Brewers: The 4 Biggest Roster Battles To Watch At 2023 Spring Training
Jobs are there for the taking every spring. The Milwaukee Brewers are no different when it comes to their roster. As spring training continues, the roster battles begin to take shape as the candidates for open roster spots begin to get whittled down.
Being a team that missed the playoffs last season, there should be plenty of jobs open for the taking as the Brewers are looking to improve in 2023. The front office acquired several options over the course of the offseason. Some new faces have their jobs locked in. William Contreras, for example, isn't really battling anyone for a roster spot or the starting job. Others, meanwhile, are fighting for a spot on the 26 man roster while some players know they'll make the team but are fighting for the everyday starting job.
Competition will bring out the best in players and whoever rises to the occasion will earn the spots. But which jobs are being battled for and who are the contenders?
Let's break down the four biggest Brewers position battles to watch at spring training this year.
Brewers spring training roster battle #1: Right field
The Brewers acquired Hunter Renfroe shortly before the lockout in 2021. He proceeded to be the Crew's best hitter in 2022 and then they subsequently traded him to the Los Angeles Angels this offseason with one year left on his contract.
With three top outfield prospects hitting Triple-A late last season, including one getting promoted to MLB in Garrett Mitchell, it's clear the Brewers are about to go very young in the outfield. The team needed to open some playing time for them and with Christian Yelich under a long term deal with a no trade clause, Renfroe was the odd man out.
Of the outfield prospects, Garrett Mitchell and Sal Frelick are centerfielders and while they could play right field, the one best suited for that position is Joey Wiemer. Wiemer has the cannon throwing arm and the massive raw power that's expected of a right fielder. He's a perfect fit.
However, he's not quite ready.
Given the slump and strikeout issues he dealt with in 2022, Wiemer likely needs some more seasoning in the minor leagues before the Brewers can feel comfortable calling him up. Until he's ready, the Brewers will need to figure out a way to cover right field.
Tyrone Taylor would seem to be the favorite for the bulk of the playing time, but he's dealing with a sprained elbow and will miss the early part of spring training. He should be ready to go by Opening Day, though. Nevertheless, the door is open for other outfielders to prove their case.
Brian Anderson figures to see some time in right field this year on a part time basis. He'll also see plenty of time at third base. Anderson and Taylor are both right handed hitters, which doesn't make for an ideal platoon situation. The Brewers don't have to make it a strict platoon but they do like their platoons.
There's Frelick, who seems just about major league ready. He tore up Triple-A last season and he stands a chance to crack the Opening Day roster. He's also playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. That'll take him away from Brewers camp for a few weeks, and it's unclear how that might impact his chances to make the team. While left handed, Frelick isn't a great platoon option because they'll want him playing every day.
Then there's outfielders like the switch hitting Blake Perkins and the lefty hitting Tyler Naquin. Naquin is a non-roster invitee but has several years of big league experience and would fit easily into a platoon with Taylor or Anderson. That is if he plays well enough to earn a roster spot. Perkins, although he doesn't have MLB experience, is on the 40 man roster, which helps his cause but doesn't guarantee a 26 man spot.
Taylor and Anderson are virtual locks to make the roster provided they're healthy. Could Tyler Naquin sneak his way on? Could Sal Frelick hit his way into an Opening Day job? Perhaps Blake Perkins surprises with a strong spring and gets a spot. There's room for a left handed (or switch) hitting third option behind Taylor and Anderson. Spring training will decide who claims it.