When people think of MVP Award winners, they are likely players that played a full season with their team. However, this is not always the case. For example, CC Sabathia finished sixth in the NL MVP race in 2008 even though he only appeared in 18 games for the Brewers. This season, the Brewers may have another player who could get some NL MVP votes, despite starting the season in the American League. That player: short stop Willey Adames.
The Brewers Before Willy Adames
Before acquiring Willy Adames, the Brewers were in trouble. After a solid 17-10 start, the Crew went 4-13 and had dropped to third place in the division. On May 21, the day the trade was made, they were 21-23 and four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Additionally, they had been leap-frogged in the standings by the Chicago Cubs, who were two games behind St. Louis.
Not only were the Brewers in third place, but they were in serious danger of falling to fourth. The Cincinnati Reds were only 0.5 games behind the Brewers in the standings. To make matters worse, the Brewers had dropped their May 21 to the Reds 9-4.
The Brewers were obviously not having fun. Once a fun-loving and cheerful dugout had lost its personality. The players who had kept the team loose, even during losing streaks, were all gone. A change was desperately needed.
Willy Adames Before Milwaukee
Prior to the trade, Willy Adames was not having such a great season either. Even though he was immensely popular in the Tampa Bay Rays’ clubhouse, he was not playing well. Adames was slashing .197/.254/.371 with five home runs and 15 RBI. In 41 games, he had just 26 hits. Six of those hits were doubles and one was a triple. His OPS+ was a dismal 77.
It was clear Adames needed a change, too.
One May 21, the Milwaukee Brewers sent JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen to the Rays for Willy Adames. At the time of the trade, the Brewers needed to shore up the short stop position as Luis Urias had become too prone to errors. Feyereisen and Rasmussen were both immensely popular with the Brewers’ fanbase, and the trade was not popular at the time. However, Brewers’ fans have adopted the motto “In Stearns We Trust” for a reason. As it turned out, they were right to keep putting faith in him.
The Brewers Since the Trade
Since acquiring Willy Adames, the Milwaukee Brewers are 35-16, which is the best record in the Majors. They now own a 56-39 record and are atop their division. The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have fallen in the standings as well. Chicago is in sell-mode after shipping Joc Pederson off to Atlanta. They are now 46-47 and are nine games behind the Brewers. The Cardinals are also 46-47, though they still may be willing to buy at the deadline.
The Cincinnati Reds, who have taken over second place, were just swept by the Brewers and are seven games back in the division. Milwaukee is also starting to gain national attention, too. In the latest Power Rankings by Fox Sports, the Brewers are ranked sixth.
Willy Adames After the Trade
Not only has the Brewers turned their season around as as a hole, Willy Adames has been playing at an MVP level. Since coming to Milwaukee, Adames is slashing .314/.398/.578 with 11 home runs and 37 RBI. In addition, he has hit 16 doubles and has a OPS+ of 161.
Not only has he become one of the best offensive players on the team, he has done his job of shoring up the short stop position by providing solid defense. His presence has allowed Luis Urias to move over to third base. The transition has helped Urias improve at the plate as well. Prior to the trade, Urias was struggling to keep his batting average above .220. Since the trade, though, he is hitting .263/.340/.480 with nine home runs. He had four home runs prior to the trade.
His Numbers Really Are at MVP Level
The entire notion that Willy Adames should be in the MVP discussion is not just Brewers fans being homers. His numbers are actually comparable to MVP stats. Take a look at these stats compared to those of Christian Yelich in 2018, when he won MVP:
The fact of the matter is that Adames will probably not win the NL MVP this year. However, he should at least get some placement votes. Next season, expect him to be in contention for the award after spending an entire season with Milwaukee.
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