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  • Brewers Opening Day 2022: Season Preview and Predictions


    Seth Stohs

    At approximately 1:20 this afternoon, the Milwaukee Brewers will open their season at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Game 1 of 162 for the Brewers as they attempt to win the NL Central Division and advance to the World Series for the first time in 40 years, and hopefully win the first World Series championship in team history.

    Image courtesy of Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

    Brewers Video

    Happy Opening Day! Still not an official national holiday, but still a day when every team in the league feels excited and energized to start a new season. Will the team get to the playoffs? Which players will take a step forward in their careers? What milestones will be passed during the season?

    The story for the 2022 Milwaukee Brewers will be a sequel to that of the 2021 Brewers. It is largely about pitching.

    The top three starters were deserving All-Stars. But they even got quality performances from their #4 and #5 starters.

    • Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 12.6 K/9) became an All-Star and won his first Cy Young Award.
    • Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.56 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 10.6 K/9) was an All-Star for the second time and finished fifth in Cy Young voting.
    • Freddy Peralta (10-5, 2.81 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 12.2 K/9) was a first-time All-Star.
    • Adrian Houser (10-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 6.6 K/9).
    • Eric Lauer (7-5, 3.19 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 8.9 K/9).

    The bullpen was again led by the dynamic duo of Josh Hader and Devin Williams. But several others performed well.

    • Josh Hader (4-2, 34 Saves, 1.23 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 15.6 K/9) was an All-Star for the third time in 2021.
    • Devin Williams (8-2, 3 Saves, 2.50 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 14.5 K/9).
    • Brent Suter (12-5, 1 Save, 3.07 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 8.5 K/9).
    • Brad Boxberger (5-4, 4 Saves, 3.34 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 11.6 K/9).

    And now the page needs to be turned. While Brewers fans should feel pretty confident in their Big three starters, can their fourth and fifth starters continue to contribute positively? Can Aaron Ashby step up when needed as a rookie?

    PREDICTION TIME

    So, who will be the Brewers’ Pitcher of the Year in 2022? Several of the Brewer Fanatic writers cast their preseason ballots’.

    Corbin Burnes (8): @Adam Rygg, @John Egan, @GormansTapRoom, @BrewCrewBBQ, @Brent Sirvio, @damuelle, @Mass Haas
    Josh Hader (1): @Tim Muma
    Freddy Peralta (1): @Seth Stohs

     

    OFFENSE TALK

    The big question mark for the Brewers is how much offense they will get. Sure, we want to believe that they have the pitching staff to overcome a mediocre offense, but that is to be seen. Let’s go around the diamond and see what the questions are.

    CATCHER
    Omar Narvaez is the starter, but the ramifications of the Pedro Severino PED suspension created quite the fallout. They acquired Victor Caratini from the Padres for Brett Sullivan and Korry Howell on Wednesday. Soon after, they traded prospects Hayden Cantrelle and Alexis Ramirez to the Marlins in exchange for catcher Alex Jackson. It was a nice job by David Stearns and company to address an unfortunate situation quickly. But that is a lot of last-minute change.

    FIRST BASE
    An entire season of Rowdy Tellez should be fun to watch. He certainly has power. How will he hold up throughout the entire season?

    SECOND BASE
    Kolten Wong is back at second base. He had a solid 2021, hitting .272 (.783) with 32 doubles and 14 homers.

    THIRD BASE
    Luis Urias is certainly exciting coming off of his age-24 season in which he posted a .789 OPS with 25 doubles and 23 homers in 150 games. He has been out with injury the past couple of weeks. Will he be able to get off to a fast start and prove that his 2021 wasn’t a fluke?

    SHORTSTOP
    After coming to The Crew from Tampa in late May, Willy Adames played an MVP-caliber shortstop. In 99 games for Milwaukee, he hit .285/.366/.521 (.886) with 26 doubles and 20 homers. He also solidified the team’s defense at shortstop. But, over his four seasons with the Rays, he hit a combined .254/.320/.420 (.740). That is solid for a starting shortstop, but at just 26, can he maintain an OPS over .800?

    UTILITY INFIELDERS
    Keston Huira has had a couple of tough seasons, but he has had a strong spring. Without an everyday position to call his own, will he be able to maintain offense while moving around the field? Mike Brosseau came over from the Rays. Jace Peterson will also get some time.

    LEFT FIELD
    Christian Yelich has now had two sub-par seasons in a row. Last year, he hit .248 with 19 doubles and just nine homers, a far cry from his MVP season. At 30, he’s got a lot to prove this year. Can he return to a quality mid-lineup hitter? Should he move to the leadoff spot and just get on base? A return to something closer to the mean would be beneficial.

    CENTER FIELD
    Lorenzo Cain returns to the role of the primary center fielder, but at age 36, he won’t be able to play there all the time. His offense came down. Will Craig Counsell find the right mix of playing time and time off to bring out his best? Either way, it’s probably better than what Jackie Bradley Jr. did last year for the Brewers.

    RIGHT FIELD
    To get Hunter Renfroe from the Red Sox in exchange for JBJ is a pretty nice deal. Renfroe isn’t a star, but he can mash left-handed pitching. He may not replicate Avisail Garcia’s numbers last year, but he should be a solid hitter.

    BACKUP OUTFIELDERS
    Tyrone Taylor has had a strong spring and should get a little more playing time in 2022. He debuted in 2019, played 22 games in 2020, and then jumped to 93 games in 2021. He hit 12 homers. Will he hit enough to play a lot in center and right?

