there are valid reasons for optimism about him turning it around in 2023 and returning to being an impact bat. Improved plate discipline, better luck, and adjustments shown late last year point to an impending breakout.
If Yelich can maintain his all-fields approach, avoid injury, and get some regression upward in his BABIP, he still has the pure hitting ability and smooth swing to hit over .300 and be an on-base and extra-base hit machine again. The raw talent that made him an elite hitter is still evident.
After finishing below .500 the past two seasons, the Brewers will need MVP candidate production from Yelich to contend in the tough NL Central in 2023. All the pieces are in place for that type of cy22 bat resurgence if Yelich can put it all together. Expect a big bounce-back year from the Milwaukee outfielder.
After three straight seasons of declining offensive production, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has tweaked his batting stance heading into 2023. The former MVP is hopeful that adjusting his setup in the box will help him recapture his All-Star form at the plate.
Adjusting His Batting Stance Entering 2023
Yelich burst onto the scene in Milwaukee, claiming the 2018 NL MVP award on the strength of a .326 batting average, 36 home runs, and a 1.000 OPS. However, his numbers have dropped significantly since that peak season. Over the past three years, Yelich has seen his slugging percentage fall from .598 to .459 to .373 last season.
In an effort to get back to driving the ball with authority, Yelich has widened his stance this spring. Over the past two seasons, he had closed off his stance, setting up with his front foot closer to the plate. Now, he’s moving his front foot further from the plate and opening up more.
The new stance is designed to allow Yelich’s hips to have more room to rotate and generate power. With his old closed stance, he was obstructing his own hip turn, preventing him from torquing his core fully. The added space should improve his weight transfer and allow more explosiveness.
Yelich had also been developing a habit of pulling off pitches on his front side, likely due to his closed stance. Striding too far toward first base caused him to get under balls and pop them up rather than driving them with authority. The new open stance should keep him balanced through contact to take fuller swings.
Trying to Limit the Uppercut in His Swing
In conjunction with tweaking his set position, Yelich has also been focused on limiting the uppercut in his cy22 bat swing during camp. He believes that he started swinging with too steep of an angle over the past few seasons.
That uppercut swing produced a lot of fly balls and pop ups rather than hard line drives. Yelich’s groundball rate plummeted from 36% during his MVP season to just 24% last year. All those balls in the air led to plenty of easy outs.
By trying to swing more level through the zone, Yelich hopes to create more backspin and start seeing lower launch angles on his batted balls. The goal is to optimize the properties of his batted balls to turn those lazy flies into blistering line drives in the gaps.
Yelich has been doing a lot of tee work this spring, grooving a swing path that intersects the middle of the baseball to produce that ideal backspin. Keeping his hands inside the ball rather than getting around it should create more sting off the bat.
Seeing Early Results from His Adjustments
Thus far in Cactus League action, Yelich seems to be seeing some benefits from his tweaked stance and swing. Through his first 15 spring at-bats, Yelich batted .467 with a double and a home run.
His timing at the plate looks much improved over last season, and he has been stinging line drives all over the field in game action. There are very few lazy flies, and he seems to have that explosive torque in his hips again.
While it’s obviously an extremely small sample size, the early spring returns are promising and support the idea that changes were needed. Yelich’s coaches have praised his new look, saying it allows him to use his lower half better while also controlling the top hand in his swing.
If Yelich can continue feeling comfortable with these adjustments once the real games start, it could be the first step toward returning to the batting crown and MVP conversation in the National League once again after three down years.
As Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich aims to bounce back from three straight down years at the plate, a major focus of his offensive approach this season will be making more consistent contact and reducing his strikeout rate.
Focusing On Making More Contact And Cutting Strikeouts
During Yelich’s 2018 MVP season, he struck out just 15.8% of the time while batting .326 with 36 home runs. However, his strikeout rate has risen each of the past three seasons, reaching a career-high 27.1% last year.
Those escalating strikeout totals have coincided with a steep drop in production, as Yelich batted just .252 last season with 14 home runs in 117 games. After being one of the toughest outs in the league during his peak, Yelich has steadily become easier for pitchers to fan.
In response to these trends, Yelich has dedicated himself this offseason to honing an approach built around making more contact. Rather than selling out solely for power, his goal is to meet the ball more frequently and use the whole field.
