There is a myriad of reasons as to why the 2022 Milwaukee Brewers missed the post season. Injuries, lack of pitching depth, poor bullpen performances in the second half, a franchise-altering trade, and inconsistent offense all contributed to the Brew Crew falling short of the playoffs.
Another related factor is that the 2022 Brewers struggled to find an identity or a formula to win. After being eliminated from postseason contention, Christian Yelich discussed the team’s lack of identity in an interview in which he points out how each of the prior playoff teams knew what they had to do each and every night in order to win.
So, what might that “identity” look like for the Brewers in 2023?
For the most part in 2022, the Brewers were home run or bust when it came to scoring runs. Sure, they hit the third most home runs in the league (219) and finished 10th in runs scored (725), but also only three other teams struck out more times (1464) than they did.
The Crew also finished 22nd in batting average (.235) and 10th in stolen bases (96). Overall, the team was rather unsuccessful at stringing hits together and were okay but not great at stealing a base in order to get into scoring position.
Long term, this is not a good formula or identity for an offense to have. The good news is that the Brewers have a young group of prospects who may be able to pave a new identity for the 2023 team.
There are six Brewers prospects who have a legitimate shot at a fair amount of playing time in 2023. This includes Garrett Mitchell and Esteury Ruiz, both who saw MLB time in 2022. The other prospects are Brice Turang, Joey Wiemer, Sal Frelick, and Mario Feliciano.
Overall, the story on these six players is that they all have great bat to ball skills. With the exception of catcher Feliciano, they all possess great speed as well.
Here is how each of those Brewers prospects performed at the Triple-A level in 2022 in terms of strikeout rate and stolen bases.
Garrett Mitchell: 21.2 K% and nine stolen bases (25 overall across all levels)
Esteury Ruiz: 17.4 K% and 48 stolen bases (86 overall across all levels)
Brice Turang: 19.6 K% and 34 stolen bases
Joey Wiemer: 19.5 K% and six stolen bases (31 overall including Double-A)
Sal Frelick: 7.4 K% and nine stolen bases (24 overall across all levels)
Mario Feliciano: 20.0 K% and zero stolen bases
The significance behind these statistics is that these prospects play the game with the intention of putting the ball in play and making things happen with their legs. A baseball team with the identity of making contact and stealing bases would consistently be putting stress on opposing pitchers and defenses.
Rule changes in 2023 may also favor this brand of baseball. With the upcoming addition of the pitch clock and larger bases, pitchers will not only have to deliver the ball quicker, but they will be limited on the number of pick off attempts/moves per at bat. This may lead to high stolen base totals across the league.
Should the Brewers elect to give their upcoming prospects opportunities in 2023, they could bring an exciting identity and brand of baseball to the team. Hopefully they will get the opportunity to showcase their skills in 2023.