2017 Roster

With the signing of reliever Jared Hughes announced, the Brewers have presumably set their opening day 2017 roster and completed their 2016-2017 offseason. Compared to David Stearns’s splash 2015-2016 offseason, this iteration featured many underwhelming moves, a general lack of creativity (of the brand that brought the 2016 MLB roster Junior Guerra, Jonathan Villar, and Keon Broxton), although it is also arguable that the GM had a much less clear task for 2017 with Ryan Braun remaining as the sole “major” trade asset and contract in the organization. 2017 will certainly be a developmental year for the organization, but even with that goal in mind, there are several suspect aspects of the offseason:

  • Generally bad 40-man roster timing and mismanagement.
  • Questionable management of human resources, from constant waiving to misleading roster competitions.
  • Large amounts of unspent revenue, and poorly spent revenue when contracts were signed.

The strengths of the organization are in depth added (including intriguing independent players) and immediate 40-man roster depth in the minors (from Lewis Brinson and Josh Hader to Michael Reed). This depth will define the success of the 2017 season, as these players will be the supporting cast to Jonathan Villar, Zach Davies, Ryan Braun, and Junior Guerra, determining how far those leaders can lead the team.


On the whole, it is questionable whether the organization is moving forward with the acquisitions made for 2017. Benefit Cost Analysis of Overall Future Potential (OFP) and depreciated WARP / contract / reserve surplus shows the organization losing approximately two WARP and eight wins longterm based on the 2016-2017 moves. So, the verdict is set: the value for 2017 will come from players already with the organization; now Stearns’s tenure will be judged not based on moves, but on the ability to translate OFP and player development into MLB wins.

2017 Offseason Added Subtracted OFP Role / Surplus Result
October 28 n/a J. Elmore / A. Wilkins / S. Nolin / R. Liriano $2.0M -$2.0M
October 28 n/a G. Cecchini 40-45 ($0.8M) -$0.8M
November 7 n/a Y. Barrios / J. Pinto $1.0M -$1.0M
November 18 A. Walker n/a [Previously 55 OFP] 40-50 ($7.0M) +$7.0M
November 18 T. Williams n/a Unknown (Previous 5-6 [$34.2M] 2015) [$17.1M]
November 18 B. Phillips n/a 45-55 ($18.4M) [$18.4M]
November 18 J. Hader n/a 55-60 ($41.6M) [$41.6M]
November 18 L. Brinson n/a 55-70 ($63.8M) [$63.8M]
November 18 R. Cordell n/a 45 ($1.4M) [$1.4M]
November 23 B. Parker n/a $1.3M +$1.3M
November 28 S. Geltz n/a $0.5M +$0.5M
November 28 L. Barker n/a Unknown (40 $0.1M) +$0.1M
November 29 n/a C. Carter $12.4M -$12.4M
November 29 n/a E. Thames Unknown (40-50 $7.0M. Previous MLB $5.4M) -$6.7M
December 2 n/a A. Walker 40-50 ($7.0M) -$7.0M
December 6 T. Shaw / M. Dubon / J. Pennington ($27.0M) T. Thornburg ($3.4M) [or $24.9M immediate maximum] $2.1 to $23.6M +$23.6M
December 8 n/a M. Diaz Unknown (40 to 60 $13.8M) -$13.8M
December 9 Rene Garcia n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 9 Andrew Barbosa n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 12 Ivan De Jesus Jr. n/a 45 ($1.4M) +$1.4M
December 12 Forrest Snow n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 13 J. Bandy ($5.7M) M. Maldonado / D. Gagnon Maldonado $9.1M depreciated / $11.8M immediate maximum -$3.9M
December 14 T. Milone n/a $0.5M / $1.3M contract -$0.8M
December 15 H. Burgos n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 15 A. Oliver n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 15 E. Sogard n/a 45 ($1.4M) +$1.4M
December 23 n/a B. Parker $1.3M -$1.3M
December 26 L. Valdez n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
December 26 W. De Jesus n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
January 7 n/a S. Geltz $0.5M -$0.5M
January 9 C. Decker n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
January 19 N. Feliz n/a $1.6M depreciated / [$14.0M immediate surplus based on 2016 leads converted] -$2.2M
January 25 J. Chamberlain n/a 45 ($1.4M) +$1.4M
January 31 E. Adrianza n/a $3.3M +$3.3M
February 2 n/a E. Adrianza $3.3M -$3.3M
February 2 J. Aguilar n/a $0.5M +$0.5M
February 14 N. Noonan n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
March 16 J. Parra n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
March 16 J. Raudez n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
March 28 n/a S. Gennett $8.3M [$10.8M depreciated / $2.5M 2017] -$8.3M
March 28 R. Brito n/a 40-45 ($0.8M) +$0.8M
April 2 J. Hughes n/a $3.1M / $2.8M contract +$0.3M
System -$13.6M


