The Milwaukee Brewers have all but finalized their Opening Day roster. On the position player side, things are set. The Brewers did give Brice Turang a spot, but fellow top prospects Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer fell just short.
Owen Miller earned the final position player spot over Wiemer. Frelick was reassigned to minor league camp previously.
Was this the right decision for the Brewers to make? Many will debate and we won't know for sure until games get played, but there's a big reason why not including Frelick or Wiemer on the Opening Day roster could be a mistake.
The Brewers will miss out on potential Prospect Promotion Incentives by not including Sal Frelick or Joey Wiemer on their roster.
Part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was something called the PPI program, or Prospect Promotion Incentives, a measure intended to bring an end to the practice of service time manipulation. Teams would stash their best prospects in the minors for the first two weeks of the season in order to delay their free agency.
If teams put their Top 100 prospects on their Opening Day roster, or allow them to reach one full year of service time, the team is then eligible to receive an extra draft pick at the end of the first round if they win Rookie of the Year or finish top 3 in MVP/Cy Young in their pre-arbitration years.
Because the Brewers did not include their consensus Top 100 prospects on the Opening Day roster, even if they do get called up two weeks later and they don't accrue a full year of service time, they won't be eligible to get the extra picks.
On top of that, if Frelick or Wiemer finish in the Top 2 of Rookie of the Year voting, they will be awarded one full year of service time anyway. So the Brewers would not get the benefit of an extra year of team control and they also would not reap the reward of a compensatory draft pick.
To make matters even more complexing, the prospects they did include on the Opening Day roster, Garrett Mitchell and Brice Turang, also won't bring the Brewers any potential PPI compensatory selections. Yes they have fewer than 60 days of MLB service time and yes they could accrue a full year in 2023, but they also aren't consensus Top 100 prospects.
The third criteria for eligibility is being ranked in the Top 100 by at least two of Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline. Mitchell isn't ranked in the Top 100 by any of them and Turang is only ranked by ESPN. Because he's not consensus, Turang's placement on the Opening Day roster and subsequent possible awards will not result in an extra Brewers draft pick.
All of this is not to say Turang didn't deserve a spot. He did. However his roster status won't make the Brewers eligible for the PPI program.
This also is not to say Owen Miller didn't earn a spot. He had an excellent spring training. But the Brewers will now be running with two true outfielders in Garrett Mitchell and Christian Yelich. Brian Anderson figures to see a lot of time in right field until Tyrone Taylor returns.
While I won't say this definitively is service time manipulation by the Brewers in regards to Frelick and Wiemer, the Brewers are essentially betting that they won't finish top two in Rookie of the Year or finish top three in MVP voting in any of the next three years. Perhaps a good bet, perhaps not.
Maybe Frelick and Wiemer wouldn't bring the Brewers any compensatory selections anyway if they were added. Maybe they won't win any awards in the first three years. But if they do, and there's a decent chance they do, the Brewers will be kicking themselves for not putting them on the roster to begin the year. What are the odds the Brewers would be kicking themselves for including either of these prospects on the roster? Much smaller, I'm guessing.