The postseason is just a few weeks away and the Brewers are heading there, although they haven’t clinched the division quite yet. When they get to October, the roster will shrink back down to 26 players.
The Brewers have the ability to reset the roster for each series. The roster they carry into the NLDS doesn’t have to be the same they carry into the NLCS, should they get there.
There will be some currently active players that will not make the Brewers postseason rosters. Who might they be?
1. LHP Daniel Norris
The Brewers acquired Daniel Norris at the trade deadline with the idea that he would help in situations against lefties. They were hoping they could figure out how to help him perform better than he has in his career.
It hasn’t worked.
Norris has struggled with the Brewers and has been essentially the last option in the bullpen for Craig Counsell. He hasn’t earned higher leverage outings or any sort of trust from Counsell, leaving his last outing before finishing his inning after allowing a few baserunners.
While it would’ve been nice to have a lefty one inning guy to face a couple of lefty batters, Norris hasn’t performed well in that role and now Aaron Ashby has thrived out of the bullpen. Ashby generally provides more length, but he provides a third lefty in the bullpen besides Josh Hader and Brent Suter.
With Norris’ struggles and the success of Ashby, there’s no need to put Norris on the postseason roster.
2. Jackie Bradley Jr.
Milwaukee signed Jackie Bradley Jr. to a multi-year contract this spring, and it has not gone as planned. Bradley has been a black hole offensively all season and has barely shown anything resembling a turnaround. On the season, he’s hitting just .165/.238/.269 with a 36 OPS+ and a 30% K rate.
Tyrone Taylor is slated to return from the IL soon, and as long as he can show that he can produce offensively, he might be a better fourth outfielder option than JBJ.
Granted, JBJ is a superior defender, and he could bring value as a defensive replacement, but Taylor can also play centerfield and can at least bring some offensive firepower.
It would be a drastic statement for the Brewers to leave Bradley off their postseason roster after he signed a two year, $24MM contract this spring. But they may be left with no other choice after his terrible season.
Bradley was the 2018 ALCS MVP for the Red Sox, and his postseason experience could be valuable to have out there. But if the Brewers want to carry extra pitchers on their roster, then the position player side will be crunched a little and Bradley may be the odd man out.
3. Brett Anderson
Brett Anderson is currently on the 10 day IL with a shoulder contusion after taking a 103 MPH line drive off his throwing shoulder on September 1st. While Anderson should be healthy by the time we get to the postseason, will he make the roster?
In the postseason, the starting rotation usually gets shortened. The Brewers have an excellent top three in Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta. Filling out that rotation, especially in Anderson’s absence, has been Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer. At most, the Brewers will go with four starters in the postseason.
Despite Anderson’s wealth of big league experience, he’s clearly the low man on the totem pole in this rotation. Houser and Lauer are much more trustworthy arms right now and they give the Brewers a strong chance to win each time out there.
Anderson could be kept on the roster in a bullpen role, but would that be a role he would thrive in? He hasn’t been in the bullpen at all this year, and he’s started in 207 of his 219 big league appearances. This is once again a role that Aaron Ashby could fill, being left handed and able to go multiple innings if need be.
Anderson brings a lot to the clubhouse in terms of his experience and leadership, but his on-field performance is behind what Houser, Lauer, Ashby, and the rest of the rotation can do. He may end up not making the postseason rosters.
Making these kind of decisions can be tough, both on management and the players, but someone is going to have to be left off the postseason roster.