Yelich plans to cut down on his big leg kick timing mechanism in order to simplify his swing. This should help him adjust to fastballs better and avoid getting caught off balance. Keeping his swing more compact could lead to fewer whiffs.
Willingness to Take a Defensive Swing to Put Ball in Play
Part of the increased focus on contact will be a willingness to take a defensive swing with two strikes rather than swinging for the fences. Yelich understand that some ugliness and weakly hit balls will be a tradeoff.
However, his coaches have preached that it’s hard to do damage from the bench. By putting the ball in play and keeping his at-bats alive with two strikes, Yelich is likely to produce better overall results in the long run.
This two-strike approach requires the mental adjustment to accept potentially batting .220 on balls in play, knowing the tradeoff will be more balls in play and fewer trips back to the dugout.
Yelich has practiced fouling off borderline pitches and shooting balls to the right side during spring training. Making adjustments to stay alive has been his mantra.
Trying to Avoid Expansion of the Strike Zone
In addition to the mechanical tweak of reducing his leg kick, Yelich has also focused on pitch selection and discipline this spring. Too often during his poor seasons, he found himself chasing balls out of the zone.
By laying off those borderline pitches just off the edges and forcing pitchers back into the zone, Yelich can rack up deeper counts and walk more. This will also lead to seeing more hittable fastballs rather than constantly defending breaking balls.
Yelich has shown great discipline before during his best seasons, and he believes improved selectivity will translate to better production. Letting aggressive pitches go by could be the key to both more walks and better swings.
Look for a more refined, contact-first approach from Yelich this season as he aims to cut down on strikeouts. Focusing on meeting the baseball and keeping at-bats alive gives him the best chance to return to his All-Star form of seasons past after three years of mediocrity at the plate.
After seeing his offensive production decline over the past three seasons, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is aiming to regain his comfort at the plate in 2023 by simplifying his hitting approach.
Regaining Comfort At The Plate With A Simplified Approach
During his 2018 NL MVP season, Yelich employed a smooth, controlled swing that allowed him to make consistent hard contact to all fields. However, he believes that he has fallen into some bad habits more recently while trying to generate power.
Specifically, Yelich got too reliant on pulling the ball in the air, sacrificing contact for swing speed. He also developed significant movement in his stance, including a large leg kick as a timing mechanism.
While these adjustments generated home runs initially, they threw off the balance and control in Yelich’s cy22 bat swing over the long haul. In an effort to regain his MVP form, he has stripped down his approach this offseason.
By simplifying his movement in the box and limiting the mechanical pieces in his swing, Yelich hopes to get back to the excerpt and direct path to the ball that made him so successful earlier in his career.
Cutting Down on the Leg Kick
The most noticeable change for Yelich will be cutting down on the exaggerated leg kick he has utilized to trigger his swing recently. At his peak, he employed just a small lift of the front leg.
By minimizing the leg kick again, Yelich can reduce the movement parts in his swing and prevent too much drifting in his upper half. This should improve his timing and allow him to fire his hips more efficiently through contact.
In his cage work this winter, Yelich has focused on a more linear path without the big leg kick. Keeping his motion simple and direct provides a consistent swing plane and smoother weight transfer.
Limiting the Uppercut to Find the Barrel More
In conjunction with simplifying his swing mechanics, Yelich has also tried to eliminate the uppercut that crept into his swing path over the past few years.
He believes that correcting the loop in his swing and keeping the barrel on plane longer will allow him to square up more pitches consistently. Rather than chopping down with an angle, he wants to meet the ball flush out front.
By driving balls on a flatter plane, Yelich should be able to generate plenty of gap power and hard contact rate while also limiting strikeouts and pop outs.
Regaining his impeccable barrel control from 2018 is the key to both finding average and power again. A simplified approach clears the way for better mechanics.
Confidence Building Heading Into 2023
Early returns from spring training games have been promising for Yelich, as his simplified setup and swing have produced hard-hit balls to all fields. The mechanics adjustments appear to be clicking.
While only time will tell if Yelich can maintain these changes once the season starts, he seems rejuvenated at the plate. Eliminating bad habits has him swinging freely and confidently again.
