The Milwaukee Brewers appear to have finalized their Opening Day roster ahead of tomorrow’s opener against the Minnesota Twins, with Craig Counsell saying both outfielder Billy McKinney and reliever J.P. Feyereisen have made the team’s 26-man roster.
With the other final names announced in the last few days, including Drew Rasmussen and Dan Vogelbach, it looks like the Brewers will head into the season (or at least the first game of the seaason) with 14 position players and 12 pitchers.
J.P. Feyereisen and Billy McKinney made the team.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 31, 2021
Feyereisen is a Wisconsin native and makes the Opening Day roster for a second year in a row, seemingly beating out Brad Boxberger and Ray Black (who was outrighted to the minors) for the last spot in the bullpen, despite being the only one of the three with minor league options remaining. That spot likely would have been Justin Topa’s before he landed on the Injured List with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow.
It’s not every day the Brewers choose NOT to use someone’s option in these decisions, but Counsell says Feyereisen earned the spot.
More Counsell on Feyereisen: "He's put himself in a position where he really earned it and deserved it. He's at the point where he expects it, almost. That means he's in a different place. I think JP is in a place where he's pitching so well, he expects it. That's a good thing."— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 31, 2021
McKinney isn’t someone many would have thought would make the Opening Day roster, but put together an impressive spring and has the post-hype prospect pedigree that provides some hope that he may just be a late-blooming prospect. The former 24th overall pick in the 2013 draft is out of options, but ultimately forced his way into the mix — and his ability to play both the corner outfield and first base likely helped his cause.
Counsell on McKinney making roster: "Billy had a good camp. When you come into camp out of options and you don't have secure spot on the team, you know there's lot riding on your performance. Probably more than any of the other players. Billy did his job. He played really well."— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 31, 2021
McKinney still has plenty swing-and-miss in his game — he struck out 13 times in 45 plate appearances this spring — but he also showed the power (4 home runs and 2 doubles) that makes him a decent 26th-man flier, especially if Lorenzo Cain and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are still a little banged up to start the year.
We’ll see how long David Stearns and Matt Arnold go without making another roster move, but for now, it looks like the Local 26 is set for tomorrow.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference