The best organization in baseball wasn't the best team in baseball?
For the Milwaukee Brewers, maybe that above “statement” is not such a bad ending to 2018. Because it portends the sunlight of success peering upon the Crew for much longer than that.
In 2018, that was the case for the Milwaukee Brewers – at least in the eyes of Baseball America, which named them the 2018 MLB Organization of the Year.
But wait…should that organization automatically be the one that raises the trophy after winning the World Series? Didn't the Boston Red Sox not only do that, but win 119 games total to create one of the best resumes of record in modern baseball history?
Yes they did.
But this award doesn't necessarily determine just what you did on the field. It looks at all the steps you have taken to build a long-term culture of success.
In this case, the Brewers stand far and above any other baseball franchise in the business. They have turned around one of baseball's bottom feeders in the astronomically short period of three years and put them in position to contend for many more years than that to come.
They've done it the right way, the financially sustainable way for an organization based in the smallest market in Major League Baseball.
They've done it by using every available methodology (draft-and-develop, trade, free agency) stockpiling a major league roster whose core talent base is set to remain in place for years to come.
And is it ever stocked. The team's 2018 All-Stars will be around for a while.
– NL MVP outfielder Christian Yelich (team option in 2022)
– All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain (under contract until 2022)
– All-Star reliever Josh Hader (not a free agent until 2024)
– All-Star infielder Jesus Aguilar (under contract until 2023)
And that is a small sampling.
However, it's the “stacking good decisions” by general manager David Stearns, the long-term decision maker of the team's talent base, and by manager Craig Counsell, the short-term game decision maker and long-term nurturer of that talent base, which have led to the Brewers being the most enviable organization in the sport.
They thought way outside the box, both in terms of choosing talent and managing games. Evidence of Counsell's “Johnny Wholestaff” pitching philosophy which confounded the baseball world during September and October proves that true, and it worked to unexpected levels.
A level that led the Brewers to come within five victories of the franchise's first-ever World Series title.
No team may be in better position today to win that title in the coming tomorrows than the Brew Crew.
That's why they, not the world champion Red Sox or any other team, are the MLB Organization of the Year.
The Brewers may need shades in the outfield and beyond. Because they stand to be in the sunlight of the sport for a long time.