Under David Stearns and now Matt Arnold, how many different times have we have we heard upper management indicate that their goal is to "remain competitive". This phrase has been said in several different ways over the years. Stearns infamously used the metaphor "bites at the apple". Arnold recently said the Brewers were in a "competitive cycle".
Regardless of how you phrase it, it's clear that the goal is to keep the Brewers competitive for a prolonged period of time. Management has done this by avoiding large multi-year contracts with free agents, not going "all in" and trading multiple top prospects, making tough decision on impact players with little team control left, and now by shifting to a new generation of young players.
There are a lot of young players/prospects who are expected to have large roles with the Brewers in 2023. Aaron Ashby has already been up with the Brewers, but could take a step forward as a starter. Garrett Mitchell, Esteury Ruiz, Mario Feliciano, and Ethan Small all got a cup of coffee in 2023. Brice Turang, Abner Uribe, and Cam Robinson were all internal additions to the 40-man roster this offseason.
Additional players who could contribute in 2023 and beyond include top prospects Sal Frelick, Joey Wiemer and Jackson Chourio. The Brewers have also added a lot of new young pitchers from outside of their system including Janson Junk, Adam Seminaris, Elvis Peguero, Gus Varland, Javy Guerra, and Tyson Miller.
Can this "Next Generation" Of Brewers Players Sustain A New Competitive Window?
This upcoming wave of outfield prospects is arguably the most talented collection of players the Brewers have seen at one time in recent memory. These outfielders (Mitchell, Ruiz, Frelick, Wiemer, Chourio) will have Christian Yelich along side them as they continue to grow and develop. They all could potentially be together with the Brewers through close to 2030, pending any trades.
They will also have Jesse Winker with them in 2023 and Tyrone Taylor remains under club control until 2027. This will help provide some level of "protection" as they make their way into the big leagues.
As for the pitchers, the upcoming wave of young arms has a large security blanket around them in one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball along with a shut down closer in Devin Williams. This leaves these young prospects to help fill in the gaps, at least initially.
With the exception of Ashby, Junk, and Small, most of these other prospects will operate out of the bullpen. Relief pitchers have the most variable outcomes season to season, but if the organization believes in their stuff and scouting reports, they can find success. The Brewers development team and pitching coaches have excelled at this over the past few seasons.
Upper management has done a great job at compiling talent over the past few years by and a lot of them are in the majors or near ready to compete. While it is impossible to predict if this next generation will help sustain the Brewers competitive window, one thing they do have going for them is plenty of options.
Even if only a few players out of the above mentioned names can go on to become solid every day players or key pitching pieces, then that will work greatly in the Brewers favor as they look to remain competitive.