  • Benefit Cost Analysis Using:
    Depreciated WARP Surplus
    Historical OFP Value
  • It is assumed that transactions are competitive, and teams do not seek equilibrium in trades (or players / management do not seek equilibrium in contracts).
  • WARP / $ should not be read as the same as W / $. Teams spend significantly less per W than they spend per WARP (in 2016 opening day payroll, teams aimed to spend approximately $1.6M per actual win).
  • Notes:
    • The bulk of the 40-man roster’s value in terms of 2016-2017 moves is basically retained from previous trades, as Brinson and company were added to the 40-man roster. These moves retained approximately 20.3 WARP in future surplus / trade value, etc., but they were not truly value added (in the sense of a 2016-2017 trade or signing).
    • Eric Thames is admittedly impossible to assess. Basically, a $0 impact B-C requires Thames to produce approximately 2.0 WARP in four seasons.
    • Neftali Feliz is an example of overpaying long-term value to capture short-term value. If one assesses Feliz solely based on 2016 leads converted, the reliever is worth two wins above an average reliever.
    • Certainly the organization is higher on Jett Bandy than his prospect pedigree and depreciated MLB surplus show, but it’s difficult to see the rationale for that deal even granting those caveats.
    • The Tyler Thornburg trade is a strong value generator¬†almost any way one slices it.
    • The timing of the Scooter Gennett move is astounding. Milwaukee could have turned Miguel Diaz / Gennett into a net positive for the organization; instead, the system lost a total of approximately $22.1M future surplus in those moves.
      • Finally, I’ve previously argued that it is time for analysts to reconsider the structure of the “Replacement Value Paradigm,” and the Tyler Cravy “roster competition” fiasco is a clear demonstration of the human resources toll that the replacement value system can take. We are so quick to judge nearly everything on the margins of roster value that we miss the labor impact. Our system is biased from the get go against players like Cravy, who are immensely valuable insofar as they found the current system as it functions (without necessarily being recognized for so doing).
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4 comments on “2017 Roster”

Ball in Glove


Is your 8.3MM surplus for Scooter based on playing time projections? I don’t see how Scooter would generate that value based on the playing time that he was going to earn.

I would argue that the club performed very well in HR with Scooter. They respected him enough to release him, even though they had him under control, when they did not see a clear role with the club so that he could find some more playing time elsewhere.

While I think Cravy and/or Scahill is more valuable than Jungmann, the addition of Hughes is an upgrade over both. I don’t have a problem with Cravy voicing his displeasure with the decision but there are at least 50 other pitchers with his profile available.

I also disagree that Stearns has mis-managed the 40 man roster. He has made a vast majority of correct moves and should be excused for the Bandy trade and the Thames signing until we actually see how things develop.

Nicholas Zettel

Scooter’s value is simply depreciated WARP for remaining contract time. It means he’d be valued at 1.2 WARP for 2017-2019.

Robin's Home Town

Thanks. But shouldn’t his OFP be reduced by the number of plate appearances that he is likely to receive over the next 3 years? I think that gets you closer to the opportunity cost of releasing him.

Nicholas Zettel

I am simply not worried about that since the threshold is so low — if he goes 0.4 / 0.4 / 0.4, he meets 1.2 WARP in three years. I think Gennett could do that in anywhere from 100 to 400 PA a season.

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