Brewers Summer Camp is underway and there has been a lot of updates about the team recently to round up.
After being in the dark for the last several months, baseball is back and instead of reminiscing about old games or arguing about financials to get new games going, the Brewers have players on the field and we have some actual baseball to talk about.
Because of that, there’s a lot of news to discuss. Let’s dig into it.
Ryan Braun Coming Back In 2021?
Back in January, Ryan Braun made comments at Brewers On Deck that 2020 might be his final season. It was a sad realization for Brewers fans that the player who has been the face of the franchise for over a decade and the centerpiece of the most successful run in franchise history might be nearing the end of his career.
That might be getting delayed a little longer. Braun’s more recent comments have indicated he’s looking to play in 2021 and possibly beyond.
Braun, 36, was slated to split time at first base and right field in 2020, but in the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, the designated hitter is coming to the NL and that’s where Braun is now likely to spend most of his time.
Without the need to play the field everyday to be in the lineup, a smaller amount of games, and the fact that games won’t have fans this year, Braun is now likely to play in 2021.
Braun’s contract is up after this season, however. He has a mutual option worth $15MM for 2021 with a $4MM buyout. The option is likely to be declined and the Brewers would attempt to work out a deal with Braun at a lower salary.
Corey Knebel Back On The Mound
Last spring, Brewers closer Corey Knebel went down with a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery. He was on track to return sometime in May of this season. Seeing as we are now in July, Knebel should be fully ready to go, right?
It’s not entirely that simple. Under the original plan, Knebel would’ve had some competitive rehab outings and be facing live hitters often to get ready to return. He hasn’t been able to do that with the pandemic so the Brewers still have to be cautious with Knebel.
Knebel threw a short, 15 pitch bullpen session the other day at Miller Park and he looked sharp, according to pitching coach Chris Hook.
Things are still looking on track for Knebel to have a big impact, either in a setup role or the closer’s role this season, and Opening Day looks likely, but it’s not quite guaranteed just yet.
Logan Morrison Looking Great
In spring training, Logan Morrison looked like he was back to his old self. Now, entering Summer Camp, he’s looking like he’s in the best shape of his life. He’s dropped some weight, added some muscle, and trained with the best during the quarantine.
If you didn’t see the story on The Athletic, Logan Morrison was a part of a group of big leaguers that were training and playing games at a high school in Florida. Some of the pitchers he faced included Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber. So he’s been facing some of the best pitching in the league and he’s in the best shape of his life.
Morrison appears primed to get an Opening Day roster spot and stick around through the season. He can earn some at-bats at first base and at DH. As a left handed power bat, Morrison can fit perfectly into the center of this Brewers lineup and he’s put himself in a good spot.
A Full Pitching Staff
Craig Counsell is looking to keep 16-17 pitchers on the initial 30 man roster. Counsell will most likely utilize his pitching staff similarly to the way he has in previous Septembers. His success in that month is without question and should put the Brewers at an advantage in the early going.
With Knebel on the comeback trail, the Brewers pitching staff is just about at full health. The only exception is Angel Perdomo, who has tested positive for Covid-19, but is asymptomatic.
The rotation is deep, with Counsell saying they have about 10 guys getting stretched out as starters. Only about seven have a strong chance of making the rotation to start the season.
Counsell has also said that most of the guys are ahead of where he thought they would be in their build up for the season. This could mean that the Brewers starters will be ready to go six or seven innings early on in the year, instead of only three or four innings like most have expected starters to go early on.
Everything appears to be lining up well for the Brewers in the early part of Summer Camp. We still have two and a half weeks to go until the regular season begins, and a lot can change between now and then.
The Brewers schedule will be released soon and more news will come out as Summer Camp continues on.