How has Bryse Wilson impacted the Brewers in 2023?
Bryse Wilson has stepped into his role in Milwaukee's bullpen perfectly in 2023 and has given the Brewers immense value for a pre-arbitration player. He has fit the bill as a great multi-inning reliever who has stepped into a middle relief role at times, provided consistency, and has saved the bullpen multiple times during the season.
In 50 appearances out of the bullpen this season for Milwaukee (72 IP), Wilson has pitched to the tune of a 2.59 ERA and a 166 ERA+. He has a 58/20 K/BB ratio during this season, has picked up three saves, and has held opposing hitters to a .217 batting average against. This body of work has combined to give Wilson a 1.4 bWAR on the season, putting him behind only Devin Williams, Hoby Milner, and Joel Payamps for the most by a Brewers reliever this season.
As the multi-inning reliever for Milwaukee, Wilson has made 20 appearances of over one inning during this season, totaling 48.2 innings in those appearances. He has given up only 11 earned runs in those appearances, tallying a 2.05 ERA. Those multi-inning appearances include three scoreless innings against Atlanta on July 21st, four scoreless against San Diego on August 27th, and two 3-inning saves in April.
Where he has been shockingly good this season is as a one-inning reliever. In 24.1 IP in 30 appearances where he threw one inning or less, Wilson has posted a 3.73 ERA. While this number is much higher than the number as a multi-inning reliever, it is important to add context. Four of Wilson's 10 earned runs allowed in this role came in one appearance on July 28, which is the difference between a 2.24 ERA in these situations and the 3.73 he currently owns. 83.3% of Wilson's appearances in this role have been scoreless, and he hasn't given up an earned run in this role since that July 28th game.
While he hasn't been put in this spot very often throughout the season, Bryse Wilson has also been excellent in medium and high-leverage situations out of the bullpen. In 58 medium-leverage plate appearances, Wilson is holding opponents to a .189 BAA with 12 strikeouts and only 5 runs allowed. In 33 high-leverage plate appearances, Wilson is holding hitters to a .185 BAA, only allowing five hits. In these high-leverage situations, Wilson has been 142% better than the average pitcher in these situations, holding batters to a 58 sOPS, which is OPS+ for a given split relative to the league average.
Wilson has had a season that has seen his percentile rankings rise at every single statistic listed by Baseball Savant. He has done a better job at limiting hard contact, raised his K% by over four points, and kept his command in check. His hard-hit rate, average exit velocity against, and barrel rate all sit at career lows, making for a big jump in his expected stats, and giving him the results that have shown up for Wilson this season.
The success of Wilson has forced him into the Brewers' future plans post-2023. The long reliever is one of the most undervalued positions in all of baseball, and Milwaukee has relied on him to give them a reliable presence in that role. Due to Wilson's low service time of just over 2 years entering 2023, the Brewers still have all three arbitration years remaining on his contract. He is out of options, so he would need to stay on the MLB roster to stay put in the organization
Relievers have the most variance in baseball for a position, and while his 3.91 xERA compared to his 2.59 season ERA shows some regression to come, Wilson has been productive all season, and the Brewers hope that he can continue to make an exponential rise after a non-linear start to his career. If he can do so, he will have a role in Milwaukee's bullpen for the near future, and could be extremely valuable to the team over at least the next three seasons.