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  • 2023 Brewers Farm System Positional Preview: First Base

    Harold Hutchison

    The Brewers have solid options at first base at the major league level between Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura, but how will this position look in the minors for the Crew in 2023?

    Image courtesy of © Curt Hogg / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

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    First base may often seem like an easy position to find someone to play – and the Brewers have received some good performances in the past from signings that didn’t generate a lot of waves: Eric Thames from the Korean Baseball Organization, the acquisition of Tellez, and even the pickup of Jesus Aguilar via waivers.

    But the best option is to develop from the minors. Who might emerge from the farm to be the next home-grown mainstay at first?

    AAA Nashville
    2023 NRIs Jon Singleton and Luke Voit will likely be the primary options in Nashville. Both have major-league experience, and Voit did win the 2020 AL home run crown. Neither are young, and Singleton’s MLB track record is a three true outcome bat that struggles to reach the Bob Uecker line. If the Brewers see either of them in Milwaukee for an extended period, they could be in big trouble.

    AA Biloxi
    Ernesto Martinez is an under-the-radar prospect with power potential and good on-base skills. In 2021, he broke out, adding speed and showing the ability to play some outfield. The biggest question is if he can stay healthy. Wes Clarke, while a catcher, also saw a bit of time at first base, and with Darrien Miller and Jeferson Quero a potential 1-2 punch there, he may be moved to first if Martinez spends time on the injured list.

    A+ Wisconsin
    Jesus Chirinos, like Martinez, has quietly flashed real offensive potential. Beyond that, Australian Alex Hall saw limited action at first base in Wisconsin, while Luis Silva backed up Chirinos in Carolina in 2022. Here, Timber Rattler fans must believe in Jesus to continue his development.

    A Carolina
    Quinton Low, Jesus Parra, and Branlyn Jaraba will likely split time between first base and DH for the Mudcats, who will have depth here, thanks to the fact the Brewers had two teams with the Arizona Complex League in 2022. Low will likely see the bulk of playing time for the

    Rookie Leagues
    Yeison Perez and Arnys Rodriguez got most of the time at the DSL Brewers 2 and 1 teams, respectively. Perez performed very well offensively, while Rodriguez posted a .360 OBP due to a superb walk rate. While primarily catchers, Edgardo Ordonez and Eric Martinez saw time at first base in 2022. As with a catcher, having only one ACL team will make the competition fierce.

    At AAA, the Brewers are banking on some folks whose MLB track records show potential and big questions. But at AA and below, the Brewers could have multiple options, which could be long-term answers at the position for Milwaukee, even if many of them have to prove a few things.

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    Thank you for the first base overview. Most eyes appear to be on the Hiura/Voit decision, which could break many different ways.

    Big bat Ernesto Martinez is actually the only Brewers AA-level (expected) position player (other than Darrien Miller, who had a long Winter Ball season) who’s yet to be invited to participate in an MLB Spring Training game thus far. I hope he’s healthy!

    I also think it’s worth noting that Zavier Warren mainly played first base in the Arizona Fall League and that’s where he’s been getting some action when invited into MLB Spring Training games.

    Finally, Tayden Hall should see time at first base in Carolina when not catching or DH’ing.

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    I'm going to keep touting Singleton. If he gets a shot in 2023 with the Brewers, I predict he is going to surprise quite a few fans. He's just a very very good baseball player. Even if he hits .200-.230, he'll impact the game in many more ways. Underrated in so many ways largely based on a timeline that is not really relevant to who he is overall at this present time, imho. 

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    7 hours ago, damuelle said:

    Big bat Ernesto Martinez is actually the only Brewers AA-level (expected) position player (other than Darrien Miller, who had a long Winter Ball season) who’s yet to be invited to participate in an MLB Spring Training game thus far. I hope he’s healthy!

    Ernesto reported to spring camp yesterday which was the official position player report date for minor league camp.  He said he’s fully healthy,  they just do not want to get him started too early after his injury-shortened campaign last year.  Goal is to be ready to go by opening day and be well-resting and prepared for a full season

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    Depending on how the rosters work out, I could see Luke Adams getting some work at first given the number of infielders Carolina is likely to have deserving of playing time, especially if Low gets more time on the mound.

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