Brewers Likely Down a Key Utility Player for at Least Four Weeks

Matt Carroll
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: Jace Peterson #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers plays third base against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: Jace Peterson #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers plays third base against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Right when the Milwaukee Brewers finally got fully healthy on offense, they ended up losing a player who has been a key contributor, particularly on the defensive side, during an important stretch of the season.

Right after the Brewers announced some good news in a contract extension for left-handed pitcher Aaron Ashby, the team revealed that utility man Jace Peterson was being placed on the injured list with an elbow injury.

When it was reported yesterday that the Brewers were going to be signing free agent reliever Jake McGee, it was known a move would need to be made in order to get him on the 26-man roster. As it turns out, it’s Peterson’s placement on the IL that would accomplish that.

The Brewers lose a bunch of defensive versatility with Jace Peterson going to the IL.

Peterson first came to the Brewers ahead of the shortened 2020 season. Though he would only bat .200 that season, he would end up with an on base percentage of .393 in 61 plate appearances while drawing nearly as many walks (15) as strikeouts (20), causing some fans to affectionately start referring to him as “On Base” Jace.

In 2021, Peterson would see his OBP drop to a still solid .348 while his average would rise to .247, all over the course of 302 plate appearances in 94 games. So far this season, the trend had continued (.252 average, .325 OBP) while he also was putting up career highs in slugging (.439) and OPS (.764).

And now, Peterson heads to the injured list with an elbow injury that has reportedly been bothering him for weeks. According to Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it will result on him being put on the shelf for a month or so at minimum.

The real impact of Peterson’s absence, however, will be felt on the defensive side. In his three seasons playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, the only positions he hasn’t played have been catcher, center field, and designated hitter (yes, he even pitched in two games in 2021).

That versatility was important for the Brewers this year as they worked through a number of injuries. Peterson filled in plenty at third while Luis Urias had a delayed start to his season and in right field when Hunter Renfroe had to spend two separate stints on the injured list.

And Peterson didn’t just fill in defensively, he did it well, especially at third base. In 425.2 innings there in 2022, he has 11 defensive runs saved, which is third most in the league behind just Nolan Arenado and Ke’Bryan Hayes (16 each) who both have played over 250 more innings at third than Peterson.

In the meantime, Mike Brosseau, who shared the utility role with Peterson, will assume that role by himself unless a player like Pablo Reyes or Mark Mathias get called up from Triple-A Nashville. Brosseau has played every infield position but second base so far in 2022, though he has played 16 career games in left and right field in the past with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Next. Should Brewers Look into Patrick Wisdom Trade?. dark

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Peterson will miss most of the month of August where the Brewers will try distancing themselves from the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. Hopefully he will be back for September as the team looks to finish the job.

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