Right now the Milwaukee Brewers are 5-1 on the season and the team has captured the attention of many eyes with their positive pitching performances and their infusion of youth within the lineup. It was an exciting week to be a Milwaukee Brewers Fan, highlighted by moments such as Brice Turang’s grand slam and first career homerun, Freddy Peralta’s lights out Home Opener start, or Garrett Mitchell’s walk off home run on Wednesday’s series finale against The Mets. The team seems to be in a better place than most fans thought to begin the season.
It’s no secret now that Manager Craig Counsell and General Manager Matt Arnold have worked to construct a lineup that is much different than the one Brewers Fans saw during the 2022 season. Christian Yelich has now solidified himself as the leadoff man, Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames have been hanging around the top of the order, but the part that peaks my interest the most, the hitters after the top four sports.
The bottom half of the Brewers order is full of young talent, fresh faces, and electric ballplayers. The new look Crew has brought attention to the city’s ballclub and has fans waiting for the next game as soon as one ends. It also should be noted, it now creates a predicament for Counsell.
The Home Opener Lineup included the likes of Garrett Mitchell (24 years old), Brice Turang (23 years old), and Joey Wiemer (24 years old). The median age of the lineup on April 3rd was just under 27 years old. The future is not near, the future is here.
But, what does this mean for the Brewer Players that we know from years past who were presumed to be on the 26-man roster? The surplus of MLB ready players will cause for questioning once the Crew have players returning from the injured list. Who should be worried?
Who Are We Missing?
There are four names on the injured list at the beginning of the season that I believe need to be talked about, with a possibility of one more as well. Those names include: Tyrone Taylor, Luis Urias, Aaron Ashby, and Adrian Houser. Taylor has been in the Brewers Outfield for the past three seasons off and on, carrying an OPS+ of 106 in that time frame. He has showed stretches of really good baseball at the plate, but has been a streaker hitter in his time in Milwaukee, however, it should be noted that he is a plus defender and was one of only three Brewer players to have a positive OAA (Outs Above Average) on the team in 2022.
Taylor is slated to miss the first month of the season with injury and with Joey Wiemer impressing this first week of the season, it makes for a difficult choice as the outfield begins to become more crowded.
Luis Urias is all but certain to return to the lineup when he returns from injury. After sliding into first base and injuring his hamstring, Urias is set to miss two months and is currently the only reason as to why Joey Wiemer is up with the club anyway this early in the season. Urias was the opening day starting third basemen and has flexibility to play anywhere across the infield. The last two years, he has been a consistent name in the Brewers lineup and would be hard to see him not getting AB’s when he returns sometime in June.
Aaron Ashby, who signed a 5yr/20million dollar deal last year that guarantees him in Milwaukee through the 2027 season will miss time we just learned till late in the season and Adrian Houser on the final year of his deal making over 3million this year should return to the 26-man roster at some point this season. Honorable Mention, Jason Alexander. He made 11 starts for the Crew last season, nothing too special out of him and he is on the 60 day IL, but someone worth mentioning that has had a few appearances for Milwaukee.
Who We Need to Know
The Brewers have put out quite a few new faces this first week of the season. Seven of the Brewers fourteen position players on the 2023 roster made their Milwaukee debut this past week. Brian Anderson, Jesse Winker, Owen Miller, Luke Voit, and William Contreras all had previous experience in the big leagues with other major league clubs. While Joey Wiemer and Brice Turang have both made their big league debut with the Brewers and have made an impact immediately. Right now, the slash line of the freshmen are:
Wiemer: .353 (6-17), 1 HR, 3 RBI
Turang: .313 (5-16), 1 HR, 5 RBI
Mitchell: .300 (6-20), 3 HR, 5 RBI
These guys are unconscious right now! Mitchell is coming off the walk-off homerun on Wednesday while Wiemer hit his first homer of his career on the same day. The number that stands out the most to me, they have drawn 7 walks collectively as well. The discipline of the young guns has sparked a new energy in the clubhouse. They are playing with a confidence that really makes the Brewers a must watch spectacle in the city right now.
Plus, you need to talk about the production from guys such as Brian Anderson and Jesse Winker. Anderson has an absurd OPS above 1.600 right now, smashing three homers in the series against the Mets, and Winker is having a bounce back start to his 2023 campaign slashing .333/.409/,444. Miller and Voit collected hits in the Mets series as well and proven some worth to being bench bats.
So what do you do? It’s hard to say, if the pace were to continue, you can not take these young guys out of the lineup, the city would riot. I would say the bubble players that I see would be Owen Miller (breaks my heart to put the Wisco boy on the list) and Mike Brosseau. How can you not keep Anderson at third base? I also am refusing to put Joey Wiemer on this shortlist, though he might be on the list as well. I have faith that the team will make the correct decision, I think many would say they are surpassing expectations to begin the season.
It is a small sample size, but this team has the city buzzing. Time will make these decisions easier in the long run as we will have a larger sample size of these players once others are set to return from the injured list. But it is a good problem to have right now, the competitiveness of these rookies and the new wave of players will motivate all to play better. It’s too early to say they have a window, but it now sparks conversation, the Brewers may have the pieces for some sort of run. They just need to figure out who will help them sprint.