After three years of lackluster performance, a back-to-basics approach in 2023 may help Yelich regain his elite hit tool. By simplifying his mechanics, he hopes to rediscover his MVP comfort level in the batters box this season.
After seeing his production decline over the past three seasons, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has focused this offseason on finding more consistency with his timing and rhythm at the plate.
Finding Consistency With His Timing And Rhythm
During Yelich’s 2018 MVP campaign, his excellent hand-eye coordination and fluid, controlled swing allowed him to track pitches deeply and drive them all over the field. However, he believes those skills have diminished over the past few years.
Yelich noted that he would fall in and out of good timing for stretches last season, which led to extended slumps. Some games he looked locked in, while others it seemed he was guessing at the plate.
In order to regain that MVP-level consistency from at-bat to at-bat, Yelich has worked this offseason to clean up his swing timing and reinforce his rhythmic movements.
Smooth, repeatable mechanics are the foundation for dependable production. By ingraining better timing cues and eliminating hitches, Yelich hopes to reestablish his elite bat-to-ball skills.
Simplifying His Movements to Find His Rhythm
Part of Yelich’s focus on consistent timing means streamlining some of the extraneous movements he has added to his cy22 bat setup and swing path in recent seasons.
Cutting down the size of his leg kick and keeping his hands quieter during his load will help improve his path to the ball. Minimizing the moving pieces in his swing should lead to better synchronization.
Yelich has ingrained his more efficient movements through extensive drill work and cage reps this winter. Keeping his mechanics clean allows him to establish a smooth rhythm every time.
Tuning His Mental Cues to Initiate His Swing
In addition to physical adjustments, Yelich has also focused on honing his mental cues to keep his timing sharp. Proper sequencing of movements relies on engraining specific triggers.
For Yelich, the goal is to have his swing fire automatically based on pitch location without extra thought. To do that, he has worked on cues like firing with his front hip and pulling the knob to the ball.
By rehearsing simplified trigger thoughts, his improved timing will become second nature. Keeping his movements synced without hesitation is vital to consistently squaring up pitches.
Trusting His Rhythm to Build At-Bat Consistency
Thus far this spring, Yelich looks to have regained his smooth rhythm and actions at the plate based on positive early results. His coaches have praised the efficiency in his simplified swing.
After finding his groove again physically and mentally, Yelich must now trust his work and let his newfound rhythm operate on autopilot. Maintaining that confidence in his timing will be key to sustaining increased production.
An unwavering belief that his honed mechanics will deliver consistent results is essential to Yelich returning to stardom. By mastering his rhythm, dependable at-bats should follow.
After several injury-riddled seasons that coincided with declining performance, a return to full health could pave the way for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich to rebound offensively in 2023.
Improved Health Could Lead To Offensive Rebound
During Yelich’s 2018 MVP season, he played in 158 games and batted .326 while slugging 36 home runs for the Brewers. However, the 31-year-old has not come close to matching that durability or production in recent years.
Since his MVP peak, Yelich has dealt with a fractured kneecap, recurring back problems, oblique strains, and quad discomfort. The myriad of ailments have limited him to 117 games per season on average over the past three years.
All the missed time clearly affected Yelich at the plate, as he batted just .248 and .252 the past two seasons. It’s hard to establish consistency with injuries constantly interrupting routines.
Now entering 2023 fully healthy after an offseason dedicated to strength and conditioning, Yelich may be poised to leave the injury troubles behind and reclaim his elite hit tool.
Offseason Focus on Building Core and Lower Body Strength
After losing significant time to back, knee, and oblique problems in recent seasons, Yelich committed this winter to building himself into better physical shape to withstand the grind.
In particular, he focused on strengthening his core muscles through pilates training to provide better spine stability. He also dedicated time to improving flexibility in his hips and legs to take pressure off his back.
The renewed emphasis on fitness aims to make Yelich more resilient and prevent the variety of soft tissue injuries that have hindered him since his MVP peak.
No Limitations Thus Far During Spring Training
Early returns from spring training suggest that Yelich may be reaping the benefits of his offseason training regimen. He reported early with the pitchers and catchers and has participated fully without any limitations.
