Milwaukee has made adjustments each offseason to counter obvious flaws from previous seasons. For example, the 2021 post-season was embarrassing when Milwaukee struggled to score only six runs, while finishing 20th in OPS during the regular season. The pitching, however, was incredible during the regular season, being ranked third in ERA, allowing Milwaukee to finish with a .586 winning percentage.
So, Milwaukee made a couple of moves during the 2022 season in hopes of fixing this flaw, trading for Hunter Renfroe and signing Andrew McCutcheon to bolster the lineup. This worked to a degree, leaving them ranked 9th in OPS. Alternately, we can expect Milwaukee to return with a more pitch-dominant mindset this offseason, and here is why…
Pitching struggled during the second third of the 2022 season, likely due to Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff being injured for a majority of it. With Peralta and Woodruff gone, there wasn’t a lot of other pitching options to choose from, and it caused a lot of chaos. The Brewers were forced to turn to minor league prospects, putting lots of pressure on these pitchers' MLB debut. Plus, those debuts have used up a lot of the organizations minor league bullets; there is only one pitcher in the team’s top 10 list of prospects.
Offensively, while there is still room for improvement, the lineup is young and shows future promise. 26-year-old Willy Adames and 27-year-old Rowdy Tellez are both fixtures at the top of the lineup. 25-year-old Keston Huira is has been slugging the ball well with an OPS of .822 ever since he fixed his toe tap. 25-year-old Luis Urias has racked up 425 plate appearances while playing all over the infield and getting on base at a .329 clip.
And there are seemingly more coming. The AAA-Nashville Sounds’ lineup features three of the Brewers’ top six prospects. Two more are at AA-Biloxi, including our #1 prospect Jackson Chourio. With a .294 level batting average and a .900 OPS, Chourio would be a wonderful addition to the Brewers' lineup once the time is right.
Maybe most importantly, Christian Yelich has taken a step forward this year batting in the leadoff spot with a 114 OPS+. After the 2019 season, the Milwaukee Brewers put most of their faith (and money) into Yelich by signing him for 7 years. His performance dropped after his injury, but if he continues to look better, it gives the team a little more freedom to invest in a variety of pitchers.
We are currently living in an era of baseball where pitching is dominant. After a year in which both the rotation and the overall staff ranked 14th in ERA, Milwaukee needs to focus on building up their current pitchers and adding more to their arsenal.
In fact, they may have already started. Most of the players acquired at the deadline were pitchers. Regardless of how the season ends, expect Milwaukee to continue to focus on building their arsenal.
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