The Brewers announced devastating news Tuesday: Superstar outfielder Christian Yelich suffered a fractured right kneecap in their win over the Marlins and will miss the rest of the season. He incurred the injury after fouling a ball off his knee in the first inning.
This will cut short a phenomenal season for Yelich, who may have been on his way to Most Valuable Player honors in the National League for the second straight year (and could still win the award). Yelich’s campaign will conclude with a .329/.429/.671 line, 44 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 7.7 fWAR/7.1 rWAR in 580 plate appearances. The 27-year-old currently leads all of baseball in OPS (1.100), paces the NL in wRC+ (172), and stood a legitimate chance to post the first 50-30 season in the history of the sport.
The fact that the Brewers are firmly in the NL postseason race makes the loss of Yelich all the more horrific. After its latest victory, Milwaukee sits 76-68, just 1 1/2 games back of the division-rival Cubs for the league’s second wild-card spot. Now, with Yelich joining fellow offensive linchpin Keston Hiura on the shelf, it’s especially difficult to imagine the Brewers rallying to clinch a playoff spot for the second consecutive year.
At this point, it’s safe to say one of the main concerns for the Brew Crew is whether this injury will affect Yelich going forward. President of baseball operations David Stearns said Tuesday (via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that there’s not yet “a definitive time frame” for Yelich’s recovery, nor is it clear whether he’ll need surgery. The Brewers will reevaluate Yelich on Wednesday, per Stearns, who called the injury “a gut punch” but expressed hope the club will overcome what could realistically amount to a death blow for its 2019 hopes.