3 out of options Brewers players to watch during spring training

Of the players fighting to keep roster spots with the Crew, this trio has the toughest path.
Sep 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA;  Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Thyago Vieira (54) celebrates
Sep 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Thyago Vieira (54) celebrates / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With spring training in full effect and Cactus League play nearly a week in, many Milwaukee Brewers players will be fighting for their roster spots. Some of those players will be fighting even harder than others.

Players on the 40-man roster with no minor league options remaining have, barring injury, just one option to keep their roster spot: make the 26-man active roster for Opening Day. If not, it means being designated for assignment.

The Brewers have plenty of players with no minor league options remaining but only a few of them who are truly battling for a roster spot. As spring training continues on, there are three such players who are worth keeping an extra eye on to see if they emerge victorious in their quest to retain their roster spots.

Here are three out of options Brewers players to watch during spring training.

1. RHP Thyago Vieira

31-year-old Thyago Vieira came to the Brewers last year on a minor league deal with just 23 games of major league experience to his name. He would have his contract selected by the Crew in September and pitch three innings, giving up just an unearned run on one walk and no hits while striking out a pair.

Vieira had a solid year at Triple-A Nashville last year, compiling a 3.35 ERA and 12.19 K/9 over 37.2 innings and has the type of high velocity arsenal the Brewers like. Working against him is the fact that much of the Milwaukee bullpen is largely set with only a couple spots up for grabs. He'll really have to look good this spring to stick around.

2. RHP Joe Ross

While Vieira at least got to audition a bit for the Brewers at the end of last year, fellow pitcher Joe Ross has no such luxury after just being signed by Milwaukee this offseason. On top of that, he has to prove that he deserves a full-time roster spot for the first time since 2021 as he continues to rebound from his second career Tommy John surgery.

Ross has had success in the past as a starting pitcher but also has the type of arsenal that could work as a reliever, at least giving him two paths to making the roster. But like bullpen, competition for the last couple rotation spots will be tight so his quest will be just as hard as Vieira's.

3. C Eric Haase

When catcher Eric Haase was originally signed, it felt like, even coming off a down year, a 2024 roster spot was all but in the bag. Then another catcher in Gary Sanchez was added to the roster and all of a sudden that spot was in jeopardy.

Even if the Brewers get creative and rotate certain players through multiple positions, such as playing Sanchez at DH, Milwaukee hasn't been known to carry three catchers into the season. And with Haase guaranteed just $1MM versus $3MM plus buyout for Sanchez, it's not hard to guess who would be expendable if the team decides to go with just two backstops.