If you’ve been following along with the grades we’ve been doing the past couple of days, you’ve already seen the vast majority of this year’s players get a grade somewhere between B and F. That leaves us with the A’s, or the guys that could be considered the team’s most valuable players in the 2010 season. Considering the team’s disappointing season, it’s probably not surprising that there are only three players receiving A’s, but you’ve probably figured out who they are by now:
Yovani Gallardo (A): Not only does Gallardo warrant an A-grade for his pitching, but when you factor in his contributions with the bat, I would argue that he was the team’s overall MVP in 2010. Yo became just the second player in club history to post back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons, earned his first All-Star spot, and through June or so was one of the best pitchers in the National League. He struggled a bit in the middle months, and some could argue it was due to his oblique injury, while others would say it was just natural regression. If he’s not a “true #1″ already, he’s damn sure on his way.
Fun Fact (and fun with small sample sizes): Yo had a higher OPS+ this year than Casey McGehee, 124 to 116.
Rickie Weeks (A): If you don’t want to take Gallardo’s contributions with the bat into consideration, then Weeks is probably the next-best choice for the team’s MVP. I won’t harp too much on the ridiculousness of the Journal-Sentinel giving him a B just because he strikes out a lot, as Nicholas Zettel already did a fantastic job of covering that at Bernie’s Crew. Weeks was the most valuable bat in the Brewers’ lineup but just about any measure, and giving him anything less than an A is pretty ridiculous.
John Axford (A): For the most part, relievers aren’t that valuable and closers are overrated. Neither was the case with Axford this year. His 2.0 fWAR was second highest on the team behind Gallardo, and he had the highest WPA among Brewers’ pitchers. You thought Trevor Hoffman was excellent last year as the team’s closer? Axford was a half win better than Hoffman’s 2009, according to FanGraphs.
He showed an ability to pick up multiple-inning saves with relative ease and managed to keep his past control problems in check. 11.79 K/9 is just absurd, his HR/9 was freaky low at 0.16 (to the point where that’s what I’m most worried about next year), and he did a great job of inducing ground balls when he wasn’t striking batters out.