Brewers 2024 Opening Day Roster Projection 3.0: Final Bullpen Spots Up For Grabs

How does the Brewers Opening Day roster project to look with a week to go before the season

Mar 18, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Brice Turang (2) makes the
Mar 18, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Brice Turang (2) makes the / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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Bullpen (8) - Joel Payamps, Abner Uribe, Hoby Milner, Trevor Megill, Bryse Wilson, Elvis Peguero, Thyago Vieira, Joe Ross

One notable name missing is Devin Williams, who will open the year on the IL after suffering two stress fractures in his back. It's a tough blow to this group, but the Brewers have plenty of options to help fill the void and that allows one of these bubble candidates to make the team.

The way I see this bullpen now is there are six locks and then six pitchers vying for the final two spots.

The locks are Payamps, Uribe, Milner, Megill, Wilson, and Peguero. They were all big contributors last year and are expected to be again.

The six candidates for the final spots are Vieira, Ross, Aaron Ashby, J.B. Bukauskas, Taylor Clarke, and Bryan Hudson. Of that group, just Vieira and Ross are without any minor league options remaining, which helps their case to make the club out of the gate and I think will ultimately push them over the top. We will see all of these candidates at some point this season, but may have to wait a bit.

The toughest decision here may be between Ross and Ashby for that swingman role. Ashby has options left while Ross doesn't. Even though Ross hasn't pitched in an MLB game since 2021, he did pitch in games in the minors last year and is fully healthy from his surgery. Ashby has options remaining and still has been ramping up slowly this spring. The Brewers may want to get him in game action in the minors first before they know he's ready for the big leagues again, which means Ross gets the Opening Day nod.

Vieira showed some good stuff last year in limited appearances and the Brewers will likely want to give him a chance to prove he deserves to stick around before they let him go on waivers. Last year, both Bryse Wilson and Javy Guerra made the Opening Day roster without any options left. Wilson earned the right to stick around while Guerra did not. Vieira could end up like Wilson or he could end up like Guerra.

Bukauskas was granted a 4th option year and the Brewers are likely to option him to start the year but he showed good things as well in limited outings in 2023. That option hurts his chances of making the Opening Day roster but help his chances of sticking in the organization this year.

Taylor Clarke and Bryan Hudson were both trade pickups this offseason and will likely figure into the bullpen picture at some point. Since they have options remaining, they might start the year in Triple-A Nashville but will likely be among the first called up when the roster shuffle begins.

Opening Day is just one week away, Thursday March 28th. The roster is mostly set with just a final few spots being battled for, but unless there are some March Madness type upsets, this is what the initial 26 man roster for the 2024 Brewers is likely to look like.