Christmas and the New Years has now passed. It can only mean one thing right? That is correct! The Milwaukee Brewers’ opening day is now inching even closer!
The Brewers missed the MLB Playoffs this past season for the first time since 2017 and the team made a few changes to their lineup this offseason.
Even though the opening pitch is getting closer by the day the reality is the first pitch will not be thrown until March 30th against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Regardless, it is never too early to get excited for the new season, so it is time to project a bit. That leaves the “Way Too Early Opening Day Lineup” for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Opening Day Pitcher
Lets start off with who to expect to be on the mound to start the season. Realistically there is only two options for the Brewers to decide between and that is the two elite flamethrowers they possess, Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff has been the Opening Day starter twice in 2020 and 2021, while Burnes did once in 2022.
While Woodruff is an amazing pitcher, on the mound to start the new season should be the 2021 N.L. Cy Young winner, Burnes. Burnes is coming off a career high 12 wins and 243 strike outs for the Brew Crew.
There still is some ongoing issues with Burnes and arbitration but the expectation should be for him to be on the mound for Opening Day wearing a Milwaukee jersey.
Now the infield should remain very similar for Brewer fans. The expectation for the corners should be Rowdy Tellez at first-base and Luis Urias at third-base. Tellez has found a home in Milwaukee leading the club with home runs last season with 35 dingers. Urias has been a solid player in Milwaukee having the ability to swing for power and versatility in the ability to play three infield positions.
At shortstop, the Brewers will have back one of the club’s most important players, Willy Adames. Adames has been a massive pickup from the Rays in 2021, as in 2022 Adames hit 31 home runs and 98 RBIs. Adames will be counted on again heavily for the Brewers if they want to get back into the postseason.
Lastly, comes a bit off a question mark for the Brewers and that is, who will be starting at second-base? Kolten Wong has been the club’s second-basemen the last two seasons but he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the off-season. With Wong being dealt, the leaves the door open for 23-Year Old, Brice Turang.
Turang had high expectations as a prospect in the farm system for the Brewers the last few seasons. Turang played in Triple-A last season where he showed off his athleticism and versatility to play a few different positions as well as hitting, 286/.360/.412 with 13 home runs and 34 steals in 131 games. Turang should be the expectation at second-base and Brewer fans should be excited that can become a quality player for the club.
The outfield for Milwaukee should look the exact same way that it ended the 2021 season with. The outfield should consist of Christian Yelich, Garrett Mitchell, and Tyrone Taylor.
Yelich has been the face of the franchise when he erupted with an MVP season in 2018 and a second place finish in 2019, while winning the N.L. Batting Title in both of those seasons.
Since, Yelich has struggled with some injuries and truly has not been himself for a while. Hopefully, Yelich can bring back some similarities to his past success this season that made the franchise sign him to a nine year, $215 million contract in 2020.
Mitchell the 20th overall pick in 2020, was called up late last season to play in the outfield where he show some flashes. Mitchell was able to hold a .311 batting average, hit 2 home runs and 9 RBIs, as well as steal 8 bases in 28 games and 61 ABs. Mitchell became an exciting player to watch down the stretch including a walk-off against the New York Yankees.
Mitchell will have a lot of opportunity to succeed in 2022.
Lastly, is Tyrone Taylor. Taylor is a fun Brewer to watch as he has can make big defensive plays in the outfield and hit some long balls. Taylor could have some more success in 2022, as the shift ban could result in some more hits for him. According to StatCast, Taylor would have had 10 more potential hits gained if the new shift rules applied to last season. With less infielders on the left side of second base, Taylor should be able to take advantage.
To fill out two more positions for the Brewers are two new faces for the team, both acquired this past off-season.
First up is the Brewers likely DH, Jesse Winker. Winker, a former Cincinnati Red and Seattle Mariner was acquired in the Kolten Wong trade. Winker did have a pretty big decline last season compared to his past performances, and also had off-season knee and neck surgeries which raises some doubt. The Brewers must believe he will be healthy and playing in a batter-friendly ballpark in Milwaukee should help Winker get back to his previous success that led him to a 2021 All-Star appearance with the Reds and career batting averages of .270/.374/.463.
Lastly, is the team’s new starting catcher, William Contreras. And, no not the former Cubs catcher, Wilson but his younger brother, William. Acquiring Contreras is a huge upgrade for the Brewers, as he has club control for five years, was an All-Star this past season and is only 25 years old. While he does need to prove he can be an everyday catcher, all the tools are there to continue his success in Milwaukee.
To round it out, this is what to expect the batting lineup to be, come 2022. There is only a bit over two months away that Milwaukee will be begin their path back to the postseason in Wrigley Field!
- Christian Yelich OF
- Willy Adames SS
- Rowdy Tellez 1B
- William Contreras C
- Jesse Winker DH
- Luis Urias 3B
- Tyrone Taylor OF
- Garrett Mitchell OF
- Brice Turang 2B