5. Milwaukee Brewers (52–42, plus-46, LT: 9)

Publish date:

Credit Brewers PR ace Mike Vassallo for this excellent nugget on a Milwaukee club that’s shocked the baseball world, and cracked our top five for the first time this season:

Update that stat to 20–17 for Houston after Sunday’s come-from-behind win over the Twins and 20–19 for the Brewers, after they fell behind early against the Phillies and went on to drop a 5–2 game on getaway day. The point stands: The Crew’s been resilient this year, blending a dangerous offense with some bullpen heroics to come back frequently.

Of course, getting ahead early would still offer an easier path to victories. So here’s some potential good news on that front—the Brewers are shopping. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Milwaukee has shown the strongest interest in A’s starter Sonny Gray. The right-hander has put up a bounceback season, slicing his ERA by nearly two full runs after a disastrous 2016, with lights-out results in his past four outings: a 1.33 ERA, and an opponents’ batting line of just .122/.168/.244.

Best of all, Gray fits with what the Brewers are trying to do. Milwaukee GM David Stearns has made clear he wants his team to try and capitalize on this season’s ahead-of-schedule success, but without torching the future. In Gray, the Brewers could acquire a 27-year-old in his prime, who won’t crush the team’s moderate payroll and can’t test free agency until after the 2019 season.

Sure, it would still take an impressive haul of prospects to reel him in, perhaps not that much less than it cost the Cubs to snag Quintana. But the emergence of Eric Thames, Jimmy Nelson, Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, Manny Pina, Corey Knebel and other surprise bright lights practically screams for an aggressive approach, especially when a Cubs team poised to thrive for the next several years is suddenly treading water this season.

The Crew just celebrated the 35th anniversary of the delightful Harvey’s Wallbangers team that surged all the way to the World Series. It’d be pretty cool to hold another 35-year reunion in 2052, honoring all the great things this year’s squad did.

4. Boston Red Sox (52–41, plus-63, LT: 4)