The Milwaukee Brewers have exceeded expectations not just in the national landscape, but even within their own fanbase to start the 2023 MLB Season. Coming off a 7-3 west coast road trip, this team has created serious buzz around the league to start the campaign.
Willy Adames if off to one of his best starts ever, Rowdy Tellez had a fantastic road stand that got him back on track, and the pitching staff from front to back looks to be amongst the best in the Majors right now. The headline to start this 2023 season however has been the surplus of rookie talent The Crew have put out this season. One of the most productive freshmen for The Brewers this season was Centerfielder, Garrett Mitchell.
Mitchell had not only been valuable with the bat, but also found himself has an anchor on defense and the basepaths. In Seattle, Mitchell suffered significant damage to the labrum of his non-throwing shoulder and may require season ending surgery. While this is not an ideal scenario for a Milwaukee team that was just catching its stride in the 2023 season, there are some scenarios that they have to help replace Mitchell for the 2023 season.
OPTION 1: Wait for Tyrone Taylor and Luis Urias
The early success of this Brewers team has made it easy to forget that they are missing two starters from a season ago in their everyday lineup. Tyrone Taylor had a huge beginning of 2022 and quickly came down to earth to end the season, but he still had 17 homers and a 104 OPS+ last season as well as being one of only two Brewers still on the roster from 2022 that had a positive OAA (Outs Above Average).
Taylor may not be the base threat that Mitchell is, but he can certainly mimic the opportunities he creates with his bat and his glove. He is set to start rehab assignments in Nashville as soon as next week and he can be expected to be up with the Crew as early as the end of May I would assume.
Luis Urias on the other hand was an Opening Day Starter, a lock to be the everyday third baseman. That however was until he slid into first base and injured his hamstring and has found himself on the injured list after one game this season. Urias is not expected back until early to late June as of most reports, but one can assume that he is in no danger of losing his 26-man roster spot.
While waiting is the most boring scenario in this article, and it includes the Brewers sticking with unproven and yet to make a plate appearance, Blake Perkins, it seems to be the most likely that Milwaukee would follow through with. But what if things got crazy?
OPTION 2: Abraham Toro and Sal Frelick Make Their Debuts
I would almost guarantee that we will see Abraham Toro this season and it this rate of injury it may be sooner rather than later. Toro was a part of the Kolton Wong trade that sent Wong to Seattle in exchange with Jesse Winker. Toro has not generated all that exciting numbers to the baseball reference page, a career 74 OPS+ hitter, but he did make Milwaukee’s 40-Man Roster, a key component in making it to the majors this season.
Toro can play both second and third base, this could help keep Brian Anderson in right field and leave flexibility with utility man Owen Miller in the infield and corner outfield as well. While not the most flashy and exciting pick, seems like a strong possibility in my eyes.
Sal Frelick is the Brewers 2021 first round pick and unlike Toro, he is not on the 40-man roster. This means someone who is currently on the 40-man roster would need to be designated for assignment and clear waivers should they want to give Frelick one of those spots.
Frelick is also nursing a thumb injury, one that manager Craig Counsell has said should not be that serious, and had great success in the minors last season all the way through AAA. While he has slowed down to start the 2023 season, he was a candidate last season to get the call to the big leagues and he has a shot this season as well to crack the roster at some point this season.
OPTION 3: The Return of Keston Huira
Alright, Alright, it’s probably not going to happen. But that is why it is the third option on this list! Keston has been a disappointing story in Milwaukee, after a red hot start at the beginning of his career, he ran out of minor league options and was designated for assignment after spring training this year to make room for Luke Voit. Huira has been mashing in the minor leagues however, Huira already has seven homers and is slugging over .600 for Nashville. I know he has had more than enough chances in a big league uniform, especially for this club, but he may find himself back sooner than expected.
Where this may be flawed? His defense is a liability and it doesn’t seem like the Crew trusts him outside of first base and that spot has become very crowded. Huira has flirted with playing outfield in the past and he was brought up as a second basemen, but it seems that he can’t find a home on the defensive side of the ball.
So now the Brewers are tasked with a decision, currently Blake Perkins has been the lucky newest member of the team, but he gives off Johnathan Davis vibes from a season ago, with a majority of appearances coming in moments such as pinch running or late defensive situations, I don’t love his chances of staying with the 26-man roster.
These are just three ways I could see the Brewers moving in the future to help the success of the team. They have one of the best teams in baseball to start the season going 14-6 in their first 20 regular season games and have had one of the top performing pitching staffs and defensive units in Major League Baseball. Losing Mitchell, Woodruff, and Urias all in season with that as well. This season has been an exhilarating start and that has made Milwaukee a fun watch in 2023, but the roster is struggling to keep the same names on it day-to-day. Time will tell what the decisions the front office and Craig Counsell decide to roll with.