Staying healthy during spring training gives Yelich a critical long runway to fine-tune his cy22 bat swing and prepare both physically and mentally for the season. It also indicates that his strength levels have improved.
Brewers trainers have been encouraged by Yelich’s stamina and endurance so far. He projects to enter opening day at 100% health.
Playing 145+ Games May Lead to Offensive Rebound
The biggest key for Yelich returning to MVP-caliber production likely lies in his ability to stay healthy and on the field for 145+ games. Avoiding the IL stints that have derailed recent seasons is paramount.
If Yelich can maintain his fitness and conditioning levels from the winter during the grind of the season, he should have every opportunity to regain his elite hit tool and post huge numbers once again.
Don’t be surprised if an injury-free Yelich reemerges as one of the National League’s most feared hitters in 2023. Good health often precedes great production.
As Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich aims to revive his production in 2023, he may be poised to take advantage of the hitter-friendly dimensions at Miller Park after seeing his power numbers decline in recent seasons.
Taking Advantage Of Miller Park’s Hitter-Friendly Dimensions
During Yelich’s MVP season in 2018, he belted 36 home runs in just 148 games for the Brewers while slugging .598. However, he has not come close to matching that power output over the past three years.
Yelich hit just 22 home runs combined in 2019 and 2021, and went deep only 12 times in 117 games last season. His ISO plummeted from .272 in 2018 to .130 in 2022.
Some of those struggles can be attributed to changes in baseballs deadening offense league-wide. But returning home to Miller Park’s cozy dimensions provides an opportunity for Yelich to drive the ball out of the yard more frequently again.
Taking Aim at the Short Porch in Right Field
At just 362 feet down the right field line, Miller Park offers one of baseball’s most enticing short porches for right-handed sluggers like Yelich.
During his MVP season, Yelich took full advantage of the short fence, slugging 24 of his 36 homers at home. But he saw that split regress in recent years as his pull power declined.
This season, look for Yelich to focus on driving outside pitches the other way into the right field seats. That area could once again become a prime power zone.
Letting It Fly to Straightaway Center
In addition to the right field porch, Yelich could also boost his power numbers by taking aim at central field at Miller Park. The ballpark spans 400 feet to straightaway center, but flies easily with the retractable roof closed.
During his peak seasons, Yelich peppered triples off the wall and homers into the bullpen. But he got away from driving the ball to center over the past three years.
Look for him to keep his front shoulder closed longer this season to drive more balls up the middle and out to center. Yelich has the raw pop to reach the seats if he squares balls up.
Taking Advantage of the Gaps
Even if the fences are too far for Yelich to clear, he can use the wide open alleys at Miller Park to accumulate extra-base hits. The power alleys stretch to over 380 feet in left-center and right-center.
By focusing on hard contact and line drives rather than selling out solely for homers, Yelich can pick up plenty of doubles and triples in the spacious gaps.
Miller Park caters well to Yelich’s all-fields approach if he focuses more on hard contact rate and barreled balls rather than pure pull power. The dimensions give him room to shine.
After three straight seasons of declining production, Christian Yelich has the perfect home ballpark to get back on track offensively. Look for him to utilize Miller Park’s hitter havens to return to prominence in 2023.
After failing to hit even 15 home runs in any of the past three seasons, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has his sights set on rebounding to increased power numbers in 2023.
Potential For Increased Power Numbers In 2023
During his MVP season in 2018, Yelich slugged 36 home runs in just 148 games en route to a .598 slugging percentage. He followed that up with 44 long balls in 2019 to establish himself as one of the NL’s top sluggers.
However, Yelich has seen his isolated power and over-the-fence production fall off dramatically since then. He hit just 12 homers in 117 games last season, his lowest total in a full campaign since 2014.
Entering 2023 focused on driving the ball with authority again, Yelich is optimistic that he can surpass 25+ homers this year even with the deadened ball.
Emphasis on Creating Backspin and Launch Angle
One of Yelich’s main objectives in spring training has been working on getting under balls just enough to create optimal launch angles. He doesn’t want to sacrifice contact for swing height, but rather find the sweet spot.
His focus has been on impacting the lower half of the ball to generate more backspin. By incorporating some slight uppercut, he can take better advantage of his raw power when he does connect.
