Milwaukee Brewers: Predicting the Team’s Postseason Position Players
By Matt Carroll
Now that the Milwaukee Brewers have punched their ticket to the postseason, it’s time to look at what players will make the playoff roster. Here, we’ll attempt to predict the position players.
One of the most fun exercises for fans of a playoff team, like the Milwaukee Brewers, is trying to guess which players will be on the roster to try and help the team advance to the next round. Rosters are locked for the entire round, barring injury replacements, so there’s added pressure for the team to get that roster just right.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell has had the benefit of using almost every player from the 40-man roster for the last month, which has helped fuel their incredible September run. Now he’ll need to decide which players get the honor of playing in the 2019 postseason.
We’ll take a shot at predicting the playoff pitchers in a different article. For now, let’s take a look at what position players are on track to be carried through to the postseason roster.
Counsell only carried 12 position players for most of the year prior to roster expansion in 2019. However, during last year’s playoffs, he had 14 position players on the roster in the NLDS and then adjusted to 13 in the NLCS. Since we still don’t know the round in which the Brewers will be beginning their postseason run (as of today the division is still in play) we’re going to play it safe and for this exercise guess at 13 position players.
Four of the five infield positions can obviously be penciled in as no-brainers. Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, Keston Hiura, and Eric Thames are all in easily. Orlando Arcia hasn’t had the best year offensively, but his stellar defense as well as lack of other options gets him in as well.
The three main outfielders are basically set as well. Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun are no doubters for the postseason roster. Sadly, we all know Christian Yelich won’t be on the roster, but Trent Grisham and his .864 OPS in September have filled in just fine so he is definitely in too.
Of course there are some necessary backups we can add. Every team needs a backup catcher so Manny Pina is a lock. Cory Spangenberg has garnered a bunch of playing time in September and often started in place of Arcia as a left-handed platoon player. Combine that with his ability to back up at second base, third base, and outfield and we’re counting him in for the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Brewers only have two pure outfielders in Ben Gamel and Tyrone Taylor currently on the roster to carry as backups. We’ll take the one who’s led the other in September plate appearances at 42 to 6, which means your favorite Red Bull-chugging spark plug in Gamel is in.
Rounding out the roster
That gives us 11 of our 13 players, meaning of course that we have two more players that we can add. We’ll start by ruling out the bottom end of the roster. So Taylor, Jacob Nottingham, and David Freitas – sorry but you won’t be making the trip.
That leaves us three players to choose from: Hernan Perez, Tyler Austin, and Travis Shaw. We’ll start by adding Perez. He hasn’t exactly lit it up offensively, batting just .159 in September, but he is able to backup all of the positions that Spangenberg can but offers a right-handed option instead.
The last spot goes to Austin or Shaw. It would seem to make sense to give the final spot to Austin since Shaw hasn’t produced offensively all year and Austin’s huge pinch hit three-run homer against the Cubs in early September shows that he might provide more value off the bench.
Unfortunately, since Austin wasn’t added to the 40-man roster until September 1st, it appears he’s a day shy of postseason eligibility. So the final spot goes to Shaw, who can at least backup multiple positions defensively on the infield. Shaw may just end up being used as a defensive replacement at the end of games.
So to recap, our potential playoff roster looks like:
Catchers (2): Yasmani Grandal, Manny Pina
Infielders (7): Eric Thames, Keston Hiura, Orlando Arcia, Mike Moustakas, Travis Shaw, Cory Spangenberg, Hernan Perez
Outfielders (4): Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Trent Grisham, Ben Gamel
It may take until the final day of the season before we know in which round the Brewers will begin their playoff quest. Whether it be the Wild Card or the NLDS, hopefully they hang around long enough for us to do this exercise again once it’s time for the NLCS!
The Milwaukee Brewers will have some tough decisions for their roster, and whether they make the Wild Card or win the division outright will impact how they build their roster.