The depth of the Milwaukee Brewers organization was tested greatly during the 2021 season. A franchise record 61 different players ended up suiting up for the Crew during season.
With using so many players, some found their niche on the team whereas some did not. There was a wide variety of player used from former stars like John Axford, one game wonders such as Sal Romano, or prospect call ups like Mario Feliciano.
Interestingly, of the 61 players used, 11 still met the requirements to be considered rookies. Those players were: Aaron Ashby, Alec Bettinger, Phil Bickford, Jake Cousins, J.P. Feyereisen, Angel Perdomo, Justin Topa, Patrick Weigel, Mario Feliciano, Corey Ray, and Tyrone Taylor. Of note, Phil Bickford and J.P. Feyereisen are no longer Brewers and Justin Topa’s season was cut short due to injury.
In this article, we will look at three Brewers rookie standouts from the 2021 season. These players will most likely be relied heavily upon in 2022 and seasons to come.
1) LHP Aaron Ashby
Of the rookies, the 23 year old Ashby has the most hype surrounding him. Despite recording a 4.55 ERA over 31.2 innings pitched and 13 appearances, his stuff looked electric. Two rough outings are the reason for his elevated ERA. He allowed four earned runs in his MLB debut and six on the last day of the regular season.
Ashby did find success with striking batters out his rookie year. He struck batters out at 29% clip. Additionally, his slider was especially nasty and by far his most effective and most used pitch. Opposing batters hit just .077 off his slider.
2) RHP Jake Cousins
A month after the departures of J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen, Jake Cousins burst onto the scene and never looked back. Coming out of the pen, he did not allow an earned run his first 17 appearances. He finished the 2021 campaign allowing just nine earned runs, which equaled a 2.70 ERA over 30 innings pitched.
Similar to Ashby, Cousins found success using his slider. Of his 44 strikeouts, 35 came via the slider and he generated a whiff 51.9% of the time when using that pitch. He allowed just one extra base hit off his slider, which was a home run by Harrison Bader on September 5th.
3) OF Tyrone Taylor
Despite making big league appearances in 2019 and 2020, Tyrone Taylor kept his rookie status intact for the 2021 season. Prior to the season, he put on a fair amount of muscle, but also was a part of a very deep Brewers outfield. Injuries to other players allowed Taylor to receive a good amount of playing time during the season, even though early on he was also competing against Billy McKinney for at bats, too.
He finished the 2021 season with 271 plate appearances and managed to contribute 12 home runs and 43 RBIs. At times he looked capable of being an everyday outfielder. With Cain and JBJ under contract for 2022 and top prospects Garrett Mitchell and Sal Frelick a few years away from the bigs, it remains to be seen if Taylor will every get that opportunity with the Brewers. At worst, he will serve a backup OF role going forward, but he’s proven he’s worthy of sticking in the big leagues.
These three rookies will all look to build upon this season as they have their eyes set on improving their roles in 2022. Ashby could move into the starting rotation. Cousins will strive to be a high leverage reliever and Taylor will want a more prominent role.
There is a lot to be excited about regarding this rookie group.