No, the Milwaukee Brewers season didn’t end the way fans wanted it to. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of bright spots along the way in 2022.
There were games that had thrilling finishes. There were streaks made, milestones passed, and records broken. And there were also players who came out of nowhere to surprise us with their performances on the season.
These three players either had medium to low expectations or were relatively unknown to a majority of the fanbase coming into the 2022 season. But they ended up playing some big roles for the Crew when all was said and done.
Here are three Brewers players who surprised us in 2022.
#1 Brewers Player Who Surprised Us – RHP Hoby Milner
Two offseasons ago, the Brewers made what seemed like a small move to bolster the bullpen when they signed 29-year-old Hoby Milner to a minor league contract in free agency. The four-year veteran came to Milwaukee with a 4.53 ERA and 1.509 WHIP in 55.2 career innings pitched.
Milner would spend most of his time at Triple-A Nashville that season while pitching just 21.2 innings in the bigs. 2022 would be a different story, though, as the right-hander would carve out an important role with the Brewers.
He would spend the entire season in Milwaukee and end up being one of the top relievers on the team. In 64.2 innings (second most among Brewers relievers), Milner would put up a 3.76 ERA and a career high 1.175 WHIP, as well as a 0.7 fWAR that was third best among pitchers on the team who only came out of the bullpen.
Perhaps most importantly, Milner became the “fireman” of sorts for the Brewers in that he was able to enter the game with runners on base and put out the fires. Of the 37 runners he inherited on the season, only five of them were able to score. That 13.5% rate was tops among relievers on the team who threw at least 28 innings for Milwaukee in 2022.
#2 Brewers Player Who Surprised Us – RHP Peter Strzelecki
Last season, Brewers fans got to see a reliever who was completely off the radar when the season began come in and play a big role in the bullpen in Jake Cousins. This year, a very similar situation happened with the emergence of fellow reliever Peter Strzelecki.
Strzelecki has been in the Milwaukee system since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018. After gradually working his way up the ranks, 2022 saw him start the year at Triple-A Nashville. On the back of a strong start and with the Crew battling injuries in the bullpen, he would be called up to the bigs for the first time on May 30th.
Strzelecki would shuttle back and forth between Milwaukee and Nashville a couple of times, but in the end would put up a very solid season as a Brewer. In 35 innings, he would compile a 2.83 ERA and a 1.229 WHIP. His 10.29 K/9 would end up being the second most of any reliever to pitch as many innings as he did behind only closer Devin Williams.
#3 Brewers Player Who Surprised Us – UTIL Mike Brosseau
Utility man Mike Brosseau didn’t surprise merely because he had solid numbers. He put up good stats in 2019 and 2020 with the Tampa Bay Rays as well. It was how well he did in a specific role for the Brewers that opened eyes.
Brosseau was a menace for opposing pitchers when he would come off the bench to pinch hit in 2022. In 19 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, he was 9-for-17 with two doubles and three home runs. That was good for a whopping 1.755 OPS in those situations.
That OPS was tops in the league among players with 10 or more pinch hit appearances, as were his 12 runs batted in. He also tied for the league lead with his three pinch hit home runs, the same amount that legendary retiring St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols had in 2022.
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Pleasant surprises are one of the best parts about a baseball season. We can’t wait to see which players can be surprised that way next year.