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Milwaukee Brewers have a nice problem with infield depth


Steven Ohlrogge

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This off-season has been one of the mixed opinions for Brewers fans.  The team has made some trades to acquire bullpen depth and one blockbuster to acquire the catcher of the future, William Contreras.

Recently though, the team has signed Brian Anderson, and they made a trade for Wisconsin native Owen Miller not that long ago.

With the team already having shortstop locked down by Willy Adames and second base supposedly going to Brice Turang, where does that leave many of the recent acquisitions?

Luis Urias, Owen Miller, Mike Brosseau, Keston Hiura and Abraham Toro.  All five of these players will need consistent playing time in 2023, but there is zero chance the Brewers will keep five bench spots open for these guys alone so one or two may not make the Opening Day roster.

Who is most likely to stay?

Most likely:

Luis Urias
Luis Urias is the player that has his feet dug in the most when it comes to claiming a starting job in 2023.  A fan favorite and great friend of Willy Adames, Urias has shown flashes that he can be an above-average hitter if given the opportunity. He broke out in 2021 when he hit .249/.345/.445. He had a career-high 23 home runs and drew 63 walks. He didn't exactly fall off a cliff in 2022, either his .239/.335/.404 line with 16 homers was still a respectable showing. He has a flashy glove to go along with his bat. 

Sometimes he will get in his head and go on a fielding error streak, but that should improve with time. Milwaukee could consider using Urias as a utility infielder and primary third baseman.  He will get substantial playing time this way, and it will help him work on his defense. He is a pretty good lock to make the 26-man roster.

Abraham Toro
Toro is an intriguing candidate acquired in the Kolten Wong deal with Jesse Winker. Toro could either get placed in a utility position right away, or he could be insurance at Second if Brice Turang has trouble getting comfortable. That is a major possibility, but Toro, a switch hitter who hit .185/.239/.324 in 2022 in 109 games played, has the potential to be a big impact player on both sides of the ball for the 2023 Milwaukee Brewers. We should expect the 26-year-old former top prospect to have more than enough playing time during the season.

Possibly left off the 26-man roster:

Mike Brosseau and Owen Miller 
Brosseau is going into his second season with the Brewers. He appeared in 70 games in 2022 and hit .255/.344/.418. He was mostly appearing as a backup option and lefty killer. Brosseau showed he could be a starting contributor at the major league level, but perhaps not for a competing team like Milwaukee.  

Owen Miller, who is loved just because he's a homegrown talent, had similar stats. He hit six home runs and batted .243/.301/.351. He played in 130 games and had 424 at-bats. With a much greater window of opportunity, it seems that Brosseau would be the better of the two just because he owns an identical line with nowhere close to the number of chances. Miller, however, is versatile and can play all over the diamond, which could help him earn a spot over Brosseau.

Least likely:

Now we get to the most apparent part of this article. Of all five players, who have yet to show that they are deserving or ready for a starting or bench role on this 2023 team? 

As much as it pains me to say it, Keston Hiura may start this season in Triple-A along with the next candidate. Hiura, a once heralded top prospect, has fallen off dramatically since his breakout 2019 rookie season. Hiura hit .226/.316/.449 in 2022 and while he did show some pop with 14 homers, his inability to play multiple positions or provide defensive value has potentially knocked him out of the plans for Milwaukee.

Finally, Brice Turang. The rookie second baseman isn't last on this list because he hasn't earned his shot. In 2022, Turang slashed an impressive .286/.360/.412 in Nashville. He had a career-high 13 homers and 152 hits in 131 games. He will most likely get the Sal Frelick treatment and start the year in Nashville. Once some things get moved around, we will likely see him get the call in mid-May.

With all these infield options, the Milwaukee Brewers have an excellent problem. Waiting to see how they decide to shake the roster before the opening day is one of the most fun aspects of a long Wisconsin winter.

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