Overall, the 2023 regular season had to be considered mostly a successful one for the Milwaukee Brewers. They finished the season with a 92-70 record and won the NL Central crown for the second time in three years.
To do so, a bunch of different players saw time on the Brewers roster over the course of the season. In fact, 58 such players saw at least one game of playing time for the Crew, which included a mix of veteran players and minor leaguers who made their season debut.
Still, some fans wonder whether the Brewers could have been even better if certain other players had been called up from the minors instead. Specifically, there are three players from the organization, one of them now having moved on to free agency, who come to mind.
Here are three players that Brewers fans wanted the team to call up during the 2023 season.
1. 1B/3B Tyler Black
Much of the excitement about the Brewers' current wave of young, talented prospects has revolved around a group of four outfielders. But there is an infielder among that group who is about ready to provide some strong offense for Milwaukee, infielder Tyler Black.
Black was drafted at the back end of the first round in the 2021 draft with a reputation as a guy who just gets on base. That's exactly what he has done for his minor league career so far with a .279/.415/.465 slash line. And in 2023, which saw him top out at Triple-A Nashville, he added speed to the repertoire as well, compiling a whopping 55 steals on the season.
With the Brewers often struggling to find offense at both corner infield spots, there was hope that Black would potentially be a September call up late last season. Alas, that didn't end up being the case. Instead, he will have to wait to try and make the team out of spring training, a chance that feels very good right now with how the roster currently stands.
2. LHP Robert Gasser
While the infamous Josh Hader trade of 2022 sure felt like a bust in the days and months directly afterward, there have been some positive after effects. Besides the team being able to spin one of the return prospects around for stud catcher William Contreras among others, they also got a rotation piece of the future in the Hader trade itself in starter Robert Gasser.
Gasser as certainly looked the part of a future Brewers starter since arriving in the organization. And as a 24-year-old in his first full season at Triple-A in 2023, he finished the year 9-1 with a 3.79 ERA, a 1.278 WHIP, and a .239 batting average against.
With the Brewers starting rotation struggling through injuries again at points in 2023, some Brewers fans hoped that even though it might be a little early to do so, that Gasser might have gotten a spot start along the way to show what he could do. Those opportunities instead generally went to Colin Rea, though it's hard to say that didn't mostly go well for Milwaukee.
3. 1B Keston Hiura
Oh what could have been. It sure felt like the Brewers had a staple of the starting lineup when first rounder Keston Hiura made his dazzling debut in 2019. Sure, there were strikeouts to be had, but there was plenty of offensive production to make up for it.
But over the years, the strikeouts kept going up while the offensive production came down. Then, Hiura would end up not making the team out of spring training in 2023 and would end up spending the season at Triple-A Nashville.
Hiura continued to bash away with the Sounds all last season, like he has always done. But while the Brewers continued to search for a hot bat at the first base position in 2023, Hiura remained in the minors despite the calls of portions of the fanbase. Now, he has headed to free agency for the first time in his career in search of that consistent MLB playing time again.
Odds are all three of these players are on a major league roster at some point in 2024, if not right away. But who knows what would have happened if they saw that playing time in 2023?