Brewer’s fans are well aware of the pieces/players that got them an NL Central division title in 2021. Now looking ahead to 2022 and the MLB lockout in full effect, organizations find their rosters stuck in place. However, the Brewers may have some fire power ready to break out in 2022. Let’s take a look at three candidates that are poised for a breakout season in 2022.
Lauer came into 2021 with a lot to prove in his young career. Lauer was given opportunities to showcase his talents with the San Diego Padres in 2018 and 2019, but left some to be desired for a regular rotation piece. While Lauer may have struggled through 2020 with a shoulder injury, 2021 proved to be a quick turn-around.
In 202,1 Lauer was a part of the teams six man starting rotation spot. He became a reliable left-handed option for the Crew down the stretch through 20 starts. The 26 year-old southpaw showcased a career low 3.19 ERA and 1.138 WHIP with a significantly better second half of the season. Through his four year career, Lauer has steadily increased his velocity and increased the effectiveness of his off-speed pitches.
Per Fantrax, Lauer decreased the usage of his 4-seam fastball and cutter and increased his slider and changeup usage. These changes proved to decrease the solid contact against Lauer. Not being known as a strikeout pitcher, Lauer allows his defense to back him up. With a .254 batting average against on balls in play, Lauer found himself well below the league average of .291.
With the steady progression year over year, there is plenty of optimism surrounding Lauer. Brewers’ fans should be excited to see what’s in store for the presumed 4th or 5th option in the Brewers rotation.
The 2nd round draft pick from 2012 has certainly had a long journey to the big lights of the majors. Taylor had bounced around the Brewers minor league system until getting his major league debut in 2019. In 2020 he continued going between the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate and the Brewers, but got his chance at being a key contributor in the big leagues in 2021.
Taylor’s playing time was primarily circumstantial in 2021, with a crowded outfield ahead of him. The play of Avisail Garcia in right field and gold-glovers, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Lorenzo Cain in center caused a tough block for Taylor’s playing time. Taylor found the majority of his opportunities during injuries and off-days.
Appearing in 93 games, Taylor had 271 plate appearances. Taylor made the most out of those opportunities finishing the year with a .247 batting average with .778 OPS. For his true rookie season, Taylor turned some heads in the organization. Taylor flashed some power with 12 home runs including two grand slams. Taylor has the ability to run with his power, having 6 stolen bases on 7 attempts in 2021.
The outfielder has given David Stearns plenty of confidence going forward. After the Brewers acquired Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a package of prospects in early December, Stearns made it clear that Taylor was still going to be a key part of the 2022 Brewers. “We have a lot of confidence in Tyrone Taylor. Tyrone is going to play a big part of this team next year,” Stearns said. With this confidence from the front office there is every reason to expect Taylor to continue his development and have a big 2022.
The primary return piece in the Trent Grisham and Zach Davies trade, Urias got his first shot at being an everyday player in 2021. With the Brewers trading away Orlando Arcia and then acquiring Willy Adames, Urias found his home at third base. Urias, only 24 years old, has been progressing throughout his career and 2021 offered a glimpse into what’s in store.
Urias played in 150 games earning 570 plate appearances. Through those 150 games, Urias had a batting average of .249 with a .789 OPS. Standing at 5 feet and 9 inches, Urias would not strike many as a power hitter, but Urias tallied 23 home runs which was second on the team only behind Avisail Garcia.
While offensively Urias has started to find his footing, defense is still a bit of a question mark. With 33 errors in 2021, 23 of these at shortstop, the question looms as to where Urias fits defensively. Urias has made some incredible plays defensively but also seems to have trouble with some of the long throws.
David Stearns has certainly shown confidence in Urias heading into 2022. At his end of the year press conference Stearns stated, “I think Luis has earned the right, repeatedly this year, to play regularly,” when asked if Urias will be the every day third baseman going forward. With this confidence in mind, Urias figures to be a major part of this Brewers offense in 2022.
As is the case with all three of these players, be sure to check out their end of the year report card from Wisconsin Sports Heroics to get a full read on their 2021 season.
For more Brewers content follow me on Twitter @zachlensmire and follow us @WiSportsHeroics to keep up with everything Wisconsin sports. To read more about Wisconsin sports click here. Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!