Earlier this off-season the Brewers re-stocked their pitching staff. They brought in five new pitchers externally and promoted two from within. In order to do this they parted ways with Hunter Renfroe. They also ended up trading away Kolten Wong. Wong yielded two new offensive players in Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro. What roles might Winker and Toro have in 2023?
What role will Jesse Winker have on the Brewers in 2023?
Throughout his career, Winker has a 126 wRC+ that includes a staggering 147 wRC+ in 2021. Even last year when he struggled mighty by producing career lows in batting average (.219), OBP (.344), SLG (.344), and wrC+ (108) he found ways to contribute. Winker did undergo knee and neck surgery this offseason, so perhaps those issues were playing a role in his struggles last year.
Defensively Winker has struggled, especially in 2022. This is evidenced by his -16 DRS as a left fielder. He played 118 games last year as an outfielder and 17 as a designated hitter. With Andrew McCutchen departing in free agency, it seems logical that Winker will slide in as the primary DH for the Brewers in 2023.
Matt Arnold was asked about Winker’s potential role in 2023. He did not commit to Winker being in the outfielder or full time DH. The reasoning was that there is too much offseason ahead to commit to anything.
Matt Arnold didn’t want to commit to
a) who is the frontrunner for 2B with Wong gone (Turang?), or
b) whether Winker will play in the OF be be full-time DH.
Too much offseason ahead to commit to anything now, Arnold said.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 2, 2022
What role will Abraham Toro have for the Brewers in 2023?
2023 will be Toro’s third team in three years. He previously played for the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, and now the Milwaukee Brewers. The utility infielder split time between a lot of positions last year. In 2022 he appeared in 55 games at second base, 31 at third base, 22 at DH, one at first base, and one in right field.
Given his versatility, Toro may essentially take Jace Peterson’s role. At the plate, Toro can hit from both sides and has more pop in his bat than Peterson did. Toro can struggle to make hard contact at times and tends to pull the ball. He did struggle against the shift last year, so perhaps some of the rule changes regarding the shift will help his statistics improve.
Toro will enter 2023 without a definitive starting role on the Brewers. Pending any other transactions, Luis Urias is expected to be the starting third baseman and Brice Turang appears ready at second base. Ultimately, Toro will have to play his way into increased playing time next season.