With Spring Training underway, the excitement is growing within the Brewers organization and fanbase. The Cactus League is once again sure to provide us with an early glimpse of what to look forward to come April 1st. Players will occasionally follow trends during the regular season that started in spring, but that’s not always the case.
For example, Devin Williams was arguably the worst pitcher in Spring Training during 2020. Many might not remember, but he had the highest ERA on the team at 14.40 in only five innings of work. Opposing hitters touched him up for eight runs in those five innings and he allowed six walks and hitters had an average of .348 against him.
Fast forward about six months and he has a little hardware to his name paired with a reputation known around the league as one of the best at his position in the game.
But while there are times when Spring Training isn’t a good barometer for the season to come, there are also instances where it is for the Brewers.
Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes had a great deal of success last spring, both posting an ERA lower than 2.00 in 10 innings of work each and logging an abundance of strikeouts along the way. Eric Yardley was towards the top of the leaderboard in terms of appearances last spring and that translated to the regular season as well where he led the team in games appeared in.
On the flip side, the slumps for some of the marquee hitters in the lineup during the 2020 season originated in Arizona. Omar Narvaez, Avisaíl García and Christian Yelich all hit below .200 during the Cactus League and couldn’t ever find a groove in the regular season either. By no means do we want to put all of our eggs in one basket based upon the ballpark of 20 at-bats or so, but a little confidence to start never hurt anyone.
Spring Training 2021 comes with a rejuvenated feel to it. Fans are expected to be allowed back at the Spring games in Arizona and Florida in some capacity with specific restrictions and the regular season looks to be shaping out to be similar. Brewers fans could expect to see their team in person this year, but what are some bold predictions for the upcoming Cactus League season?