3 players who could surprise Milwaukee Brewers fans in 2024

This trio could end up exceeding expectations this season.
Sep 19, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Colin Rea (48) pitches
Sep 19, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Colin Rea (48) pitches / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Though an MLB team goes into a season with 26 players on the roster, many more than that end up contributing for a team before a season is all said and done. And of all the players who take part in a season, no matter when they join the roster, a few of them put up performances that few fans expected.

Last year was no exception for a team like the Milwaukee Brewers. Pitchers like Bryse Wilson and Julio Teheran (at least for his first six outings) as well as infielder Andruw Monasterio were players who may have surprised some with how they did in 2023.

2024 brings a new opportunity for players to come out of nowhere and unexpectedly contribute for the Brewers both in new members of the team who were acquired this offseason and old faces who could take a step up. We'll take a look at three players who could stand out in this way.

Here are three players who could surprise Milwaukee Brewers fans in 2024.

1. SP Colin Rea

Brewers starting pitcher Colin Rea has already pleasantly surprised fans once in his career, just last year, in fact. After being added to the roster in early April, the right-hander was a stabilizing force for the starting rotation while it navigated through injuries for the second year in a row.

While Milwaukee won more often than they lost with Rea on the mound, his numbers didn't exactly jump off the page. In 26 outings (22 starts), he compiled a 4.55 ERA and just a 0.2 bWAR over 124.2 innings, though he did have a very good 1.187 WHIP.

2023 was the first full season that the Brewers pitching development team has had their hands on him after spending part of 2021 in Milwaukee as well and the team saw enough to bring him back for 2024. On top of that, he's had arguably the best spring of his career with a 3.44 ERA, 1.036 WHIP, and .206 batting average against. He could be in line for a big year that surprises fans once again.

2. RP Bryan Hudson

Most of the names that Brewers fans see in the bullpen this season will be familiar ones from a unit that was one of the best in MLB in 2023. But like usual, there will still be a few pitchers that cycle between the bullpens in Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville. One or more of them are bound to have strong performances and earn an extended stay with the Crew.

One candidate for that is newly acquired Bryan Hudson. The 26-year-old who came to the Brewers after being designated for assignment by the Dodgers has reportedly already earned a spot on the Opening Day roster and being one of the few lefties in the bullpen helps his case in sticking around.

Hudson has blown away hitters this spring, striking out 19 batters in 12.2 innings. He's had high strikeout numbers like that the last couple years as well as a good ground ball rate, just the type of pitcher the Brewers have been able to elevate in the past. If he continues to improve going into the regular season, watch out.

3. INF Joey Ortiz

When the Brewers finally traded their ace Corbin Burnes, a move that had been long rumored to eventually happen, much of the focus in the return was on pitcher DL Hall. That makes sense as the immediate aftermath brought questions of how the team would replace a former NL Cy Young winner.

A player from that trade who could be equally important to the Brewers in 2024, though, is infielder Joey Ortiz. The 25-year-old is a top 100 prospect in all of baseball, has an above average hit tool, and plays elite defense at multiple positions on the infield.

Brewers fans were already going to be focused on a crop of young players that have been in the organization for years but now they have another one to add to the group. Who knows, with his pedigree, Ortiz just might surprise those fans and be the one who looks the best this season.