Brewers early Opening Day Roster Predictions

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The Brewers were one of if not the most active team this winter. This was out of necessity more than anything. They moved on from many familiar faces including Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas signing 4-year deals to play elsewhere, as well as trading Chase Anderson and Zach Davies away. These moves, along with several other departures, opened what were very sizable holes in the Brewers roster. David Stearns got to work and signed nine guys to Major League deals. He also made three notable trades.

Catcher (2): Omar Narvaez, Manny Pina

The Brewer’s biggest loss this offseason came when Yasmani Grandal signed a lucrative 4-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. However, the Brewers will not lose that much offensively at this position with the acquisition of Omar Narvaez. His offensive profile closely resembles Grandal’s. Narvaez was in the top-5 among catchers in baseball with an OBP of .353. He was also 7th in OPS at .813. Brewers did retain Manny Pina who is a perfect Yin to Narvaez’s yang. Pina is a wizard defensively, he does great work calling games, is great at blocking pitches in the dirt and has a cannon for an arm. This is a position the Brewers should not have much of an issue with.

1B (2): Justin Smoak, Ryan Braun

This is another position the Brewers saw a loss of a fan favorite. Eric Thames left the team in free agency after the Brewers declined his club option. They then went out and brought in a bounce-back candidate in Justin Smoak. Smoak had a season to forget statistically in 2019. However, there are reasons to believe that it was a fluke. He was in the top half of baseball in hard-hit % and exit velocity. He hit into a lot of bad luck last year. He’s also a guy who will draw his walks and doesn’t strike out often. Smoak will split time at 1st base with Ryan Braun who will go back to playing in the infield. Braun will split his time between right field and first base.

2B (1): Keston Hiura

Keston Hiura will look to build upon what was an impressive rookie campaign. He managed to hit 19 home runs in just 84 games. He also had an impressive .938 OPS. The big question will be how he can hold up defensively and whether he can be a more serviceable defender than what he was in his first year as a Brewer.

3B (2): Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko

Mike Moustakas signed a 4-year deal with Cincinnati this offseason leaving a void at the hot corner. The Brewers reloaded with a familiar face and former divisional opponent. “Nerd Power” is back in Milwaukee off a career year.  Sogard posted career highs in slugging percentage, OPS and home runs in 2019. He now finds himself in a platoon with former Brewer killer Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko had the opposite of Sogard’s success, posting career lows across the board in an injury-riddled campaign. Now that Gyorko is healthy, look for him to return to form and hopefully do more damage at American Family Insurance Field.

SS (1): Orlando Arcia

Arcia is only going to be a temporary fill-in at shortstop. As Luis Urias looks to be the everyday option once he recovers from wrist surgery.  Arcia will look to impress in his spot starts. However, it looks as though his time as a Brewer starter is over.

OF (5): Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Avisail Garcia, Ben Gamel, and Ryan Braun

The Brewers will have a different outfield configuration in 2020. They’ve moved Christian Yelich back to left field while having Avisail Garcia and Ryan Braun share their time in right field, while still having Gold Glover Lorenzo Cain back in center. The Brewers have their locks in Yelich and Cain. The most intriguing name here is Garcia. He was the biggest offseason addition for the Crew. He will add power and freakish athleticism to the Brewers lineup. Ben Gamel is a fourth outfielder and bench bat.

Utility (1): Brock Holt

Brewer’s newest addition will bring much-needed versatility to the clubhouse. Holt played every position that was not catcher or pitcher last season in Boston. He did that while posting impressive numbers at the plate. Holt is an excellent addition to the Brewers bench.

Starting Rotation: Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, Josh Lindblom, Brett Anderson, and Eric Lauer

Both Woodruff and Houser will look to build off what were impressive seasons in 2019. They will hope to further establish themselves as top starters in this Brewers rotation. The next three are all new faces. The Brewers signed Josh Lindblom to a 3-year deal out of the KBO, where he was impressive. They signed former Oakland Athletic Brett Anderson to a 1-year deal.  Anderson is a solid left-hander with a slightly concerning injury history. Finally, the Brewers acquired former San Diego Padre opening day starter Eric Lauer in the Trent Grisham deal. Lauer will look to find more consistency in 2020.

Bullpen (8): Josh Hader, Brent Suter, David Phelps, Bobby Wahl, Corbin Burnes, Ray Black, Devin Williams, and Alex Claudio

The Brewer’s top relievers to start the season will be Josh Hader and Brent Suter. The Brewers know they have two studs with them. Next is newly acquired David Phelps, who will look to continue his road to recovery from Tommy-john surgery.  Bobby Wahl is someone who would have made the Opening Day roster last year had it not been for a freak ACL tear. Corbin Burnes is another player looking for a bounce-back season and will get his shot out of the pen to start the year. Ray Black will look for more consistency in 2020 and hopes to make himself more of a featured reliever with his fastball.  Devin Williams is another right-handed reliever who throws gas and can give you multiple innings. Finally, you have Alex Claudio, who was a surprise return with the 3-batter minimum rule.

IL (2): Luis Urias, Corey Knebel

Urias is more than likely the Brewers everyday shortstop when he returns from wrist surgery. The former top prospect will look to finally get his footing in the bigs in 2020.

Corey Knebel will be a huge addition in early to mid-May.  Knebel is still working his way back from Tommy-john surgery but was one of the Brewer’s best relievers before the injury.

The Brewers slimmed down their payroll. The Brewers also have several new players, yet the goal remains unchanged. The Brewers will go into 2020 with the sole focus of winning the NL Central.

 

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