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  • Brewers Wild Card Series Roster Reaction: We Learned a Few Things Here

    Matthew Trueblood

    The Brewers announced their playoff roster for the Wild Card Series this morning. It includes 15 position players and 11 pitchers, and it certainly raises a few questions--but it answers a few, too.

    Image courtesy of © Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

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    In the wake of the Brandon Woodruff injury news, the Brewers had to make an unexpected shift in their construction of the roster for this best-of-three series. Still, some of the included and excluded players are sure to spark conversation.

    Here's the roster:

    William Contreras
    Victor Caratini

    Willy Adames
    Josh Donaldson
    Owen Miller
    Andruw Monasterio
    Carlos Santana
    Brice Turang

    Mark Canha
    Sal Frelick
    Blake Perkins
    Tyrone Taylor
    Joey Wiemer
    Jesse Winker
    Christian Yelich

    Corbin Burnes
    Trevor Megill
    Wade Miley
    Hoby Milner
    Joel Payamps
    Elvis Peguero
    Freddy Peralta
    Colin Rea
    Abner Uribe
    Devin Williams
    Bryse Wilson

    To avoid burying the lede: the inclusion of Winker, at the expense of Rowdy Tellez, is downright shocking. We have no reason to believe that Winker can play the outfield in games of this magnitude, and while Tellez wouldn't have been likely to appear in more than a pinch-hit capacity anyway, he's been on the roster for the last month and a half. He had a miserable September, with a sub-.500 OPS, but Winker hasn't even appeared for the big-league team since July 24. His strong on-base percentage with Triple-A Nashville in September does almost nothing to inspire confidence about his ability to hit big-league pitching, since he hasn't done so all season and hasn't gotten to try it in over two months. 

    Even beyond that choice, though, there are some interesting and telling choices here. Matched up against the best catcher in baseball at blunting the running game, the Brewers elected not to carry Garrett Mitchell, whose primary value might have been as a pinch-runner to swipe a base at a high-leverage moment. Instead, they'll turn to Joey Wiemer for that if the situation demands it, but also have him available to hit left-handed pitchers like Arizona reliever Joe Mantiply. 

    Less surprising are the inclusions of Owen Miller and Blake Perkins, which give the team greater defensive upside and could let Counsell move three players each through a couple of lineup spots in a game. Miller can facilitate a shuttle between second and third base for Andruw Monasterio, while Perkins could be the defensive sub that lets Counsell pinch-hit Winker for either Wiemer or Taylor in certain moments without worrying about how to configure his outfield for the rest of the game. Neither of these guys are good hitters, but depending on how Counsell uses Josh Donaldson, Mark Canha, Brice Turang, William Contreras, Victor Caratini, and Monasterio, it might be possible to pinch-hit for them even after they enter the game. If not, but if the Brewers have a lead to protect, Miller and Perkins could help do that job.

    On the pitching side, there are fewer surprises. As was hoped and expected, Elvis Peguero is healthy enough to fit into the bullpen. In the place of Woodruff, Colin Rea claims a spot on the playoff roster, after all. Adrian Houser, who started Sunday in the regular-season finale, is clearly slated for a potential Game 1 start in the NLDS, should the Brewers need all three games to win this first set, so Houser isn't included here. The only mild surprise is that there are only 11 pitchers on the 26-man roster, but in a best-of-three series with such high stakes, they certainly don't need any more than that.

    All told, this is still a roster that should beat the Diamondbacks. However, they don't match up perfectly with them, and the choice to carry Winker doesn't seem to advance their cause at all. It'll be interesting to see how Counsell uses the group he's been given to overcome the strengths of Arizona's roster and the loss of Woodruff.

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    Jesse bleeping Winker???!!!!!!  What are they seeing in that guy?  At least Mitchell runs like a deer and would make sense as a pinch runner.  Yikes..

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    I'm less outraged about this and more fascinated at the thinking behind it. I certainly would not have made the same decisions but the Brewers aren't stupid. They have their reasons and I'd sure as hell like to know what they are.

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    By the way, I like the featured image for this piece. It appears that Joey Wiemer is under the delusion he can fit inside the Gatorade container.

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  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    With just 11 pitchers...

    With a bench of Monasterio, Caratini, Perkins, Wiemer, Miller and Winker...

    I think our plan is to ride our starting 10 players as much as possible for the first three games.

    Corbin - throw at least 7 innings tonight. Starting offense - give us 7 early runs. Let's get it done.

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    Jesse Winker?  I know Winker is a much better clutch pinch hitter than all left off the roster plus has a good eye at the plate for walks and Councel does like those aspects of him. 

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