As we look towards 2024, one position of strength on the Brewers seems to be outfield. The Brewers have five outfielders coming back that played in at least fifty games during 2023: Joey Wiemer (132 games), Christian Yelich (122) Tyrone Taylor (75) Blake Perkins (61) and Sal Frelick (55). If you add Garrett Mitchell, who prior to injury was penciled in as the starting center fielder in 2023, there are six outfielders. And there is a hope that top prospect Jackson Chourio will perform well and push his way into an everyday position in the outfield during the 2024 season.
This seems like a lot of outfielders. But it is also a lot of unproven young players that have some significant injury history and available minor league options. And the Brewers could have one or more of the outfielders spend considerable time at the Designated Hitter position.
If the Brewers plan on carrying five outfielders at a time on the twenty-six man roster with this mix providing 120 games played at designated hitter; than that will be a total of 606 games played by those five roster spots. Not including Chourio, the other outfielders played a total of 445 games in 2023. The injuries to Frelick, Taylor and Mitchell substantially reduced the number of games they were available to play. But Taylor and Mitchell have yet to prove that they can get through a season without significant injuries. Even if the Brewers add Chourio into this mix for one hundred games at the MLB level, this still leaves the Brewers with over fifty games more games to be covered to reach the 606 total games.
And each of these young outfielders may be ready to start at the major league level, but each also has shown some significant holes in their development:
Frelick – ability to drive the ball
Mitchell – low contact rate
Taylor – consistency
Wiemer – on base ability and in-game power
Perkins – anything offensive at the MLB level
Although there may be a lot of potential, there is also reason to be concerned that any two or three of these players will flame out at the major league level or face a long injury list stint.
And there are more options available here than at an Old Country Buffett. Wiemer, Frelick, Mitchel and Perkins may all be optioned to the minor leagues in 2024. The Brewers formula for winning during the regular season has been to always have MLB ready players available at AAA. Having any one or two of these outfielders playing for the Nashville Sounds; but available at a moments notice would continue to support the win through depth philosophy.
This isn’t to say that Milwaukee won’t make a trade of one of the outfield prospects at the right time. But there doesn’t seem to be a log jam of proven talent that will force the Brewers into making a trade this winter. Hopefully, through 2024, one or two young outfielders will take the next developmental step and cement their role as an everyday MLB outfielder. When that happens, the Brewers could look to trade from the outfield depth during the season.