The Brewers spent a lot of time and energy promoting “The Freshmen” during the 2023 season. They invited fans into a reality show about the future of the team. Unfortunately, the reality was that this group of players weren’t as good as many fans hoped once they got to The Show.
Mitchell has shown promise, but he has some peripheral stats that could be red flags and he may be injury prone. Turang has found a way to strike out much more at the MLB level. Weimer isn't Hunter Pence and perhaps shouldn't attempt to swing like him. And Frelick has shown some good bat to ball skills; but may have difficulties driving the ball against better pitching.
Their defense is great. But their hitting is suspect. Should we have expected more from Brewers position player prospects? History tells us that perhaps we shouldn’t have.
Since 2011, only five position players drafted by the Brewers have spent more than three years playing for Milwaukee:
Scooter Gennett (16th round draft choice) has been the most successful offensively with a .738 OPS in four years with the Brewers.
Logan Schafer (3rd round) premiered in 2011 and was a serviceable fourth outfielder.
Orlando Arcia (international signing) debuted in 2016 and was the starting shortstop for a period of time
Keston Hiura (1st round) debuted in 2019 and spent the next four years trying to redo his swing every eight months.
Tyrone Taylor (2nd round) debut was also in 2019 and he has yet to be a consistent contributor offensively.
There are not other MLB position players that began in the Brewers system and have found success for other teams -- there are. But considering the Brewers troubles in developing players that stay in Milwaukee, it may not be fair to give the Brewers system much credit for their development.
Among those that didn’t find success are first round draft choices Clint Coulter, Victor Roache, Jake Gatewood and Corey Ray.
The 2023 rookies were supposed to prove that the efforts to improve the position player drafting and development are working. But things haven’t gone as well as planned. Due to injury or underperformance, the unheralded minor league free agent Andruw Monasterio was perhaps the Brewers position player rookie of the year in 2023.
This isn’t to say that “The Freshmen” can’t have a happy ending. And perhaps Chourio, Quero and Black will make the next class even better. But at least for position players, the Brewers reality hasn’t matched the prospect hype for a number of years. Let’s hope the sequel is better than The Freshmen proved to me.