    DESIGNATED HITTER
    So, Andrew McCutchen should get the majority of at-bats as the team’s DH, but obviously, the 35-year-old veteran can still play some in the outfield, allowing Counsell to get other guys partial days off (no defense) as the DH. He played in 144 games for the Phillies last year and hit .222/.334/.444 (.778) with 24 doubles and 27 homers. Can he maintain those numbers, maybe add a little to his batting average, and maintain that discipline? If so, he will be very valuable.  

    PREDICTIONS

    MOST IMPROVED
    I’m sure it will come as no surprise that all ten of our writers picked a hitter for most improved. The pitchers were terrific last year, and some hitters have plenty of room to improve.

    Keston Hiura (5):
    Rowdy Tellez (2):
    Christian Yelich, Tyrone Taylor, Andrew McCutchen (1):

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
    Who do you think will be the top player on the roster in 2022? 

    Willy Adames (5):
    Christian Yelich (2):
    Luis Urias (1):
    Hunter Renfroe (1):
    Corbin Burnes (1):

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
    The Triple-A season started on Tuesday. The other minor leagues start on Friday. While it appears that Aaron Ashby will be the lone rookie on the Opening Day roster, could other rookies contribute to the big-league club in 2022?

    Aaron Ashby (4):
    Ethan Small (3):
    Brice Turang (1):

    GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
    Last year, the Brewers did not have a Gold Glove winner. Kolten Wong was a finalist at second base, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was a finalist in center field. Will the Brewers have any Gold Glovers in 2022?

    Kolten Wong (8):
    Lorenzo Cain (3):
    Willy Adames (2):

    SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS
    The Brewers also did not have any Silver Slugger winners in 2021? Will they in 2022?

    None (5):
    Willy Adames (2):
    Christian Yelich (2):
    Andrew McCutchen (2):
    Luis Urias (1):
    Kolten Wong (1):   

    BREWERS RECORD
    So, with all of that, what do you think the Brewers’ record will be in 2022?

    All ten of our voting writers predicted the Brewers will win 90 or more games. The low-man was 90, and Adam had the highest prediction, 98 wins.

    Nine of the ten writers said that the Brewers will win the NL Central Division. Brent predicts that they will finish behind the Cardinals. The nine other writers had the Cardinals finishing second. Eight of nine said the Cubs will finish in third place. Seven of nine said that the Reds would finish in fourth place. Eight of nine said that the Pirates would finish last. Brent didn’t even vote for the final three spots in the division, saying, “It doesn’t matter. None of those teams are even trying."

    And for maybe the most important prediction, we turn to former Twins third baseman and Jomboy contributor Trevor Plouffe. A year ago, Plouffe accurately predicted the Atlanta Braves beating the Houston Astros in 6 games. So, what is his prediction for 2022?

    YOUR TURN!
    Alright, you’ve seen our votes. Now it’s time to place your predictions in the COMMENTS below. We can look back at the end of the year and see how we did!

    UPCOMING SERIES
    April 7-10 @ Chicago Cubs
    April 11-13 @ Baltimore Orioles
    April 14-17 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
    April 18-20 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
    April 21 – Day Off

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    My votes: 

    Brewers MVP: Luis Urias
    Brewers Top Pitcher: Freddy Peralta
    Brewers Most Improved: Rowdy Tellez
    Brewers Top Rookie: Ethan Small

    Brewers Record: 92-70 (1st in division)

    Brewers
    Cardinals
    Cubs
    Reds
    Pirates 

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    My votes: 

    Brewers MVP: Luis Urias
    Brewers Top Pitcher: Freddy Peralta
    Brewers Most Improved: Rowdy Tellez
    Brewers Top Rookie: Ethan Small

    Brewers Record: 92-70 (1st in division)

    Brewers
    Cardinals
    Cubs
    Reds
    Pirates 

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    I'll play along:

    Most improved: Hiura. Just an average year as a part-time DH/1B would be a big improvement over last season.

    Team MVP: Burnes. He's really, really good.

    Team ROY: Ashby. My runner up would be Mitchell, but that would require a long IL stint by Cain, which I hope doesn't happen.

    Gold Glove: Wong. We have solid defense on this team, which is a great thought as the Brewers haven't historically been very good on defense.

    Silver Slugger: Adames. With Tatis hurt, the SS Silver Slugger is up for grabs. I think offensively Adames can beat out guys like Lindor and Trea Turner.

    Wins: 97 - they're just as talented as last year's team, with Adames and Tellez there from day 1, and the division should be easier with the Cubs and Reds taking significant steps back talent-wise.

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    I'll play along:

    Most improved: Hiura. Just an average year as a part-time DH/1B would be a big improvement over last season.

    Team MVP: Burnes. He's really, really good.

    Team ROY: Ashby. My runner up would be Mitchell, but that would require a long IL stint by Cain, which I hope doesn't happen.

    Gold Glove: Wong. We have solid defense on this team, which is a great thought as the Brewers haven't historically been very good on defense.

    Silver Slugger: Adames. With Tatis hurt, the SS Silver Slugger is up for grabs. I think offensively Adames can beat out guys like Lindor and Trea Turner.

    Wins: 97 - they're just as talented as last year's team, with Adames and Tellez there from day 1, and the division should be easier with the Cubs and Reds taking significant steps back talent-wise.

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