Look for Yelich to hunt more pitches on the inner half that he can turn on and drive out to right field this season. That’s his prime power zone.
Strength Gains Should Lead to Harder Contact
In addition to tweaking his swing plane, Yelich also dedicated himself in the gym this winter to build more strength in his legs and core.
By improving his lower body power and stability, Yelich should be able to transfer more force from his hips and legs into his swing this season.
The early indications are that the strength gains have paid off in the form of harder batted balls and higher exit velocities this spring. He’s hitting the ball with more authority to all fields.
Could Approach MVP-Level Power Numbers
If Yelich stays healthy and his strong contact trends from the spring carry over, he has the potential to get back to the 30-homer range in 2023. His power decline was likely more situational than indicative of a loss of raw power.
With an improved swing plane focused on driving the ball in the air and increased strength, Yelich could certainly approach his MVP-caliber isolated power numbers again.
After three straight seasons in the power doldrums, look for a power rebound from Yelich. The ingredients are there for him to start clearing the fences regularly again.
Even after three straight seasons of pedestrian production, the Milwaukee Brewers are still counting on Christian Yelich to be a key part of their lineup in 2023 as they hope he can rediscover his MVP form.
Brewers Counting On Yelich As Key Part Of Lineup
From his MVP-winning 2018 season through 2019, Yelich was unequivocally one of the Brewers’ most dangerous hitters and run producers. He hit .329 with 80 home runs over those two years and seemed on a Hall of Fame track.
However, Yelich has struggled mightily since 2020, batting just .248 with 36 home runs combined over the past three seasons. His OPS dropped all the way to just .745 last year.
Despite the precipitous decline in production, Milwaukee remains confident that Yelich can still be a lineup anchor. Getting him back on track is crucial to their postseason hopes.
Yelich Still Expected to Hit 3rd or 4th
Even with his struggles, Yelich is still projected to hit in the heart of the order for Milwaukee this season. He will likely slot into the three or four hole behind Kolten Wong and Willy Adames.
The Brewers are banking on Yelich’s track record and hope that he can produce runs from a premium RBI spot, even if it’s not at an MVP level anymore.
Yelich should see plenty of fastballs batting behind Omar Narvaez as well, which could help jumpstart his production if he stays aggressive early in counts.
Veteran Presence Needed in Lineup
In addition to run production potential, Yelich also provides the Brewers lineup with a veteran presence and leadership. He knows what it takes to win in Milwaukee.
Young hitters like Garrett Mitchell and Luis Urias need Yelich to serve as an example both on and off the field for how to succeed. He’s still looked up to as a clubhouse cornerstone.
Even if Yelich hits just .260 with 15 homers, his steadying influence on teammates has value beyond just stats.
Brewers Need Him to Anchor Outfield Defense
Beyond his offense, Yelich is also being counted on to provide premium defense in left field again for the Brewers. He’s still considered a plus glove out there.
Flanking center fielder Garrett Mitchell, Yelich’s steady play will be important to match up with division rivals’ run producers.
Milwaukee’s staff leans heavily on their gloves, so Yelich bouncing back with the leather would provide value even if his bat lags again.
The Brewers clearly still view Yelich as an essential part of both their lineup and outfield defense. Now it’s just a matter of the former MVP rewarding that faith with a long-awaited production rebound.
After three consecutive seasons of declining production, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich enters 2023 highly motivated to bounce back and rediscover his All-Star form.
Motivated To Bounce Back After Down Season
From 2018-2019, Yelich was one of the NL’s most feared hitters, batting .329 with 80 home runs and an MVP award. But his numbers have steadily dropped since, bottoming out with a .252 average and career-worst 106 OPS+ last season.
Yelich has made no secret of his disappointment in his performance the past few years. The prideful former MVP is hungry to prove his skeptics wrong in 2023.
Regaining his elite status has been Yelich’s primary focus all offseason. He has taken his struggles personally and used them as motivation to fuel his training.
Eager to Make Up for Lost Time
Due to recurring back problems and other injuries, Yelich has missed significant time over the past three seasons. Those IL stints grated on him mentally.
Now finally healthy after an offseason dedicated to improving his durability, Yelich is champing at the bit to make up for lost at-bats. He knows time is precious at age 31.
