Brewers Projected Opening Day Bullpen (8)
Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Josh Lindblom, Brent Suter, Ray Black, Drew Rasmussen, Eric Yardley, J.P. Feyereisen
Other Candidates: Justin Topa, Bobby Wahl, Angel Perdomo, Phil Bickford, Brad Boxberger
With the news that Justin Topa left a simulated game with elbow discomfort, he’s going to start the 2021 season on the IL. That takes him out of the running for one of the Opening Day bullpen spots, but he’ll be a regular contributor in that bullpen throughout the season.
Josh Hader and Devin Williams will make for a dominant 1-2 punch at the back end of the bullpen, one that should rival any bullpen in baseball.
Lindblom and Brent Suter will serve as the long relievers that could help piggyback innings with the starting rotation. Lindblom is likely to move back into the rotation at some point this season.
Ray Black has pushed himself into the Opening Day roster conversation after a strong first outing back after an elbow injury earlier in camp. He was back to hitting 99 MPH and that’s good to see. He’s out of minor league options, so it’s either a roster spot or he gets designated for assignment now that he’s healthy. For now, he gets the roster spot, but he’s likely on thin ice.
The final three roster spots go to Rasmussen, Yardley, and Feyereisen. All three pitched well this spring, with Feyereisen really looking deserving of a big league bullpen spot. Rasmussen throws hard and can cover multiple innings while Yardley provides a unique arm angle and a change of speed from the bevy of hard throwers among this group.
Topa and Bobby Wahl will start the season on the IL while options such as Bickford, Perdomo, and Boxberger are likely to start the season in Triple-A. All of those pitchers are likely to help out the bullpen at various points throughout the season.
Boxberger could be back in position to make the roster after Topa’s injury, since that happened after the Brewers made the call to release him. For now, the final nod goes to Feyereisen.
The Opening Day roster will see a lot of changes between Thursday and the end of the season. As Counsell and Stearns have said, it’s just one day.