The playoffs are here, which means it’s time to predict who makes the Wild Card roster. Let’s take a look at who might make the cut for the Brewers.
It may not have been pretty, but on Sunday the Brewers were able to secure the seventh playoff berth in team history, and a franchise record third in a row. As the No. 8 seed, they will match up against the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished 2020 with an NL-best 43-17 record, six wins clear of the next best team.
Now that the playoff berth has been secured, the Brewers get to determine who will represent them on the roster for the Wild Card round. Keeping with the theme of the regular season, teams will get to carry 28 players on their roster to start the playoffs.
Manager Craig Counsell does face some uncertainty with his selections due to injuries suffered by a number of players both before (Corbin Burnes, Ben Gamel) and during (Brett Anderson, Daniel Vogelbach) the season’s final day. With that in mind, here’s our shot at predicting Milwaukee’s Wild Card round roster.
This one is a no-brainer. After the regular season-ending injury to Manny Pina, Nottingham was called up to replace him on the roster. Though he hit at about the same average (.188) as the Narvaez (.176) who struggled offensively all year, four of Nottingham’s nine hits went for homers.
Where Nottingham has really pulled ahead, and earned a larger share of starts lately, is with his superior defense and familiarity with Brewer pitchers like Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. With the Dodgers deploying the right-handed Walker Buehler in game one, it’ll be interesting to see which Brewer backstop gets the start.
Orlando Arcia, Jedd Gyorko, Keston Hiura, Jace Peterson, Eric Sogard, Luis Urias, Daniel Vogelbach
Arcia, Gyorko, and Hiura are all locks here, as is Vogelbach, who has arguably been the team’s best hitter since he was claimed in yet another successful midseason waiver pickup for the Brewers and should be healthy by game one. Sogard’s bat has awoken a bit as of late so he gets penciled in as well.
Had rosters cut down to 26, one of the hardest decisions would have been whether to carry Peterson or Urias. Peterson doesn’t get many hits, but has an excellent .393 OBP. Meanwhile, Urias’s offense has completely left him recently, but he’s the much better defensive option. Both will likely receive limited playing time.
Ryan Braun, Ben Gamel, Avisail Garcia, Tyrone Taylor, Christian Yelich
Braun, Garcia, and the former MVP Yelich, when at their best, have the potential to be one of the most potent offensive outfields in the entire MLB playoffs. They should be the obvious starting outfield for as long as the Brewers remain in the playoffs.
Gamel will reportedly get some work in on Tuesday according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to figure out his status for the series. If he’s healthy, he’s on, along with Taylor who has had his moments late this season. If Gamel can’t go, you could possibly see an early-season fan-favorite in Mark Mathias being added to the roster.
Starting Pitchers (4)
Brett Anderson, Adrian Houser, Josh Lindblom, Brandon Woodruff
With Burnes out for at least the first round of the playoffs due to his oblique injury, the team’s other four main starters should be on the roster. However the only lock out of any of them to actually start a game is the team’s ace, Woodruff.
If Anderson’s recurring blister issue looks on track to heal in time for a start, he needs to be on the roster as the team’s second best starting option after Woodruff. If not, there’s an off chance that Lindblom gets a start, otherwise he may be relegated to bullpen duty along with Houser, who disappointed after his first two starts of the season but was very good in relief in 2019.
Relief Pitchers (10)
Ray Black, Alex Claudio, Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Freddy Peralta, Drew Rasmussen, Brent Suter, Justin Topa, Devin Williams, Eric Yardley
The Brewers roll into the playoffs with one of the best bullpens in the league, led by NL Reliever of the Year and NL Rookie of the Year candidate Devin Williams and NL saves leader Josh Hader. But let’s not overlook effective pieces like Peralta, Yardley, and Suter, who could very well get a start this series.
An interesting wild card here could be Eric Lauer, who has mostly pitched poorly in 2020, but has good career numbers against the Dodgers (5-0, 2.11 ERA, 1.031 WHIP). Still, I’m siding with Black, who has just three games under his belt in 2020 but has still been more reliable, and Rasmussen, who struggled in his most recent outing, but has had some electric appearances otherwise.
There are just two more days until the Brewers announce their roster and take part in their third straight postseason. Reviewing the Brew will have you covered with more content previewing the series all the way up until first pitch.
This story was updated at 10:45am on September 29th to accurately reflect MLB’s postseason roster size.