Since the great Brewers’ rebuild started in 2015, one common theme that I’ve seen is the belief that "thing will get much worse before they get better." I never really gave the idea too much thought until recently, following the work of Slingin’ David Stearns before the trade deadline came and passed at 3 PM CST last Monday afternoon.
The Brewers won 68 games last season and are on pace for a slightly better total of 73-74 wins this season, though we’ll see if they can keep up that pace after dealing away stalwarts Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress, and Will Smith.
Interestingly, however, Stearns told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that the deal with Texas for two players "closer to the major leagues" and a PTBNL that is likely to be another high-end prospect was "the best approach for us (the Brewers)." Perhaps that’s a signal that the club intends to be competitive sooner than most have anticipated, a timeline that may have been impacted by the unexpected breakouts of guys like Jonathan Villar, Zach Davies, and Junior Guerra.
I sat down and thought about what the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers roster could look like, using only players that have appeared in the big leagues or AAA this season and are controllable next year (I didn’t include things like available options or if a player is a non-tender candidate, or account for possible trades, etc). This isn’t necessarily an Opening Day roster, but rather what the roster could look like at some point next season:
C Andrew Susac
1B Chris Carter
2B Scooter Gennett
3B Jonathan Villar
SS Orlando Arcia
LF Ryan Braun
CF Lewis Brinson
RF Domingo Santana
Position player depth:
UTIL Hernan Perez, UTIL Yadiel Rivera, OF Keon Broxton, OF Michael Reed, C Martin Maldonado, UTIL Garin Cecchini, OF Kyle Wren, C/1B Josmil Pinto, C Manny Pina, 1B/OF Garrett Cooper, 1B/OF Andy Wilkins, OF Rymer Liriano, OF Ramon Flores, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, UTIL Jake Elmore, OF Shane Peterson
1 - RHP Junior Guerra
2 - RHP Zach Davies
3 - RHP Jimmy Nelson
4 - LHP Josh Hader
RHP Tyler Thornburg, RHP Michael Blazek, RHP Jacob Barnes, RHP Damien Magnifico, RHP Corey Knebel
5th Starter/Long Relief -
RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Matt Garza, RHP Jorge Lopez, RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Taylor Jungmann, LHP Brent Suter, RHP Aaron Wilkerson
RHP David Goforth, RHP Carlos Torres, RHP Tyler Cravy, RHP Austin Ross, LHP Sam Freeman, RHP Rob Scahill, LHP Sean Nolin, RHP Jhan Marinez, RHP Yhonathan Barrios, RHP Drew Gagnon, RHP Ben Rowen
I don’t know about you, but that roster looks rather compelling to me. Maybe not a playoff-caliber team, but that looks like a young club on the rise, one that could hang around the .500 mark and on the fringes of the wild card race in 2017.
Get these cats some big league experience and then maybe angle for a playoff run in 2018? I guess we’ll see!