Having a sense of urgency has driven Yelich to immerse himself in baseball activities all winter. He has been 100% focused on tools refinement.
Chance to Silence His Critics
After Yelich’s subpar seasons, skepticism has crept in about whether he’ll ever rediscover his MVP ceiling. He’s eager to silence his critics this year.
Yelich has noticed the verbal doubts and traded barbs with some analysts on social media. Their lack of faith provides extra inspiration.
By proving the naysayers wrong with a big bounce-back year, Yelich can reestablish his place among MLB’s elite players.
Wants Brewers Back in Playoffs
Most importantly, Yelich is motivated by his desire to lead the Brewers back to the playoffs after they fell short the past two seasons.
He knows Milwaukee’s postseason fate likely depends on him anchoring the lineup. After sitting home in October lately, Yelich is fired up to deliver a playoff return.
With his back against the wall, expect a driven and hungry Yelich to unlock his MVP potential once again in 2023.
Despite three straight seasons of declining production, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich is still only 31 years old entering 2023. His age indicates he should still be in his prime for a potential rebound.
Still In His Prime At Age 31 For 2023 Season
Yelich turned 31 this past December, right in the wheelhouse of a typical MLB player’s peak years. Most hitters produce their best seasons from their late 20s through early 30s before beginning their decline phase.
Considering Yelich’s youth, there is reason to believe his stark regression the past three years represents a correctable swoon rather than the start of an irreversible downturn.
Entering 2023 at just 31, Yelich should have plenty left in the tank for a return to stardom, especially if he can avoid injuries.
Same Age as Other Elite Hitters
To illustrate that 31 is not over the hill, Yelich is the same age as fellow NL Central stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Those two have shown no signs of slowing down yet.
Superstars like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Jose Ramirez are also right in Yelich’s age bracket and producing at an elite clip.
Considering the company, it’s reasonable to think Yelich’s skills shouldn’t be eroding quite so soon if he can solve his issues.
Avoiding Major Injuries Thus Far
While Yelich has dealt with some nagging back problems and other ailments, he has so far avoided any major injuries like torn ligaments or labrum surgery.
His health record doesn’t indicate any type of chronic condition that would cause premature decline. His medically-related absences have been relatively minor.
Without a sever injury like a blown knee, there’s no glaring reason Yelich shouldn’t bounce back physically.
Less Wear-and-Tear Early in Career
Finally, after being a part-timer early in his Marlins career, Yelich has just five full seasons under his belt as an everyday player. The lighter workload early on may have preserved his body.
Considering his limited playing time pre-2018, the mileage on Yelich’s body is likely less than other 31-year-olds. He should be relatively fresh.
When accounting for age, health, and career workload, everything aligns for Yelich to still produce at a star level in his prime years. His regression makes little sense given where he is in his career arc. Expect a strong bounce-back in 2023.
If Christian Yelich can rediscover anything close to his All-Star form from 2018-2019, it would provide a huge boost to the Milwaukee Brewers’ chances of contention in 2023 after two straight years out of the playoffs.
Regaining All-Star Form Would Boost Milwaukee’s Chances
During their playoff runs in 2018 and 2019, the Brewers could count on Yelich to anchor their lineup and come through in crucial situations. He was unequivocally their best hitter.
However, Milwaukee has missed the postseason the past two years as Yelich has struggled, batting just .248 with 16 combined home runs in those seasons. His regression left a gaping hole in the middle of the order.
Even a return to his 2019 stat line (.329, 44 HRs, 97 RBIs) would immediately elevate the Brewers back into playoff position. Yelich holds the key for Milwaukee.
Could Carry Lineup if He Rebounds
The Brewers have some nice supporting pieces like Rowdy Tellez, Willy Adames, and Hunter Renfroe in their lineup. However, they lack a true feared slugger to build around.
If Yelich can reestablish himself as that intimidating presence, it would lessen the pressure on those around him. His re-emergence could carry the offense.
Milwaukee’s position players are solid but unspectacular if Yelich continues to struggle. He remains the X-factor.
Would Balance Out Rotation Questions
While Milwaukee’s starting rotation has some uncertainty after declining production last year, a vintage Yelich season would help balance out any instability on the mound.
