It might seem a little crazy, but the date for pitchers and catcher to report to spring training is a little over a month away. So that's makes it the perfect time for sites to start releasing their projections for the 2023 MLB season.
FanGraphs is one site that is already in the thick of their off-season projections, and it just so happens that their 2023 ZiPS projections for the Milwaukee Brewers came out late last week. There is certainly a lot to unpack from these projections but I narrowed it down to a handful of interesting observations that stood out to me.
Here are eight observations from the 2023 Milwaukee Brewers ZiPS projections.
2023 Brewers ZiPS projections observation #1: A higher floor in 2023
One of the opening statements from the 2023 Milwaukee Brewers ZiPS projections claims that the 2023 Brewers have a pretty high floor, potentially higher than last year at this time. That could surprise some fans considering the activity of their offseason thus far.
That claim comes off the backs of very little free agency activity but heavier trade activity, most notably the fantastic addition of William Contreras. The Brewers roster will look quite different and Fangraphs believes that to be a good thing, (as do I).
2023 Brewers ZiPS projections observation #2: Batter comparisons
For each of the players on the Milwaukee Brewers roster, Fangraphs offers comparisons of seasons to players in the same age season they're entering. Two stood out to me for batters on the Brewers, the first being Luis Urias having a batter comparison to Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion played 16 MLB seasons across six different teams and Brewers fans may remember him well due to his five seasons in Cincinnati. Luis Urias is entering his age 26 season and, looking at Encarnacion's age 26 season, the comparison is understandable. Encarnacion had a bit of a down year, playing in only 85 games but still managing 13 home runs.
If Urias is healthy for the entire season we may see a resurgence of power for Urias more like his 2021 season when he hit 23 home runs. At 25, Urias had better numbers nearly across the board than Encarnacion did at 26, which may make some Brewers fans nervous. However, if Urias is on a trajectory to have a career similar to that of Encarnacion, many of us would be satisfied.
The second batter comparison that stood out to me was seeing Sal Frelick compared to Jacoby Ellsbury. Frelick will be 23 in April, and in his age 23 season, Ellsbury played in just 33 games but flashed a ton of potential for the future. In those 33 debut games Ellsbury slashed .353/.394/.509, an OPS of .902. For reference, Hunter Renfroe led the Brewers in OPS in 2022 at .807. Seeing Frelick compared to Ellsbury at this stage is very exciting.