The Milwaukee Brewers are having a special 2021 season.
The club is 91-61 with just 10 games remaining, and it’s just a matter of time until Milwaukee clinches the NL Central title.
The Brewers have gotten this far thanks to a handful of fantastic seasons by their star players, but also, some unexpected heroes have delivered impressive campaigns.
Five surprise players in particular stand out for Milwaukee this season.
Today, we’re going to give those players the attention they deserve for their great campaigns.
Let’s get started.
5. Jake Cousins
Jake Cousins is having a stellar rookie season.
He has made 29 appearances for the Brewers out of the bullpen, and he has been dominant.
The 27-year-old has a 1.82 ERA, 235 ERA+, 3.70 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP.
He has struck out 43 batters in 29.2 innings, and 24 of his 29 outings have been scoreless.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 22, 2021
Not too shabby.
4. Hunter Strickland
Relief pitcher Hunter Strickland has played for three teams in 2021.
He made 13 appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays, nine with the Los Angeles Angels, and has so far made 33 with the Brewers.
The results with Milwaukee have been outstanding.
He has a 1.83 ERA, 232 ERA+, 3.75 FIP, and 0.90 WHIP.
You can’t ask for much more than that.
Strickland qualifies as a “surprise” player due to the fact that he posted an 8.10 ERA in 2020 and 5.55 ERA in 2019.
3. Eric Lauer
Eric Lauer entered the 2021 season with a career ERA of 4.75, but he has looked like a completely different player this year.
He has made 22 outings (18 starts) and has a 3.03 ERA, 3.99 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP.
His 140 ERA+ is 40 percent better than the league average of 100.
The lefty has been a key part of Milwaukee’s elite rotation this year.
He seems to be flying under the radar, but he’s certainly one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 MLB season.
"I feel like I'm doing a better job of pitching the way that I pitch this year."
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) September 19, 2021
We’ll see if his success caries over into the playoffs.
2. Freddy Peralta
Freddy Peralta showed glimpses of potential as a starter in 2018 and as a reliever in 2020, but he was still a work in progress entering the 2021 season.
The righty is having an outstanding year.
He earned his first All-Star selection over the summer, and he’ll likely receive Cy Young votes after the year ends.
He has a 2.65 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 0.96 WHIP across 27 outings (26 starts).
He has fanned a whopping 190 batters in 139 innings of work, giving him an impressive nine-inning strikeout rate of 12.3.
He has a 4.1 WAR on the year and has been one of Milwaukee’s best players.
1. Avisail Garcia
Avisail Garcia is having arguably the second-best season of his career.
His fantastic offensive production this season has come as a pretty big surprise given the way he had performed over the previous few years.
He posted a .719 OPS in 2018, .796 OPS in 2019, and .659 OPS in 2020.
Clearly, those numbers gave fans no reason to believe that the 30-year-old was going to have a breakout year in 2021.
But that’s exactly what he has done.
He’s slashing .270/.337/.506 on the year with 29 home runs and 17 doubles.
Avisail Garcia – Milwaukee Brewers (29) pic.twitter.com/MRxh3X63gF
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 23, 2021
He has a very solid 122 OPS+ and a WAR of 3.2.
It has been a great season for the veteran.