Here is our projection for the Opening Day starting lineup for the 2023 Milwaukee Brewers.
Batting 2nd: SS Willy Adames
There were times last season where fans were positing whether Willy Adames should be dropped from his second spot in the batting order. That was surprising considering how well he performed after his trade to Milwaukee early in the 2021 season.
Even as the 2022 All-Star game was approaching, Adames saw his batting average hovering around the Mendoza Line with an on base percentage below .300, much lower than you would like to see from one of your top two hitters in the lineup. But then things finally started to turn around.
Though his OBP still wasn't where you'd want it, his average started to climb as Adames would slash .255/.302/.441 after the All-Star break. And regardless what time of year it was, he would mash. He would hit 31 homers (surpassing Robin Yount's franchise record for a shortstop) with a team-leading 98 RBIs in 139 games.
It's hard to imagine that Adames sees his OBP decline even further in 2023. Assuming that is the case, you can plug him right back into the two hole to start next season.
Batting 3rd: C William Contreras
Here comes our first big shake up. After Yelich was shifted to the leadoff spot last season, first baseman Rowdy Tellez was the primary third hitter for the Crew for the rest of the year. We're going to drop him in the order slightly, though.
Instead, let's go with the newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers, catcher William Contreras.
Contreras would've led nearly every qualified Brewer in all parts of the slash line had he been on the team last season. He had 20 homers and 45 RBIs in 97 games last season (that would've translated to 33 homers and 75 RBIs over a full 162-game season). Simply put, he did it all.
And that's the type of well-rounded bat that's nice to have in the three hole. You can either knock the first couple guys in or get yet another runner on base for your cleanup hitter. Though Contreras generally batted in the 4-6 spots last season, he was also on a better hitting team as well.
It would be a big task coming to a new team and immediately hitting that high in the lineup. But with how his numbers compared to some of the Brewers hitters last season, it would make a lot of sense.