The Brewers don’t need their starters to be elite if their offense provides steady run support. Yelich could provide that cog to take pressure off the pitchers.
With Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff at the top, even just a league average rotation would suffice if Yelich starts producing again.
Veteran Leadership Would Be Valuable
Perhaps most importantly, Yelich getting back on track would provide invaluable veteran leadership for Milwaukee’s younger players. He’s still well-respected.
After losing gravitas from Ryan Braun’s retirement, Yelich stepping up could fill that clubhouse void. His experience would be invaluable for a contender.
Both on and off the field, the Brewers need Yelich to return to prominence in order to seriously challenge in the NL Central again. He remains the lynchpin.
At his peak form, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has shown he’s capable of carrying their offense and powering a playoff push when he’s locked in at the plate.
Capable Of Carrying Offense When Locked In
During his 2018 MVP campaign, Yelich was a machine for the Brewers, batting .326 with 36 home runs while leading them to within one game of the World Series.
He followed up that performance with another huge season in 2019, finishing second in MVP voting on the strength of 44 homers and a 1.100 OPS.
When dialed in, Yelich demonstrated he can single-handedly will an offense with his elite hit tool, power, and clutch hitting.
Putting Team on His Back
Throughout the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Yelich seemingly carried the Brewers lineup for weeks at a time when he got hot.
His hitting prowess helped them overcome shortcomings with pitching injuries and slumps from supporting players like Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw.
Yelich has shown that when he elevates his game, the rest of the lineup follows. He sets the tone.
Coming Through in Big Moments
In addition to carrying the offense day-to-day, Yelich also established a knack for coming through in crucial high-leverage spots during his MVP years.
He lived for the big moment, delivering key hits to beat the Cubs, Dodgers, and other contenders. Yelich’s clutch gene was invaluable.
During the Brewers’ playoff runs, he was undoubtedly the hitter opponents least wanted to face with the game on the line.
Putting Up MVP Numbers
Over his two year peak, Yelich posted a .672 slugging percentage and 161 OPS+, numbers among the league leaders. He was a true MVP performer.
That elite half-season span showed Yelich’s ceiling as an offense carrier at his best. When he’s seeing the ball well, he can go on a tear.
The Brewers are still confident Yelich has that type of run left in him. If he finds that MVP stroke again, Milwaukee’s offense could soar.
After missing the playoffs two straight seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers need Christian Yelich to rediscover his MVP form if they hope to contend with the stacked lineups of the Cardinals, Cubs, and Reds in the NL Central this year.
Brewers Need Vintage Yelich To Contend In NL Central
During their playoff runs in 2018 and 2019, the Brewers could rely on Yelich to be the centerpiece of their lineup, providing elite on-base skills, power, and clutch hitting in the heart of the order.
However, over the past two years, Milwaukee has finished below .500 as Yelich has slashed just .248/.357/.399 with 21 total home runs in that span.
With the Cardinals adding Willson Contreras and the Cubs landing Dansby Swanson this winter, the Brewers need MVP Yelich back to keep pace in the division.
Offense Lacks Firepower Beyond Yelich
While the Brewers have some solid complementary pieces, their lineup lacks much pop beyond Yelich. Rowdy Tellez is the only other true threat.
If Yelich continues struggling, Milwaukee will have no shot to out-slug the Cardinals and Cubs. Their success hinges on his bat in the three-hole.
Even a 25 HR, .275 average season from Yelich would mark a major boost. But they need him at an All-Star clip to contend.
Have to Keep Pace With Improved Rivals
With both St. Louis and Chicago adding All-Star bats to already potent offenses, the Brewers can’t afford to have any more dead spots in their order.
Yelich regaining past form would give them a counterpunch and prevent their lineup from being clearly outclassed within the division.
Milwaukee’s staff should keep them competitive, but Yelich bouncing back is essential to going blow-for-blow with the NL Central favorites.
Carrying Team Down Stretch
If the Brewers are within striking distance come September, they’ll need someone to put the team on their shoulders. Yelich has proven capable before.
When he’s dialed in, he can singlehandedly will the offense and come through in clutch moments. His bat could be the difference maker in a tight playoff race.
Milwaukee is still built around Yelich’s star potential. Unlocking his previous form could make them true contenders again in a much-improved NL Central.