With Opening Day less than two weeks away, Brew Crew Ball’s preview of each position for the Brewers continues. Next up: second base.
Wong reprises his duties as the starting second baseman for the Crew as he enters the second guaranteed year of the two-year contract he signed in February 2021.
The 31-year-old’s calling card is his glove, which is what drew the Brewers to him as they assembled their elite run-prevention unit. Wong’s defense was strong once again last season; he accumulated 6 Defensive Runs Saved and 2 Outs Above Average in 937 innings at the keystone.
At the plate, a more aggressive approach carried Wong to the best season of his career. He slashed .272/.335/.447, good for a 109 wRC+. Moving to a more favorable stadium in American Family Field and jumping on pitches in his wheelhouse more often helped Wong flash more pop than ever before. He posted a career-best .175 isolated power, and despite falling short of 500 plate appearances due to injuries, he hit a career-high 14 home runs.
Wong filled the leadoff role last season for the Brewers. He’s an imperfect fit in the role—his 6.3% walk rate was well below the league average—but he figures to remain there as he begins his sophomore campaign in Milwaukee.
As alluded to above, Wong missed nearly 50 games due to various muscle strains. Should he miss any time again this season, Craig Counsell has a handful of versatile infielders at his disposal to plug in at second.
Peterson was a valuable swiss army knife for Counsell’s Brewers, logging time at every infield position and both corner outfield spots. His 97 wRC+ was more than adequate for a utility player. Second base is Peterson’s natural position, and he is the first option behind Wong against a right-handed pitcher.
Brosseau and Peterson could form a platoon in the utility role. The right-handed hitter owns a career .277/.336/.515 slash line (131 wRC+) against southpaws. Even if Wong is healthy, Brosseau could find some playing time by spelling him against a tough left-hander now and then.
Reyes was a frequent flier between Nashville and Milwaukee last season, making it into 53 games with the Brewers across seven different big-league stints. Much of his playing time came at third base, where he impressed with his defense, but Reyes can play every position on the diamond. That includes second base, where he has spent much of his minor-league career. Offensively, Reyes posted an 87 wRC+ last season and owns an 80 wRC+ for his career.
Like Reyes, Mathias can fill in at any position in a pinch. He made his big-league debut in 2020 and appeared in 16 games for the Brewers. Shoulder surgery sidelined him for the entirety of last season, and he was outrighted off the 40-man roster in November. It’s currently an uphill battle for Mathias to find much (if any) playing time with the Brewers this season.
Urias is capable of playing second base and has appeared in 73 games at the position in the big leagues. However, he is currently the Brewers’ starting third baseman and their primary backup at shortstop behind Willy Adames, so he is unlikely to see time at second.