3 Milwaukee Brewers players with the most to prove during spring training

Spring is for showing what you've got, something that's especially true for this trio.

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers
Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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The 2024 Milwaukee Brewers have officially reported to camp. It's a roster that has seen much turnover from the squad that ended the 2023 season, once again as National League Central division champions.

With new Brewers manager Pat Murphy at the helm, players will more than ever need to prove they belong with the major league club. I believe these following highlighted players will have an extra bright light cast on them ahead of this season.

Here are three Brewers players who have the most to prove during 2024 spring training.

1. LHP Aaron Ashby

Once touted as the next great Brewers pitcher to debut in the bullpen and then turn starter, Ashby fully arrived in the major leagues as a 2022 top 100 prospect (37 by Baseball America), working in the bullpen until a shoulder strain of Freddy Peralta gave him the opportunity to make his first start. He would throw 5.2 innings with an unearned run, resulting in a 2-1 victory over the Padres.

Ashby’s raw stuff flashed so much potential that in 2022 he also earned a contract extension through at least the 2027 season. Unfortunately, this is where the story turns south. Since then, Ashby’s Brewers career has been a “what if” due to injuries, missing the end of the 2022 season from shoulder and forearm injuries and the entire 2023 season with shoulder surgery.

Entering 2024, Ashby will need to draw on the top prospect pedigree that made him and his slider seem like a mainstay of the rotation for years to come. He can get a jumpstart on that with a strong performance this spring.

2. 2B Brice Turang

Another former top prospect in the Brewers organization, second baseman Brice Turang spent four seasons among the Brewers top five prospects. After making the 2023 Opening Day roster, he endeared himself quickly to the fans of Milwaukee with a grand slam in the home opener over the Mets.

Known more for his glove than bat and a shortstop by trade, Turang played near Gold Glove level defense for the Brewers at second base throughout the season. He struggled, however, to adjust to major league pitching, resulting in a short stint in the minors to tweak his approach and a .218 season batting average. The positive news for Turang is that after his stint in the minors, he batted .256 over the month of August in 86 at bats.

Turang finds himself as a player with the most to prove mainly because of the Brewers depth. Veteran options such as Christian Arroyo and Owen Miller, organizational prospects like Tyler Black and recently acquired Joey Ortiz, plus the recent news of Sal Frelick working out as an infielder over the offseason all point to the pressure being applied to Brice Turang’s hold on his lineup spot. 

3. LHP DL Hall

Former 2017 Baltimore Orioles first round pick DL Hall finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads early in his career. There’s no denying Hall has tantalizing stuff, his 80-grade fastball and secondary pitches that all grading out 55 or higher on the 80-grade prospect scale are evidence of that. Hall finds himself on this list for two reasons: role and expectations.

Hall came up through the minors as a starting pitcher, even though he’s never thrown over 100 innings as a professional. Last season, arm fatigue set in, leading to some time off before returning to Baltimore as a reliever for the stretch run.

For what it's worth, though, Brewers Manager Pat Murphy has already stated the team is viewing Hall as a starter and will be slotted as such to begin the season. The question is whether his health will hold up as a starter or whether he is destined for the bullpen long term.

As for expectations, being the headline of a package in return for one of the most accomplished Brewers pitchers of all time in Corbin Burnes naturally comes with expectations. Winning a spot in the opening day rotation would be a massive boost to the team, as well as a positive step towards being the long-term fixture in the rotation many perceived when he was acquired.

These three will get every opportunity to prove their worth over the next several weeks of spring training. Putting forth a positive result would only mean good things for the state of the upcoming Brewers 2024 season.

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