Coming into the 2020 campaign, there were a few players set to miss time to begin the season for the Milwaukee Brewers. As COVID-19 postponed the MLB season, those players had the opportunity to recuperate from their injuries and might be ready or close to ready to help the Brewers if a season does begin in the near future. Obviously other teams have players recovering from injury that will contribute to begin a 2020 season. However, as a recent MLB Trade Rumors post outlines (based off a Tom Haudricourt article in the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel), three Brewers’ players who were going to start the season on injured reserve stand out as they are apt to make significant contributions if a 2020 season does occur.
Corey Knebel continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. If you will remember, Knebel elected to have Tommy John after he was presented with two options.
Knebel was presented two options: TJ surgery and miss all season, or attempt rehab and make it back sometime in summer. The risk was that if rehab didn’t work, then he would need surgery after all, and essentially miss two whole seasons. At 27 years old, made sense to do it now.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 29, 2019
Knebel had been pitching with a slight ear in his UCL for the previous five seasons. Obviously the tear got to the point where a decision for surgery or rehab had to be made. Knebel made the decision for surgery and if he is able to recover and ultimately perform like he did 2018, there was no better time to make such a decision than when he did. Now the Brewers just might have their other top-end bullpen arm to couple with Josh Hader for 2020. That would be significant.
David Stearns indicated that Knebel has been on a throwing program and has not suffered any setbacks. Stearns did note the obvious in that Knebel needed to throw in competitive action to really determine if he is ready or not.
Luis Urias is a second Brewer that was set to miss the beginning of the regular season due to a broken hamate bone suffered in winter ball. It was thought that he would not miss a lot of time, but there was concern whether the injury to his wrist area would impact his ability to hit, especially hit for power. With the more time to heal, Urias and the Brewers could benefit.
Stearns said he's not second-guessing himself for allowing Urias to play winter ball late into season in Mexico. Says he thinks winter ball can be valuable for a young player.— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 29, 2020
Though recovery time on hammate bone is eight weeks, we've often seen hitter not be the same afterward for some time. So, we'll see if that happens.— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 29, 2020
Milwaukee traded Trent Grisham and Zach Davies for Urias and Eric Lauer (who we will discuss in just a bit). Urias was thought to be in line to take over the shortstop position from Orlando Arcia, who has proven to be one of the worst hitters in the game over the past two seasons. However Arcia created some positive doubt by having a fantastic beginning of Spring Training. Both will have the opportunity to play shortstop for the Brewers in 2020 if a season does happen.
Eric Lauer was the third player set to miss the beginning of the season, but should be ready if/when a season commences. Lauer suffered from shoulder issues as he battled for a rotation spot during Spring Training. Prior to the injury, Lauer was pitching well. His performance in Spring Training had him in a strong position to compete for one of the rotation spots. The questions now is, will he pitch his way into the starting rotation to begin a shortened 2020 season?
Welcome to Milwaukee, Eric Lauer— IKE Brewers Podcast (@IKE_Brewers) November 27, 2019
• 24 years old
• Lefty SP
• 4.40 ERA
• 238 K’s in 261 career IP
Brewers will have control over @e_lauer10 for the next 4 seasons where he’ll be expected to be part of the rotation #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/P6QQlJLn7e
If the season does begin in the near future, all three players could be ready or close to it. All three are positioned well to provide a significant impact to the Brew Crew as well. Milwaukee is situated to have depth throughout their lineup, and the recovery from injury of these three players just adds to that depth. It will be interesting to see if the Brewers depth works as well in a shortened 2020 as it has in previous seasons. Hopefully we will get a chance to find out.