A hot start to the 2022 season saw the Milwaukee Brewers spend three months in first place in the National League Central, but end the season by missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The team finished seven games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the division crown and one game behind the eventual World Series runner-up Philadelphia Phillies for the final Wild Card playoff spot.
Expectations for 2023
The Brewers have made a reputation for themselves as a well-run organization that focuses on developing pitching and taking calculated risks to fortify their everyday lineup. That plan has kept them in the playoff hunt for the past six season and should do so again this year.
Looking ahead to 2023, both Pittsburgh and Chicago should be improved, but neither appear to be in the position to compete for the division. Cincinatti doesn’t have any hope to compete this season. That leaves Milwaukee in a decent position to push St. Louis for the division and stay in the hunt for a Wild Card spot well into September.
Baseball’s new schedule may hurt the Brewers as much as any team in the National League, as they will lose 18 games against the Cubs, Pirates and Reds compared to prior seasons.
Overall, projections have the Brewers as the clear runner-up in the NL Central, winning 83-86 games, with playoff odds in the 40-60 percent range.
Milwaukee’s roster shuffle added depth and positional flexibility, but going into Spring Training, the roster still has a number of questions around the starting line-up, especially as it relates to newcomers Jesse Winker and Brian Anderson. With that in mind, the roster may shake out similar to this, assuming Tyrone Taylor’s elbow sprain has healed enough to allow him to open the season in the outfield.
Via Roster Resource:
- Christian Yelich - LF
- Willy Adames - SS
- Rowdy Tellez - 1B
- William Contreras - C
- Jesse Winker - DH
- Luis Urias - 3B
- Garrett Mitchell - CF
- Brian Anderson - RF
- Brice Turang - 2B
The team’s pitching staff looks to be a strong suit again, especially in the starting rotation where the team has six established starters.
By far, the team’s biggest strength is the team’s starting rotation. Headlined by Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta and Laurer, the team has Houser and Miley to give the team depth and quality. Aaron Ashby is suffering from shoulder fatigue and will not be ready for Opening Day.
The roster is pretty well-rounded in general, but this is a top-five rotation that could easily finish the season top-two, given that Burnes and Woodruff are among the game’s elite arms and there’s enough average-or-better arms to make nearly an entire separate rotation behind them.
The team’s offloading of consistent offensive performers Kolten Wong and Hunter Renfroe, paired with the recent struggles of newcomers Winker and Anderson, bring uncertainty to the offense, despite the addition of Contreras as a bat-first catcher. If Tyrone Taylor, whose elbow strain has delayed his start to Spring Training, starts the season on the Injured List, then the team’s depth is weakened further.
The most obvious pain points for the team as it stands right now are second base and right field. Turang hit okay in Triple-A last year, but presents as a defense-oriented second baseman that may not hit enough to provide useful value. Right field figures to be a mix of Taylor, Anderson, and Winker, which are fine enough options but not quite at the caliber of much of the rest of the roster.
Reinforcements from the Farm
The good news for the Brewers — as it relates to their big league-position player questions — is that Milwaukee has a system that is top-heavy in outfield prospects, with Jackson Chourio ranked as one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball coming into 2023. A hot start for Chourio and struggles from some of the Brewers offseason acquisitions could see Chourio in Milwaukee by Memorial Day.
The same can be said for top 30 prospect Sam Frelick, who could get the call ahead of Chourio, if Frelick doesn’t play his way on to the Brewers’ roster as an outfielder in Spring Training. The team also has slugging outfielder Joey Wiemer close to being ready for the big leagues.
Beyond that, Turang and Mitchell are already penciled in to starting spots, a luxury not many teams have in terms of converting reasonably well-rated prospects into major league slots. On the pitching side of the ledger, left-hander Ethan Small got a cup of coffee with the big-league team last season and is likely slated to start the season at Triple-A in the rotation but with Ashby’s availability uncertain to start the season, Small could find himself in position to make the team with a strong spring. Milwaukee also has the fast-rising Carlos Rodriguez, who was the organization’s Minor League pitcher of the year in 2022, likely headed to Double-A to start the year. Keep an eye out for Abner Uribe, who doesn’t have much of a minor league track record but throws incredibly hard and seems primed to throw meaningful innings in Milwaukee at some point over the course of the season.
Braves history/outlook against the team
Atlanta and Milwaukee split the 2022 season series 3-3, with each team winning their home series 2-1. Until last season, when the Brewers narrowly missed the playoffs, the two teams had both appeared in the postseason each year since 2018 — including the Braves defeating the Brewers in the 2021 NLDS during Atlanta’s World Series-winning campaign.
The 2021 season marked the third consecutive season Milwaukee was eliminated from the postseason by the eventual World Series champions — and fourth season in which they were defeated by the NL champions.
In 2023, the Braves and Brewers don’t meet until July, but when they do, they will play six times in 10 days, starting with a three-game set in Milwaukee on July 21, and concluding with three games in Atlanta before the trade deadline beginning on July 28.
Weirdly enough, the Braves have split their last three season series with the Brewers, 3-3. In 2018, they went 3-4. They last won a season series against Milwaukee in 2017, which is a little odd given that the team wasn’t actually good that year.