Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers is scheduled for March 30 against the Chicago Cubs. It's always fun to look ahead and project who may start the season on the Major League roster, but this year there are a lot of different ways the team could go in regards to who they carry as back up infielders and bullpen pitchers.
Just 26 players get to be on the opening day roster. Guys who are out of minor league options include Tyrone Taylor, Keston Hiura, Javy Guerra, Bryse Wilson, Adrian Houser, Joel Payamps, and others. Being option-less has its clear disadvantages, but coming out of spring training it may sway teams to keep them on the active roster rather than expose them to waivers and risk losing them.
Here are three players who may be "on the bubble" of the Brewers 2023 opening day roster heading into spring training.
On the bubble player #1: INF Mike Brosseau
Brosseau appeared in 70 games for the Brewers last season and primarily played against left-handed pitchers. His splits showed a 57 point difference in batting average (.274 vs .217) in such match-ups with eight of his 26 hits against south paws going for extra bases. He did miss some time last season due to injury, so his sample size was limited to just 95 at-bats against lefties and 141 overall.
Defensively, Brosseau played primarily third base last year (55 games), but he can play all over the diamond. The Brewers starting infield seems pretty set in stone right now with the exception of second base, which could go to Luis Urias, Brice Turang, Abraham Toro, or Owen Miller. Brian Anderson is expected to play third base. With Brosseau having MiLB options left, it's possible that he starts the season in Triple-A Nashville.
On the bubble player #2: RHP Janson Junk
Junk is entering his first season with the Brewers as he was acquired when Milwaukee sent Hunter Renfroe to the Angels. Elvis Peguero and Adam Seminaris were also brought over in that deal in which Peguero is also on the 40-man roster.
On the mound, Junk has used as a starting pitcher. He is expected to continue serving in this role or as a swingman. It was recently announced that Aaron Ashby is not expected to be ready for opening day, but Adrian Houser and Bryce Wilson will likely be competing for similar positions. Given that Wilson is out of options, this may push Milwaukee to option Junk down to begin the season.
On the bubble player #3: RHP Jake Cousins
Last year Cousins missed a substantial amount of time due to injury. Before being placed on the injured list at the end of the first month of the season, his slider command was not honed in. His walks were up and he appeared a bit wild on the mound.
After electing to rehab his elbow, Cousins returned to the Brewers in September. He had four scoreless outings once returning (5.1 innings pitched) and struck out eight batters. It's encouraging that he looked more like his normal self to end the year, but this year he will have a lot of new competition in the bullpen. How well he performs in spring training could determine where he starts the 2023 season.
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training this week with position players shortly after. Cactus league games for the Brewers start on February 25.