Despite the major league transaction freeze, the Milwaukee Brewers were busy this off-season. The night before the lockout began, they added power hitting corner outfielder Hunter Renfroe and then following the lockout signed Andrew McCutchen to serve as their primary DH. They also brought back veteran reliever Brad Boxberger.
That being said, this is a team full of experienced players with a good amount of promising young talent surrounding them. This makes it difficult for younger players to play their way onto the major league roster this spring, however there are a few spots that are up for grabs.
Here are three position battles to watch for the Brewers this spring.
1. Back Up/Utility Infielder
Looking around the diamond, the infield is pretty much set in terms of starters. Rowdy Tellez is expected to play a large amount at first base, Kolton Wong second, Luis Urias third, and Willy Adames at shortstop. Returning players from last year’s squad looking to back up positions or even platoon include Jace Peterson, Keston Hiura, and Pablo Reyes.
Peterson went through several hot and cold stretches during the 2021 season, but he proved to be a serviceable backup with his ability to get on base. Additionally, he can play any of the infield positions. With no minor league options remaining, he would appear to be a favorite to make the roster out of camp in order to prevent having him clear waivers to keep him in the organization, although that exact same situation happened last year.
The addition of the DH initially helped Hiura’s chances of making the major league roster, but that optimism quickly depleted when it was announced that McCutchen will get the vast of those opportunities. Given Hiura’s struggles on the defensive end, it may take a great offensive spring training in order for Hiura to break camp with the Brewers.
Reyes perhaps has the longest shot of these three to earn a spot. He does have a minor league option remaining and odds are it will be exercised this season. Reyes additionally will be competing with several other newcomers to the team. Of those, infielder Mike Brosseau and first baseman Tyler White will be looking to earn major league spots.
Brosseau came over to the Brewers via trade this off-season. He is most famously known for his series clinching home run off Aroldis Chapman in 2020 with the Rays. He is a right-handed batter who hits lefties well and can play anywhere in the infield. Brosseau has two minor league options remaining, so it’s possible that other players get chances at the major league level before him.
Lastly, Tyler White will be looking to earn a platoon spot at first base. White is a right-handed batter who has a lot of pop in his bat. He was signed to a minor league deal out of the Astros organization this off-season, but he did make his major league debut in 2021. His first week was quite memorable as he hit three home runs in his first six games. Perhaps he can play his way onto the team similar to how Jesus Aguilar did in 2017.