Brewers: 6 Key Players To Watch During Spring Training
Brewers to watch at spring training: Devin Williams
Devin Williams’ season-ending injury in 2021 left a bad taste in the mouths of many Brewers fans. It felt like a bad omen of things to come in the playoffs.
Though the loss of Williams was overshadowed by the Brewers’ weak offensive showing in the NLDS, it will be interesting to see how the injury—and public response—affects the young reliever in 2022 and if he can bounce back to his pre-injury performance.
Williams had another dominant season as setup man with the Brewers in 2021. He has also shown no sign of slowing down and is even developing a new pitch according to Adam McCalvy. However, Williams is another young pitcher in a high-pressure bullpen role. If the pressure to return to his previous success after his disappointing injury is too much for him to handle, he could fall into a slump.
It should also be noted that this Spring Training is our first chance to see if Williams’ hand has healed properly. Though David Stearns announced that there was potential for Williams to be ready in case the Brewers made it to the World Series, it’s possible that issues could linger.
Williams struggled to keep runners off the bases during his first outing on Tuesday, but he still seemed able to conjure his one-of-a-kind pitches. Brewers fans should watch his next appearances to see if he continues to dominate opposing batters.
Brewers to watch at spring training: Keston Hiura
Keston Hiura has had a rollercoaster of a major league career thus far. He was a boon on offensive when he arrived in June of 2019, slashing .303/.368/.570 for the remainder of the year. His numbers dipped severely over the next two seasons, the latter of which he put up a meager .168/.256/.301 slash line.
Hiura is looking to bounce back from a season that included three mid-season stints in Nashville. Coaches are hopeful this year that some swing adjustments will help his 2022 offensive stats resemble those of his rookie season. Brewers fans should be on the lookout this spring for Hiura’s shorter leg kick to see if it leads to better results at the plate.
So far, Hiura has 5 hits including two home runs in 10 at bats this spring. These numbers should be very exciting for Brewers fans. While it should be noted that pitchers are still finding their grooves during an abridged Spring Training, Hiura’s adjustments appear to be having a significant impact. If this small sample does turn out to be the new norm for Hiura, the Brewers’ offense will benefit tremendously.
As a bonus, fans should also keep an eye on Rowdy Tellez. With Andrew McCutchen arriving to fill the DH spot, Hiura and Tellez may compete with each other for opportunities at first base. While they could make a powerful righty-lefty platoon, if one starts to pull ahead, it could mean a reduction in playing time for the other.